Speaking to ESPN’s Dan Rafael last month, veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum questioned whether any insurance company would actually be willing to write a policy covering a cards worth of combat athletes for up to $1 million in case of traumatic brain injury.
Arum was responding to the fact that a new law passed earlier this year to legalise MMA in the state of New York included the proviso that all combat sports promoters would be required to take out such policies for each and every event.
“I don’t know how you can afford that,” Arum said. “Paying the premium on that policy is probably more than the gate receipts you can take in on some cards so if that stands we couldn’t do shows there. I don’t even know if they can find a company to write a policy for that.”
However, it appears that AIG is willing to write policies of this nature and the UFC is prepared to pay the premium.
At a total cost of $43,550, or $1,675 per fighter, MMA’s global juggernaut has availed of an insurance policy which will cover each competitor set to feature on the promotion’s upcoming UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden for up to $1 million in case of a traumatic brain injury. This is in addition to the $50,000 of general medical coverage afforded to each fighter.
UFC officials provided these financial details to ESPN journalist Brett Okamoto, who also managed to confirm with the New York State Department that the policy had indeed been granted state approval.
UFC 205 will be the first event that the promotion has staged in the state of New York since September 8th 1995, when ‘The Brawl in Buffalo’ took place at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, and it will be the first UFC event ever to take place in New York city itself.
Despite AIG’s willingness to write the policy and the UFC’s willingness to fork over the necessary sum, Arum’s previous point is still somewhat valid. The Top Rank CEO may be able to afford to cover these added costs when he brings some of the bigger names from his stable to New York, but for smaller promoters involved in MMA, boxing or any other combat sports genre, this measure could have a crippling effect.
Check out the latest episode of The Fighting Irish podcast in which Seamus Raftery speaks to John Connor, co-founder of the Irish Strength Institute, about his work with Conor McGregor.