Friday, August 19, 2022

Disclosure Forms Detail UFC’s Lobbying Efforts In U.S Politics

Recently released federal disclosure forms have provided specific details regarding the UFC’s lobbying efforts in United States politics.

It’s no surprise that the world’s largest MMA promotion would actively try to protect its own interests, but the recent disclosure forms have revealed exactly how much money is being spent and the specific issues the UFC have chosen to focus on.

Protecting The Right To Organize Act

Of particular note are the UFC’s lobbying efforts regarding a pair of bills from the second half of 2021.

Collectively known as the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021, the initial bill (H.R.842) was introduced into the U.S House of Representatives on February 4, 2021 and an identical version (S.420) was presented to the U.S Senate later that month.

The aforementioned bills propose broadening the definitions of “employee”, “supervisor,” and employer” in addition to adding an amendment to The National Labor Relations Act.

“An individual performing any service shall be considered an employee (except as provided in the previous sentence) and not an independent contractor, unless— (A) the individual is free from control and direction in connection with the performance of the service, both under the contract for the performance of service and in fact; (B) the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer; and (C) the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed.”

No Benefits For Independant Contractors

“Employment status of mixed martial artists” was also included on the disclosure forms as one of the fight promotion’s primary interests.

The details of the proposed bills sound promising for the wellbeing of fighters, but members of the UFC roster are currently considered “independent contractors”. As such, the fighters are not entitled to the same rights as other employees protected under national law and would currently be excluded from any of the proposed changes.

Longtime MMA fans will also note that the bills include several details pertaining to labor unions. This includes allowing labor organizations to encourage member participation in strikes concerning outside organizations, as well as protecting union members from being persecuted by employers for such actions.

YouTuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul has recently become one of the most vocal supporters of a union for UFC fighters. (YouTube)

While there has been plenty of discussion over the years about creating a fighter’s union, the idea has never come together for a number of reasons.

Thus far, the UFC have paid the lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP a disclosed total of $240,000 for their efforts regarding the Protecting the Right To Organize Act of 2021.

According to the report from Bloody Elbow, the original bill has already passed through the House of Representatives, but the identical version has not yet received a vote in the Senate.

It’s worth noting that the disclosure forms do not detail a client’s motivation for lobbying on an issue, but given the UFC’s business interests it appears unlikely that they’d be in favor of the changes proposed by the previously mentioned bills.

What do you think of the new details about the UFC’s recent lobbying efforts in U.S politics?

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