What does the McGregor standoff really tell us about UFC fighters' rights?

Ex-UFC fighter Ryan Jimmo shares his insight with Off The Ball

UFC

Anthony Pettis, right, exchanges blows with Eddie Alvarez in their mixed martial arts bout at UFC Fight Night 81, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in Boston. Alvarez won via split decision. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

One of the issues the recent standoff between Conor McGregor and the UFC has brought up is the balance of power between the promotion and the fighters under its banner.

Former UFC fighter Ryan Jimmo joined Off The Ball tonight to give us an insight into the complexities involved, the budding process of creating an association of fighters and to tell us about the way "UFC basically micromanages every fighter". 

Jimmo started by discussing the terms of his own previous deal with the UFC.

"They didn't actually cut me. They did something called accelerate the terms of my contract," he said, comparing it to being out on "probation", before explaining the structure for fighters in the promotion.

 

"In the UFC and MMA, it's top-down. So the UFC calls all the shots, they tell you who's going to fight who, what the rankings are. They do everything. Boxing is different. Two guys will say 'you and I are going to fight and we sub-contract out a promotion company to put those fights on instead of the promotion company sub-contracting other fighters and calling all the shots'.

"Conor's starting to talk about this, I've heard him talking about his own promotion, doing it on his own. That means all of a sudden all the power, where they hold all the power, it's going to be taken away from them rather quickly and all of a sudden the fighters are going to be demanding 50-70% of the purses instead of 15% and they don't like that [because] they're going to lose money."

Jimmo describes it as a "weird, authoritarian system" and that fighters should be "paid five times what they're getting paid" when comparisons are made with other sports.