According to sources, a number of influential industry individuals have come together to create a new MMA league that is structured more like the NBA/NHL/NFL rather than your typical MMA promotion. This new league would also include an athlete association that implements a CBA with 50/50 revenue share, guaranteed contracts, health insurance, career-ending insurance and a pension plan. The plan is to announce the venture in the coming days, I’m told. They are hoping to launch in 2023.
Helwani added some more details on his MMA Hour program this week:
The new league is structured as a nonprofit where independent franchise owners will roster a team of athletes signed from free agency or via the league entry draft. Each team will compete in home and away competitions in a traditional league format vying for a playoff spot. The owners and athletes are governed by the leagues bylaws and collective bargaining agreement which is enforced by the commissioner and board of governors.
Bellator and co have basically been structured as UFC lite, seeing a new org with a more traditional sports structure seems good for all involved. There's been so many rumbles of something like this happening but I'd trust a venture with GSP in it over a union push that relied on folks like Cowboy Cerrone jumping on board.