What is the Miller-Ayala Act that Tony Ferguson talked about at UFC 274 media day?

Tony Ferguson brought up the Miller-Ayala Athlete Agents Act at the UFC 274 press conference
Tony Ferguson brought up the Miller-Ayala Athlete Agents Act at the UFC 274 press conference

Tony Ferguson had audiences curious when he mentioned the Miller-Ayala Act at the UFC 274 media day. In an interview for the ages, Ferguson talked about multiple things, most notably firing shots at the UFC and promotional president Dana White.

Ferguson also brought up fighter pay and insurance, during which he mentioned the act, which serves as a regulatory instrument between student/professional athletes and their agents. As per the California Legislative Information website, the Miller-Ayala Act is defined as:

"Existing law, the Miller-Ayala Athlete Agents Act, regulates specified activities of an athlete agent in representing or seeking to represent student athletes and professional athletes. Under this act, an agent is required to file with the Secretary of State specified information about his or her background, training, and experience and to advise an athlete of the availability of this information. The act also requires the athlete agent to establish a trust fund and deposit into it all funds received on behalf of the athlete. The act includes specified conflict-of-interest provisions pertaining to the activities of an athlete agent."

Speaking about his concerns regarding pay and insurance, Ferguson said during the UFC 274 media scrum:

"I'm waiting for insurance. I've been competing in this sport a long time. I took a bad fall at FOX, they took my title from me. You know, I don't even have to go into the Miller-Ayala Act where an agent is not supposed to be competing in the same sport as you..."

He's referring to the freak injury he sustained before his lightweight unification title against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223. Ferguson was the interim champion, having won the belt in a fight against Kevin Lee. In a bizarre incident, 'El Cucuy' tripped over cables after fulfilling media obligations for UFC 223 and tore his ligament.

However, it is unclear who or what exactly 'El Cucuy' was referring to when he commented on the Miller-Ayala Act during the UFC 274 media day.

Watch Tony Ferguson mention the Miller-Ayala Act below:


What are the prohibitions of the Miller-Ayala Act for agents of professional athletes?

The Miller-Ayala Act has separate provisions for student-athletes' relations with their agents and professional athletes' relations with their agents. The act is pretty extensive and, in addition to provisions, has a substantial list of prohibitions pertaining to the activities of an athlete agent.

As per the USC (University of Southern California Athletics) Trojans website, these are the prohibitions mentioned in the act for the agent of a professional athlete:

An athlete agent or his representative or employee may NOT:

  • Have an ownership or financial interest in any entity that is directly involved in the same sport as a person with whom the athlete agent has entered into an agreement or agent contract, or for whom the athlete agent is attempting to negotiate an endorsement contract, financial services contract, or professional sports service contract, or for whom the athlete agent provides advice concerning potential or actual employment as a professional athlete.
  • Publish or cause to be published any false, fraudulent, or misleading information, representation, notice, or advertisement.
  • Give any false information or make any false promises or representations concerning any employment to any person.
  • Divide fees with or receive compensation from a professional sports league, team, or other organization or its representatives or employee, or offer or allow any full-time employee of a union or players' association connected with professional sports to own or participate in any of the revenues of the athlete agent.
  • Negotiate or enter into any postdated agent contract, endorsement contract or professional sports services contract or any agent contract, endorsement contract or professional sports services contract that purports to or takes effect at a future time.

It is still unclear who or what Tony Ferguson was referring to when he referenced this act in his interview. It may have been a shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov and his manager Ali Abdelaziz, who fought professionally, but the Dominance MMA CEO's last professional MMA fight was in 2007.

Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov was one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history but became the most ill-fated, being booked and canceled five times.

Read extensively about the act here.

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Edited by Avinash Tewari
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