A proposal in the California legislature is looking to give back to retired MMA fighters.
The topic of fighter pay and the treatment of athletes in combat sports has continued to gain traction. While Dana White and the UFC are actively attempting to squash the idea that their fighters are mistreated, many continue to call for change.
For their part, the state of California is looking to institute some change of its own. State assemblyman Matt Haney from San Francisco introduced a bill earlier this month to create a pension for MMA fighters. The bill has already gained the support of the California State Athletic Commission, and other retired athletes.
One of those retired athletes is former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey. ‘Rowdy’ competed in the promotion from 2013 to 2016, ultimately retiring after losses to Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm. Despite her own success, Rousey feels the sport should be giving more back to fighters.
Under this new proposal, $1 from every ticket sold to an MMA event in California will go to the fund. Checks will be sent out annually to fighters that are 50 and older. Furthermore, to be eligible, athletes must have competed 13 times in the sport.
It’s worth noting California already has a pension set up for retired boxers, with the average boxer receiving $19,000 from their annual check. With that in mind, an MMA pension would work in a similar way.
“We know that this is an incredibly popular sport,” Matt Haney stated in an interview with ESPN. “It’s a sport that’s growing. It’s also one that can be dangerous and people put their bodies on the line for our entertainment. And as fans, we appreciate it, but we should make sure they’re taken care of when they retire.” (h/t ESPN)
“You have a much shorter window [in MMA] because your body takes so much more of a heavier toll,” Ronda Rousey added in the interview. “The difference with these kind of combat sports, with all this contact and the neurological injuries involved, you don’t know the day that you’ve taken one hit too many. You’re going to find out that you crossed that threshold many decades later when you no longer have that extra income.
“It’s when you’re dealing with the repercussions of that career is when you no longer have that income stream.”
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