T.J. Dillashaw took the UFC to task this week for what he perceives as an issue with fighter treatment.
The former UFC bantamweight champion said on Team Alpha Male's Stud Show Radio that he believes the UFC treats fighters like employees rather than what they legally are: independent contractors. Dillashaw pointed to the UFC's deals with Reebok and USADA as potential evidence.
"They treat us like employees, but they don't give us benefits like employees," Dillashaw said. "It's kind of crazy when you think about it. We have to tell them where we're at at all times, so USADA can show up and drug test us. But we don't get health benefits. It's kind of crazy that we are controlled. Any time you have to tell work where you're at and what you're doing, that's considered an employee, not a contractor. They can't tell a subcontractor what to do and when to do it. So this whole drug-testing thing is kind of crazy and the way they're making us wear Reebok and all this stuff we have to do. They're treating us like employees, but not giving us the benefits of an employee.
Part of USADA's anti-doping program with the UFC is a whereabouts system where fighters have to tell USADA their schedules and where they're going to be at any given time just in case an official comes to drug test them. In the Reebok apparel deal, fighters can only wear Reebok gear in the Octagon and lost their ability to wear the logos of individual sponsors. Many fighters lost a good chunk of income due to Reebok.
Dillashaw, 30, also expressed concern with the UFC's recent sale to WME-IMG for $4 billion. The California native said fighters were sent an e-mail saying nothing will change, but he isn't sure "how long that's gonna last," especially since the UFC wasn't exactly forthcoming regarding reports of a potential sale. Officials vehemently denied those reports.
"With UFC, we've pretty much stayed in the dark as much as possible," Dillashaw said of fighters. "They're telling us they're not selling the company when everyone knows they're selling it. It's public record, but they're still trying to tell us they weren't. They're just going to wait for the last minute for everything for us to find out."
Dillashaw (13-3) also took umbrage with the UFC asking fighters to come into fight week at 8 percent or less of their target weight. The idea is to reduce the unhealthy practice of extreme weight cutting. Dillashaw said he usually checks in before a fight at 15 pounds over the 135-pound weight limit. The UFC would prefer him be closer to 11 pounds off weight.
"They're trying to make us do things and we're not employees," Dillashaw said. "So it's kind of crazy."
An e-mail asking for comment from the UFC was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.
Dillashaw, who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200 last week in Las Vegas, said he'd be sitting down soon with UFC president Dana White and former CEO Lorenzo Fertitta about a potential title shot. He was quickly corrected: Fertitta is no longer the CEO after the WME-IMG purchase.
Dillashaw said he isn't surprised that things are changing in the UFC power structure.
"Dana and Lorenzo and those guys aren't dumb," he said. "They're probably going to jump ship before any kind of fighter union happens or any kind of lawsuits happen or anything like that."
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