Fully Explaining Critical Health Insurance For MMA Fighters

An insured MMA fighter in the gym training for their fight.

Mixed martial arts may be among the fastest-growing and most popular sports in the world. But it is also amongst the most brutal and dangerous. With high injury rates and a relatively small pool of both professional and amateur fighters. Where do MMA fighters go to get health insurance or is it even available?

Health insurance is available for MMA fighters, albeit in a somewhat limited capacity. While there are specific insurers who are willing to take on the risk. With any insurer being in business to make a profit, insuring someone who has a good chance of being injured can be perceived as a greater liability.

So how do fighters go about making sure they are covered in the event of an injury? Well, in short, it is a case of searching out an insurance provider who is willing to take you on. As while most insurers will cover many of the extreme recreational activities including winter sports such as skiing.

Many choose not to specifically ensure athletes who partake in sports such as mixed martial arts. With its high injury rates and unknown long term side effects from active competition. Covering fighters for injuries or loss of earnings can be somewhat of a minefield for insurers to overcome.

But luckily for you, they do exist and so you should, depending on your location in the globe, be able to find a suitable insurer for your requirements. It’s professional fighters such a Donald Cerrone who outside of fighting in a cage. Also has a range of extreme hobbies from bungee jumping to offroad quad biking. No doubt giving both his employer and insurer some sleepless nights.

So let us take a closer look at not only what types of insurance are available. But also the nitty-gritty, as well as do’s and don’ts for people to avoid in order to not invalidate their health coverage.

Types of Insurance For MMA Fighters

So now that we know that getting insured is indeed possible. What types of insurance are out there for fighters to utilise? Well, that will be determined by what type of activities you will undertake. At what level will you be competing and how often?

There is a whole slew of factors that insurers will take into consideration before deciding to insure a fighter. With the Ultimate Fighting Championships having established insurance coverage, but only for their active fighters. Leaving those who have left the promotion or retired from the sport to often slip through the cracks.

And believe it or not, the UFC is actually leading the way in its coverage for fighters. With almost no other MMA promotion offering to insure its athletes. The UFC has set a bar for others to follow, but we can only hope the net becomes wider to cover those same athletes in their latter years.

Health Insurance Cover

With some active fighters actually going without insurance to save on expenses. It’s no wonder we often see once-promising careers ended by oftentimes innocuous injuries that simply won’t go away. Affecting their training and sometimes leads to a fighters exit from the sport.

Two MMA fighters sparring in the gym during an intense training session.
Two fighters sparring in the gym

As injuries can occur in both the fight and even during training camp in the lead up to the fight itself. Health insurance to cover any potential hospital bills should at the very least be obtained. Because believe it or not, there are some who live like their career will never end. Or they do not prepare for life without fighting.

There is a long and very public history of fighters who have not prepared for the eventuality that their career will one day come to an end. And not taking care of their bodies in a very tough sport such as mixed martial arts. Will only lead to further problems down the road.

Life Insurance For Fighters

While not a very high probability, unfortunately, there is a chance that a fighter may succumb to injuries received during active competition which leads to their death. So adding life insurance is another important part of the overall cover.

In the sport of mixed martial arts, there have been some rare instances of fighters dying, but it has happened. So it is critical to both you and your loved ones to cover all bases. And make sure that in a situation where a life is lost. This is covered by insurance to help with funeral expenses and those left behind.

Life insurance is not about protecting you the fighter, but the immediate family members who have to pick up the pieces. So make sure to think long and hard about putting it in place before you jump inside that cage.

Dental Cover Is Important

While maybe not considered an absolute essential by some, dental cover is something that many fighters can and do make use of during their careers. Regardless of the fact that all competitors must use mouthguards, they still do not offer one hundred percent protection against damage.

A boxer wearing some yellow hand wraps and a green mouthguard poses for the camera.
A fighter wearing a green mouthguard.

