UFC policy now requests background checks for fighters

May 29, 2014

MMA Junkie reports on the UFC’s new policy of requesting its contracted fighters to sign a release of their personal information for background checks including details related to their medical, educational and criminal history.

As pointed out by Stephen Marocco’s piece, the request includes a waiver of “doctor/patient confidentiality” which circumvents HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy laws.  Essentially, Zuffa could discuss a fighter’s health history with a fighter’s medical provider.

According to the article, the information has been collected for several years but the new document encompasses all of the releases in one form.

Payout Perspective:

There are obvious needs for the releases from the fighters.  The UFC does not want to be surprised by any unknown criminal issues or associations such as Will Chope or Benjamin Brinsa.  The health information is important because the UFC probably does not want to discover a pre-existing health condition which might preclude the fighter from fighting.

The Junkie article also talked to Sports Law professor Warren Zola about whether the release of information is standard for independent contractors.   Zola indicated that while the request is “more than many employers would ask,” it was not illegal.  Zola goes on to indicate that Zuffa’s leverage allows it to request the information and most fighters wanting to fight for the company must abide by its rules otherwise there’s the possibility that they may not work for the company.  Only top-notch talent would have some bargaining power over these consents.

Overall, the request for information is a way that the UFC is trying to protect its brand.  As it continues to grow and expand internationally, these new consents are a way to ensure that all of its bases are covered with its fighters so that it does not get blindsided with possible PR issues in the future.

If you read the article, you will find that Professor Zola uses the “M” word (he actually says “They have close to a monopoly…”) when talking about the UFC and its leverage to obtain these consents from its contracted workers.

3 Responses to “UFC policy now requests background checks for fighters”

  1. michael on May 29th, 2014 11:20 PM

    yeah, or when you type in Alexander Gustaffson Criminal Record into Google.

  2. saldathief on May 30th, 2014 7:05 AM

    Imagine if they did that for boxers lol Even Don King has been to prison

  3. Logical on May 30th, 2014 11:10 AM

    I don’t have an issue with the release of personal information regarding criminal history, the UFC has the right to protect itself from questionable individuals. But as far as the fighters having to give up on their doctor/patient confidentiality, now that is complete and total BS, there is already a conflict of interest with the UFC doctors and their revolving door with the organization and fighters, they have been doing this for years now they just want to do it openly and legally.

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