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UFC Fighters Seek to Unionize

A group of prominent current and former UFC fighters, including past champion Georges St-Pierre, announced the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association on Nov. 30. In its official announcement, the group said "The Association's sole concentration is to fight for the rights of MMA fighters and force UFC's ownership to dramatically alter the company's decade plus outrageous treatment of its athletes." The group also included Bjorn Rebney, former CEO of MMA promotion company Bellator MMA. "This same thing has happened before in every other sport - NFL, NHL, NBA. Now it's happening in the UFC. It's going to happen whether they like it or not,” St-Pierre was quoted as saying. Rebney also mentioned the possibility of a "labor strike," although others in the group said their goal was to work with the UFC to resolve their differences. Others who took part in the announcement included Cain Velasquez, TJ Dillashaw, Donald Cerrone and Tim Kennedy. Velasquez, a two-time heavyweight champion, expressed concern about rising medical costs faced by many fighters, and the Association mentioned other goals such as increasing revenue splits from what they say is currently eight percent to at least 50 percent and negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with the UFC. An ABC news story on the announcement can be found here. Audio of the announcement conference call can be found here.


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