Zach Arnold has transcribed much of this Eddie Goldman interview with Matt Lindland. For those who haven't been following MMA very long, Eddie Goldman was one of the first people with any professional journalism experience to take the sport seriously.
He gets Lindland to talk about the need for a fighter's union:
"At least in basketball or baseball or football if you don't like [the politics], you go to another team. If you have a players union and in this sport if you don't like what's going on, what's the other team? You know, essentially you're relegated to what is considered by the fans as the minor leagues just because you didn't get along with the management at the time of the one team. So, it's a completely different industry and it's not regulated well, you can't just go to another team, so it's a lot different you know different stuff about just the business side of the sport."
"Unless you can get the top athletes and you're not going to do that. I mean the fighters, they're all whores, they just fight for the biggest purse and it's going to be tough unless you could somehow get all the fighters to agree to something like that and you know there's always somebody going to come up underneath who's not willing to do it. Like I said, it doesn't matter who the best guys are, it only matters what the announcers are telling you who the best guys are and the fans are going to believe it."
"There's enough support (for a union) but these guys, outside of the cage or outside of the ropes, these guys are cowards, you know they would not dare stand up to the powers-that-be."
"You only have a finite amount (of years) that you can compete and you want to make as much money as you can in that time and you don't want to mess around with the politics of the sport."
Lindland will be fighting Kevin Casey this Saturday at Strikeforce Challengers 8.
Lindland may well be one of the least liked and most mocked athletes in the sport today. But I think he's dead on about the downside of one promotion essentially having a monopoly on big time MMA. He's also dead on about the need for a fighter's union and why it hasn't and won't happen.
It's easy to hate the messenger here and dismiss what he has to say, just as his book Dirty Boxing was largely ignored despite being one of the best MMA training books ever written, but Lindland is right on these points.