Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC
The ongoing struggle to unionize mixed martial artists took what appears to be a giant leap forward yesterday with the establishment of the Professional Fighters Association, a group whose goal is to “represent the collective interests of the fighters employed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” according to the group’s first press release, sent out yesterday. The announcement makes the PFA the latest in a series of entities (some more legitimate than others) and passionate semi-serious movements in favor of a fighter’s union, from the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association, started by former fighters like Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry last year, to disgruntled UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt’s chatter about heading up an organization after his loss at UFC 200 last month to a chemically enhanced Brock Lesnar.
So far the push for a fighter’s union hasn’t gotten very far, running up against a series of obstacles, from the antagonism of the UFC, the sport’s largest league, to the status of fighters as independent contractors rather than employees, making any push for collective bargaining extremely difficult. There’s no word yet as to how the PFA plans on addressing these issues (our emails to the group were not returned), but according to a union lawyer I know the PFA does have options for getting the status of UFC fighters changed.
Image via profighters.org
They could convince the UFC to change that status voluntarily, which seems unlikely given the league’s history of anti-union rhetoric. But who knows, now that the league has been sold by Zuffa, which was run by the notoriously anti-union Fertitta brothers, to WME | IMG, perhaps the new owners, looking around at the NFL and the NBA and the other unionized professional sports leagues with jealous eyes, might see unionization as a step toward legitimacy and Big Four ….View full article