UFC offers fighters health insurance
May 9, 2011
Zuffa announced today that 350 UFC and Strikeforce fighters will be covered under a Zuffa-sponsored health insurance policy. Zuffa will pay 100 percent of the premiums for the fighters.
Via UFC press release:
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.
MMA Fighting has more specifics:
Under the current terms of its event insurance, Zuffa covered its athletes — considered independent contractors — for any injuries stemming from a fight. Effective on June 1, according to Fertitta, fighters will receive $50,000 in annual coverage for any injuries that occur while under contract to Zuffa. The coverage includes expected problems like injuries sustained in the course of training, as well as those brought about in everyday life, like car accidents and falls.
Overall, a great step in the right direction if the UFC wants to be thought of as a major league sport. The two big numbers that stand out are 350 and 100. 350 athletes covered by Zuffa is a bigger number than anyone could have imagined. 100% of the premiums will be paid by Zuffa. This is great considering the increase of premiums in health care coverage for regular people. I was impressed that it also covers medical life and dental insurance.
Maybe Randy Couture knew something was happening when he spoke about the need for fighter health care in a pre-UFC 129 interview. The move by Zuffa is good for its
employees independent contractors and good for Zuffa. From a PR standpoint, this move helped with its reputation. It also helped with any thoughts of starting a fighter’s union.
This move opens Zuffa up to a lot of exposure. Could there be issues with pre-existing conditions? What happens if a fighter gets sued as a result of a car accident? Does the Zuffa insurance cover as an additional insured?
Its interesting that the same day this is announced, the main event fighters for UFC 130 go out with injuries…and are not covered by the health plan because it does not go into effect until June 1.
Still, something is better than nothing and the health coverage should help fighters with one less worry while training.