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Turnaround for Bjorn Rebney now on the Side of the Fighters with MMAAA

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On Wednesday five UFC veterans have taken the first serious step to challenge the UFC and make lives better for its fighters by creating the fighters union Mixed Martial Arts Athlete Association (MMAAA).

When MMAAA was introduced Bjorn Rebney former President of Bellator was present with these comments — “What the association is going to achieve for the athletes is a settlement to address the past wrongs, driving up [the revenue split] to 50% up from 8%, and a benefits package that provides a safety net”.

This is a complete turnaround for Bjorn Rebney since he did not embody fighters welfare during this tenure as president of Bellator, he had a reputation for creating long-term contracts more punishing and restrictive than UFC.

Manager Jason Genet has this comments about Bjorn — “Bjorn created the most egregious working conditions ever to exist in combat sports. He forced fighters to sign with managers that would not question those contracts and punished those that did. He may be the most qualified to rid the sport of injustices that people like him ushered in or he will be the reason this fails. I will wait and see. None of my athletes will be involved.”

Not everyone is convinced of Rebney’s intention as former two division UFC champion Randy Couture said that Rebney’s motives are worth exploring. Couture has this comments — “I suspect that Bjorn is interested in creating an organization and being a promoter again and doing it with fighters, owned by fighters, sort of like what the Professional Bull Riders is. That’s my take on why Bjorn is involved here. It’s certainly more than just an advisor to fighters.”

Note that four of the five fighters leading this union are associated with Creative Artists Agency, a rival to WME/IMG who owns UFC. Is it possible that another group is going to be formed to compete against UFC. A group which already advocates fighter welfare, would split profits, provide healthcare is a big draw to get UFC fighters to move over or fighters to sign-up. Bjorn Rebney however denied these conspiracy theory and says they are all for the welfare of fighters.

Bjorn with his experience against the welfare of fighters would have a wealth of knowledge how the UFC organization is thinking and could be beneficial in negotiating terms with UFC and the success of MMAAA. It could also work against the success of MMAAA depending on the motive of Bjorn joining the union.

However this plays out our only concern is that fighters will be treated fairly and be given what is right for them.

UFC Fighters Fight to Unionize and Get What is Right

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UFC has 500 fighters under contract and while the big headlines are Conor McGregor earning $40 million dollars on UFC 205 most of the fighters are underpaid, getting their ass beaten, live broke and do not have basic privileges. UFC is loaded and just recently been sold for $4.2 billion dollars making it the largest purchase in sporting history.

On Wednesday five UFC veterans introduced the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete Association whose purpose according to the group statement —

“The association’s sole concentration is to fight for the rights of MMA fighters and force UFC’s ownership to dramatically alter the company’s decade-plus outrageous treatment of its athletes.”

One of the five veteran fighters is former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre who says —

“UFC without fighters is only three letters of the alphabet, It’s time for us to make our voice heard and make change happen for the best of the UFC and fighters.”

Georges St-Pierre says that UFC and not the fighters is the biggest opponent there is —

“We’re all afraid, but it’s time to join up. It’s a fight for what is right and what is wrong. We should never be afraid to stand up for our virtues.”

The five UFC veterans to lead this initiative are St-Pierre, Cain Velasquez, TJ Dillashaw, Tim Kennedy and Donald Cerrone who are all calling for more money, and improved healthcare and other protections.

Most of the fighters are left alone for themselves and as St-Pierre adds —

“I know a lot of fighters want to remain anonymous, but I’m telling you guys, come see us. It’s time to stand together.”

Organizing a union was first started a few years ago but it didn’t gain any traction as these moves were seen to be desperate attempts of fighters past their prime, bitter and angry. On a side not, most unions are seen to be like that, an attempt by the company to squash it. An anti-trust lawsuit was filed in 2014 by a number of UFC veterans but again it didn’t progress much.

The UFC was still a growing entity and being a private company its financials and how it paid its fighters were never highlighted until the Fertitta family sold it for 4.2 billion dollars to the WME/IMG group that eyes started rolling.

What makes fighters angry is that UFC is making a lot of money and in 2015 they made $600 million dollars in revenue and 2/3 of that came from fights. UFC was pressured by media to disclose how much they were paying their fighters and the executives gave a general sports answer that is was industry standard like any major American sports like baseball, basketball and football. Contrary to earlier statements by Fertitta that they were giving half to figthers as told to ESPN in 2012; though it is believed they were only paying around 15% of their revenue to the sweat and blood of its fighters.

