Attorney, lobbyist, and political candidate Andrew Yang recently posted several tweets calling for UFC fighters and WWE pro wrestlers to form a union.
Yang, best known as a Democratic Party presidential primary candidate in 2020, promoted universal basic income. He had campaign slogans that read, ‘Not Right. Not left. Forward.’ He left the Democratic Party in 2021 and became an Independent and announced his intentions of starting a third party, the Forward Party.
“You know who is long overdue for a union? Both the WWE and UFC. UFC fighters get 10 – 15% of revenue. For other major sports it’s 50%. That means fighters are underpaid and should be getting 3 to 5 times more, Yang wrote.
“Fighters also have short careers, high risk of injury and substantial coaching expenses. The UFC maintains tight control over their uniforms, media obligations, etc. It’s clear the controlled fighters are getting both and exploited,” Yang said in a second tweet.
When looking at the WWE, Yang things the performers should be part of The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists labor union. And he makes solid points.
“For WWE for the life of me I don’t understand why wrestlers aren’t members of SAG-AFTRA. They appear on scripted TV shows every week in front of millions. The WWE is selling digital rights for billions. But the performers don ‘t see a dime of that and can’t even go on Cameo,” Yang wrote.
Yang said that he’s discusses a fighter’s union with UFC athletes, and said that it’s going to take ‘courage’ on behalf of a few.
“Have I talked to fighters and wrestlers about this? Yes. It takes one or two to step up and risk their careers for the good of their fellow athletes and those that will follow. It’s a lot of courage because they know WWE and UFC will do everything they can to keep the status quo,” he said.
“Leslie Smith took on the UFC and they fired her after she’d won a fight. She’s a class act. But the other fighters took note.”
Yang believes a fighters union would be good in the long-run for the UFC and thinks more top athletes would choose to go into mixed martial arts if the pay was more structure like other major sports leagues.
“If the UFC treated its athletes like real pro athletes as in other sports their numbers would look very different, though it would almost certainly be good for the sport over time. You’d see more top-tier athletes move towards MMA if fighter comp went up 5x,” Yang wrote.
“Any fighter or performer who wants to discuss what’s possible contact @lkmiddleb confidentially – we can help you and yours get what you’re actually bringing in for the organization and take care of your family,” Yang then tweeted.