With a number of very well known incidents of MMA fighters losing at least some of their teeth during competition. This does not take into account the amateur mixed martial arts scene. Where if anything such injuries is most likely even higher. So you do need to definitely take into consideration this aspect of your overall health insurance package.

Disability Cover In Case Of Injury

When it comes to injuries that may put a fighter out of action for some time, or even permanently. Disability coverage is a key part of any MMA fighter insurance policy. With such high injury rates, it’s not a matter of if, but rather when you will be injured.

We would hope that any injury would only have you out of the sport for a limited time. But unfortunately, there are instances where a fighter may receive a career-ending injury. It is a truly heartbreaking aspect of the sport that often goes underreported. And so many athletes may either be unaware or unwilling to consider it may happen to them.

But all too often it is the case that fighters need to prepare the groundwork for the inevitable injuries so come. Don’t wait until the last moment like some. Only to be left without a safety blanket when you need it the most.

Average Health Insurance Costs

The table below takes in data from the lowest to the highest rates to be paid by event organisers. So this information relates specifically to the costs incurred by the event promoter who needs to insure both the fighters themselves. As well as the attendees of the event from any potential injuries.

PlanMax Medical benefitAccidental DeathDeductiblesPremium
Amateur Lowest$2,500$2,500$500$825
Amateur Highest$20,000$50,000$5000$1,452
Professional Lowest$25,000$20,000$500$2,063
Professional Highest$100,000$100,000$5,000$6,320
Sampled accident coverage rates data

For the ongoing post-fight cover, competitors will have to shop around to find what is currently available on the market. But with mixed martial arts expanded into so many parts of the combat sports world. I have few doubts that overtime policies will continue to improve and also get cheaper.

But it is important that we dig down into the meat of these policies to see what waits under the hood. With a range of aspects to consider, it’s critical that you find the most suitable coverage for your specific needs.

Accident Medical Insurance and Accident Death Insurance

With limits ranging from $2,500 up to $100,000 as stated in the above table. The coverage requirements are decided upon by the state athletic commission itself. There will also be limitations in terms of the number of fights in which an athlete can partake.

Participant Accident Coverage

During any event covered under a policy, all participants are covered for any eventualities. This does come with some limitations and exclusions as stated below. The coverage will also extend to the participants travel to and from the event. So in the eventuality that a fighter is hurt outside the cage. In this instance that is also covered by the main MMA event policy.

Maximum Medical Expense Benefit

Any eligible expenses incurred as a result of an injury that happened during an insured event will be covered for up to one year after the event itself. The coverage amount is limited to the stated rates in the above table. Fighters who exceed those stated benefits need to apply for more specialised health insurance, specific to their needs.

Accidental Death and or Dismemberment

Certain policies will cover an insured person for up to one year after an event. Including the full principal sum in a case of loss of life. The full principal sum may also be paid out in the instance of a double dismemberment, or in the loss of sight in both eyes. Up to half of the principal sum where one limb or one eye is lost. And finally up to twenty-five percent payout for the loss of an index finger and thumb, on one hand.

Insurance Limitations and Exclusions

So while most avenues are covered in terms of fighter insurance. There are still some exemptions that will not be covered and will in some cases invalidate the current policy. Athletes should be aware of this when purchasing their policy, so they do not make the mistake of invalidating their coverage.

Some Final Thoughts

As an active MMA fighter, finding high-quality health insurance can be somewhat of a minefield. As with one policy, you may have what you require in one area. Only to find the coverage severely lacking in another. With many companies choosing to steer clear of insuring athletes in such a demanding, injury-prone sport. You can understand their reluctance.

But do not be discouraged, knowing that when you begin your journey. You will at the very least be covered in the gym while training. And that when it comes time to compete, the event itself will have a policy in place to cover any eventualities. However, it’s the post-fight aspect that you need to think long and hard about.

In a sport which takes no prisoners. When the crowds have gone and the income has dried up. Don’t you be the one left holding the bag and dealing with life-altering damage.