Saturday, November 27, 2021

Bjorn Rebney on the MMAAA’s Eventual Fate: “We will have to become a union.”

There’s a difference between a union and an athletes’ association like the MMAAA announced last week. But according to a new interview with MMAAA advisor and Bellator MMA founder Bjorn Rebney, that line may blur soon. Rebney spoke to former Inside MMA correspondent Amy Dardashion for a feature at Bloody Elbow, where he dropped the bomb that “We will have to become a union.”

“We are coming out as an association,” he said. “[I]f we wanna speed this up, if we wanna fix this in the next 24 months…we wanna drive this to a position where it’s worked out…that’s what we have to do.” Rebney went on to explain that there is a benefit for the UFC in this, which is that the company could get an antitrust exemption from being declared a monopoly. Those are only available to companies that bargain with unions.

“We recognize that if the UFC is going to resolve their differences, resolve these problems… that they are never going to do so without securing for themselves an antitrust exemption,” he explained. “Once they’ve agreed to our demands and we’ve reached an agreement, they are gonna want that and they would deserve it at that point. At that point we would become a union.”

Rebney also added that he thinks that the UFC not having any collective bargaining could harm them in seeking a new, more lucrative TV contract. . “I know full well that if I’m going to a buyer and saying ‘please pay me a premium for this content’ and simultaneously that buyer is going online and seeing the biggest stars in my organization say ‘I’m extremely unhappy, I have no protection, I have no safety net, I have no pension, I’m not being paid fairly,’ over and over again. That will serve as a huge detriment, huge detriment to my ability as a seller to be able to effectuate top dollar.”

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