SFLC 164: Jeff Borris, Damon Martin & Julianna Pena
What a week it was, that culminated with an epic Main Event at UFC 202, an instant classic with Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. So we thought it would be fitting to put together a big show! At 1:50 in, we were joined by Jeff Borris, the man behind the Professional Fighter’s Association. (profighters.org) (@FightersAssoc) Then, at 22:43, we were joined by the Senior Writer for FoxSports.com covering the UFC, Damon Martin to recap everything from a crazy week in Las Vegas, and the fantastic UFC 202 card! After some back and forth from the hosts, at 97:52, we were joined by Julianna Pena (@VenezuelanVixen), who wants one thing, and one thing only, a UFC Women’s Bantamweight title shot against Amanda Nunes at MSG!
Full breakdown below
5:05- Talking about the reaction to the website: ” I got tons of calls from fighters, from agents…from the media, obviously. I got calls from fans as well too wanting to tell what their opinion was, but I received tons of calls and returned every one of them. And I’m continuing to field calls and the calls keep rolling in because I don’t mind discussing the issues with anybody who wants to listen…and debate them and educate fighters on why they need to have this union and what protections they need to have, what benefits they need to have…I’m actually finding as far as the fighters go it’s a pretty easy job because they’re pretty well versed on what they need and what type of protections they need to have, and how valuable a union would be working for them on that behalf.”
6:25- How many prominent managers have reached out to you?: “I think I’ve covered almost every single one of them. The agent community has been great and very supportive of me because I come from the agent community as being a baseball agent for the last 30 years. I understand the union, I understand, in baseball, how much the union has helped me as a baseball agent…I told the fighting agents, you know, I’m going to be your best friend because I understand what YOU need out of the union, and so they don’t look at me as being a threat or anything…I wanna consider myself to be the agent community’s best friend.”
7:33- On agreeing with MMAFA’s work and working with Leslie Smith: ” Yes, although I have agreed to keep all of the fighters’ names anonymous for fear of reprisals and retaliation, I don’t want that to happen to anybody. Leslie (Smith)is only name that I bring up because she’s given me permission to bring her name up, and I applaud her bravery, her not being afraid of the UFC in any way of retaliating against her. She’s all for what I’m doing. I’ve actually had discussions with her. I’m looking for what I call a board of governors, of union representatives, because…the union is going to be run by the fighters. Just as in Major League Baseball, for example, there’s 30 teams. Each team has a player rep and an alternate player rep, and they’re responsible for their club in communicating to them all the collective bargaining issues. Well, Leslie is going to be one of those reps. I’ve had that conversation with her and she supports it. [S]he’s actually trying to help me identify right now…who those fighters are who are most passionate about the issues, who care about the issues, who wanna participate and be part of the collective bargaining process…I know she’s part of the MMAFA. I know their main focus is to try to get the Ali Act applied to mixed-martial artists, which I’m for, that’s why I say we can coexist. But the MMAFA is not doing anything towards trying to improve the economic conditions of the fighters…which is what I’m all about…I’m about raising minimums, getting them a pension, getting them medical insurance…These are the things I’m focused in on. And that’s my main goal and my main thrust of the union.”
9:50- Further improvements for the fighters through the union: “One of the things that was brought to my attention was a ratings system for the officials, because, go look at the McGregor/Diaz fight…There’s a little controversy there as to whether or not McGregor actually won the fight. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but maybe the officiating, there’s need to be some sort of system in place that ranks the officials, like there is in baseball. You know, they wanna have umpires who can call balls and strikes good, and a fighter brought that to my attention. I follow my marching orders from the fighters cause they are my boss, they’re the ones who are going to tell me what to do.”
10:59- Reaction to him talking about the PFA at UFC 202 Fight Week: “The reception that I got from fans, and the court of public opinion, from the agent community, and the fighters, was as good as I could have possibly imagined it to be. Now my reception from the UFC wasn’t warm and fuzzy…but I didn’t expect it to be.”
12:17- On getting asked to leave UFC 202 Media Day: “I got to,I think, about four fighters. I was on my way walking to Cowboy Cerrone…and I got about maybe three steps from him and that’s when the UFC came up to me and said you got to go, we don’t want you in here. They were classy about it. They were very polite about it…”
13:04- On fighters on attending his PFA news conference: “I didn’t expect any other fighters (other than Leslie Smith) to come because they would then be visible, and…there’s fear of reprisals. The UFC has done a great job of intimidating their employees. I don’t know how they did it, when they did it, but their fighters are afraid of getting retaliated against, and so I want them to be protected.”
13:57-Next steps needed to form the PFA union: “…I have to get 30% of the membership to sign solicitation cards. There’s roughly 600 fighters in the UFC…that’s 180 to sign solicitation cards. Then I go up to the UFC and I say look, I have 30% of the membership that signed cards that say they want union. Will you recognize us as a union?…Now I’m not optimist there…I think they’re gonna oppose us every step of the way. So then my next move is to go in front of the National Labor Relations Board, present it to them, they’ll put it up for an election, and then if 50% of the people under contract with the UFC vote us in then we become a union, and the UFC has to deal with us whether they like it not.”
