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UFC Announces New "Unprecedented" Accident Insurance Coverage for Its Athletes

UFC and Strikeforce parent company Zuffa has not always been perceived by all as a company that does all it can to take care of its fighters (to the fullest extent). Fighters like Tito Ortiz have complained about not getting the coverage or attention his injuries deserved.

After the Zuffa purchase of Strikeforce (in March), many fighters began to voice their fears of an MMA monopoly, as well as their desire to start the process of forming a "fighter's union"

Today, the Fertitta's appeared to have taken a step forward in an effort to do more to protect their prized product: the fighters themselves. In an email release to the press, Zuffa had the following to say:

Las Vegas, Nevada – Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® brand, announced today that nearly 350 UFC® and STRIKEFORCE® independent contractor athletes will now be eligible for customized accident insurance coverage. The coverage will be underwritten by Houston Casualty Insurance Company and complement existing event coverage the company already provides its athletes. Never before has a combat sports promoter provided coverage to nearly 350 athletes, and this unprecedented policy will cover accidental injuries suffered by athletes while training, as well as non-training incidents such as automobile accidents.


To date, Zuffa event-related insurance has always met or exceeded Athletic Commission requirements and has covered all injuries sustained during competition. After exploring the purchase of "training insurance" for its athletes for several years – much of which was met with difficulty in finding an insurance company willing to insure mixed martial artists – Zuffa officials were able to secure a comprehensive plan through A+ rated Houston Casualty.


The new policy adds 24-hour worldwide medical life insurance and dental coverage, as well as emergency medical evacuation. Zuffa will pay 100 percent of the premiums for its athletes and have an employee dedicated to handling and filing all claims.


"Our athletes are some of the very best in the world and we’ve committed significant financial resources to provide them with insurance thatcomplements the gold standard we have set for event-related coverage," UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said. "We’re pleased to provide coverage that enables our athletes to seek and receive treatment for injuries sustained while preparing for bouts."


"As this sport continues to grow, we have been working hard to secure additional insurance coverage so that our athletes can perform at the highest levels," UFC President Dana White said. "We’re proud to give our athletes access to this type of insurance." 

So what does this all mean? Only time will tell. Ultimately, a move in this direction was unavoidable. How often do we see fight cards changed by fighters having to pull out due to training injuries. As fans, we are sometimes ruthless in how we view the fighters. We look at them as the product. We only think about our personal disappointment over not being able to see them fight in the match we were looking forward to (I'm looking at you, @jonnybones). It isn't often that we think about the months that they spent training leading up the fight. Time is money. Fighters pay to train, whether it be directly or indirectly. Sure, a lot of fighters are sponsored and pay some of their bills via endorsements. Regardless, fighters lose money by not fighting, and having to foot the bill for their out of the ring mishaps, on top of the money they lose by not getting a fight purse, can really impact the athletes' lifestyles.

As a fight fan, I want what's best for the fighters. Let's hope this is just one move in a series of many that will make it easier for pro fighters to pay their bills and provide for their families.

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