Eddie Alvarez Calls MMAAA’s Inclusion of Bjorn Rebney “Genius”

Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez feels that the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete’s Association (MMAAA) can only benefit from Rebney’s nous. Alvarez holds the distinction of winning the lightweight championship in both the UFC and Bellator MMA. The latter was promoted by the controversial Rebney prior to a changing of the guard which saw current president […]

Former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez feels that the Mixed Martial Arts Athlete’s Association (MMAAA) can only benefit from Rebney’s nous. Alvarez holds the distinction of winning the lightweight championship in both the UFC and Bellator MMA. The latter was promoted by the controversial Rebney prior to a changing of the guard which saw current president […]

Tim Kennedy Regrets Showcasing Bjorn Rebney

The Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) has remained rather silent as of late, after debuting this past November with an All Star cast of members from the sport of MMA such as Cain Velasquez, Donald Cerrone, TJ Dillashaw, and Tim Kennedy. That silence was broken earlier today (Mon. January 23, 2017) when Kennedy joined

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The Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) has remained rather silent as of late, after debuting this past November with an All Star cast of members from the sport of MMA such as Cain Velasquez, Donald Cerrone, TJ Dillashaw, and Tim Kennedy. That silence was broken earlier today (Mon. January 23, 2017) when Kennedy joined MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour.

Kennedy who serves as the President for the MMAAA, and announced his retirement from MMA competition recently, admitted that bringing on former Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney may have been a mistake, as it took attention away from the message the association is trying to get across:

“It was a mistake during the announcement to have him be a public presence,” Kennedy said. “We obviously regretted that. But he will still be somebody that the board members will go to and ask, ‘As a promoter, did you do this?’”

Kennedy and the fighter board will serve as the key decision makers when it comes to the association’s day-do-day activities, while Rebney is serving strictly in an advisory role as it pertains to how promoters operate, and has no true authority:

“I need that information and he will be the guy that I am going to ask those questions to,” Kennedy said. “But he has no authority and he has no position within the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association and he has no vote.”

“He’s never been a part in a sense that he has any authority or ability to affect anything,” Kennedy said. “The only people that can vote are board members and the only ones people that can be board members are fighters. His role has not changed. But I regret that he was a distraction.”

It was also mentioned that Kennedy has visited some of the most well recognized camps in MMA, such as Jackson-Wink, and the visit was well received by the fighters; making the future of the MMAAA look rather bright if they continue to get some of the biggest names in the sport on its side.

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MMAAA: Tim Kennedy Plays Down Bjorn Rebney’s Role in the Organisation

When the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) was announced in November last year, the influence of its members forced the world of MMA to sit up and pay attention. Former MMA legend Georges St. Pierre joined two other former (but both active) champions in heavyweight Cain Velasquez and bantamweight T.J Dillashaw. Additionally, the fan favorite Donald Cerrone […]

When the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) was announced in November last year, the influence of its members forced the world of MMA to sit up and pay attention. Former MMA legend Georges St. Pierre joined two other former (but both active) champions in heavyweight Cain Velasquez and bantamweight T.J Dillashaw. Additionally, the fan favorite Donald Cerrone […]

Jose Aldo Reveals Why He’s Reluctant To Get Involved With MMAAA

Just weeks ago the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) took the mixed martial arts (MMA) world by storm, by announcing their formation which featured some of the biggest names in the sport such as Georges St-Pierre, Cain Velasquez, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Tim Kennedy, and TJ Dillashaw. While the association isn’t the only one out

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Just weeks ago the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) took the mixed martial arts (MMA) world by storm, by announcing their formation which featured some of the biggest names in the sport such as Georges St-Pierre, Cain Velasquez, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Tim Kennedy, and TJ Dillashaw.

While the association isn’t the only one out there fighting for better working conditions for fighters, such as the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association (MMAFA) and Professional Fighter’s Association (PFA), UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has revealed (courtesy of MMA Maniathat he’s actually turned down an offer to affiliate himself with the MMAAA due to his current alliance with the MMAFA:

“(MMAAA) invited me to be a part of this association, but I don’t think everything is clear with this association,” Aldo said. “There are others going on, laws in the American Senate as well, so there’s a lot going on to help fighters. When it’s possible for me to be present and be a part of things that will benefit the athletes, I will always fight for us.”

One reason Aldo was hesitant to join the MMAAA is due to the involvement of former Bellator CEO and President Bjorn Rebney, something that has kept other fighters on their toes regarding the association as well:

“This association was created by a former Bellator president, so I don’t know what’s the real function behind it, if it’s something for the fighters,” he continued. “I’m part of one, too, with Randy Couture, Cung Le, that has an open mind to help fighters, not only the ones in the UFC.”

‘Scarface’ feels that the MMAAA seems a little too focused on only UFC fighters, while other organizations such as the MMAFA are here to help mixed martial artists world-wide:

“Our world isn’t focused only in the UFC,” Aldo said. “We have millions of fighters, trillions of fighters that need help. We won’t fight with a promotion just because we’re exclusive there. I fight for everybody, national and international, no matter where they are. I want to help those athletes. Not only those in the UFC, those that are in the big league and can have a better future, but those in the small promotions and need our help.”

