clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Morning Report: Dana White on formation of a possible fighter's union: 'Good luck to ya'

New, comments

UFC President Dana White said that he doesn't care one way or the other whether UFC fighters unionize.

esther lin

One of the biggest stories of 2016 has been the emerging support among UFC fighters to unionize on some level. Though efforts to form a fighter's association have been around for over a decade, the sale of the UFC from Zuffa to WME-IMG earlier this year for $4 billion emboldened many fighters to make substantive movement towards a union. It also brought the interest of outside actors like baseball agent Jeff Borris who began building the Professional Fighter's Association (PFA). Two weeks ago, the PFA announced its intention to appoint an interim executive board made up of nine current UFC fighters, something it says will kick start the next step of the unionization process.

Well, UFC President Dana White sounds less than enthused. Speaking with Jim Rome yesterday on a special SiriusXM Town Hall, White channeled his inner Liam Neeson when responding to a question about his thoughts on what Borris and some fighters are attempting to accomplish.

"Good luck to ya. The fighting business is so different - this is an individual sport, this isn't a team sport. It's completely different. Let me tell you what. These fighters have managers for one fight and they fire them and then they're on to the next guy. It's a lot of crazy stuff that goes on in this business.

"But at the end of the day do I care about a union? I've got to negotiate with somebody. A union wouldn't be my problem, the union would be the fighters' problem."

The big driver behind current unionization efforts is the hefty price tag on the UFC. Selling for $4 billion gave a concrete value by which fighters could judge their worth and, for many, the math doesn't add up. Much of the UFC bookkeeping isn't publicly available but some estimates put the fighters collectively earning only 15 percent of UFC revenue, a big difference from the 50 percent earned by athletes in many other major sports leagues.

But the PFA is a long way from a done deal. First they have to file with the National Labor Relations Board and that requires having at least 30 percent of the UFC roster sign authorization cards (essentially, proof of joining the ranks). They also first have to have get a court to declare that UFC fighters are actual employees and not independent contractors, a legal argument which picked up steam for the fighters last year with the implementation of the UFC-Reebok deal and fighter uniforms.

White though - who has a history of disagreements with unions - urged caution for the fighters.

"Unions don't necessarily make things better, you know what I mean? Careful what you wish for... I couldn't care either way. I could care less. It doesn't matter to me."

A dramatic increase in revenue sharing among the fighters figures to cut into the company's overall profits which would actually by quite bad for White. With the UFC acquisition, WME-IMG took on debt with the end result being that they need to make potentially as much as $137 million a year just to pay off just the interest and that doesn't include paying off the debt itself. Furthermore, Dana White's newly restructured UFC deal is for five years earning a salary of 9 percent of the net profits of the company.

No wonder he doesn't sound enthused.

Star-divide

MUST-READ STORIES

Star-divide

Foreign object. Hell almost broke loose at the UFC 205 presser as Conor McGregor tried to throw a chair and got dragged off stage.

Schmuck. Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor verbally spar in a TV spot ahead of UFC 205.

2 million buys. Dana White is expecting big PPV numbers but not Mayweather-Pacquiao numbers.

Suuuure. Dana White says he will never trust Jon Jones in a headlining role again.

Rhett Butler. Shinya Aoki would love a trilogy with Eddie Alvarez but doesn't "give a damn" about the UFC.

Star-divide

MEDIA STEW

Star-divide

Embedded 4.

Star-divide

Presser highlights ICYMI.

Star-divide

Double shot of Cowherd and his new wealth of UFC knowledge.

Star-divide

Star-divide

Stipe on Undisputed.

Star-divide

And Miesha.

Star-divide

President-elect might be at UFC 205.

Star-divide

MJ talking title shot.

Star-divide

LISTEN UP

Star-divide

Three Amigos w/ Jim Miller

Star-divide

TFATK

Star-divide

MMA Mad with Liz Carmouche.

Star-divide

TWEETS

Star-divide

Rhyming like Ali

Star-divide

Dressing like Frazier.

Star-divide

Nice.

Star-divide

Star-divide

T-Wood could be a real good champ for the UFC if he gets past Wonderboy and gets a push.

Star-divide

Star-divide

Cool to see.

Star-divide

The latest edition of "Sage standing next to things."

Star-divide

Star-divide

Dagger.

How you act when u know somebody gone break it up! @thenotoriousmma @ealvarezfight #ufc #ufcpresser #ufc205 #ufc205

A video posted by Tyron Woodley (@twooodley) on 

Star-divide

This is pretty cool.

Star-divide

Shredded.

#mmacubano #Americantopteamkendall #ufc205 #soldierofgod #ready

A photo posted by Yoel Romero (@yoelromeromma) on 

Star-divide

Star-divide

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Star-divide

Irene Aldana (7-2) vs. Leslie Smith (8-7-1); UFC on Fox 22, December 17.

Star-divide

FINAL THOUGHTS

Star-divide

MMA conspiracy alert: Eddie was in on it and left the stage to set up Conor taking his belt and the promotional boost they might get from it. I base that on literally nothing.

It's almost there everyone. Make sure to watch Bellator tonight - very cool things happen in the main event - and enjoy the weekend.

Oh, and tomorrow will be the 22nd anniversary of UFC 1. How far we've come.

Star-divide

If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.