Between fending off a class-action lawsuit from a legion of former fighters, combating the efforts of Nevada Culinary Workers Union (NCW) to organize and educate its employees, and filing a lawsuit against New York state, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) must be spending massive amounts of cash in the legal department.
UFC has been knocked down, but they're never out of a fight. After dispelling the NCW's recent attack on its controversial pay practices, the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) organization seemed to be on its way.
"In the NFL, Nike makes the uniforms, but teams still pay their athletes, the same goes for NBA. Life gets hard for fighters who are just starting and earn no pay-per-view money. We spend a lot with trainers, sparring partners, etc. Nobody in this day and age goes to a gym to be punched in the face for free. Whether we like it or not, we are susceptible to injuries which could leave us sidelined for a long time. That harms the fighter who only gets paid when he fights. If you're hurt, there's no income. It's good to have sponsors, because that's what keeps a fighter going. Nobody has spoken to me about a union, but it would be great. It's a way to protect athletes, it could really help. Nobody considered this. Fighters are too disunited because rivalries between gyms in the past. Of course this is not as strong as before, but it still happens. It's like this, if I don't fight for a price tomorrow, somebody else will accept that money."
While UFC President Dana White hasn't publicly responded to Aldo's comments, he hasn't shamed them either.
Fighter pay has been -- and still is -- a controversial topic and one that has been investigated by outside entities before. With ranked combatants, in a number of weight classes lashing out, I'm sure this isn't the last time we will hear the issue of dollars come up.
Until then, Aldo, who has his hands full when he defends his strap in a title unification match against interim titleholder Conor McGregor at the UFC 194 pay-per-view (PPV) blockbuster on Dec. 12, 2015 in Las Vegas, doesn't see himself leading any sort of crusade against his bosses for higher wages.
"Today, I can't see myself responsible for this. I need to live the fight, I'm a champion and I can't put that aside," said Aldo. "My life as an athlete is still strong so it's hard for me to do this today, but maybe one day, once I'm done fighting. I'll look into this and together with others, we could arrange something to help new fighters."
For more on the upcoming UFC 194: "Aldo vs. McGregor" fight card click here.
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