GSP WAS TRAINING TO FIGHT UNTIL A COUPLE WEEKS AGO
While it may be sometime until the MMA Athletes Association gets everything they have been asking for, it didn’t take long for the group to get the UFC’s and other’s attention.
Firstly, George St-Pierre, who has had an ongoing battle with UFC since the summer that had appeared to reach a standstill, revealed in an interview with TSN that the UFC reached out to him and reopened negotiations the day the MMAAA was announced. “Actually, the night that we launched the association we received a letter – Rodolphe [Beaulieu] received a letter – my agent – from the UFC lawyer saying that they want to renew the negotiation with me because at the point where I was before the negotiation, the communication was cut,” the former longtime UFC Welterweight Champion said. “So we didn’t have any kind of communication.”
Despite the new line of communication between St-Pierre and UFC, he also shared that he’s scaled back on his training since it became clear that he wouldn’t be fighting on this weekend’s UFC 206 card from Toronto.
“I was training until a very recent point,” he said. “I was fighting, I was training to get ready for a fight in Toronto. I really thought it would have worked out and, in case someone got hurt, they would have maybe called me or I thought maybe they would have called me at the last minute, just to take me off guard. I didn’t know. But one or two weeks ago I pulled the plug; I knew it was not happening.”
The MMAAA has also drawn attention from some unnamed lawyers, potentially a competing fighter’s association, in the form of a cease-and-desist letter. The group quickly responded and refused to comply with such demands in the following release sent to MMATorch.com and other media outlets.
As Georges St-Pierre, Donald Cerrone, T.J. Dillashaw, Tim Kennedy, and Cain Velasquez made clear in the official public announcement last week, the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete Association (“MMAAA”) is all about looking out for the fighters and their well-being long-term.
Yesterday, the MMAAA received a “cease and desist” letter from a group of lawyers seeking to stop the MMAAA from signing up fighters and sticking up for their rights against the UFC and its owners WME-IMG. The MMAAA will do no such thing. Those lawyers -€” who represent only a few fighters -€” are focused on getting some money out of one case, of which they seek a significant portion for themselves. Those lawyers do not speak for anyone else, and certainly not the MMAAA and all the fighters the organization represents now and will quickly grow to represent in the sport.
Over a year ago, those same lawyers reached out to the MMAAA to join forces with us. We had a meeting and made clear that the MMAAA’s primary focus would be on achieving three core goals: 1) substantially increasing UFC fighter pay to 50%; 2) securing all-encompassing long term benefits for UFC fighters; and 3) a settlement to compensate past and current UFC fighters for all of the UFC’s wrongs. To achieve these goals for the benefit of the fighters, we also made clear the MMAAA needed to receive a percentage of a monetary settlement to cover the costs to fund the MMAAA for staffing and attorneys both for past work getting to this point and the long fight ahead. The lawyers made clear that they did not share the MMAAA’s vision. They are focused on a short-term monetary recovery, of which they will seek 33%, and then they are gone from this sport. We parted ways at that point.
The MMAAA is all about the fighters benefitting when the UFC is finally forced to take a powerful group of the fighters seriously. The MMAAA will be executing on that plan and will not be stopped in this effort on behalf of fighters.
Just a week into their existence, many in the MMA industry seem to be taking the MMAAA seriously.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: The timing of UFC reaching out to GSP the day he took part in the MMAAA announcement is no coincidence. I truly hope that GSP hasn’t just been using this group as negotiating leverage and that, even if he does come to an agreement with UFC, that he will still advocate for the group and what they are asking for. With Conor McGregor out for much of next year and Ronda Rousey’s future after this month very much in question, UFC is in dire need of needle movers and GSP is one of only a few out there, so he is in a great position not only to get a great deal for himself, but also for other fighters now and in the future if he chooses to utilize his leverage effectively.
As for the cease and desist letter, the MMAAA and any other competing group with similar interests will need to start working together because the infighting amongst these groups will only amount in great monetary and public relations expense for everybody.
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS
-Dana White told Fox Sports that Conor McGregor will be out for 10 months. He also shared that McGregor has been cast for a role in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
-Fedor Emelianenko told a Russian outlet that he was offered a contract by UFC but ultimately chose Bellator partly due to past disagreements with UFC regarding sharing of promotion.
–Ariel Helwani has reported that Nick Diaz has fulfilled his commitments to the Nevada Athletic Commission and is free to fight in the state.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUND-UP
-Invicta strawweight champ Angela Hill will now fight Jessica Andrade at UFC 207 on Dec. 30 from Las Vegas.
-Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger vs. Nina Ansaroff at UFC Fight Night Phoenix on Jan. 15.
-Glover Teixeira vs. Jared Cannonier at UFC 208 on Feb. 11 from Brooklyn, New York.
-Elias Theodorou vs. Cezar Ferreira and Thiago Santos vs. Jack Marshman at UFC Fight Night Halifax on Feb. 19.
-Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 170 on Jan. 21 from Los Angeles.
Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon from February, 2012
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/7: Dana White says he has big fight plans for Roger Whitaker, who is on short list? (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)