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.