There have been a few attempts at fighter associations/unions for UFC fighters in the past few years.
Most make a bit of a splash then fade away as quick as they come.
The latest to try is Project Spearhead. This latest attempt is headed by labour attorney Lucas Middlebrook and MMA fighter Leslie Smith who is named the organisation’s Interim President.
There has always been a bit of dubiety over the status of UFC fighters, whether they are classed as employees or contractors. This is a point that Project Spearhead will attempt to clarify.
Leslie Smith has taken to Twitter to urge fighters to sign an authorisation card which will be anonymous so they don’t have to fear the UFC finding out who has joined.
UFC fighters – please go to https://t.co/2ge9mLExJX and sign an authorization card. It is confidential and the first step to improving athlete conditions in the UFC. If you're a fan and you want to help your favorite fighters retweet this so they know about it #projectspearhead
— Leslie Smith (@LeslieSmith_GF) February 12, 2018
Project Spearhead lists the following Four Point Plan of action:
- We need 30% of the fighters under contract with the UFC to sign authorization cards
- Once 30% of the fighters have signed cards we shall have approximately 150 cards, and we will submit them to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) where the NLRB will look at a list of 11 factors to decide whether or not we are independent contractors or employees. Exotic dancers and FedEx workers, among others, have already used this process to gain back wages and benefits and form unions. If the NLRB finds that we are employees, then we move forward with this plan. If the NLRB does not find that we are employees, then we are still independent contractors and are not eligible to become a union. However, if this occurs, we can continue our voluntary association to focus on bettering our profession. No names will be released by either the NLRB or the organizers of Project Spearhead, so everyone can sign without worrying about retaliation from the UFC.
- If the NLRB determines we are employees and therefore eligible to unionize, then we will have an election, and in order to prevail, Project Spearhead will need 50% of the fighters plus 1, a simple majority, to vote in favour of Project Spearhead.
- Elections will be held to determine the officers and Executive Board of the union. Once those positions are filled, we will move to choosing topics and working toward a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the UFC. The CBA will deal with whatever topics we decide are imperative to a healthy and productive fighter’s life.
It will be interesting to see if this latest attempt to unionise the fighters can get off the ground.