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Former NFL linebacker A.J. Hawk says that if he really wanted to make a difference for his fellow fighters, Conor McGregor could bring collective bargaining to the UFC.
The NFL, like most mainstream sports, has collective bargaining in place, in the form of a union. Because the UFC does not consider their fighters employees, but independent contractors, it would be incredibly difficult to legally form a union with them. Associations are the collective bargaining format that lends itself more readily to organizing independent contractors, but the various fighter associations that have cropped up, including the Professional Fighters’ Association (PFA), the Mixed Martial Arts Fighter’s Association (MMAFA) and the ill-fated MMAAA (Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association) have failed to gain ground with most of the fighters on the roster.
Because of collective bargaining, the NFL splits about 50% of gross revenue with athletes. Because the UFC is privately held, it doesn’t release financial figures, making it difficult to see exactly how many millions of dollars the fighters bleed for, but never see. Best estimates of UFC fighter revenue share range from 10-17%.
Hawk, who spent months off the field during a lockout between NFL players and management, said in an interview with MMAJunkie.com that having collective bargaining in place has been crucial to getting the best deal for athletes who often sacrifice their long-term brain health for their sports careers.
“Having the NFLPA is huge,” he told MMAjunkie Radio. “I don’t know how the NFL would be without the union.”
He has taken an interest in cage fighting since retiring from his NFL career, and its not difficult for him to see how collective bargaining could help the athletes in cages.
“It would really help them out to have a collective bargaining agreement, where they could come together and you had someone to back you when you’re fighting a suspension, or you’re fighting for more pay from Reebok,” he said. “You want a bigger piece of the pie.”
He also says that a figure like Conor McGregor could bring such changes about... though he admits it isn’t likely.
“If (the fighters) want to realize what kind of power they have – it would be absurd to think they could do it – but let’s say Conor gets booked on a fight,” Hawk said. “He’s headlining. If they shut down the fight – if Conor goes about his business, and all of a sudden, the day of, he says, ‘No, we’re not fighting unless we get these terms, and we’re going to come together, (and) this card does not happen tonight,’ – if it was for a card like that and you shut down a whole card.
“I just don’t know how you get all the fighters to come together, because you’re asking people to sit out fights and not get paid, possibly, for the greater good of the future of the sport. It’s just really tough to get everyone on the same page.”
But when questioned about the efforts of Georges St. Pierre and the MMAAA to recruit him at the beginning of 2017, McGregor was critical of their attempts, and said while he sees there should be something in place, he doesn’t see his role in this particular fight.
“There needs to be something – I just don’t know what it is, McGregor said. “I’m focusing on me. I’m focusing on my family’s security, my family’s financial security. That’s all I can do. So I when I saw that, I just thought it was the biggest, fakest load of (expletive) I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Hawk laid out the scenario. The Irish star could single-handedly elevate the conditions for his fellow mixed martial artists fighting at the higest levels. It is, however, unlikely McGregor would abandon pure self-interest and follow this playbook. From what we have seen, McGregor is more interested in building his own fortune, more focused on becoming a member of the capitalist class than opposing it.
Is Max Holloway claiming Las Vegas for Hawaii?
Old man Frankie Edgar has been here before.
Frankie Edgar’s spawn is evolving into a formidable wrestler himself.
Classic and pivotal moment in MMA history.
When Joe Rogan added the word “badonkadonk” to the MMA lexicon: pic.twitter.com/uZj59Q5U95— FullContactMTWF (@FullContactMTWF) November 28, 2017
We all recognized Demetrius Johnson’s flying armbar as the best submission of 2017, right? He better come out with the real Mouse Trap in 2018 if he wants us to keep calling it the Mighty Wiz-Bar.
BOOM!! Got more dope subs coming!! https://t.co/Y98bQF4m2I— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) January 9, 2018
I’m not sure why Khabib’s eyes works so well on this bear’s face.
Past the top two fights, the next two upcoming UFC Pay-Per-Views (PPVs) are... a little light on depth.
