Jonny “Bones” Jones: A lot of us fighters just need to get a little better about our professionalism. Like me personally, I don’t have health insurance. And, you know? I should have health insurance, so it’s just...
James Ryan: Are you covered through the UFC?
JJ: No, not at all.
JR: Not at all?
JJ: I mean—if you get hurt during an MMA match, then you’re completely covered.
JR: But if you went outside right now, and got hit by a car racing down the street, you’re on your own, right?
JJ: I’m on my own.
Desolate Warrior, specifically deals with the life and struggles of former WEC fighter, Will Ribeiro, who was tragically injured in Brazil while riding his motorcycle (he was struck by two racing taxi cabs as he was backing out of his friend’s driveway).
At the time, Will had no health coverage that extended beyond the MMA bouts themselves, thus leaving himself in a very desperate, life-threatening situation with no obvious resources or support of any kind.
Professional MMA fighters continuously put their livelihoods and futures at risk, each and every time that they train for an event—or even attempt to cross the street for that matter.
It’s great that all UFC athletes have been given medical coverage while participating in an actual fight, but many of them barely earn enough money to support themselves or their families, let alone to have the “luxury” of additional health care protection, should they need it for any other additional reasons.
It is a situation that has unfortunately left many warriors without the ability to effectively compete in this sport, or in some cases—to survive.
Well, there definitely seems to be a bit of good news on the horizon regarding this issue...
Today, it has been reported that Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brand, has announced that the nearly 350 independently contracted athletes (UFC and Strikeforce) will now be eligible for customized accident insurance coverage.
The coverage will be underwritten by Houston Casualty Insurance Company, and will complement the existing event coverage that the company already provides its athletes.
This unprecedented policy will cover accidental injuries suffered by athletes while training, as well as, non-training incidents such as automobile (or motorcycle) accidents.
UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta is expected to discuss this topic in further detail today on a media conference call at 3:30 pm ET.
The new policies will add 24-hour worldwide medical life insurance and dental coverage, as well as, emergency medical evacuation.
Zuffa apparently plans to pay 100 percent of the premiums for its athletes, and will have an employee who is specifically dedicated to the handling and filing of 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 that complements the gold standard we have set for event-related coverage. We’re pleased to provide coverage that enables our athletes to seek and receive treatment for injuries sustained while preparing for bouts.”—UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta
“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. We’re proud to give our athletes access to this type of insurance.”—UFC President Dana White
All around, I would have to say that this is great news indeed for all UFC athletes, and in light of my recent findings in Desolate Warrior, this news couldn’t have come at a better time for the UFC and the fighters that they employ.
It’s just too bad that a major problem still exists for all MMA fighters that are not currently affiliated with the UFC.
And let’s not forget about the possibility of long-term health planning for UFC athletes, even if they are no longer fighting within the company. Post-trauma effects from brain injuries sustained through concussions are still a growing concern for many.
One step at a time I guess.
Jonny “Bones” Jones: Yeah, and I try to do smart things, you know? And not get hurt, but you never know when you’re gonna get hurt, and it’s pretty silly that I don’t have health coverage, especially the way that I train.
James Ryan: Well, you may leave here now and go get health insurance. [Big smile]
JJ: You better watch your mouth! [Laughs]
JJ: You just might get hit by a car.
JR: I might. [Laughs]
JJ: I’ll go up to Canada, and go to the doctor.
JR: That’s what you gotta do, yeah. I’ll adopt you and then you’ll be covered.
JJ: Alright, cool.
JJ: Alright, big daddy. [Big hug for James]
These are my opinions. If you don’t like them...I have others. Check them out at www.mrjamesryan.com
I had to self-publish my book through this particular website, because otherwise, it would have taken too long to go through a standard Publisher (upwards of 12-months) with no guarantee that it would have been made available in Brazil. I couldn't risk it, so I am doing this myself—which is also a very big risk. Your support is appreciated as a large portion of proceeds will be going directly to help Will Ribeiro.
Lulu.com is great because they offer print-on-demand services, and buyers have the choice of either purchasing a paperback book (shipped anywhere that FedEx delivers), or to save time and money, readers can also purchase an eBook.