Last Thursday, the United States Congress took part in a special hearing to take a look at the sport of MMA and the possible participation of the Ali Act in the sport. According to Representative Markwayne Mullin (Oklahoma), the UFC threatened to pull out of the hearing if former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion/former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture was allowed to speak.
"Randy is not part of that lawsuit, so I couldn't really understand what their argument was on that one," Mullin told MMA Fighting. "And they wanted us to use their fighters. I get it. The UFC is used to controlling the publicity and the marketing that comes out of their organization. The problem is is this isn't the UFC, this is the hearing. You have to understand everybody's perspective. I felt as though it would be a very biased point of view if we only used fighters under current contracts."
To date, the UFC has spent more than $100,000 to lobby against the Ali Act from entering MMA, but Mullin believes that money would best be spent on the fighters themselves.
"I wish the UFC would use that money to pay their fighters instead of lobbying against them," Mullin said. "When they're out here trying to influence their point of view, this is outside of their normal world. Don't read me wrong. I'm not trying to bring down the UFC. I think the UFC has done a phenomenal job at promoting the sport that I feel deeply about. What this is about is also taking care of the fighters. If we want the sport to be sustainable, then the fighters and promoters need to be on equal ground. And the promotion has to be taken care of and the fighters have to be taken care of. That is not the way it is right now. It's a one-sided deal. It's a take-it-or-leave-it mentality."
Recently several UFC fighters and former Bellator MMA promoter Bjorn Rebney announced the start of the MMAAA, but Mullin believes a fighter union or association wouldn’t be needed for the Ali Act came into MMA.
"I think if we passed the Ali Act to combative sports, which includes all combative sports, the need for that (unions/associations) won't exist," he said. "Right now, they're getting bullied around. They're getting bullied and they feel like the only way to do it is to speak in one large voice."