Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

No Holds Barred: Rob Maysey on Ali Act for MMA and Growth of MMAFA 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Rob Maysey of the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association (MMAFA).

We spoke with him by phone Friday.

Among the many activities of the MMAFA is the fight to expand the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2000 and enacted then, to cover all professional combat sports, including MMA. You can view and sign the online petition to expand the Muhammad Ali Act here.

The rebellion of fighters against unfair contracts and treatment has grown tremendously in recent years, entering a new stage where numerous fighters are today publicly speaking out for change and in support of the MMAFA. These issues and the activities of the MMAFA have been covered for many years on No Holds Barred.

"I'm not sure if your show was the first or not. It was definitely one of the first. I think it was way back in 2008 or so," Rob Maysey said about when we first spoke on this show.

"Since that time, as you know and have seen, the MMAFA has grown by leaps and bounds. You're now seeing numerous, highly prominent fighters come out in support of the MMAFA. They're supporting our petition to have the Ali Act expanded to cover all combat sports. They filed the antitrust lawsuit currently pending against Zuffa. And they generally are the reason you're seeing other fighters now voice complaints. For years that wasn't the case.

"So when I started doing this, when I was coming on your show years ago, I would say things I knew were true, because I was getting it from the fighters and their agents, and people just didn't believe it because the fighters weren't yet saying it themselves.

"Now you're just seeing what we knew all along, because the fighters are saying it in public. That's the biggest difference. And as they get more comfortable voicing their story to the public, you'll see more and more fighters doing it. That's something we work on every single day."

We discussed many topics, including: how boxers have many more contract protections than MMA fighters and earn a much larger percentage of the overall revenue from their events; how UFC adapted the business model of WWE to a real sport; how the structure of MMA gives promoters control over titles rather than independent bodies; the differences between the MMAFA and what a union would do, including various Johnny-come-lately outfits which have popped up following the recent UFC sale; how there is a need to create the mechanics of competition in MMA to serve the fighters' interests; the effect or lack thereof on all this of that UFC sale; the bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for expanding the Ali Act; the important use of social media by fighters and fans; the role of MMA journalists; and much, much more.

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