15:12- Objections fighters might have to the PFA: “I think the number one thing is a fighter will say, you know what, I worked my butt off to get to this point where I’m finally fighting for the UFC…and then the UFC says you know what, this guy wants to be part of the union…We’re gonna yank him off the card, we’re not gonna give him any fights, we’re not gonna renew his deal, or whatever, and then they get retaliated against. I’ve told the fighter(s) yeah, maybe if I have 1 to 20 guys, yeah, that could happen. But if I have all 600 of you in my hip pocket, there’s strength in numbers. They can’t retaliate against all 600 of you, so that’s what I’m waiting for. I’m keeping them all quiet, all anonymous until I have them all, and that’s when I’ll go public with it.”
17:12- On how many fighters have said they’d likely join the PFA: “I’m batting a thousand…Every single one of them has said I’m all for it, but you gotta let me know when the time is right because I don’t wanna be the poster boy for the movement.”
1:40:19- Was TUF the most difficult thing you’ve done in your career?: “Yeah, most definitely. You know, when you’re trapped in a house with a bunch of people that all wanna kill you…and you don’t get any contract from the outside world, you can’t read a book or a magazine…you know, you’re training grueling training sessions to potentially win the biggest contract and life changing thing ever…You’re going up against the toughest competition with the strongest mind, you know, and you have to be physically and mentally and emotionally prepared to do that and to come out on top…It definitely was one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through.”
1:41:15- Talking about her last fight with Cat Zingano: “…I think Cat is one of the toughest females in the division right at the top with all the rest of those girls…She’s a world class athlete, she hit some beautiful throws. I knew that she was gonna be strong in that area, but I wasn’t too worried about what she was gonna do after that because I knew she wasn’t gonna be able to control me after she hit…You just kinda gotta weather the storm, you gotta keep grinding and you gotta keep being persistent and not let yourself be denied. You gotta have that mental confidence in there and know you’re gonna be ok…That’s what I did and that’s what I do…I’m never gonna change that mental aspect of my game.”
1:42:25- Her reaction to Amanda Nunes’ comments about her last fight and not being impressed: “Just pisses me off because I feel like she’s been ducking on this fight, you know, and that sounds like something that somebody scared says. That sounds like something a coward does…They wanna look for every excuse. Oh I’m waiting for the money fight, or I’m waiting for Ronda to come back, or I wasn’t impressed by your performance, or you need to prove yourself one more time… I’ve proved myself many times, more times than she’s proven herself and she needs to prove herself to me as far as I’m concerned.”
1:43:32- On her deserving the title shot: “…It shouldn’t be a conversation at all. I am the real champion in my opinion and I just can’t wait to show that to the world and I’m gonna make a statement when I do. Amanda Nunes is scared, Amanda Nunes is ducking me, and she was, you know…gifted a chance at the title shot when Miesha put it up for grabs and did the right thing as a champion and tried to defend her belt. Holly did the same thing and she put her title out on the line, she didn’t wait for Ronda to come back and get the big money fight…All these other champions are being real champions, they think that they’re the best in the world and they want to test their skills against the best in world. But for some reason, Amanda doesn’t wanna do that and she wants to wait for Ronda and I don’t understand that at all. If she thinks that she’s the best in the world and that she’s waiting for a payday…well then come beat me up real quick! Come get your payday over here real fast and then go fight Ronda when Ronda decides to come back…It really is annoying and there really is no clear cut answer besides me and Amanda Nunes fighting at Madison Square Garden.”
1:45:07- Have there been any talks with the UFC about Julianna fighting for the belt?: “Yeah, I heard Ronda Rousey is never coming back again. So I’m just waiting pretty much for them to ring my phone and tell me that I’m fighting for the title.”
1:45:31- Her reaction to naysayers: “I don’t know why they always tune into my fights then…I got the most viewings with my fight (with) Cat Zingano than there’s ever (been) on the channel (Fox Sports). I don’t really know where that comes from, but I definitely know that people get pumped and excited to watch me fight whether they wanna see me get knocked out or knock somebody out, they’re tuning in every time I fight…I don’t pay attention to that stuff that’s negative. “
1:47:50- On a potential fight with Raquel Pennington and personal conflict: “The heat is that she couldn’t get past the girl who I beat in the finale (of TUF). She needs to go take it up with the past and realize we’re in the future. If she wants to fight me she’s gonna have to take a ticket and get in line. There is not heat there. The only heat that there is is me wanting to punch that chick in the face for even trying to step to me about this shit.”
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Founder of MyMMANews.com - After writing for Ultimate MMA magazine and serving as the editor for U.S. Combat Sports, both of which went on hiatus, I decided to venture out on my own and enlist a staff of writers and photographers that could help me achieve my goal of telling stories that would otherwise go untold. We pride ourselves in taking a deeper look into the fighter, and understanding what makes them click. - #1 Dad, Marine Corps Veteran, 80's and 90's Pro Wrestling Fan, MMA Commentator, Beer Lover, and avid movie watcher. Seriously..... I watch a lot of movies.