When the MMAAA was introduced on Wednesday, former Bellator president Bjorn Rebney was there and commented — “What the association is going to achieve for the athletes is a settlement to address the past wrongs, driving up [the revenue split] to 50% up from 8%, and a benefits package that provides a safety net”.

Aside from the 501c6 status, the structure of the MMAAA is still not clear and more information like investors, board members, will be learned.

The association wants the UFC to negotiate with them ideally before the UFC’s media rights are up for renewal in 2018 where they are being paid $115 million dollars annually. The UFC organization is pushing for $4.5 billion dollars over 10 years as per reported by the Sports Business Journal.

The success of the MMAAA will depend on the determination and patience of its founding members as this could take time to take off the ground. This process might be long but it will only benefit the fighters of the sport and could only help in developing talent.

How does Conor McGregor Boxing License Impact UFC?

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On Wednesay, Conor McGregor has been issued a boxing license by the California State Athletic Commission and people are now excited to see Conor step on a boxing ring and make a name for himself. He already became the first UFC fighter to hold titles in two divisions after defeating Eddie Alvarez in UFC 205 and would want to add opportunities and fan base.

What does this mean to UFC? This is mostly a payday move and fighters has been complaining that UFC who has recently been sold for $4 Billion dollars is a billion dollar business built upon the sweat and blood of its fighters, fighters who are not paid well. Conor McGregor is one of the rare highest paid fighters in UFC who netted $40 million dollars in UFC 205 but he did bring in the viewers as UFC 205 brought in the highest gate sales in history with $17.7 million dollars followed only by the $13.5 million dollars in 1999 Lenox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield. UFC 205 also brought in 1.9 million PPV buys the biggest in the company’s history. Mayweather netted $230 million dollars for his fight against Pacquiao with a PPV buys of 4 million viewers. The $40 million payday of Conor McGregor on the 1.9 million PPV buys seems spare change to old school boxing.

While UFC fighters know this, Conor McGregor is in a position to demand as per his latest statement toward UFC — “If you want to come at me, if you want me to stick around and help service that debt and continue to push the company, bring me on board, for real. “I need to be set for life for this. If you want me to be truly on on board, then I need to be all-in on this proper, as an owner, and have an equity stake in the company. That’s what I’m looking for.”

While the boxing license doesn’t immediately mean Conor McGregor is going to fight Floyd Mayweather because Conor McGregor is under contract with UFC and there are only three scenarios where Conor can get a shot:

1. UFC willingly allows Conor McGregor to enter the boxing ring
2. UFC cashes in big with a Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather right
3. Conor McGregor finds a way to get out of contract from UFC

The only likely scenario that will happen here is #2 wherein UFC will make lots of money off this fight which would still mean nothing for Conor McGregor because his primary objective is to get a $100 million dollar payday on a boxing fight.

Given this scenario there isn’t going to be an immediate impact for UFC as they control the cards and while Conor is their biggest fighter, a single loss by Conor to an upcoming rematch with Nate Diaz or another fighter could exponentially drop his ratings again while UFC remains afloat.

Long-term impact would mean that a lot of fighters would be demanding for higher earnings or looking for a crossover to boxing. The pressure it would bring to UFC from a growing number of fighters with higher demands would keep on increasing and sooner or later UFC will have to make changes to their structure.

Conor McGregor boxing license is more of a wake-up call for now, but not strong enough to deliver a knockout punch on the UFC negotiating table.

Conor McGregor Gets California Boxing License

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Conor McGregor has been playing with the idea of fighting Mayweather in the boxing ring for several months now; but all of that had just been small talks and taunts until on Wednesday when McGregor has been issued a boxing license in the state of California.

According to the California State Athletic Commission executive officer Andy Foster — “He got a license today and a federal ID, He’s a California boxer now.”

The California State Athletic Commission issues around 1200 boxing license every year but none of them is newsworthy until McGregor who is the only fighter to hold titles in two divisions in UFC has gotten his. Conor McGregor is a huge name in UFC with a large fan base because of what he brings — spark, unfiltered loud mouth and most especially his fighting skills.

Andy Foster adds – “He’s qualified [as a boxer]. I’d love to see him fight in California. It just needs to be the right opponent. Certainly a high-level opponent. We’re happy to license him. We’re happy he’s a California fighter.”

His first boxing fight would probably be in California but expect to see him fight in other places as it is believed he is applying for licenses in other states.

McGregor hinted about a huge announcement after his last UFC fight at UFC 205 on Nov. 12 in New York after he defeated Eddie Alvarez, he however said he is going to be a father, but people still thinks he is keeping something more.

