Despite some stop-starts and efforts which fell flat, there is still an absence of a fighters’ union in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts
Most recently, the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) which included current UFC middleweight and bantamweight champions Georges St-Pierre and TJ Dillashaw, aimed to lay the foundations for a union before vanishing into the void.
Michael Carter-Williams, who currently plays as a point guard for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, used his own membership of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) to argue the case for a union in MMA:
“They absolutely should. I think it’s crazy that they already don’t have a union,” Carter-Williams told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “And I know it’s hard, but come on, they put their lives on the line every time they step in the ring. There’s no reason why their payouts are [what] they are now. And it’s because they don’t have a union.
“Dominick (Cruz) and I were talking about it, and I was like, ‘How don’t you guys have a good enough union to where you guys don’t have health insurance, or you guys don’t get paid more?’ To me, that’s beyond crazy, and it is — it’s going to need to take the top guys of the UFC to not fight until the payments are what they should be, and [the benefits] are where they should be. It’s going to take the Conor McGregors, it’s going to take the Diazs, it’s going to take the Stipes. It’s going to take those guy to hold out so that everybody else can get what they deserve.”
Carter-Williams believes that something must be done, despite fighters running the risk of agitating the promotion:
“Who knows (if it ever will)?” Carter-Williams said. “I’m not going to say [McGregor] would or he wouldn’t. He’s made a bunch of money. He’s made a bunch of money off the Floyd (Mayweather) fight, so maybe. Maybe that’s what it takes. It definitely needs to be done. You look at other sports, there’s always talk of a lockout. So, you never know, there may be a UFC lockout.”