Last week it was announced via a conference call that a group had been formed known as the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), with the aim of the group to earn better rights and fairer revenue distribution between fighters and owners within mixed martial arts. The group was led by big name fighters such as welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre, former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, the always outspoken Tim Kennedy and fan favorite Donald Cerrone. One surprise inclusion in the group however was former Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney who it was revealed would be acting as an advisor for the group.

Rebney had become somewhat of a recluse since being replaced in his role at Bellator by former Strikeforce boss Scott Coker back in 2014 and had received criticism during his time with the organization over the treatment of some of his fighters, most notably former Bellator and UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

UFC fighters unhappy with treatment

The UFC has long been scrutinized over low fighter pay, with lots of the roster becoming more vocal recently over their displeasure with their financial situation, after the long-time owners of the organization, the Fertitta Brothers, sold the company for approximately $4 billion dollars earlier this year. Fighters such as Al Iaquinta, Nate Diaz and Robbie Lawler have all complained about their lowly pay in recent times and veteran sports agent Jeff Borris formed the Professional Fighters Association (PFA) earlier this year in a bid to specifically target the UFC and their treatment of athletes, however, this is the first time a union has attempted to form with so many high profile names at its helm.

Dana White on Bjorn Rebney's involvement

Speaking about the formation of the MMAAA on the "UFC Unfiltered" podcast, UFC President Dana White admitted that he didn't know enough about the newly formed group to "speak on it" but criticized Bjorn Rebney's involvement within the union, labelling the former Bellator CEO as "the biggest scumbag in the history of combat sports." Several fighters have also been divided on their opinion of the MMAAA due to Rebney's involvement given his past treatment of fighters during his time at the helm of Bellator.

White has been critical of Rebney in the past and warned his fighters to be careful over who they do business with. Rebney has claimed that when he was in charge at Bellator that they paid over 50% of their revenue to fighters, something White does not believe is a sufficient "gauge" to measure the two promotions' pay on.

Repercussions for UFC fighters involved with MMAAA?

One of the main talking points from the UFC fighters leading the MMAAA conference call was that there could be repercussions for them speaking out against the UFC with the word "scared" being used a lot, especially from UFC veteran Donald Cerrone, who had often been seen as a company man by most. However, White has stated that he is not mad with any of the fighters for the formation of the association, but admitted that he was "a little shocked" that Cerrone hadn't reached out to him personally over his issues with the company, White went on to claim that he had paid over $100,000 of his own money on a criminal defense lawyer for Cerrone a few years ago, after the fighter was involved in an incident with another man whilst on a boat, White also seemingly justified Cerrone's current pay by stating that the 33-year-old had only ever "headlined like three fights" and had never held a championship within the UFC or WEC.

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