Despite threatening retirement earlier this year, it appears as thought Aldo has settled his differences with the UFC for the time being after being promoted undisputed champion after Conor McGregor vacated the featherweight throne. Now the Brazilian must focus his sights on interim 145-pound champ Max Holloway who he is expected to throw down with in Brooklyn at UFC 208 next year.

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One Week Later, The MMAAA Is Already One Big Mess

One week ago today (Wed., November 30, 2016) a group of UFC fighters lead by Georges St-Pierre and Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney unveiled the formation of the aptly-named Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) in an effort to secure UFC athletes the compensation and treatment they deserve for putting their livelihoods and wellbeing on the line

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One week ago today (Wed., November 30, 2016) a group of UFC fighters lead by Georges St-Pierre and Bellator founder Bjorn Rebney unveiled the formation of the aptly-named Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA) in an effort to secure UFC athletes the compensation and treatment they deserve for putting their livelihoods and wellbeing on the line each time out to the Octagon.

The association, which is the third of its kind and also includes well-known UFC fighters Donald Cerrone, Cain Velasquez, TJ Dillashaw, and Tim Kennedy on their initial five-fighter board, certainly had the best of intentions during a nearly two-hour press conference which revealed their intent to bring the supposedly evil business practices of new UFC owners WME-IMG to a screeching halt. On paper, it was certainly just what the sport needed, as anti-UFC sentiment has reached an all-time high among both athletes and fans.

BjornRebney1

However, in the one week since the announcement, I’d argue that things couldn’t have gone much worse for the newly-founded association. It starts with the issue of just where the funding for the association is from, which Rebney essentially brushed off even in the face of accusations that the MMAAA was simply an anti-WME venture funded by CAA, WME-IMG’s direct competitor who, interestingly enough, also represents all of the fighters on the initial board except Cerrone.

On top of those unknown but certainly valid questions, Rebney received a cease-and-desist order from the legal team of the class action lawsuit headed by Cung Le, Jon Fitch, and others against the UFC, which he vehemently denied he would accept in a confrontational manner.

That only served to further the apprehension and doubt about Rebney’s involvement in the entire project. He’s never been the most trusted of promoters, but he was supposedly brought on in a purely advisory role. He’s always had a bone to pick with the UFC, and he only reaffirmed that notion when he outright blasted them to Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour’ this week. That style was in turn denounced by flagship MMAAA fighter board rep Kennedy in an interview with MMA Fighting:

Rebeny’s involvement and strategy of calling out the UFC may be questionable but the wheels have truly fallen off of the MMAAA’s initial efforts based on the reactions of the fighters involved, the people who truly matter most in this instance. Kennedy’s callout of Rebney is one thing that doesn’t exactly paint a picture of happiness amongst the ranks, but the latest news about Cerrone and St-Pierre is even more concerning.

First, UFC President Dana White was heard spouting off at the MMAAA in a predictably-worded outcry on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, basically a public forum for any and all things White wants to scream and yell about with no repercussion. While that behavior is no doubt a major reason why there is need for an association like the MMAAA, it seems he took it to an all-new level, even for himself. In the outburst, White blasted Cerrone, who has saved multiple cards with his fight-anyone-at-anytime mentality, for only headlining three Fight Night cards his entire career and scolded him for a time when he paid $100,000 of his legal fees for a run-in with an angry boater.

Credit: Dave Mandel Sherdog
Credit: Dave Mandel Sherdog

It was a new low for White (or maybe there simply is no such thing anymore), but the subsequent response from ‘Cowboy’ showed just why the MMAAA might not accomplish much. Fighting Matt Brown in the co-main event of Saturday night’s UFC 206 from Toronto, Cerrone said he ‘didn’t know he was on a board’ and that White had ‘saved his ass’ so he should have called him and told him what he was doing in an interview after the open workouts.

Those words only tell me one thing, that Cerrone didn’t know what he was getting himself into. He admitted he was scared but would fight for what was right and stand up for fighters, even recently offering his name as the head of a fighters’ union. However, he clearly didn’t think things through. And if the MMAAA didn’t tell him he was on a board of fighters representing them, well, this thing is a bigger mess than I think it is, and that’s saying something.

But back to Cerrone. He clearly wants to be paid what he’s worth, and seems willing enough to fight for it. He simply has to be all-in for one side, however. You can’t have both in this instance. Either you’re with the MMAAA or against them, because it’s clear White will say anything about anyone to drag their name on the ground, no matter what you may have done for him or the company in the past. Saying you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into makes you look uneducated and fleeting; like you’re playing both sides of the fence because you can’t make up your mind. That’s the kind of attitude that is going to halt the MMAAA’s efforts in their tracks before it even has a chance to get the ball rolling.

