Ben Askren on ‘Ali Act’ to MMA: Promoters could bid on title fights between No. 1 UFC and No. 2 Bellator fighter

January 27, 2017 1:31 pm by Russell Ess
Michael Chandler Conor McGregor

With the growing popularity of mixed martial arts, there is still a lot of issues that many involved are battling.

With the recent fighter’s unions and associations being created, one thing that many fighters are looking for is getting mixed martial arts covered under the “Ali Act.”

One Championship title holder Ben “Funky” Askren recently spoke on the “You’re Welcome with Chael Sonnen” podcast and revealed that he has been working with Randy Couture and Jon Fitch in Washington to meet with congressmen regarding the expanision of the “Ali Act” to cover the sport of mixed martial arts.

Ben Askren

“The ‘Ali Act’ is a law that protects boxers against promoters and all we want is to do is change the law so it doesn’t say ‘boxer’, but it says ‘combative athlete’ and then we would have the same protection that boxers do under that law,” Askren said (transcribed by FloCombat).

Askren touched upon some benefits for both the fans and the fighters.

“There are a couple of benefits and one of the big things is that the promotions have to disclose their finances,” Askren stated. “This is important because it would also create independent rankings that would make automatic title shots. So, for example if there is a No. 1 in the UFC and a No. 2 in Bellator, those two could fight and that fight could be bid on by both the UFC and by Bellator and anyone else that would want to bid on it for that matter.

“They [the promotions] would have to disclose their finances so the fighters would be able to negotiate a larger split of the purse. It’s exactly what you saw with Mayweather and Pacquiao who made $350m for one fight–if you accounted the total earnings for every mixed martial artist in the history of MMA, I don’t know that would equal $350m and they did it in one fight. It makes a lot of sense for us.”

UFC arena

The 15-0-1 champion went on to add a bit more clarity for the title picture with the “Ali Act” expanded to MMA.

“The sanctioning body and the promotion, in boxing it has to be two different things and in MMA it’s the same,” Askren said. “The UFC promotes the events and they hold the title which means they can negotiate their rankings the way they want. They can give Conor [McGregor] an immediate title shot at 155 pounds even though he’s never fought there–they can do that because that’s what they want to do.

“With an independent rankings body, there would be an independent sanctioning body that holds the title and then there would be a promotion. In boxing, you have like your WBO and your WBC and then you have your promoting organization like Top Rank or Golden Boy etc.”

What are your thoughts on having the “Ali Act” expanded to include the sport of mixed martial arts? Let’s hear your opinion in the comment section.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/27/2017.


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