Conor is expanding his reach and options ad he has a knack for alienating organizations; he recently threatened to stay away from Las Vegas because of a dispute with the Nevada State Athletic Commission where he got fined $150,000 for throwing a water bottle at Nate Diaz.

After UFC 205 in New York, McGregor, who was stripped of the featherweight title last week, was outspoken in demanding an ownership stake in the UFC in return for the attention and revenue he has brought the company.

Highlight of Conor McGregor Versus Nate Diaz with Bloody Face

in UFC

It was a victory for McGregor defeating Nate Diaz in UFC 202. Conor threw much more effective punches which sent Diaz home with a bloody face. The king is really back!

Video of UFC 202 Highlight Conor VS Diaz below:

UFC 202 – McGregor vs Diaz $28 Million Dollar Pay Day

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UFC 202 - McGregor vs Diaz $28 Million Dollar Pay Day
UFC 202 – McGregor vs Diaz $28 Million Dollar Pay Day

BJ Penn went ahead and made an estimated earnings of McGregor and Diaz got for UFC 202.

In the estimate below is a quick breakdown of the earnings:

Conor McGregor UFC 202 Earnings
Fight purse: $3 million.
Reebok Sponsorship earning: $250.000.
PPV Share: $11.5 million.
Fight of the night bonus: $50.000.

Nate Diaz UFC 202 Earnings
Fight purse: $2 million.
Reebok Sponsorship earning: $250.000.
PPV Share: $10.5 million.
Fight of the night bonus: $50.000.

BJ Penn even included a show money for his vegas afterparty show, article on UFC 202 Conor vs McGregor Payday.

UFC 202 – How Did Conor McGregor Won vs Nate Diaz?

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Fight Info

  • UFC 202 – Welterweight Fight – Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor
  • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada SAT. AUG. 30, 2016
  • Nate Diaz: 20-11-0
  • Conor McGregor: 20-3-0

 

Conor McGregor Wins by Majority Decision vs Nate Diaz

 

Fight Scores

  • Conor McGregor: 193/313 Strikes, 0/1 Takedowns, 0 Submission Attempts
  • Nate Diaz: 271/446 Strikes, 1/5 Takedowns, 0 Submission Attempts

 

FIGHT HIGHLIGHTS
  • Conor McGregor had a knockdown against Nate Diaz in the 1st round
  • Conor McGregor had two knockdowns against Nate Diaz in the 2nd round
  • Nate Diaz came back in the 3rd round by pinning Conor against the cage and barraged Conor with punches

 

UFC 202 – Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor fought on August 21, 2016, Conor wins match on majority decision against Nate Diaz
UFC 202 – CONOR MCGREGOR vs NATE DIAZ RECAP

How did Conor McGregor win against Nate Diaz? This argument started when Nate Diaz beat Conor McGregor on a day’s notice and everyone has counted Conor McGregor out especially since Nate Diaz now has the time to prepare against him.

The argument is completely flawed as same thing can be said of Conor McGregor and while he had the time to prepare excessively, all of his preparations were against Rafael dos Anjos who was the same height, almost same reach as Conor. As far as strategy is concerned both Nate and Conor only had a day’s preparation and with Nate Diaz having more experience was able to bring the fight to his strength on the ground as Nate defeats Conor on UFC 196 on the 2nd round via a rear-naked choke submission.

Now with time and preparation, Conor McGregor is at the height of his athletic ability, hunger to regain the title and his excessive work ethic and preparation allowed him to prepare against the strengths of Nate. Conor went to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as Nate is a black belt in the art. His training was not meant to go into offensive against Nate but was more of being able to defend when the fight went to the ground. McGregor did everything to stay on their feet but when on one just one occasion in the last minute of the last round Nate was able to get to the ground and Conor locked the guard and stayed in defense until time expired. The strategy worked well for him since on the ground it is Nate’s time.

On the feet, Conor is known for his strikes via kicks, and quick punches, and fluid movements around the cage. He also floated and evaded Nate Diaz like Mayweather and Ali does, brilliant strategy. For the bashers who say he run throughout the match, the picture below of Nate shows otherwise:

Conor’s corner

Conor McGregor coaching staff stressed to Conor to get out when Nate is pressing him to the cage, that is the only time Nate is able to strike and he is getting the upper hand in that situation.

Nate’s corner

Nate Diaz is pushing him to go for a takedown against Conor and push the advantage of pushing Conor against the cage.

Conor McGregor’s speech after winning
In classic Conor McGregor style — “Surprise, surprise motherfucker, the King is back”.
https://twitter.com/mikesanz19/status/767481712695767041

Nate Diaz’s speech after losing
He seems to think he has won with his comment — “They are not gonna allow me to win” – referring to the judges decision of favoring Conor McGregor.

