Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin recently engaged in a fiery exchange with International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien, which escalated to a challenge for a cage fight. Responding to O’Brien’s taunts on social media, Senator Mullin accepted the dare, citing O’Brien’s “anyplace, anytime” statement and setting a date for September 30th in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Mullin explained that he refuses to tolerate union bosses like O’Brien, who resort to intimidation tactics without being held accountable. He criticized O’Brien for being suspended over threats to his own union members and for advocating for militant organizations while vilifying right-to-work states like Oklahoma. The Senator saw O’Brien’s social media post as an opportunity to confront the union boss on his rhetoric.
The exchange between Mullin and O’Brien began during a Senate hearing, where they clashed over union salaries and benefits. Mullin highlighted instances of union intimidation against him and his employees, emphasizing the higher wages and superior benefits his company provided. He questioned O’Brien about his own salary, stating that in 2019, the union president earned $193,000 compared to an average driver’s salary of $35,000.
The contentious back-and-forth continued as both Mullin and O’Brien spoke over each other, growing increasingly frustrated. Mullin challenged O’Brien’s contributions beyond his salary, asking what jobs he had created aside from taking a paycheck from others. The confrontation prompted committee Chair Senator Bernie Sanders to intervene and allow O’Brien an opportunity to respond.
Despite Sanders’ attempts to restore order, the tension remained palpable, with O’Brien mocking Mullin’s statement about not fearing physical altercations. This exchange ultimately led to Mullin’s challenge for a charitable mixed martial arts fight at the end of September, intending to settle their differences in a physical arena.
Senator Mullin’s decision to accept O’Brien’s challenge reflects his unwillingness to be intimidated by union bosses and his commitment to defending his beliefs. The heated exchange underscores the ongoing tensions between conservatives and union leaders, highlighting the need for robust discussions surrounding workers’ rights, wages, and the role of unions in today’s society.