A Fighters’ Union in the works? Jose Aldo thinks it is needed
As each day moves on, fighters are becoming more and more vocal in regards to the “Reebok deal” which the UFC struck last year. At first, it seemed like a great idea. UFC President Dana White said that “every penny” the Reebok deal was paying would go to the fighters, this would be another step towards becoming a “more professional atmosphere” with a major uniform deal, just like the other major league sports.
The fighters are not seeing it that way.
Since the deal, many fighters have come out and fully blasted the Reebok deal; Fighters such as Brendon Schaub, Ryan Jimmo, and UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo. Many of the fighters are saying the same thing, this deal is making them lose tens of thousands of dollars in sponsorship money.
Aldo spoke with Brazil sports media outlet, Globo, and he didn’t have anything kind to say about the sponsorship deal, even leaning towards the fighters coming together to form a union.
“Everybody has been talking about (a union). We, athletes, are losing a lot. (UFC) said we would be like NBA or NFL athlete, but that doesn’t apply, because we are not paid monthly like they are. It doesn’t matter how much we will be paid, all athletes who had sponsors are losing money. That’s a huge setback for us. We live for each fight, we have to keep fighting and nobody fights more than three times a year. Not a champion, anyway. Even the value they measured doesn’t match what our sponsors were paying us. That is great for the UFC, but not for the fighters. I see a lot of athletes losing too much. If you are a beginner there is not that big of a hurry to get paid, but it still isn’t that much. Not enough to get them by at least. I don’t like it. Ever since they started talking about this, I asked to see what they were offering us and I never thought it was interesting, especially for the champions.”
Aldo (25-1) may be the leader to start this push for a union. The NBA, NFL, and MLB all have player’s unions which has helped the professional athletes to see larger paychecks from the owners and assure a more even playing field with the income and other benefits to their jobs. Aldo continues:
“If (the fighters) are going to talk about something, that does not depend on just me being the champion, or Cain Velasquez, or any other champion. If we had a union for fighters, and we were all together, like in the NBA, this would’ve been different. But fighters are not united. Today I have a price the event is willing to pay to have me, but there are other fighters out there willing to fight for spare change if I don’t want to, and that is not even their fault. The UFC brought the sport to where it is today, great, that’s their merit. But if athletes were more united and had a union to protect them, I don’t think this would happen.”
As mentioned, Jimmo and Scahub have been vocal in regards to the Reebok deal, and both fighters said they are now making thousands of dollars less with the loss of their sponsors. Another competitor, Sara McMann has also expressed her concerns that the Reebok deal is unfair to the women’s divisions, as the ladies cannot be placed in a higher tier pay scale yet since the division is still at a youth compared to other men’s divisions which have existed longer.
With more and more fighters becoming more vocal and displeased about the new Reebok deal, we may be seeing the beginning of a “Fighters’ Revolution” and the development of a union.