The latest effort seeking to organize fighters is the MMAAA, improbably started by Bellator MMA founder Bjorn Rebney. The group’s plans include getting the UFC to acquiesce to a fighter’s union in exchange for an anti-trust exemption, like that enjoyed by the NFL. The debut featured fighters Georges St-Pierre, Cain Velasquez, Tim Kennedy, TJ Dillashaw, and Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.
The first serious effort to organize fighters was the Mixed Martial arts Fighters Association (MMAFA), founded by attorney Robert Maysey in 2009. It has broad goals across the sport at its professional level. The MMAFA is involved in anti-trust legislation against the UFC, and hopes among other goals to expand the Federal Law covering professional boxing, The Muhammad Ali Act, to MMA. There was recently a congressional hearing on the sport. Notable fighters involved include Randy Couture, Cung Le, Nate Qarry, Leslie Smith, and now Jose Aldo.
“(MMAAA) invited me to be a part of this association, but I don’t think everything is clear with this association,” said Aldo at a media scrum in Brazil, as transcribed by Guilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting. “There are others going on, laws in the American Senate as well, so there’s a lot going on to help fighters. When it’s possible for me to be present and be a part of things that will benefit the athletes, I will always fight for us.”
“This association was created by a former Bellator president, so I don’t know what’s the real intention behind it, if it’s something for the fighters. I’m part of one, too, with Randy Couture, Cung Le, that has an open mind to help fighters, not only the ones in the UFC.”
“Our world isn’t focused only in the UFC. We have millions of fighters, trillions of fighters that need help. We won’t fight with a promotion just because we’re exclusive there. I fight for everybody, national and international, no matter where they are. I want to help those athletes. Not only those in the UFC, those that are in the big league and can have a better future, but those in the small promotions and need our help.”