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Thursday, April 26, 2012
No Holds Barred: California Assembly Member Luis Alejo on Professional Bill of Rights for MMA Fighters
We spoke with Assembly Member Alejo Thursday afternoon by phone about this bill and what motivated him to introduce it. He explained that as a former successful high school and community college wrestler, he started following MMA from its first telecasts in the U.S. in 1993. But he also said in this interview, "My background has been in standing up for workers' rights as well." When he saw the ESPN "Outside the Lines" report in January on fighter pay and conditions in MMA, that "sparked my interest" in addressing the problems in MMA, including "unfair contracts".
We thus discussed the aims of this bill, why it is necessary for MMA fighters to receive the same types of protections which most other professional athletes have in the U.S., what still remains to be done for this bill to become passed, why its provisions will not hurt but actually help the sport of MMA, and why this bill will become "the norm" and actually "a national standard" like the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.
In addition, we discussed the many benefits of wrestling, how budget cuts have led to the closing of many wrestling programs including at Gavilan College where he wrestled, his continuing connection to the local wrestling community, and more.
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