UFC champions join attempt to form fighters association

"We're gonna change the face of an entire industry and sport today", Kennedy said.

Following the announcement of the MMAAA (mixed martial arts athletes association) a new era in the sport has begun.

The difference between this group and several previous incarnations is the inclusion of current star fighters as part of the group.

Tim Kennedy, Donald Cerrone, Cain Velasquez, TJ Dillashaw, as well as former Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney have launched the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association. "We should never be afraid to stand for the virtues, for what's right". "If you would've told me that this level of success would have happened, I would have thought that it would have been shaped a little bit differently".

Throughout the call, each of the athletes spoke passionately about wanting to work together with the UFC to change the trajectory of the sport, making it clear that a labor strike, which was casually mentioned by Rebney early in the call, is not something they are threatening or focused on. We have around 8%.

"Things have to change".

"Most other sports, it's 50/50 promoter/athlete", said St-Pierre, who hasn't fought since vacating his welterweight title and "stepping away" from MMA three years ago. "It's time to make our voice heard, to make change happen".

This is not the first pro-fighter effort to take place; however, it is the first to feature such prominent, public support from a board of high-profile fighters. Some previous estimates have put the number somewhere around 15 percent. Rebney said that CAA is not backing the MMA Athletes Association, but supporting its athletes.

The MMAAA now joins the Professional Fighters Association (PFA) and the MMA Fighters Association (MMAFA) as groups currently trying to organize fighters. He took aim at WME-IMG, saying the first thing the conglomerate should have done was fly all the UFC fighters out and apologize to how they've been treated.

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The UFC said it had no immediate comment but was reviewing the day's developments.

Cerrone and Dillashaw both expressed concern about potential backlash from the organization from their participation in the association. Rebney said he's been working on this for two years. Cerrone admitted there's fear about possible reprisal for speaking up like this "but it needs to be done". "We're putting ourselves out there".

Although it might seem like McGregor may not be interested in going against the company, they haven't always seen eye to eye either. "I have no (expletive) idea", he said.

That assessment means UFC fighters could earn substantially more for their efforts if a deal could be struck to match the one National Football League and NBA athletes now enjoy. "But this is a different kind of fight". It's not often you get an opportunity to step up and do something that's right.

The fight may extend beyond the octagon.

Rebney explicitly denied rumours that Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a powerhouse in the talent agency business and notable rival of WME-IMG, was behind the association.

St-Pierre said he knows some fighters and agents may receive threats over the MMAAA but he called this his "personal fight" and said the group is not "going to be bought or shut up".

Kennedy reiterated the project is only about what is best for the athletes. "He knows what's right and everybody knows what we're doing is right". "This has nothing to do with anyone else besides the fighters".

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