The MMAFU...the Mixed Martial Artist Fighter Union?
Could be, one day.
An industry-wide union, that brings together the collective bargaining power of every fighter, from every organization, across the globe.
The guys/girls that train day in and day out deserve better than the promoters give them. The guys/girls that spent years honing their art deserve better than the promoters get.
More importantly, the guy/girls that step in that cage, putting their long-term health at risk deserve a bigger, better slice of the pie, which means better security going forward.
Who would be against this? Surely the promoters would be. But surprisingly, the very mention of a union often turns MMA FANS into an angry mob. As bizarre as it seems, many fans scoff at the idea.
Unionization would give fighters a voice, to start with. Marijuana use? Fighters have no say in it. TRT abuse? Fighters had no say in it. Rule changes? Shouldn't the fighters be at the table to discuss current rules and possible changes?
Unionization could help fighters with "retirement." Let's be honest, most of these fighters do not actually retire after leaving the sport. They simply can't afford to go on, or their health won't allow it anymore. What do they do then? A union could help set up a pension for fighters.
Unionization could help with pay. I don't have to explain this one. Receiving a few thousand dollars for getting your brains beat in isn't going to cut it.
What about that ridiculous "sponsor tax" the UFC put in place? They charge sponsors fees for the right to put logos on fighter apparel, which ultimately takes money out of the fighter's pocket. Dan Hardy, former UFC fighter, summed it up here, from an interview with BE:
That really hurt the fighters. I went from one fight, where I sold the space on the front of my shorts for $5,000, to six months later, going back to the same company, and only getting an offer of $1500 because of the sponsor fee. I refused it, because someone has got to set a standard. The problem is, when I turn it down, there's another 10 fighters on the undercard that will take that offer, because there's nobody else paying.
You have a sponsor, and maybe they have $150,000 in their budget for the year for advertising. They have to pay $100k of that to the UFC. Now, that only leaves $50k for the fighters for the whole year. Everybody takes a pay cut apart from the UFC.
A fighter union could end that unfair, greedy practice.
There is also the serious concerns over long-term fighter health. The lingering injuries and the potential for brain trauma is rarely discussed. A union could set up a fund for research, prevention and long-term care.
So, what do you think? Should there be a union or not?