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Fight Week! - Is Health Insurance the Problem?Posted on July 5, 2012 at 03:15 PM.
Georges St. Pierre v. Nick Diaz
Jose Aldo v. Erik Koch
Dominick Cruz v. Urijah Faber
Mark Hunt v. Stefan Struve
Big Nog vs. Cheick Kongo
Gabriel Gonzaga v. Roy Nelson
Lil’ Nog v. Alexander Gustaffson
Thiago Silva v. Shogun Rua
Brandon Vera v. Thiago Silva
Mark Munoz v. Chael Sonnen
Michael Bisping v. Tim Boestch
Brian Stann v. Hector Lombard
Vitor Belfort v. Wanderlei Silva
Thaigo Alves v. Yoshihiro Akiyama
Evan Dunham v. Edson Barbosa
The list above is just a sampling of the number of UFC fights that have been cancelled because of injury in 2013. In this list, there are three championship fights, six main events and two co-main events. This is the worst run of injuries in the short history of the promotion and it occurs during one of its most important periods…the first year of the Fox deal. Every single UFC card in 2013 has had a fight change because of injuries. This run also occurs after the UFC made an unprecedented decision by providing health care insurance to every fighter under a Zuffa contract. Is it possible that the increase of injuries is due to the existence of medical insurance?
Before 2011, the UFC’s medical insurance plan only covered fighters for injuries that occurred during a UFC fight. That means if a fighter was injured while training or during any other activity, the fighter either had to cover costs for his injuries out of his own pocket or with his own personal health insurance. I know, I know. Health insurance coverage and the fact that fighters do not have to go into debt to pay for medical treatment are good things. Still, I think its more than a coincidence that the number of fighters pulling out of fights has significantly increased since Zuffa/UFC changed its insurance policy. Without coverage, fighters are likely to take more caution during training and are less likely to overtrain because they would be responsible for all costs. Also, prior to 2011, fighters were less likely to pull out of fights because 1) they need the fight money they receive for showing up to fight and 2) they could claim the injury occurred during the fight and the UFC’s insurance would cover them. Now, each fighter is completely covered and it makes it less likely that a fighter will fight through an injury.
Last Thursday, I watched a segment on Spike TV’s MMA Uncensored about the injury issue. Former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar stated that there is a difference between being hurt and injured and that fighters should push through pain and only pull out of fights if significantly injured. I completely agree with those statements and am afraid that many fighters today are refusing to fight unless they believe that they are 100% before entering the cage. The fact is no one actually enters the cage 100%. Today’s fighters are training against world-class athletes and are bound to become hurt during a 8-12 training camp. I’m not saying that fighters like GSP and Cruz (Torn ACLs) shouldn’t pull out of fights when significant injuries occur but most fans would appreciate if more fighters pushed through minor injuries and competed in the fights they were originally scheduled to fight in.
I’m interested to get everyone’s thoughts on MMA’s current injury bug, what effects the UFC’s new insurance policy has had on injuries and what more can be done to prevent injuries. Are you OK with fighters pulling out of fights when they aren’t 100%?
Fight Week Recap:
- Not much Boxing or MMA last weekend so I caught up with a couple of my favorite mid-level boxers on Showtime. I was a big fan of the Contender television series and one of my favorite fighters from that series is Cornelius “K9” Bundrage. Bundrage finished third in season 2 of the Contender and showed considerable power and skill during those fights. Since “The Contender”, he’s gone 9-2-1, beat legit competition like Cory Spinks, Sechew Powell and Kassim Ouma and signed with Don King. The King signing was a big mistake because King has practically benched him for two years and has forced him into low profile bouts since he beat Spinks for a light middleweight title in 2010. So the good news is after two years he gets to fight again. The bad news is he has to fight Spinks again who doesn’t deserve a rematch much less a title shot (Bundrage KO’d Spinks in the 5th round of their first fight).
Spinks is a fighter I’ve been a fan of for years but it has nothing to do with his in-ring ability. See, I love fighter walkouts. For example, I became a fan of Naseem Hamed before even watching his fights just because his walkouts were incredibly entreating. So back in 2005, Spinks fought Zab Judah in his hometown of St. Louis and was lead to the ring by St. Louis native and hip-hop star Nelly. Here is a link to the walkout: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GW3c4IbX-E (Start at the 14:00 mark). I have never heard a crowd more amped during a fighter walkout then at that fight.
So after all the fanfare of the walkout, Spinks proceeded to get knocked out by Judah in round 9. Since then he’s done a lot more losing and only continues to get title shots because of his name (He’s the son of former heavyweight champion Leon Spinks) and because he’s one of Don King’s last remaining marketable fighters. Last Saturday, he lost again by KO to Bundrage. It was an ugly fight with a scary ending as Spinks was battered around the ring and knocked down 3 times in the 7th round. For Bundrage, he now may get a shot at Saul “Canelo” Alverez on September 15 in the biggest fight of his career. For Spinks, its not likely the end of the road but it should be. He’s 3-4 in his last 7 and no longer has the chin, speed or boxing ability to fight at a[/size] high level anymore.
BORN: September 25, 1977 (35)
JOINED: Jul 18, 2002 (10 years, 307 days ago)
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JOINED: Jul 18, 2002 (10 years, 307 days ago)
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