The lack of unity among MMA fighters in general and particularly in the UFC hurts the chances of forming a union for the athletes/independent contractors, but the introduction of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association last December was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately for the (MMAAA) there hasn’t been much noise since the introduction of the organization to the media six months ago. Let’s take a look at the five fighters who aligned themselves with the athletes association alongside former CEO of Bellator MMA, Bjorn Rebney.
GSP struck a deal with the UFC in February and was instantly granted approval for a middleweight title fight against Bisping. Scheduling conflict due to an eye injury and a knee injury to Bisping led to the UFC booking an interim title fight in July with Dana White publicly stating GSP will instead fight for the welterweight title upon his return. Both GSP stated that they have yet to hear from the UFC and despite Dana’s comments, they expect to fight each other in November.
Dillashaw defeated John Lineker in dominant fashion and immediately called the UFC out demanding the next shot against the bantamweight champion, who is now Cody Garbrandt. The UFC included both rivals as coaches on the current TUF season with the intention to have them fight in July. Garbrandt is unfit to compete in July and unsure of when he can return so Dillashaw requests a title shot against DJ at 125, Dana White agrees and is pushing for the fight despite DJs refusal. Interestingly enough Dillashaw is joining in on the Mighty Mouse is scared bandwagon and ignoring Johnson’s attempt to stand up against the UFC brass for the way they are treating one of their greatest talents and current champion. I guess it’s easier to align yourself with an association for fighter benefits until it doesn’t work out in your favor.
Donald Cerrone quickly backtracked on his alliance with the MMAAA after having a meeting with Dana. He’d go on to lose against Masvidal by TKO at UFC on Fox 23 followed by a lengthy break as suggested by Dana. He is now scheduled to fight Robbie Lawler in July at UFC 213 who has not fought since his title loss against Tyron Woodley who defeated him via TKO at UFC 201 nearly a year ago.
Cain Velasquez has been shelved since back surgery and didn’t sound hopeful about a return anytime soon. Instead he stated he will take a new approach in training and will not be returning until he feels 100% healthy. Stipe Miocic’s next title defense could either go to Cain Velasquez or perhaps the French newcomer, Francis Ngannou.
Kennedy lost a lopsided TKO to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 205. He since stepped out of the limelight as he announced his retirement from MMA, but has reenlisted in the U.S. Army Special Forces. Prior to his final bout, he had been inactive since his loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 178 which took place in 2014.
Things are looking interesting in the GSP-Bisping situation, the Dillashaw-Johnson dilemma as well as the UFC decision on Cain Velasquez’s next opponent. Stay tuned.