The UFC announced a special conference call for today at 3:30 p.m. ET to discuss Zuffa's new insurance policy for fighters. UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta is scheduled on the call. Check back for a recap, or follow Mike Fagan on Twitter for instant updates.
The new policy will cover injuries sustained out of competition. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! reports:
Zuffa LLC, the company that owns both UFC and Strikeforce, is taking steps to erase that problem. Lorenzo Fertitta, the UFC's chairman and chief executive officer, said the company plans to offer accident insurance that will cover approximately 350 athletes in the event of out-of-competition injury, effective June 1.
Zuffa will pay 100 percent of the premiums, Fertitta said, and will have a full-time employee who will coordinate the claims process.
"This will cover accidents that occur while a fighter is under contract with us," Zuffa general counsel Lawrence Epstein said. "Those accidents could occur in training or it could also be something like an automobile accident. A fighter could be driving to the grocery store and gets involved in an automobile accident and has an injury. This policy would cover him.
"It's not a policy you would typically see in an employer-employee relationship. It's more akin to an auto insurance scenario, where any acute injury is going to be covered. Training injuries, a guy falls down the stairs, an automobile accident, those would be covered, but it wouldn't be something like the flu or some disease or illness. It would only cover accident-related injuries."
Along with their request for monitors cageside for judges, it's good to see Zuffa taking unilateral steps to improve the sport.
[Update] Just finished the call. Here are the highlights:
- Every fighter under contract with Zuffa is covered by the new policy. Covers fighters worldwide. A fighter does not need a scheduled fight to receive coverage.
- The coverage includes $50,000 per fighter per year with premiums being paid for by Zuffa. No out-of-pocket expenses for fighters.
- Lorenzo Fertitta refused to give a concrete number, but claimed that this is a "substantial" expense to the company.
- Dana White and Fertitta both stated that this was something they've been working on since purchasing the company.
- They thought they would announce the deal at Chuck's retirement, but it didn't work out. Started to look like a reality two or three months ago.
- The policy covers all in-training and accidental injuries, but will not cover common cold, etc.
- Zuffa general counsel Lawrence Epstein noted that they worked to get accidental coverage to avoid disputes between training and non-training injuries.
- Feritta mentioned that they received a round of applause from fighters at the Strikeforce summit.