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Mark Cuban Expounds on Ali Act

Mark Cuban, owner of HDNet Fights, spoke last week with Pramit Mohapatra of the Baltimore Sun. In an otherwise mundane interview, a single statement by Cuban raised many eyebrows among MMA fans and fighters:

Maohapatra: What flaws do you see in the UFC‘s game that you think can be exploited?

Cuban: The biggest is that their contracts don’t adhere to the [Muhammad] Ali [Boxing] Reform Act. There will come a time in the not distant future when they will be required to.

The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act of 2000 (full text) in general, restricts the types of contract that a boxer may be required to sign. For example, a boxer cannot be required to give away future promotional rights. The act also requires sanctioning bodies to reveal to state commissions information such as any fees charged to boxers by the sanctioning body and requires promoters to disclose a large amount of the financial information about bouts to the state commissions, as well as to the boxers they promote.

The legislation was enacted to provide legal protections to boxers as well as to assist states in regulating boxing as a sport. The need for the Act was due to boxing’s unique position in American sports, not having any organized league or rule-making body to ensure appropriate business practices, and due to the lack of protection offered to boxers from the various sanctioning bodies.

As the text of the legislation specifically mentions boxing, boxers, and boxing organizations, some have dismissed Cuban’s statements as not being applicable to the sport of mixed martial arts.

Bad Man Sports ( was able to catch up with Mark Cuban to get a more detailed response to this issue. In an exclusive statement, Cuban says that the Ali Act does apply to MMA.

“Congress wanted to protect fighters. There is enough ambiguity in some definitions in the act, that it could easily be applied. Which means it comes down to how the appropriate politicians feel that the act can be applied to the benefit of their constituents. Meaning fighters and fans of MMA.”

When asked if this was simply his opinion or if he had sought legal advice, Cuban emphasized his confidence in the position.

“It won’t be hard to demonstrate how MMA fighters have been taken advantage of, particularly with contracts and how they are enforced, and to encourage action. “

Even if the government doesn’t change the way the UFC does business, Cuban feels that HDNet Fights will be offering fighters something that is more fair and that may be an advantage in the eyes of the talent.

  • […] Five Ounces of Pain: Does the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act apply to MMA contracts? […]

  • Just because its named after a boxer….It should PROTECT all fighters.

    A perfect example of why this Ali Act came into to be was Mike Tyson…. He was the highest grossing PPV act of his time and Don King robbed him blind…. and stupid (no offense mike)

    A modern day example may be something like …. say…. Randy Couture.
    The man IS the heavy weight champ…. if nothing else he deserves to be respected more then he has been by the UFC.

    I sponsor a few local fighters. I must say that as hard as these guys work they shouldn’t have worry about things like medical expenses, while the fat millionaires reap all the rewards of the show.
    Dont get me wrong I think having a belt is AWESOME but it wont pay my dental bill or my kids daycare.

    Mr. Cuban is a passionate and very smart guy he will be great for MMA.

  • jj says:

    This is fabulous news!!

    One needs to look no further than the UFC trying to spoil Randy Couture’s chances at getting the one and only fight he wants to have before the end of his career. If the UFC claims to love fighting as much as they do, why not have the two best heavy-weights of all time fight it out, rather than having everyone wondering what could have been. Because the UFC is in the business of burning fighters.

    The UFC would rather ruin Couture (and get back at Fedor for not signing his life over to the UFC) than give the big “Superbowl” fights that Dana White kept promising. Dana loudly berated Pride for not letting Chuck fight Wanderlei in a cross promotion, yet now the shoe is on the other foot and the UFC is about to shoot themselves in the toe.

    Dana preaches about unified MMA rules…so long as it’s his rules that become the standard. However, what is the point if the UFC makes it so obvious they will never do a cross promotion.

    You have to wonder if this Ali reform would even be necessary if the Fertita’s would just get rid of the Dana White and hire a professional to run the company instead of some ignorant mook that they grew up with.

    HDnet fights, K-1 Heros and EliteXC are the direction most fighters and in turn the fans will go, unless the UFC realizes their mistakes.

  • J.Goodwin says:

    If Cuban actually believes that MMA contracts are going to be subjected to the maximum 12 month contract limit…then I think he’s on drugs.

    There will be changes, but they are not going to be because this law is applied in toto to MMA contracts.

  • Evan says:

    While I think it’s great that Mark wants to improve the salary structure of the fighters, the noise needs to come from the commissions and fighters, not a competing organization.

    “Mr. Cuban is a passionate and very smart guy he will be great for MMA.”

    I completely agree Tony. Give the man time and he will do wonders…I live in Dallas and have seen first hand how he turns around a product.

  • Moe Gohary says:

    Cuban, is the missing ingredient to turn MMA to what boxing used to be, not just from a promotional stand point but as well he will bring benefit for the fighters and hence the fans as more fighters will ebb. I am not sure if Cuban is doing all this for Randy and company, it seems to me this is his way in, he is certainly a genius, and if “his way in” cultivates the MMA fields, then I welcome his motion regardless of alternative motives, it becomes a win win situation.

  • MIKE G says:

    It’s time someone took Dana to the woodshed. He is making hundreds of millions and his fighters are making thousands, how fair is that? I no longer watch UFC fights. It’s time someone made the distribution of monies more equal.

  • Cuban seems to treat his fighters like pro athletes. With his cash and the partnerships he is forming, sooner or later he will really be able to challenge the UFC. I can’t wait for the Fedor v. Randy fight.

  • wagnerav says:

    I have to disagree. I’m all for fighters getting paid fairly, but I also am a fan of having all the fighters (or as many of the top contenders as possible) fight in the same organization. Whether that’s the UFC or some other organization, it doesn’t matter to me. But I want the big leagues, and that’s what I pay my pay-per-view dollars to see.

    Admittedly, I don’t know how applying the Ali Reform Act to MMA would affect this, but I fear it could result in shorter contracts and fighters spread out across more and more fight promotions, as in boxing. It’s expensive enough to buy all of the UFC PPVs–if I have to order HDNet or Dream PPVs just to see one or two of my favorite fighters, my entertainment budget will be stretched to thin.

    Imagine if you were forced to watch the NFL, Canadian Football League, World Football League and some other Korean start-up, just so you could see your favorite players who you’ve watched since college.

    I want the big leagues, and for my money, the UFC is where it’s at.

  • t smith says:

    good the sooner wanna be wwf shows like the ufc is becoming (with its strippers low class trash and harleys) the faster we have a sport with athletes getting the glory and pay instead of penis head dana white and the ufc wich is only a part of the sport of mma.


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