Thursday, August 11, 2016

The goal of ZUFFA, owners of the UFC from 2001 to last month, has been to bring the sport to the mainstream. With an extended contact on FOX, a landmark apparel deal with Reebok, and the largest sale in sports history, at over $4,000,000,000, they succeeded.

Most mainstream sports have a players union or association. The NBA does, the NFL does, the MLB does, the NHL does. However, boxing is a mainstream sport, but has never had a players union, or ever come even remotely close, so the chances of forming a players union in combat sports is unknown.

Today the Professional Fighters Association today announced it’s formation, via press release. The organization appears to be directed at the UFC, and not at the Viacom-owned Bellator MMA, which is nowhere mention in the release or on the site.

The Professional Fighters Association (PFA) has been established today to represent the collective interests of the fighters employed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It is the goal of the PFA to organize these hard-working athletes so that they may collectively bargain their terms and conditions of employment pursuant to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The PFA will not only be a union of fighters, but it will be governed solely by fighters. It is the fighters who will control their own futures.

The PFA has assembled a team of professionals to assist the fighters in this historic quest to take control of their careers and their future. The team includes long-time sports agent Jeff Borris, labor attorney Lucas Middlebrook, economist Andrew Zimbalist and an array of experienced support staff.

The major sports players’ unions, including the MLBPA, NFLPA, NHLPA, and the MLSPU, have provided PFA with their support of the UFC fighters’ quest to organize and collectively bargain their terms and conditions of employment.

The scales have been tipped in favor of the UFC for too long. It is time for the fighters — the one’s (sic) responsible for the UFC’s success — to receive their equal share.

The PFA appears to be headed by long-time baseball agent Jeff Boris, who has represented over 500 pro baseball players including Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, and Rickey Henderson.

Jeff Boris

The PFA is a separate effort from Rob Maysey’s MMAFA which has advocated for a players union for some years. There are also reportedly other efforts to come. It is not yet clear whether multiple separate efforts to unionize MMA fighters will help or harm the chances of success.