UFC 205's $1m brain injury insurance policy angers boxing promoters 5 years ago

UFC 205's $1m brain injury insurance policy angers boxing promoters

When MMA was finally legalised in New York this year, everyone knew there would be some changes on the cards.

One of the more controversial policies the New York State Athletic Commission introduced was mandatory higher insurance rates for all combat sports.


The NYSAC raised general medical coverage for fighter competing on a card from $10,000 to $50,000, and they also included a brand new $1 million minimum insurance coverage for every athlete against traumatic brain injuries.

The UFC will be the trailblazers with the latter as the promotion has secured a New York state-approved policy to insure all 26 martial artists on their landmark UFC 205 card in Madison Square Garden for up to $1 million against life-threatening brain injuries, as ESPN's Brett Okamoto reports.


The reported cost for each fighter amounts to $1,675, leaving a grand total of $43,550 for the entire event. While this may prove to be a popular policy for fighters and fans alike, it hasn't gone down to well with some members of the boxing community.

Several boxing promoters have spoken out against the policy, claiming the cost is simply too high. Lou DiBella, CEO of DiBella Entertainment, has reportedly cancelled the rest of his New York-based events scheduled for 2016, while Bob Arum of Top Rank promotions told ESPN that it could kill the sport entirely in the state.

"I don't know how you can afford that. 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. If they can't, that's sayonara for New York boxing."


Arum went even further, accusing the UFC of trying to monopolise the New York market under the new policy.

"UFC, which is a monopoly and instituted the legislation, will absolutely freeze out any MMA competitors and destroy boxing in the state the way this is written. These things don't happen by accident. But if it stays this way we cannot go to New York and promote fights. It's as simple as that."

Former UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta estimated that their organization spent more than $2 million lobbying New York legislators in the eight years prior to the sport finally being legalised in the state. Before the bill was passed in April, there had been a state-wide ban on professional MMA in New York since 1997.

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