Former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Randy Couture is keeping up with all the news of disgruntled UFC fighters trying to make changes in the sport like Georges St-Pierre and Fabricio Werdum most recently, and he thinks the historic UFC sale was a significant event in changing fighter’s mindsets.
“I think the company selling for $4 billion was a big red flag,” Couture said on The MMA Hour (transcription via MMA Fighting). “That a lot of fighters stood up and took notice as to what those guys made off of the sale of the brand we’ve all been representing for a long, long time, and recognized that less than 10-percent of what they’ve been making, we’ve been reaping as the products, as the fighters stepping in that cage. And that’s just wrong. That equation is way out of whack, and I think until we, frankly, come together and use our voice to fight these types of things, it’s going to continue to happen.”
One of the big steps in Couture’s mind is getting teh Ali Act amended to include MMA under its umbrella, and he thinks the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association can do that.
“I’m confident that it can happen, absolutely,” Couture said. “Obviously, again, I think that the MMAFA model, the fighters association, is the right model for what we do and who we are as independent contractors. I think, obviously, a huge step in the right direction is getting the Ali Act amended, and then that levels the playing field with federal legislation on some level.
“I think that’s a huge step in the right direction. And yeah, I think it can definitely happen, but it’s going to guys having the strength and backbone to get over their fears of the repercussions, or potential repercussions with the promotions like WME and the UFC. Everybody’s scared they’re going to get dropped, they’re going to get blackballed, and there’s going to those kind of repercussions, so they’re not willing to exercise their voice and come together.”
Overall though, Couture thinks individual incidents with fighters on every scale will build up, and this is just the beginning.
“I think it’s going to take some more time,” Couture said. “I think we’re going to continue to educate fighters. I think fighters are fed up with kind of taking it in the shorts, frankly, and are starting to come together and realize we have power, and only if we stay united.”