While a big deal has been made about the positive impact of the new health insurance policy that Zuffa has given their fighters there is one possible negative side affect that I haven't heard mentioned- will this cause more fighters to pull out of scheduled fights?
There is no doubt that health insurance is a great thing for the fighters and the long term viability of the sport. However, now that the fighters know that they don't have to shoulder as much of the cost of their medical treatment as they used to it makes it much more likely that they will want to get any medical treatment taken care of before the fight in which case they will have to postpone or cancel any upcoming fight that they are scheduled for.
From what I understand the insurance only covers injuries suffered in training, not during a fight. If a guy has an arm or leg injury that before they would have just fought through they are now taking a big monetary risk by just "toughing it out" and waiting until after the fight to see a doctor. It only makes financial sense for the fighter to have it taken care of on Zuffa's dime rather than their own.
I don't want to make it sound as if I am criticizing a fighter for wanting to do this, it makes perfect sense and if I were in their position I would probably do the same, but it may cause more headaches for Zuffa brass than they had previously considered. The UFC is already dealing with injuries to 3 of their 7 champs (plus Georges St Pierre but his is apparently healed) and the next 4 numbered cards have all had their main events impacted due to fighters getting hurt. We all remember cards like UFC 108 which seemed to be cursed from the day it was announced. I wonder if we will have to deal with more of these types of events in the future.
We as fight fans hate seeing a card get shuffled due to injury, especially if we have purchased a ticket to the event (not to mention spending money on travel and hotel) but I think it's probably something we're going to see more and more of in the future. In the long term the health of fighters is obviously the top priority and will make for a better sport but there may be some unintended consequences to deal with because of it.