The Global Fighters’ Union (GFU) is now active, aiming to enhance conditions for fighters worldwide.
Athletes, activists, managers, trainers, and others have joined forces to create an organization dedicated to the well-being of fighters in any combat sport. Notable figures leading this effort include former boxers Paul and Stephen Smith. Paul, a former British super-middleweight champion, and Stephen, a super featherweight fighter. All members will receive guidance on improving salaries, contracts, health insurance, and more.
Liverpool boxers Paul and Stephen Smith have launched a new union union to 'unite fighters worldwide'. The Global Fighters Union has said that combat sports is one of the only remaining professional workplaces that has no union representation https://t.co/CO4Ex6Vfsg— Jamie Greer (@jamiemgreer) January 16, 2024
“I’m one of four brothers who have all competed in boxing at every level of the sport. Throughout our careers, we’ve experienced first hand practices which are the norm in combat sports – but ones that wouldn’t be allowed in any other profession. The GFU will address those practices to make combat sports a safer, better, fairer business for all involved,” Paul Smith said
Francis Ngannou decided to leave the UFC because of concerns about fighters' well-being. The former heavyweight champion turned down a $8 million offer, which would have been his highest UFC payday, including a potential fight with Jon Jones. A major reason for his refusal was the UFC's stance against offering free health insurance. In a sport where careers can end suddenly, Ngannou expressed disappointment at the lack of this support.
“I asked for health insurance, couldn’t have…They said I can pay my health insurance. And I said yes I can pay my health insurance, for me at this point it’s not a problem, but how about those guys at the bottom that make ten plus ten. They can’t really afford health insurance. And I have been there, so it’s something that I still carry in my heart,” Ngannou stated
The goal of reaching £150,000 has been met, and Conor McGregor's contribution of £25,000 highlights the significance of supporting and safeguarding fighters.