Couture: There is going to be a battle over unionizing MMA

by Brett Okamoto | source:

As Mixed Martial Arts rose to mainstream popularity over the past several years, the question of whether a union is possible has risen with it. When Zuffa, parent company to the UFC, bought its leading competitor, Strikeforce, thus controlling nearly every fighter in the top 10 of all weight divisisions, the question took on special urgency for some.

While the NFL, NBL, NBA, and NHL each have players unions, making it appear as if all professional sports in the USA are unionized, moving just a little further down the list reveals a more varied group, with field leading organizations like the PGA, NASCAR, and USTA all without a players union.

So where does iconic fighter Randy Couture, on the cusp of retirment, come down on the idea of a players union in MMA?

“There’s going to be a battle,” Couture told “I’d rather sit down with the UFC, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta and figure out a way to implement some things with their blessing.”

“Health insurance for fighters when they’re not competing is a huge issue. There are a few fighters who could call up the UFC and say, ‘Look, I need some help, I blew out my knee in practice,’ and the UFC is going to help them. They’ve been generous but they can’t do that with everyone. There are over 200 fighters.

“How about a retirement plan of some sort? Or at least educate these guys on how to take care of their money. How many MMA stars, five or six years from now, are going to be broke and destitute? We’ve seen that in boxing, and it’s a shame. An absolute shame.”

“There’s a whole bunch of issues when you start unionizing. Look at football. The players are looking at a lockout because they might have to play two more games in a season and not increase their pay. I mean, why are you in the sport? Because you love to play the game, right?

“There’s a give and take there. [Unions] can sometimes get carried away.”

“It would be great to sit down and figure out a way to take care of the guys in this company so that everybody feels good about it and no one is in a position to have too much power or for a fighter to take advantage of a union and hold out."

“There’s got to be a way to come together and meet on ground that everyone can live with.”

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Recent Comments »

Wasa-B site profile image  

4/30/11 2:49 PM by Wasa-B

Its not about Randy or Tito, its about the fighters in general.

ajjr0ller site profile image  

4/30/11 2:42 PM by ajjr0ller

This is exactly right. Many members here either have too short a memory or were not around during coutures last two hold outs.

forumnewb site profile image  

4/30/11 2:31 PM by forumnewb


TheBeebs site profile image  

4/22/11 1:39 AM by TheBeebs


KimboByGhettoplex site profile image  

4/22/11 12:49 AM by KimboByGhettoplex

I swear to God, a week or two ago (whenever it was that news of what will be Randy's last retirement came out) I said to myself, "Here comes the big talk about unions." LOL, it's here already, faster than I even expected. You are so fucking right on the money.

LMMAFan site profile image  

4/21/11 8:52 PM by LMMAFan

Horse racing.  The physical rigors a jockey goes through are somewhat parallel to what an MMA fighter has to endure.  So before you scoff at it, read about it.  

Macedawgg site profile image  

4/21/11 8:46 PM by Macedawgg

Horse shit?  You sure about that?  Take a peak at where the top in each weight class are coming from. . . and many other after those.  Its a myth that fighters come from anywhere and everywhere--they really don't.  But, if you say Horse Shit loud enough, it just might make it true! As to MMA not being a team sport, it appears as though Bob Cook, the American Kickboxing Academy, Cesar Gracie and The Gracie Fight Team, Greg Jackson, Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Josh Koscheck, and many, many others disagree with you.   Here is a link to just one article: There was another one from Cesar Gracie just last week.   There was also a great post on the UG very recently as to why fighters from small camps move, and why top fighters train in teams. . .  

bhealthy site profile image  

4/21/11 5:14 PM by bhealthy

saw a cool t-shirt at the pub last eve, it reads "until you can combine a rogan sidekick with a hackney nut-shot; JUICE!" we support mma in the UK even with pillo-fists TM

bhealthy site profile image  

4/21/11 5:12 PM by bhealthy

in "modern" mma the syringes, pills and scrips are your teammates mate

bhealthy site profile image  

4/21/11 5:10 PM by bhealthy

individual sport you say? you must be new here. in the UG we wholeheartedly support juicing, therefore "modern"mma players are part of a TEAM; which includes a staff who assists with weightcutting drugs, rehydration and other PEDS gary gygax never juiced