New MMA league could include athlete union and 50/50 revenue split
A new MMA league coming in 2023 is expected to include a fighter union and an even revenue split between fighters and the organization.
The topic of fighter pay and an athlete union have been lighting rods of discourse in the MMA sphere over the last few weeks. The MMA media puts a spotlight on the subject as fighters speak publicly on their financial issues, and then industry influences like UFC president Dana White refer to them as “scumbags” — as he recently did — for putting an emphasis on the subject.
Well, it seems that there are forces within the industry that have heard these complaints from the MMA community, and are hoping to make those fairness tenets the backbone of a new league planned to debut in 2023.
A new MMA league with a union and 50/50 revenue split coming in 2023
On the Tuesday edition of the Ariel Helwani Substack page, the veteran MMA reporter dropped an interesting nugget of intelligence regarding the formation of this seemingly pro-MMA athlete league.
“According to sources, a number of influential industry individuals have come together to create a new MMA league that is structured more like the NBA/NHL/NFL rather than your typical MMA promotion. This new league would also include an athlete association that implements a CBA with 50/50 revenue share, guaranteed contracts, health insurance, career-ending insurance and a pension plan. The plan is to announce the venture in the coming days, I’m told. They are hoping to launch in 2023,” he wrote.
Currently, UFC, Bellator, PFL, and ONE Championship do not offer long-term health insurance, guaranteed contracts, or pension plans to their athletes. There is also no fighter union within the sport that represents all athletes and can negotiate collective bargaining agreements so that MMA talent can receive a larger share of the various forms of revenue organizations take in.
In leagues like the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL, unions and CBA’s are in place to protect the rights of athletes and set up guidelines to give the athletes 50% or more of those leagues’ yearly revenue. Recent reports claim UFC fighters only represent 16%-22% of the revenue share for the organization.
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