Jeff Monson on 'No Holds Barred' podcast: capitalism, anarchism, communism and Jon Jones

Jeff Monson on 'No Holds Barred' podcast: capitalism, anarchism, communism and Jon Jones

Jeff Monson was the guest on 'No Holds Barred' this week discussing politics, history, and the economics of mixed martial arts.

Monson starts by talking about his last fight in Russia, criticises Bolsheviks and Stalin,simplistic but definitely not yer average MMA show content!

The Bolsheviks just ended up taking power. The Red Army actually fought the anarchists for quite a while [...]The soviets were... you know the communities were running smooth, factories up and working, farms doing good, they kicked out managers and leaders, they had equal rights and equal power, they were trading amongst themselves [...] the government came away and took it from the people which was the original intention of the revolution

He goes on to discuss his conception of communism and paraphrases Marx

Communism is everyone, the workers, owning the means of production... what you can contribute is what you contribute and what you need is what you get... I think that's a beautiful idea

He discusses the economics of MMA, reiterating that fighters are 'wage-slaves' He also weighed in on the Jon Jones controversy and sympathised completely with Jones' decision. More importantly he also corrects the assertion that the cancellation and consequent loss of wages was, as UFC president Dana White has said, Jones' fault.

Why you gonna risk that to make the UFC money? They're millionaires already"... if the UFC haven't put a card together that would sell without [Jon Jones] then that's their own fault

He makes clear that bosses and fighters' interests are not the same, even in the case of one of the most successful professional fighters.

They're pumping him up and he's the 'next best thing'[...] and as soon as he does something they don't like they throw him under the bus. There's no loyalty there. They love him because he makes them money[...] Jones has every right in the world either to take the next fight they offered or decline it, he decided to decline it.

The discussion naturally drifted into the idea of a fighters union.

We're pro-actively looking at talking to some fighters and trying to get something started... we're kinda using some of the guys form the IWW, you know the Industrial Workers of the World [...] seeing if we can get help from them [...] The union, it can't be a 'UFC union' or a 'Strikeforce union' or an M1 one - it's gotta be a fighters union. If it's a professional union it's gotta protect every fighter. I'd like to see some thing that protected everyone that was doing MMA fighting at all, amateur or professional, I dunno how realistic that is [...] Whether you're in the UFC or you're fighting in Kentucky for 500 dollars or 250 dollars... this union's gonna protect you.

On the relationship of UFC fighters to the UFC bosses:

Nobody stands up to them, it's sickening. It's all 'thanks Dana White, thanks'. Everyone is afraid to say anything. [UFC] own everything. It's sickening to see some of these guys lick their balls the way they do.

The host, Eddie Goldman asks Monson why the IWW and not another union. Monson alludes to them being less bureaucratic and having more admirable motivations than larger mainstream unions. It's an interesting discussion and unlike anything you'll hear another professional MMA fighter say.

Posted By

Sep 2 2012 17:59


  • Why you gonna risk that to make the UFC money? They're millionaires already!

    Jeff Monson

Attached files


Sep 2 2012 19:21

very cool--thanks for the synopsis.

Sep 2 2012 20:48

It's interesting the potential union would be limited to MMA fighters, you'd think it'd include boxers though perhaps that's more difficult to get going.

Sep 2 2012 23:05

Yeah I'd imagine a boxers union would be a tougher initiative to gte off the ground with its conditions being so entrenched and it being so corrupt for decades. MMA is a much younger sport, and while UFC is establishing a monopoly, it's still young enough that organising might be have some success. It'll be interesting to see where this goes as it's coming up a lot more.

Sep 3 2012 07:11

On MMA site Bloody Elbow whenever the discussion turns to a fighters union the usual argument for why it wouldn't work is that the Anderson Silvas, GSPs etc are paid well enough that they are unlikely to join a union and would probably be offered even more money by the UFC to not join if there was a serious unionisation effort. And also that the bottom level UFC fighters are easily replacable with other fighters. Both these points seem pretty reasonable to me.

Maybe if a union could sign up a decent number of the guys ranked #6-25 in each weight class it might work.

Sep 3 2012 13:12

I am sure that the working conditions at UFC are unique in their own right, the social relationship between owners/bosses and workers is still the same and therefore organizing UFC wage-workers (fighters) will be the same. It is just as difficult to organize the UFC as any other work place based on the challenged mentioned above. The most vulnerable and easily replaced UFC workers, the lower tier fighters, are like general laborers in any other field, thousands are ready and willing to take their place. It would be ideal of the big names in UFC joined a union and the lower ones would fall in line but that ideal situation and contradicting reality is the same at any work place, that is why its called organizing, it would take hard work and dedication. I think that the IWW model could work and I think that other models, with being able to finance strikes, could work at any work place.

Sep 6 2012 06:44

That's pretty vacuous Marx-Trek, all workplaces are the same and equally organizable seems to be what you are saying.

I'm not saying MMA fighters unionising would be impossible but it would be considerably harder than most other workplaces for the reasons I already gave plus the wide geographic dispersal of both the fighters and the events.

Sep 9 2012 12:50

The difference between fixed production sites or geographical dispersal of labor is not a deterrent to organizing, its a challenge. Lets clear up my statement, I did say that, " it is just as difficult to organize the UFC as any other work place based on the challenged mentioned above". I did not say that unionizing any workplace is equally organizable but equally difficult to organize. I am merely suggesting that any workplace is equally organized be capital to be as difficult as possible to organize in the first place and that top tier fighters v. lower tier fighters is simply a division of labor within a specific site of production, in this case the production of surplus value through the UFC.

The top tier fighters seemed to live in fighting centers around the globe and lower level fighters are in constant migration to and from different training camps. The lower tier fighters will even pay top tier fighters or retired top fighters to train at their complexes or with top teams.

For sports, it seems that the baseball and hockey unions have had a pretty strong presence in deciding the fate of seasons. I am not interested in discussing the effectiveness or the lack of militancy within this or that union within the sporting world, but it would seem that the similarities within sports, that there are supers stars and regular players, where exploitation is more rapid or exhausting for the sports-laborer apply to our discussion.

Sep 9 2012 17:25

I wouldn't think the NHLPA is really something you'd want to emulate. They've been locked out twice in the space of 10 years with their collective bargaining agreement expiring next week probably leading to another. It was rumoured during the last one the NHL had plans to use players not part of the union or those who agreed to leave it. The NBA had 3 in the same timespan with another last year. Currently the NFL officials are locked out with scabs brought in, and when Scottish football referees tried to strike, they were replaced by refs from a lower standard. Football leagues are no better, the Spanish La Liga teams receiving less television money aborted a start of the season boycott this year. If anything else was this difficult to organise, I don't think folk would bother.

Black Badger
Jun 19 2014 04:53

Anybody bothered by the fact that Monson took travel money from the antifa mma tournament folks in Thessaloniki and didn't show?

Jan 3 2018 17:08
Black Badger wrote:
Anybody bothered by the fact that Monson took travel money from the antifa mma tournament folks in Thessaloniki and didn't show?

Waaaaaaay more bothered that he is basically a shill for various East European imperialisms. See his support for the Russian "Communist" Party, the Luhansk People's Republic, and Abkhazia.

From what I can tell he's like an MMA Rage Against the Machine -- espouse a hodgepodge of leftist ideas that make no sense together, and most of which are repugnant anyway.

Edit to add: I did not see that this was an old post that I was replying to. Apologies if it came off as critical of others for their not taking into account Monson's (recent?) craziness.

Jan 4 2018 14:12

CTE is real.