Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang may still be a largely unknown figure to most of America, but his profile in the MMA world enjoyed a huge boost after the Silicon Valley entrepreneur appeared on an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. Since then, Yang has gone on to receive donations from over 47,000 individuals, impressive numbers that could lead to his inclusion in the DNC primary debates.
The main plank of his platform? Universal Basic Income, or what he’s calling a ‘Freedom Dividend.’ A thousand bucks in every U.S. adult’s bank account every month. It’s the only solution, he says, to an economy where jobs are increasingly being automated by robots and AI.
He’s not stopping there either. Just this afternoon he returned to the MMA well that served him so well to criticize the UFC’s treatment of its fighters. It turned into quite the interaction.
MMA fighters in the UFC receive only 10-15% of revenues vs. ~50% in other sports. I would apply the Ali Act to MMA and allow fighters to unionize. Firing @LeslieSmith_GF when her opponent didn’t make weight was clearly retaliatory. @danawhite should stop boasting about revenue.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) March 10, 2019
Laughable. I’ve been talking about these issues long before you cared about MMA. I appreciate your interest in this topic but just because you care about it right now doesn’t mean I have to respond to every attempt of yours to bait me into a public discussion. Good luck.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) March 10, 2019
You don’t know how long I’ve cared about MMA Ariel. And you are clearly not the bad guy here. Just saying it’s going to be tough under ESPN. I remember them firing Bill Simmons for messing with the NFL. The relationship is too new for someone to question the fundamentals.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) March 10, 2019
Been following you for a long time and appreciate your awesome coverage. Looked forward to your weekly chat for a long time.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) March 10, 2019
He’s in a tough spot. So are the fighters. That’s sort of the point.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) March 10, 2019
The shame of it is that a union would be better for the sport long-term. Would draw better athletes. Better pipeline. More mainstream stars. Easier to watch with a clear conscience.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) March 10, 2019
Thanks Nate. Will gladly sign that into law in 2021.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) March 10, 2019
Thank you, sir— Nathan Quarry (@NateRockQuarry) March 10, 2019
We were set for a vote and then... Dana’s buddy squashed our bill.
And I believe we had over 60 signers too.
I like that too Jon.— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) March 10, 2019
This isn’t the first time Yang has made headlines discussing the UFC. Back in September of 2018 MMA Fighting wrote a feature on Yang where he laid out his MMA fandom bonafides (he planned his bachelor party around a TUF finale 8 years ago) and went into fine detail on labor issues affecting UFC fighters. Agree with him or not, the guy is no fly by night ignoramus.
What do you think, Maniacs? Is Yang your man or will he be crushed by the man who put his name behind the mighty Affliction promotion?