On May 9, Zuffa announced that they were beginning to offer insurance policies for their fighters under contract for injuries that are sustained in either in-ring competition and also injuries that are suffered outside of the cage in training.
Houston insurance agency HCC Insurance Holdings has been contracted to provide the coverage. The policy, which goes into effect June 1, 2011, is the first of its kind that covers a large group of combat athletes and is the first for Zuffa.
Previously, Zuffa was not liable for injuries suffered in training and fighters were responsible for covering their own medical expenses.
The policy covers all UFC and Strikeforce athletes whether they reside in the United States or outside of the country. Zuffa covers all premiums for the insurance and is at no cost to the fighters. Athletes are allowed to use up to $50,000 annually for coverage while they are under contract with Zuffa and covers the athletes even if they are not scheduled to compete in the near-future.
The policy also covers dental and life insurance for the fighters as long as they are under contract—also at no cost to the athletes. Overall, the policy covers doctor services, laboratory tests, emergency medical evacuation and physical therapy.
No one can deny that this is a huge step for the sport of mixed martial arts. Not only for the athletes that compete inside of the cage, but also in the efforts to further the sport into the mainstream spotlight.
Everyone that is a fan of MMA, and maybe even if they're not, have heard the critics and what they have to say about the sport. Their claims of it not being safe, being cockfighting and making it out to a brutal spectacle that has no oversight have gone on for years, even after the sport exploded onto the scene in 2005 and has since grown into what it is today.
Fans of the sport have defended it against these claims and know full well that the sport they enjoy and love isn't a bloodsport with no regard for human life or sportsmanship and respect. They know the integrity of the sport and know the athletes they watch compete are educated and well-respected and trained athletes that love the sport just as much as they do.
There is no doubt that this is the big step that mixed martial arts needed to help them in their fight for acceptance and to show those who doubt that this is more than a spectacle. This is a sport. This is an event that millions upon millions around the globe love and respect. And, for those who compete, this is a lifestyle.
This just goes to show that this sport is just like the others out there, it respects its athletes that put it all on the line.