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Wanderlei Silva, Jon Fitch, And Others Meet With NFLPA

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Are MMA Fighters Looking to the NFLPA for help with a Union?

Every year the National League Football Players Association hosts the Collegiate Bowl, a post-season college football game for NFL draft eligible college players. In addition to the game there is a whole week of events preceding it, which are intended to introduce the new generation of NFL players to the players union and educate them on the business side of a professional football career.

What might be of interest to MMA fans is the fact that apparently fighters attended this year's event.

Yesterday, Wanderlei Silva posted to Instagram images from some of the Collegiate Bowl events in Carson, California. The first was a photograph of him with DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the NFLPA, which he also captioned:

Wanderlei Silva learning from the best, Demaurice Smith, NFLPA Executive Director. The most powerful sports union Leader in the most powerful sports union in the world. "Thank you for all the support from the NFLPA, you are an example of how all people and all athletes should be treated, with respect and dignity. One day we will be there too. Thank you for the lesson!" Recebemos hoje uma aula de como atletas devem ser tratados, Demaurice smit presidente do sindicato dos jogadores de futebol americano NFLPA o sindicato de sports mais forte do mundo,são realmente muito organizados,tive uma aula completa,nosso esporte se parece muito com a NFL de 1956 quando sindicato foi criado,pois não queriam lavar os uniformes dos atletas, hoje tudo mudou,estão mais fortes q nunca por que se uníram e mostraram q sem atleta não tem show!!! I AM A MAN!!!

Wanderlei Silva learning from the best, Demaurice Smith, NFLPA Executive Director. The most powerful sports union Leader in the most powerful sports union in the world. "Thank you for all the support from the NFLPA, you are an example of how all people and all athletes should be treated, with respect and dignity. One day we will be there too. Thank you for the lesson!" Recebemos hoje uma aula de como atletas devem ser tratados, Demaurice smit presidente do sindicato dos jogadores de futebol americano NFLPA o sindicato de sports mais forte do mundo,são realmente muito organizados,tive uma aula completa,nosso esporte se parece muito com a NFL de 1956 quando sindicato foi criado,pois não queriam lavar os uniformes dos atletas, hoje tudo mudou,estão mais fortes q nunca por que se uníram e mostraram q sem atleta não tem show!!! I AM A MAN!!!

A photo posted by Wanderlei Silva (@wandfc) on 


The second image was of Silva posing with a group of potential future NFL players and was captioned:

NFLPA Thanks for the suppor! Um grande dia pro nosso esporte! Estamos estudando pra trazer o melhor!! (English translation: A great day pro our sport! We're looking to bring the best !!

NFLPA Thanks for the suppor! Um grande dia pro nosso esporte! Estamos estudando pra trazer o melhor!!

A photo posted by Wanderlei Silva (@wandfc) on

The final post was a brief clip of what looked to be a NFLPA video presentation on the merits of collective bargaining. Silva's caption below that read:

Vc so consegue seus direitos quando trabalha em equipe,temos q nos unir,precisamos uns dos outros!!! (English translation: You just get their rights when working in a team, we have to unite, we need each other!!!)

Vc so consegue seus direitos quando trabalha em equipe,temos q nos unir,precisamos uns dos outros!!!

A video posted by Wanderlei Silva (@wandfc) on

Besides Silva, Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry were also present, and can be seen with Silva in the photographs above. Friday Fitch tweeted that he was "Learning loads today." and included an image of the NFL Players Association constitution.

On Saturday Quarry tweeted a thank you to the NFLPA for their hospitality:

Silva, Quarry, and Fitch all have recently been in the news because of their well-publicized conflicts with the UFC.

Wanderlei Silva has been heavily critical of the UFC, mostly via youtube videos, ever since he was suspended for skipping out on a random drug test by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Nate Quarry has also been critical of the UFC, especially when it comes to their handling of sponsors. Jon Fitch was briefly released by the UFC in 2008 for refusing to sign over his image rights and then cut in 2013 following a loss to Damian Maia, even though he was still ranked by the UFC in their top 10, for apparently being "super f---ing expensive."  Both Fitch and Quarry were also recently named as plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the promotion.

In addition to Silva, FItch, and Quarry, Bloody Elbow has learned that other MMA fighters, include active UFC fighters, also attended but did not wish to have their identities revealed.

So is this the first steps in organizing that long discussed fighters union or association?