Teamsters and Unite Here Seek to Organize UFC Fighters

Following the recent announcement that UFC Fighters have secured “backing” from the Teamsters, further details are coming to light.

Today Unite Here has issued the following press release –

Las Vegas, NV – Today, two of the largest unions in the “fight capital” of the world launched an initiative to organize MMA fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), the largest promoter of professional MMA events.

“We have been surprised to learn how poorly these professional fighters are treated in the UFC. We want to help them to improve conditions for themselves and raise standards for the sport,” said Chris Griswold, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 986, one of the largest Teamsters locals in the country with 17,000 members in Southern California and Nevada.

“UFC fighters can set a new agenda for their sport and make it better by working with regulators, sponsors, investors, and other stakeholders,” added Griswold. “As our efforts did for workers in other industries, fighters united for change can make a huge difference.

“All workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer of UNITE HERE’s Culinary Workers Union Local 226, the largest union in Las Vegas with 55,000 members. “Housekeepers, kitchen workers, and tens of thousands of other workers in Las Vegas have stood up together to fight for an opportunity to provide for their families. There is no reason UFC fighters cannot do the same.”

“Our unions can bring more tools and resources to the table, including our relationships with other professional athletes’ unions,” added Arguello-Kline. “Mixed martial arts play a big part in the success of the Las Vegas tourism industry, and UFC fighters deserve to share in that success, too.”

More information can be found at the initiative’s website, Fighters’ Agenda:

3 thoughts on “Teamsters and Unite Here Seek to Organize UFC Fighters

  1. I believe the question of employee/independent contractor could be an issue regarding unionization. From what I understand only employee’s can form/join a union. How would that affect Canadian fighters like Olivier Aubin-Mercier? He works for an American company, the UFC, but is Canadian lives in Canada, trains in Canada and has only fought in Canada. Is he not subject to Canadian labour laws? Can independent contractors in Canada join a union? Would Olivier be considered an independent contractor under CRA regulations?

    A lot of questions and I don’t expect answers, they are just things that have been swirling around my brain as of late.

  2. Dependent Contractors sounds like what UFC fighters would be classified as and could then join a union. I think.

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