If you have ever watched the UFC then you’re probably aware that these men get injured quite often. I mean they are professional fighters they know the risks that come with the sport. What some people may not know is that there is a debate going on as to whether UFC fighters are covered with medical insurance. After searching through numerous sources of information I have found a good amount of info on the subject but most of it’s contradicting other sources. The situation is bizarre to say the least as several sources claim the fighters have insurance while others claim they don’t have insurance.
One of the most popular stories in this specific debate the one of Kalib Starnes. The fighter entered the UFC via the Ultimate Fighter and would go on to have some success in the company. But things hit a major snag when he lost a fight due to a cut on his forehead. Kalib Starnes would go on to say that he made $5,000 for the fight and that it barely even covered his expenses for the fight. In a later interview he would even go on to add that he had to pay for food, travel, accomodations, coaches, cornermen, blood tests, eye exam, pre fight medical exam and a MRI all before the fight and this all came out of his pocket. As I mentioned in the opening other sources both confirm and deny that these statements are true.
The following paragraph is a major hit against those saying that the UFC doesn’t cover fighters with medical expenses. The athletic commissions require organizations to have medical insurance for each of the fighters on their events. For example the Nevada State Athletic Commission requires at least $50,000 worth of medical insurance coverage for each licensed fighter. They also state that any hospital, medical or surgical care resulting from the fights will be reimbursed by the insurance provider of the company. So if you go by that statement from the athletic commission it would seem that every UFC fighter has at least $50,000 of medical insurance for each fight. The story involving Tito Ortiz and UFC’s insurance provider (AIG) denying his medical claims would support the case that the fighters have some sort of assumed medical coverage.
Well we have information from the athletic commission so that is the end of the story right? Not quite. Both UFC President Dana White and former champion Forrest Griffin are on the record saying that the fighters have no insurance and are left to handle insurance independently. Apparently in the standard UFC contract the fighters accept any physical harm and understand they are seen as independent contractors. So as you can see the situation is very cloudy to say the least. The athletic commission says they are required to have insurance and then the UFC president says they don’t have insurance. Kalib Starnes states he had to pay all his own medical expenses but other sources claim they are reimbursed for those expenses. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle and the issue is handled by the UFC on a fighter by fighter basis.
Source(s) – http://www.mmarated.com/blogs/blog/20081012/the_real_issue-870.html , http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=7313&zoneid=4 , http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/boxing/bal-whiteqa122,0,3575746.story , http://www.cagetoday.com/kalib-starnes-releases-official-statement/