This is a very close fight and Conor McGregor clearly won the first two rounds when he had more strikes and Nate went down on both rounds. The 3rd and 4th rounds were close but Nate had the upper hand especially in the closing minutes when he pressed Conor against the cage and was able to strike repeatedly. Round 5 was still close but Conor McGregor had more strikes, was not pressed way less against the cage compared to round 3.

Conor McGregor came out more prepared and wanted this fight more.

In a tweet below, I agree on the motivation of Conor on getting back his name on the winning column:

In the end, both fighters respected each other for a fight well fought to the end:

Below is the video for the full highlights of UFC 202 – Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfD2B2gqovk

Valentina Shevchenko Defeats One-Time Sensation Holly Holms

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Valentina Shevchenko was supposed to be Holly Holms pathway towards regaining her title back but instead Valentina had this fight as her pathway to the same goal. The 17-time World Muay Thai Champion won by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) as she dominated the striking game against Holms by hitting 82 significant strikes to Holms 54.

Holly Holms shot to fame when on UFC 193 on November 15, 2015 she stopped UFC sensation and undefeated Ronda Rousey. Ronda was said to be the most dangerous fighter in the world without a weapon and very few expected Holly Holms to win let alone finish Ronda in a dominating display of strikes and kicks.

Holms delivered Rousey her first career defeat and the fight was said to be the Upset of the Year for 2015. Holms who is an 18-time Boxing Champion was still unknown until UFC 193 and her rise to fame was expected to keep on rising with the expectations of a series of wins to follow.

Having defeated the undefeated, there was no one expected to challenge Holms in the succeeding fights and her first title defense was against Miesha Tate on UFC 196 whom Ronda defeated twice already. UFC 196 turned out to be another upset once again as Miesha sunked a rear naked choke on Holms in the final round to get the win. Although it was not a dominating performance and Holms could have won on decision, it was still a bitter lost for the champion.

Prior to the fight with Valentina Holms has this sentiment —

I don’t want to, to have my career based around one fight, I don’t wanna live of the moment of winning the belt, and I don’t wanna sulk into the moment of losing the belt, I went into the gym the next week, and was training, and pretty much cried after every training or during training, but i want to get there and deal with it, I was gonna be honest with myself, I don’t want to look at it and say, oh well, you know, you win some, you lose some, no, i don’t want to lose any,

The fight with Valentina Shevchenko is a road she has to take to get a title shot —

this weekend is the film fight, everything is riding on this

.

As UFC bills Valentina — “Valentina decorated, 17 time world champion muay thai”

Holly Holms knows this about Valentina —

Valentina is a very good, very good striker , she is, got a lot of knees, elbows, kick, she is also very good on the clinch, very heavy on tough, every fight i feel i can’t lose, there is so much riding on each fight, that i know that i have a really, realy tough opponent in front of me, she is, she is no joke, she looking at the champ now, nunes fight was Shevchenko, i though a longer fight would have gone to Shevchenko, and this is a 5 round fihgt, this is not an easy fight for me, i definitely feel like there is extra on there, she is the one with the belt, i know on Saturday i don’t want anything else, i promise

It was a very tough fight for Holly Holms but Shevchenko wanted it more —

“My strategy was to do everything I know, to put all my heart, all my power, everything I learned in more than 20 years in martial arts, and I did it”

Valentina is now calling out current title holder Amanda Nunes who is the only fighter to defeat here in the Octagon — “Amanda is a good fighter, she has a good standup and ground game, and of course I want a rematch for the title belt,”

Holly Holms knew her hands was full for this fight —

“I knew she was a counterpuncher, we were ready for that; she’s a tough girl, I knew that,” a gracious Holm, now 10-2, said. “I knew I had my hands full with this fight. I knew it was a really big challenge. What can you do? I knew it was a competitive fight. I could have done more, I’m disappointed in myself, and I take nothing away from her. She was very tough.”

In the first round Holly looked to have the fight in control when she landed a right hand on Valentina that produced a knockdown with three minutes remaining, Valentina came back up and scored a takedown with 90 seconds remaining.

This was a good fight as Holm is known to be aggressive on her punches while Valentina didn’t let up and her counter punching technique continued to equalize whatever Holm threw at her.

Holly Holms’ road to the title belt just became Valentina Shevchenko’s road. It would not be a surprise should Valentina be given a title shot against Amanda Nunes who defeated Miesha Tate. The quest for the Bantamweight title got very interesting and Valentina is now in the mix.

Holly Holms vs Valentina Shevchenko Video Highlight

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