An Open Letter to Lorenzo Fertitta (and Dana White)

An Open Letter to Lorenzo Fertitta (and Dana White)

In response to a question regarding the potential unionization of fighters asked during the UFC Fan Expo 2010, you responded by stating the UFC had no position, either in support of or against such efforts. “We have no role. . . That’s entirely up [to the] fighters.” I fully agree, and your public acknowledgment of the UFC’s complete neutrality is admirable and greatly appreciated.

You further suggested that a “union” may not be practical or directly applicable to the unique aspects of the sport of mixed martial arts. This may also be true. A union, however, is not at all necessary to improve the status and marketability of professional mixed martial artists—the athletes who make this sport great.

Under your leadership, the UFC has spurred the growth of mixed martial arts from a fringe underground sport into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The UFC is also leading the global expansion of mixed martial arts, and continuously pushes the sport into new markets. The atmosphere of the live show has made the UFC an event in and of itself, and the production value is the envy of all other promotions in the world.

As to benefits, the UFC carries “more insurance than any other promoter in the history of the world” and covers injuries sustained during an event “100 percent-plus.” Again, the UFC’s practices are enviable in this regard. Unfortunately, fighters on more than one occasion have accepted fights in the UFC to obtain this “in-event” insurance to cover injuries sustained in training or in other organizations. Further, the challenges faced by professional mixed martial artists extend far beyond in-arena competition.

Fighters are regularly victimized by unscrupulous agents, sponsors, and other promotions. New stories emerge on an almost weekly basis of promoters and sponsors failing to pay contracted fighters amounts due. Fighters continue to suffer at the hands of unscrupulous agents and managers, who are at best incompetent, and at worst, outright thieves. This problem will magnify in the future as unsavory characters looking for quick paydays gravitate to the sport as the revenue mixed martial arts generates increases.

These challenges, to name just a few, should not be your responsibility to administer, and can best be addressed by the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association (MMAFA) for legal and other reasons. A strong fighters association creates efficiency by eliminating headaches for promoters, and thus, frees your time and resources to your most profitable endeavor–promoting great events. A strong fighters association also serves to increase the legitimacy of the sport and marketability of all fighters, growing the revenue pie for promoters and fighters alike.

Following the collapse of EliteXC, fighters were left in limbo for months, stuck in contracts that EliteXC (i) had no intention of performing and (ii) refused to release the talent from. “Industry” attorneys were seeking $100,000 or more to begin the litigation process on behalf of fighters, and were willing to accept these funds from virtually any source. We took immediate action on behalf of our members, with the assistance of some of the most talented attorneys in the country.

Unlike other plans that were circulated by various members of the MMA community, the MMAFA has steadfastly refused to endorse any plan that seeks to impose a “tax” on a fighter’s purse. The MMAFA views any such plan as both confiscatory and unnecessary. Our model works, remarkably well, and requests nothing at all of any promotion. Approval of the logo during events, held in trust for the benefit of members, would be appreciated but not necessary for success.

Talent follows desire. I firmly believe this statement, and Dana White seems to also live by it. It is Dana’s passion and your commitment that have made the UFC as successful as it is today—a billion dollar company. After investing a reported $42 million dollars in the UFC, however, you asked Dana to inquire about sale opportunities. To your credit, only after a suitable offer failed to materialize, you decided to proverbially “double-down” on your investment, and financed the production of “The Ultimate Fighter.” “The Ultimate Fighter” was an instant success leading to unprecedented growth for the UFC.

While I haven’t lost tens of millions of dollars invested, I have never waivered in my belief that the MMAFA will assist promoters and fighters alike in maximizing the success of this great sport. So thoroughly convinced of the MMAFA’s ultimate success, I have frequently turned down other opportunities for personal gain in mixed martial arts. Several months ago, one of the most well respected agents in the sport asked if I was using the MMAFA as a stepping stone for future advancement, whether in the form of becoming an agent, or taking a promotional job. As I responded at the time, the answer is absolutely not. The Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association is not a stepping stone to any other role in mixed martial arts—it is the end in and of itself.

I welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss our association, and will interpret silence or lack of response as the UFC’s continued expression of complete neutrality.


Rob Maysey


2 Responses to An Open Letter to Lorenzo Fertitta (and Dana White)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention An Open Letter to Lorenzo Fertitta (and Dana White) « Exile In Fightville --

  2. Pingback: UFC exec Lorenzo Fertitta on potential fighters' union: "That's up to them" - Page 2 - Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: