Randy Couture still lobbying for changes in Ali Act to add MMA fighters to mix

UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture still is campaigning for the Ali Act in MMA.

Couture said a change in committee has once again stalled the process of including MMA fighters in the act.

“H.R. 44 (the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act) is still being pushed,” Couture told MMA Junkie. “We’re still being lobbied against pretty seriously. They’ve found ways to stall us. They bounced us from one committee. We were originally in the Energy and Commerce (committee), which is where the Ali Act was originally implemented in 1996 for boxers. We were with that committee. We had 60 bipartisan supporters in Congress. It looked like a no brainer, and then they somehow got us tossed to the Education committee and then we kind of have to start all over again.”

Couture, a former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion, had a personal experience in which he thinks the Ali Act could have helped. He once tried to fight Fedor Emelianenko, who was part of M-1 Global at the time, but the UFC wouldn’t agree to co-promote.

He sees two ways that fighters can benefit from the Ali Act: a class action lawsuit, and the fighters coming together to be able to negotiate what they believe they’re worth.

“The first is the class action lawsuit that you know is going on,” Couture said. “And some of the things that are coming out now and that are in their final stages of registering us to the class have been really really interesting and have shed light on all the shenanigans and kind of the crap that’s been going on with our fighters.

“The other thing we can do as fighters, is come together. I’m the spokesperson for the MMAFA – the fighters association. Every other professional sport in our country has a players association or an association – why shouldn’t we have that, too? Why shouldn’t we get to negotiate for our fair share of what’s going on in this sport? And I think the Ali Act, getting it amended – that definition – getting it changed from boxing to ‘combative sport athlete’ will in a lot of ways create that transparency and eliminate some of that lopsided power.”

He thinks the UFC and other MMA promotions have too much power and are not allowing fighters to reap the rewards of their contributions to an event and the success it ends up having.

“Sanctioning body and promoter shouldn’t be the same guy,” Couture said. “It’s way too much power. So separating some of that out, creating that transparency, that disclosure – ‘Look, you made this much off of this event you fought on. You want me to fight again, then I should be able to negotiate my fair share of what’s coming in from the events that I put my butt on the line for.’

“That’s basically what it boils down to and what hasn’t been happening, and that’s why they’re lobbying so hard against us because they have a money printing machine and they don’t want to mess that money printing machine up.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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