There are currently at least two efforts underway to organize fighters. Rob Maysey’s MMAFA has worked tirelessly since 2009 advocating for an independent contractor players association. Newcomer Jeff Boris’s Professional Fighters Association started this summer and aims to unionize UFC fighters. The two groups do not necessarily see to eye on all issues.
Fighters are currently considered independent contractors; for a unionization effort to work, a judge would have to declare UFC fighters to be employees. Boris plans to announce a governing board of nine present at former UFC fighters during UFC 205.
UFC president Dana White spoke recently with Jim Rome on a special SiriusXM Town Hall, and discussed the possibility that a fighter’s union or player’s association may form.
“Good luck to ya,” said White, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “The fighting business is so different – this is an individual sport, this isn’t a team sport. It’s completely different. Let me tell you what. These fighters have managers for one fight and they fire them and then they’re on to the next guy. It’s a lot of crazy stuff that goes on in this business.
“But at the end of the day do I care about a union? I’ve got to negotiate with somebody. A union wouldn’t be my problem, the union would be the fighters’ problem.”
“Unions don’t necessarily make things better, you know what I mean? Careful what you wish for… I couldn’t care either way. I could care less. It doesn’t matter to me.”