After retiring on Saturday night, mixed martial arts veteran Jamie Varner said he wants to start a union for UFC fighters, Elias Cepeda of FOX Sports reports.
Following a fourth straight loss to end his career, Varner expressed his interest in organizing fighters as the sport continues to grown in popularity.
"I would love to start some type of union for fighters," Varner said. "I mean, the sport is growing, and we're getting all these big-time endorsement deals, and a lot of us we're just fighters. We don't think about the next step."
"I think if we implemented some sort of union or something like that, we could eventually, fighters, this could be a real career. You see so many pro fighters now, and I want to help the future of fighters."
Currently, the fighters' fates are in the hands of decision makers at the top of the promotion.
With a fighters union in place, the athletes would have more of a say in the negotiations the UFC has with major companies - like the recent UFC/Reebok deal - and the broadcasters. Fighters could the receive greater compensation and avoid having to split their time between training and their day jobs.
Varner said a union would allow the fighters to make the sport their full-time job.
"We are a mainstream, major sport now, and if you look at all the mainstream, major sports, they all have unions, and they have league minimums and some sort of retirement [plan] and all that kind of stuff. I think that's something that needs to happen for fighters because this is one of those careers that when it's over, a lot of these guys don't have something else."
- Josh Sanchez