After a brief stint in boxing, Conor McGregor apparently is pivoting to advocate for the sport that made him famous.
The UFC lightweight champion and MMA superstar has agreed to speak in front of the U.S. Congress to lobby for expanded legal protections for MMA fighters, according to Congressman Markwayne Mullin.
Mullin is pushing for Congress to pass a bill that would extend the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, passed in 2000, to MMA fighters. The “Ali Act” currently protects boxers against “coercive contracts,” bars promoters from having a “direct or indirect financial interest” in managing fighters and establishes an independent rating system that doesn’t hinge on a fighter’s ability to promote his- or herself.
McGregor, the most recognizable and marketable face in UFC, would help with Mullin’s campaign by addressing the issue of MMA fighters’ rights in front of Congress.
“We have been told by his team that he (McGregor) was going to come to the (Capitol) Hill to talk about this,” Mullin told Reuters in a recent interview.
There’s a catch, though: UFC is resisting Mullin’s efforts, as an independent rating system could seriously affect the bottom line of the sport’s biggest promoter. As such, McGregor would be putting his own relationship with UFC at serious risk by advocating for the “Ali Act.”
Then again, McGregor has plenty of leverage in UFC circles — he’s easily the biggest draw in the sport, and his fights dwarf all others in terms of popularity and revenue — so he probably can get away with doing whatever he wants.
Mullin wants a hearing on the matter in September or October, so we’ll find out soon if The Notorious delivers on his apparent promise.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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