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 UFC hires firm to lobby against Muhammad Ali Extension Act

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Chrom
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PostSubject: UFC hires firm to lobby against Muhammad Ali Extension Act   Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:29 pm

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The battle over the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act is just starting to heat up. A few days after the death of the legendary boxer whose name adorns both the proposed legislation and the original bill it amends, Legistorm.com reported that the UFC had hired the D.C. firm Farragut partners to help lobby with congress the promotion's position on the bill.

The original Muhammad Ali Reform Boxing Act, which was enacted in 2000 and amended the Boxing Safety Act of 1996, is a federal law that was intended to protect the financial health of boxers as well as increase fairness in the industry. This was to be done through expanding protections against coercive contracts, forcing disclosure by promoters and sanctioning bodies, requiring objective rankings, and ending conflicts of interests.

H.R. 5365, the Muhammad Ali Extension Act, was introduced to congress last month by former MMA fighter Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and co-sponsored by Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA). It looks to expand those same protections to MMA fighters as well as other professional combat sports athletes. (For a full analysis on how the Muhammad Ali Extension Act would impact the sport of MMA watch the most recent episode of Show Money.)

Primary supporters of the bill have been current and former fighters, mostly members of the Mixed Martial Arts Fighters Association, who themselves have lobbied for it. This past weekend, retired fighters Randy Couture and Cung Le wrote a letter posted to The Oklahoman which gave their reasons for wanting to see it passed.

"This amendment is desperately needed by combat sports athletes and to enable these sports to prosper and thrive. The lack of financial disclosures and coercive contractual practices that plagues MMA not only deprives each athlete of rights already offered to boxers, but prevents investment in the sport and, as a result, stunts its natural growth."

The UFC would disagree with this view. According to UFC COO Lawrence Epstein, Rep. Mullin and other supporters of this bill are not only pushing unneeded legislation but ignoring more pressing concerns for fighters.

"I was especially disappointed with his lack of concern for athletes' health and safety -- an issue that we, at UFC, consider our top priority," Epstein told ESPN.com "Moreover, we continue to believe the federal government would have no productive role in regulating MMA promotions or competitions. Already, states regulate each bout and MMA athletes are well compensated and treated fairly, which is one of the reasons the sport is the fastest growing in the world."
continued @ http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2016/6/13/11919738/ufc-hires-firm-to-lobby-against-muhammad-ali-extension-act

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