There’s been some speculation as to exactly how the UFC’s role in the Mayweather vs. McGregor boxing match fits under the Ali Act, and it looks like the MMA promotion has found their answer.
The UFC’s involvement in Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor has always felt just a little bit odd. As the world’s largest MMA promotion, the UFC has never had to take its cues from a boxing model, especially where contracts come into play. The Ali Act doesn’t cover mixed martial arts, thus things like champion clauses, exclusive negotiating rights, image rights, sponsorship deals, financial confidentiality, and all sorts of other little points, have worked their way into UFC deals where they otherwise may not have.
So, as the promotion steps into the world of boxing, working to negotiate McGregor’s half of the May-Mac spectacle, how do they manage their new role? How do they claim a cut of McGregor’s purse? It looks like we’re starting to get a better idea.
MMA Fighting reports that the UFC has “made a request with the Nevada Athletic Commission” to act as co-promoters of Conor McGregor’s bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Apparently, that official co-promoter role would allow the UFC to have a more firm hand in McGregor’s side of the deal, and handle payment to him for the bout.
While UFC president Dana White has, in the past, denied that the UFC would have any promotional role in the fight, BC litigation lawyer and combat sports law consultant Erik Magraken laid out precisely why the organization ended up looking for this new role.
In a June article, Magraken postulated that the UFC, rather than acting as a manager for McGregor against Mayweather, may instead act as a “lesser co-promoter.” A status that could give them a legal loophole to act on McGregor’s behalf and receive a cut of his fight purse.
If the UFC are acting as the promoter of a boxing event they too become subject to Ali Act requirements. Among these are prohibitions against ‘coercive contracts’ and McGregor’s UFC contract, which in part restricts his ability to box, may very well violate several provisions of the Ali Act.
It is worth noting, however, that a pre-condition of the Ali Act applying to a promoter is that promoter must be “the person primarily responsible for organizing, promoting, and producing a professional boxing match.” To the extent that Mayweather is the “primary” promoter and the UFC is a lesser co-promoter they may have found a loophole to let them get what they want.
It’s still unknown exactly how big a cut of McGregor’s purse the UFC will be able to claim (the limit for a manager under Nevada law is 1⁄3 of a boxer’s earnings). But whatever the end result is, it appears the UFC has has equipped themselves with a status that may offer some additional protection to the promotion while operating under Nevada boxing regulations.