UFC Athlete Outfitting Policy pushes boundaries of what it means to be an independent contractor

Image by Mirko Zax from Pixabay

From MMAFighting.com — Luke Thomas reports that UFC fighters are treated as independent contractors and told what to wear. He contrasts it with the NFL where the players are employees and there are strict rules about what they can wear. ┬áHe starts his story with a great description of what an independent contractor is:

Let’s posit a very common scenario.

My kitchen sink is broken. I don’t know how to fix it, so I call a plumber. On the phone, he or she collects information about the nature of the problem, my address and other essential items to determine if and how they can help me. They decide they can and I formally request their services. When they arrive, they do so in their own car wearing their own clothes. I do not tell them how to perform the job, only what I need done. They give me a rough estimate of costs, but note it’s merely an estimate. We agree to the terms of labor and within an hour or so, my sink is fixed. I pay the plumber, sign any requisite paperwork and they go on to their next house call where someone else’s kitchen sink needs fixing.

This is what can be described as a standard interaction with an independent contractor. Notice what I didn’t do. I did not tell them how to perform the job, I did not provide health insurance, I did not prevent them from working for others and, perhaps least important but most relevant for our purposes, I did not require them to wear a uniform. I did none of those things because legally, I can’t. Unless I want to make that plumber an employee, I’m not allowed to put those kinds of restrictions on them.

This may all sound like technical distinctions that don’t matter. Depending on your level of fandom, maybe it doesn’t. As it applies to the average UFC fighter (technically designated as an independent contractor), this is a critical difference that profoundly affects their life. Numerous federal and state tax withholdings, pensions, anti-discrimination protection, unemployment insurance claims, worker’s compensation coverage, healthcare law compliance, and much more all become relevant once you’re an employee.

Read the full story at UFC Athlete Outfitting Policy pushes boundaries of what it means to be an independent contractor

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