Wednesday afternoon, the MMA community was forever changed as several high profile fighters including former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre, top ranked UFC middleweight Tim Kennedy, and former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, along with several others, announced the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association.
Prior to the formation of the Mixed Marital Arts Athletes Association however, former UFC champion Randy Couture, as well as several other fighters, united to form the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association, which has similar goals to the MMAAA, but spans across all MMA promotions, not just the UFC.
In an interview with BloodyElbow, Randy Couture reacted to the news of the MMAAA, and discussed the difference between the two organizations:
“We have a great respect for those five athletes, and we are happy and we are excited that they are standing up,” Couture said. “I think everybody has a question about what Bjorn’s motives are and what exactly is going on there and I think that’ll come out in time. His reputation as a promoter precedes him a little bit and so it’s interesting now that all the sudden he’s for fighter rights and all these things that obviously as the CEO of a major fight organization he didn’t demonstrate that same feeling.”
“Am I open to discuss what their goal is and where they are headed and how they see me fitting into that? I’d be silly not to have that conversation,”
“They are only concerned with those athletes that are independent contractors with the UFC. To get all of what we need to get accomplished, we need to unite as fighters, all of us,” he said. “I’ve been working with MMAFA for a while and I wanna see the sport change. I wanna see the structure in the sport corrected so that all of us as fighters across the board, regardless of promotion can benefit and get our fair value in an open marketplace and I don’t see those same goals with the athletes association, at least not at this point.”
Couture has been very open about his support of fighters rights, even at one time spending nearly $500,000 of his own money in order to take the UFC to court over contract negotiations.