UFC fighter Leslie Smith attended the UFC fighters retreat along with a lot of other fighters from the promotion’s roster.
Retired NBA player Kobe Bryant held a special Q&A during the weekend and Smith asked him a question about unions in MMA.
“I’m very curious: How essential to your personal negotiations and the success of basketball in the world do you believe a players association has been?” Smith asked. “We’re on the verge of forming a union here, so I was wondering here, some of us are on the fence about how much do we pay in, or worried about rocking the boat. How significant to you and your career, and basketball in the world, do you feel like the unity of the players represented by the association has been?”
Unions became the word about town in the MMA world in the last few years, including the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA).
Bryant gave an answer and if anything, may strengthen the possibility of unions in MMA down the line.
“(A union is) extremely important,” Bryant said. “Even us as players, where we have our union meetings and things of that nature, we’re normally at each other’s throats competing against each other. But we understand completely that a rising tide raises all boats. When you guys have this unity and you guys are operating together on the same page together, it does nothing but simply fortify the sport, make the sport better. Not just for present, but for future generations that are coming. So it’s extremely important.”
Fellow UFC fighter Angela Hill captured the moment and posted the video on her Twitter:
Kobe Bryant was just one of many fighters who participated in activities with UFC fighters during the UFC fighters retreat.