Back in 2000, boxing received a huge overhaul in favor of athletes of the sweet science in the form of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act (often shortened to the Ali Act). In a nutshell, the act restricted promotions from using certain types of contracts that a boxer was required to sign. One such example is that a boxer cannot be required to give away his or her promotional rights. The Ali Act also requires sanctioning bodies to reveal information, such as fees charged to boxers by them, and requires promoters to disclose a tantamount portion of their financial information about bouts, all to state commissions. They also have to provide the aforementioned information to the boxers themselves.
Summarized, the Muhammed Ali Boxing Reform Act was enacted to provide legal protection for boxers while assisting state commissions in regulating the sport. Such an act, or at least an extension of the Ali Act, would be favorable for fighters in MMA. UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture is on board with such a legislative move. “The Natural” even goes as far to say that anyone, including MMA fans, who think the combat sport doesn’t need the Ali Act are “drinking Dana White’s Kool-Aid.”
After Randy Couture retired from combat MMA to pursue a career in Hollywood, which includes acting gigs alongside action star Dolph Lundgren in the Expendables Trilogy and Ambushed, he started to advocate fairness and rights for MMA fighters. This coming from a three-time UFC heavyweight and two-time UFC light heavyweight champion, first The Ultimate Fighter coach, and 2016 UFC Hall of Famer, was surely shocking for Dana White. But the fact Couture, who has a 19-11-0 professional MMA record, being a staple in MMA history knows first hand the trials and tribulations MMA fighters must go through just to be a star.
Nevertheless, with talk of a fighter’s association gaining steam, along with a petition being launched to extend the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act to MMA, Bloody Elbow took the time to interview Randy Couture on the matter. He thinks it is a “no brainer” to extend the Ali Act to MMA.
“I think it’s a no brainer that the Ali Act be expanded to MMA. The similarities in the individual combative sports across the board, and the way the promoters deal with the athletes, is exactly why the Ali Act was formed. And to amend it a little bit and to expand it to mixed martial arts is, I think, a very simple thing to do.”
Unfortunately, most of the MMA community — either they be fighters or fans — are not on board with reform. The reason is not because they oppose it, but that they don’t even know reform is an option. As a matter of fact, many in the MMA community have no idea what the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act is, as explained by Randy Couture himself.
“I think, like the general public, many of the fighters don’t understand what the Ali Act does for them. They are too busy training and getting ready for the next fight and just don’t know. They’re not that different from the general public in that regard.”
It does make sense the MMA community in general may not know about the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act given it was made for boxing. But to those who do know about it and still oppose it being extended to MMA, Randy Couture says they are “drinking Dana White’s Kool-Aid,” as reported by MMA Mania. Couture’s statement may also imply that if the Ali Act were in place for MMA, it would affect UFC far more than any other promotion out there right now. Most likely, things about the UFC, such as the exclusive Reebok deal, would be put on the chopping block.
If the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act does get enough signatures and support to be extended to MMA, it will need to go through the federal process. Given that the Ali Act is federal law, it would require Congress amending specified documents.
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