Former founder and CEO of Bellator MMA, Bjorn Rebney and current UFC fighters George Saint Pierre, Cain Velasquez, T.J Dillashaw, Donald Cerrone and Tim Kennedy have come together to form the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete Association (MMAAA).
As stated in a media conference call on Wednesday, the aim of the association is to create better conditions for the fighters. One key area is to improve the heath and wellbeing of fighters that have put their bodies on the line, also to change the way the UFC does business with its fighters.
Like other major league sports promotions, MMAAA would like to put in place a safe guard for fighters and would aim for ‘a substantial settlement’to compensate both past a current UFC fighters. “You would see an iron clad protection put in place that when things got bad we would be protected”, Tim Kennedy said. “When we get hurt, when we retire, when we’re damaged, that there would be something there, a safety net and its not”.
Rebney went on to explain,”We are going to negotiate a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) that includes a benefits package that’s comparable to what major league Baseball players have and NFL players have and NBA players have and NHL players have”.
The five fighters will make up the board and all are under contract with the UFC, two of which have fights in the coming weeks. They admitted that there is a fear of repercussions but are hoping more fighters will join and come together to make a stand. “It’s time for us to make our voice heard and make change happen” George Saint Pierre said.