We are now closer than we have ever been to a UFC fighter's union.
A formal body called The Professional Fighter's Association (PFA) has today announced they have formed in an effort to unionise the fighters in the UFC. If successful and adopted by the fighters themselves, this would give them a sense of collective negotiation power against the UFC with regard to fighter pay, contracts and other issues related to their careers.
— Fighters Association (@FightersAssoc) August 11, 2016
The Professional Fighters Association will be led by famed baseball agent Jeff Borris, labour attorney Lucas Middlebrook and an economist, Andrew Zimbalist.
In a press release, the new group stated:
PFA will not only be a union of fighters, but it will be governed solely by fighters. It is the fighters who will control their own futures.
The scales have been tipped in favor of the UFC for too long. It is time for the fighters, the one's responsible for the UFC's success, to receive their equal share.
Historically, Dana White and former UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta have been famously resistant to the establishment of fighters union operating in their company and seemed unwilling to entertain the idea of allowing increased rights - and the power to strike - to their contracted fighters.
What needs to come to play in order for this to work? First, and most obviously, the fighters would need to adopt the new union and agree to unanimously act at its discretion. Secondly, if a major UFC star like Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey agreed to the terms of the union it would give the formation of it a great degree of credibility.
What's difficult there is that those two fighters command higher payment than the majority of fighters on the roster and one term of the union could potentially be to spread fighter pay more evenly across the roster - and would McGregor agree to those terms?
As well as that, the timing of this announcement is interesting and comes just a few weeks removed from the sale of the UFC to WME IMG and it now looks like the new ownership group has their first major challenge on their hands.
Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see this develop as we're fairly sure that the UFC will step in to try and stop this before it takes off.