One of the hot conversations in both the WWE and UFC is if athletes should be employed by the organization rather than work as independent contracts. There are both advantages and disadvantage to the independent contractor form of employment, and both Dana White and Vince McMahon prefer it as it best suits their business models. It does not, however, protect the athletes, and can add to the risks of what are already high-risk sports going badly wrong for the athletes.
In the real world of professional sports, athletes are well looked after and are offered the types of protection needed if something does go disastrously wrong during competition. By putting pro wrestlers on independent contracts, an organization is providing itself a loophole so it does not have to pick up the costs of what could be serious health injuries. With the case of WWE, it’s the responsibility of the wrestlers themselves to buy health insurance on their own, which could be viewed as very wrong when the sport itself is about inflicting physical harm on the human body.
Another common problem with employment through independent contracts is the huge disparity in earnings. It is the 0.01% that are able to make enough money to make wrestling a full-time career and that is due to all the money being spent on single stars and not spreading it out more evenly. It also means that the organization does not have to pick up the costs of trainers, fitness coaches and all the other tools needed to get to the top of the game.
It is common in pro wrestling for wrestlers to struggle both financially and with health problems. Providing wrestlers with an employment contract with lifelong health benefits and an exceptional pension would be the best way forward for all involved. Profit should not come at the risks of damaging a person’s lifelong expectancy and by not offering employment terms the WWE are showing that they are more interested in their bottom line than the athletes involved.
To be able to force this change it will need stars such as Cena to speak out against the WWE but I can not see that happening. He is one of the main beneficiaries of this form of employment and it is not in his personal interests to end it. If Vince McMahon wanted to cement his legacy the best way for him to do this would be by making this change.
By offering employment terms can only help pro wrestling grow and that would help the WWE profit more greatly. By giving athletes the peace of mind they need along with looking after their health and in later life will encourage more to partake along with creating more stars.
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