Since the Reebok sponsorship compensation rates were officially released earlier this week, fighters and pundits alike have publicly shared their displeasure with the financial hit that their income is likely to endure.
According to the released figures, a fighter with five or less fights will make $2,500 in sponsorship money, which is certainly a significant step down for many fighters in the promotion. Even champions not signed to separate Reebok deals are set to make $40,000 for their title defences.
With the majority of fighters reacting negatively to the Reebok compensation figures, many have called for a union or fighter's association to help enforce collective bargaining against the UFC. Given that individual leverage has done little to shape the promotion's decisions about the Reebok uniform policy, the association suggestion is one that reverberated with many.
Even UFC colour commentator Joe Rogan suggested that an association that would look out for fighters' interests might not be a bad idea for the sport.
"So Jon Fitch posted about this thing: MMAFA, Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association," Rogan said on The Joe Rogan Experience. "The MMAFA is on twitter run by a guy named Rob Maysey. He must be in charge of it. I don't think it is a bad idea to have some sort of an organization that looks out for fighters."
Rogan also expressed his satisfaction that a promotion such as Bellator, backed by the capitalistic might of Viacom, can help create a more competitive market for MMA.
"I also think it is super important to have something like Bellator, which is owned by Viacom, come up, become bigger and bigger, and bring more competition."
Rob Maysey, the Phoenix-based attorney who runs the MMMAFA, began the association because he felt the monopolistic structure of MMA required such representation for its fighters. He is also the chief architect of the class action anti trust lawsuit against the UFC.
"I called [the UFC] in 2006 and said, 'You have a choice.' I said, 'You guys are going to recognize a fighters' association or you're going to face an antitrust case," Maysey told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" once the lawsuit was announced.
The MMAFA aims to "maximize the influence and earning capacity of its members in the sport of mixed martial arts." They plan to "establish imporvements in the economic, physical and security condition of employment for mixed martial artists, coaches and trainers." Given the amount of disgruntled fighters that the Reebok compensation terms have created, it will be interesting to see if the association's mission statement resounds with more fighters.