Late last month The New York Post covered a story about growing tensions between Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters and the organization’s leadership.
UFC fighter anger was catalyzed after the promotion’s wealthy and famous investors received multimillion-dollar payments. The fighters directed their wrath towards UFC president Dana White.
About $300 million, the bulk of UFC’s 350 million cash reserve, went to one-time dividend payments to the company’s high profile team of investors, which is made up of actor Mark Wahlberg, actress Charlize Theron and model Gisele Bündchen.
White has been in charge of the UFC since 2001. He is expected to receive more than $3 million from the windfall, according to sources close to The New York Post.
Former UFC fighters are livid about this given White’s reputation for being a profligate spender. In a 2012 report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, White tipped dealers over $100,000 at Vegas’ Palms Casino Resort.
“I heard about Dana tipping a waitress $10,000 and that was my wage as a fighter,” stated former UFC fighter Kyle Kingsbury. “I lived in my mom’s garage and I had two jobs when I was fighting in the UFC. I was a personal trainer and a bouncer [and] bartender in a strip club.”
Kingsbury is one of three former fighters that is attempting to pursue a class action lawsuit that accuses the mixed martial arts promotion of using anticompetitive practices to drive down their salaries, which includes compelling fighters to take on long-term, exclusive contracts.
The question of fighter pay will ultimately be determined by federal judge Richard Boulware, who is expected to make a decision on whether to grant the fighters class certification. If the judge rules in the fighters’ favor, about 1,200 current and former UFC fighters could hop on the suit, lawyers explained. If the judge rules against the fighters, it will likely capsize the lawsuit.
UFC has contended in court documents that the former fighters’ anti-competitive assertions are bogus. In the case these claims are determined to be valid, the UFC believes it would be an issue for the Federal Trade Commission, not a jury, to take up. UFC also maintained that there are five competing mixed martial arts promotions.
“UFC pays its fighters more than any other MMA promoter,” a UFC spokesperson informed The New York Post. “We are proud of the company we’ve built and we are confident in our legal position.”
Fighters criticize the UFC for restricting their ability to make money in other ways, including by keeping the majority share of the pay-per-view revenues. This is in contrast to boxing, where fighters are often promised the overwhelming majority of pay-TV revenues to the prize money fighters receive after a fight.
On the other hand, the fighters have described UFC’s payments “flat money,” due to the fact that there’s not much earning potential even if they make tons of money for the UFC.
After losing his recent fight to Conor McGregor earlier in January, Donald Cerrone disclosed that he didn’t receive more than the $200,000 he was supposed to be paid per his contract.
“Hahahahah 7-10 million,” Cerrone replied to an Instagram follower. “I didn’t get PPV money. What the world thinks and what really happens is so different. I made flat money.”
A UFC spokesperson denied that Cerrone was only paid $200,000 to fight McGregor, who received at least $3 million in compensation for the fight, but the spokesperson did not provide any more specifics.
Fighters claim payment from corporate sponsorships has fallen significantly since the UFC entered a six-year sponsorship deal with Reebok in 2015 for $70 million.
According to the deal, fighters could no longer have their own sponsors on display in the octagon. Previous sponsorship arrangements helped fighters make ends meet.
By wearing Reebok gear, fighters under the Reebok deal are paid based on a tiered system starting at $2,500, according to a ESPN report. UFC champions are paid $40,000, the report noted.
President Donald Trump has a close relationship with Dana White.
The UFC has a fighter and fan base that is receptive to the America First message.
— @patmiletich (@patmiletich) March 1, 2020
Trump should use bully pulpit to pressure UFC brass to consider pay increases for the fighters.
Trump’s persona alone could convince White and company to carry out some reasonable pay raises.
For all the hard work and sacrifice UFC fighters make, a pay raise should absolutely be in order.
Betrayal? President Trump Flirts with DACA Amnesty
On July 10, 2020, President Trump announced that he would sign “a very major immigration bill” in the next month or so.