So, about these next two UFC "pay per views"... pic.twitter.com/LdFSoJHWI9— JustBleedMMA (@JustBleedMMA) January 8, 2018
This is a great highlight of some of Miocic’s best moments in the cage, and he approves.
What gets Rory Macdonald up and excited. This man fights Bellator champion Douglas Lima on January 20th. Mark your calendars, it’s a double header of MMA goodness headlining that night.
In the Mind of a Serial Killer - Netflix Original pic.twitter.com/UHzYlm2Vs6— Zombie Prophet (@ZPGIFs) January 5, 2018
Legit as it gets.
Cody hitting pads- if I’m honest I hope the Jimmie Rivera fight gets made. Rivera has looked unshakable at 135, but Garbrandt can shake anyone.
Yeah that one’s gonna need stitches.
Jose Aldo training for my fantasy matchup with Khabib Nurmagomedov
The intensity of some of the workouts MMA fighters do astounds me.
Good defense is hard to find
Roberto Duran’s rendition of the Waltz — after slipping or ducking a right hand, Duran would place his left arm around his opponent’s waist and then spin him while pivoting in the opposite direction. The technique was especially effective when Duran had his back to the ropes. pic.twitter.com/RJbYTfiscR— Lee Wylie (@leewylieboxing) January 8, 2018
Glory kickboxer Anissa Meksen is out here just kicking down a damn tree.
Tony Ferguson is pretty good on the speed bag
BJJ Scout does good work breaking down how Khabib matches up with Tony Ferguson
Great accuracy on the headkick
Without any major MMA events on this weeked other professional athletes are taking things into their own hands...— The MMA Bible (@TheMMABible) January 7, 2018
Cullen eating the big (accidental) head kick..
You can see his tooth fly out.. #Ouch #SHRWHU ⚽ pic.twitter.com/KLOY3U2Nyd
Derrick Lewis isn’t here for the pre-fight slaps Cris Cyborg’s coach uses
Slips, Rips, and KO Clips
The Soul Assassin, Kevin Ross, is a hell of a Muay Thai fighter. If you ever wondered what kind of man you would need to be to catch Gina Carano’s attention, look no further.
Never forget the strength you had to overcome everything that you've been through. Stay strong, keep going & never give up. The world needs your light! #resurrection full video by @jamesblairmedia link in my bio #kevinross #thesoulassassin #faceyourfearsliveyourdreams #nevergiveup #livetoinspire #muaythai #kickboxing
Since people seemed to enjoy the last clip so much here's more of the same amazing highlight video done by @jamesblairmedia full link is in my bio @monsterenergy @triumphunited @muaythaiaddict @actionprogear @bellatorkb @outofthecave @onnit @ymt1210 #kevinross #thesoulassassin #faceyourfearsliveyourdreams #muaythai #kickboxing #livetoinspire #nevergiveup
More Muay Thai
I’ve never been clowned this hard in my life.
- One of you Maniacs laid out a pretty convincing argument against the Ali Act, and while I disagree with parts of it, it was thorough and well-researched. It would be far better to have legislation tailored to MMA, but if the Ali Act is all we can get, I’ll take it, issues and all.
- Joe Rogan says good luck beating Khabib after about 90 seconds
Podcasts and Video
The MMA Outsiders are back. It’s a new year- find out what we want from this sport in 2018! Follow MMA Mania on Youtube
UFC Fight Night 124 Beer Pairing with Flyin Brian J!
The Severe MMA podcast
We recorded the podcast a few days early this week. Check it out https://t.co/1hILWS7fqM— SevereMMA Podcast (@SevereMMAPod) January 7, 2018
Hockey’s version of 6 months sprawl...
Not MMA related but this shit is crazy that she qualified for the U.S. Olympic team after only 4 months of training. @speedyj @speedyj #ufc #mma #bellator #wsof #fight #jj #jiujitsu #muaythai #wrestling #boxing #kickboxing #grappling #funnymma #ufcmeme #mmamemes #onefc #warrior #PrideFC #PrideNeverDie
I’ve been watching way too many BBC nature shows lately...
Giraffe fighting is up there in my favorite footage.