“They treat us like employees, but they don’t give us benefits like employees. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it. We have to tell them where we’re at at all times, so USADA can show up and drug test us. But we don’t get health benefits. It’s kind of crazy that we are controlled. Any time you have to tell work where you’re at and what you’re doing, that’s considered an employee, not a contractor. They can’t tell a subcontractor what to do and when to do it. So this whole drug-testing thing is kind of crazy and the way they’re making us wear Reebok and all this stuff we have to do. They’re treating us like employees, but not giving us the benefits of an employee.”
-T.J. Dillashaw talks about the UFC’s treatment of their “independent contractor” athletes in an appearance on Team Alpha Male’s Stud Show Radio (transcribed by MMAFighting.com).
Penick’s Analysis: He’s not wrong. This is an area fighters might be able to have some success with in challenging the UFC, because there’s plenty of evidence that they’re not, in fact, independent contractors. The Reebok deal was a major point in the “employee” camp, though the drug testing efforts are similar to what Olympic athletes and those in other sports are subjected to. Still, with no say in how any of it was implemented, there’s a case to be made to fight independent contractor status to get the benefits of being an actual employee.
[Photo (c) Bob DeChiara via USA Today Sports]
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