This bill would create a “road to citizenship” to approximately 800,000 illegal aliens who are under the umbrella of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In an interview with Telemundo on July 10, Trump said he is crafting an amnesty plan that would allow hundreds of thousands of DACA illegal aliens to stay permanently in the U.S. and eventually receive American citizenship.
Trump said that DACA proposal would be revealed “over the next four weeks.” The president continued:
I’m going to do a big executive order. I have the power to do it as president. And I’m going to make DACA a part of it. But we put it in and we’re probably then going to be taking it out. We’re working out the legal complexities right now, but I’m going to be signing a very major immigration bill as an executive order. I’m going to make DACA a part of it.
No, what I’m going to do is that they’re going to [be] part of a much bigger bill on immigration. It’s going to be a very big bill, a very good bill, and merit-based bill, and it will include DACA, and I think people are going to be very happy.
In the meantime, we’ll put it in, we’ll take it out… I think people are going to be very happy with it, but one of the aspects of the bill, which frankly, nobody knows about until right now because I told no other report[ers], so you have breaking news. Congratulations. But one of the aspects of the bill is going to be DACA. We’re going to have a road to citizenship.
Trump stated that the recent series of Supreme Court rulings have granted him “tremendous powers” over immigration:
If you look at the Supreme Court ruling, they gave the president tremendous powers when they said that you could take in, in this case, 700,000 or so people, so they gave powers. Based on the powers that they gave, I’m going to be doing an immigration bill. One of the aspects of the bill that you will be very happy with, and that a lot of people will be, including me and a lot of Republicans, by the way, will be DACA. It gives them a road to citizenship.
Trump’s comments came following the Supreme Court’s ruling from last month that the Trump administration cannot end Obama’s DACA program and would have to go through another set of paperwork to do so. Trump said he would quickly refile the paperwork to kill DACA at that point in time.
Trump criticized House and Senate Democrats for not cooperating with him on DACA amnesty legislation. He said:
I’m taking care of DACA. I had a deal with the Democrats and they broke the deal. The DACA could have been taken care of two years ago, but the Democrats broke the deal. All of a sudden they just broke it for no reason. Actually, they had a court case that slightly went their way, and they said, ‘Oh, let’s not talk about the deal anymore.’ You remember that. We talked about it.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere revealed that the president is crafting an executive order related to immigration.
As the President announced today, he is working on an executive order to establish a merit-based immigration system to further protect U.S. workers,” Deere commented.
“Furthermore, the President has long said he is willing to work with Congress on a negotiated legislative solution to DACA, one that could include citizenship, along with strong border security and permanent merit-based reforms. This does not include amnesty,” Deere added. “Unfortunately, Democrats have continually refused these offers as they are opposed to anything other than totally open borders.
John Binder of Breitbart News highlighted some of the implications of a DACA amnesty:
A DACA amnesty would put more citizen children of illegal aliens — known as “anchor babies” — on federal welfare, as Breitbart News reported, while American taxpayers would be left potentially with a $26 billion bill.
Any plan to give amnesty to DACA illegal aliens that does not also include provisions to halve legal immigration levels — the U.S. admits about 1.2 million legal immigrants a year at the expense of America’s working and middle class — would give amnestied illegal aliens the opportunity to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country.
Trump’s remarks were met with pushback from legislators such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who believe that Trump’s decision was unconstitutional
“There is ZERO constitutional authority for a President to create a ‘road to citizenship’ by executive fiat,” Cruz tweeted. “It was unconstitutional when Obama issued executive amnesty, and it would be a HUGE mistake if Trump tries to illegally expand amnesty.”
There is ZERO constitutional authority for a President to create a “road to citizenship” by executive fiat.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 10, 2020
The political implications of such an amnesty could be massive.
Trump must reject DACA and actually implement immigration restriction policies such as ending birthright citizenship, ending chain migration, fully funding the border wall, and implementing an immigration moratorium.
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