GSP Bruised

That’s both confusing and concerning at the same time, and even more evidence surfaced this morning that the fighters involved may be softening their stance after speaking with the UFC. News arrived that St-Pierre and his legal advisors had resumed talks with the UFC in an effort to finally sign him and get him back in the Octagon. That’s good for fans, yes, but the UFC and WME seemed to want little to do with St-Pierre and his demands before he unveiled his involvement with the MMAAA. The fact they wouldn’t meet him in the middle was most likely one of the biggest motivating factors in his decision to join the association.

So he plays a little hardball with his involvement in the MMAAA, and all of the sudden, they want to talk. Predictable. And what’s more, he’s willing. That’s fine, and he should be able to come back to fighting if he so desires. But reaching an amicable agreement while at the same time fighting the UFC head-on doesn’t seem like a dynamic that will work effectively, so like Cerrone, St-Pierre will have to decide where his allegiances lie. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of coming out and publicly stating you’re waging war on the UFC’s business practices.

Is it fair? Maybe not, but it’s the name of the game right now. And based on how the two most famous fighters involved with MMAAA have responded to the UFC’s inevitable initial backlash, the association doesn’t look like it’s going to go anywhere if they refuse to throw down in the fight they were all boasting of during last week’s conference.

The MMAAA obviously needs some time to implement their efforts and bring more and more fighters to their side, but this wishy-washy gameplan just makes them look like they rushed into the entire thing without looking ahead to the inevitable ramifications. And at the heart of it all, an ‘association’ isn’t going to work with the fighters backtracking and fighting amongst each other only one week after the endeavor was announced.

Let’s hope they can prove me wrong.

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Donald Cerrone: Dana White Saved My A**, I Should Have Called Him

Last week former Bellator President and CEO Bjorn Rebney and five of the UFC’s biggest stars in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, including No. 5-ranked welterweight Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, announced the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), in effort to fight for better working conditions for fighters in the UFC. The announcement comes

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Last week former Bellator President and CEO Bjorn Rebney and five of the UFC’s biggest stars in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, including No. 5-ranked welterweight Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, announced the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), in effort to fight for better working conditions for fighters in the UFC.

The announcement comes at the horizon of ‘Cowboy’s’ scheduled meeting with Matt Brown at this weekend’s (Saturday December 10, 2016) UFC 206 pay-per-view (PPV) event from Toronto, as Cerrone is on an impressive three-fight finishing streak since making the jump up to 170 pounds.

During a recent media scrum after the open workouts at Massey Hall earlier today (Wednesday December 7, 2016), courtesy of MMA Fighting, Cerrone stated that he didn’t know he was sitting on a board when he accepted the invitation from Georges St-Pierre and Tim Kennedy to be a part of the MMAAA:

“As far as the Association goes man, Georges [St-Pierre] and Tim [Kennedy] called me and asked me to be part of it,” Cerrone said. “I didn’t know I was sitting on a board. That kind of took me by surprise, sitting there like, oh wow. I spoke to Dana [White] today on the phone. He’s coming to town, and we’re going to go out to dinner and talk. There’s a lot of things I think this sport needs, you know, retirement pension, health care, things I think we need.”

Cerrone still plans to stand beside his MMAAA brethren and fight for better work accommodations from the UFC such as health care and retirement pension. Despite this, ‘Cowboy’ claims that he and the UFC’s relationship is still a great one and that he is on good terms with UFC President Dana White who he revealed at one point paid for ‘the best lawyers you can pay’ and got him out of a ‘bind’ he found himself in:

“I wasn’t sitting there saying, ‘we’re moving forward today, we’re going on strike, we need more money,” he said. “That wasn’t coming out of mouth at all. There were a couple of people that were there that I don’t plan on working with and being a part of, not mentioning any names. I was there mostly just, not saying I’m leading a board or I’m sitting on a board, but more voicing my opinion of what this sport needs.

“Moving forward, I’m still going to stand strong with those and say this is what I believe we need. I believe as a whole we need health care, we need some kind of pension for retirement. The UFC has been nothing but great to me. I can’t complain, they give me what I want. And like Dana said, I called him and he helped me out. That’s true, man. I was in a bind, he got the best lawyers you can pay, and saved my ass.”

Donald-Cerrone-[1]‘Cowboy’ says he has spoken to White since the announcement of the MMAAA was made public, and that the UFC President wishes he would have called him first instead of being ‘back-handed in the face’ by the announcement out of left field:

“He said, listen kid, you can do anything you want. We have a good relationship him and I, and he’s right I probably should have called him and said, ‘hey man, I’m going to do this,’ instead of getting back-handed in the face.”

For now Cerrone’s focus will be set on Brown for their co-main event collision this weekend, which could have title implications if the dominoes fall down correctly, and will resume his fight alongside the MMAAA afterwards.

Cerrone and Brown will meet in the co-main event of UFC 206 live on pay-per-view (PPV), from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada this Saturday (December 10, 2016).

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