On Any Given Saturday yesterday, I recommended one solution (admittedly, one solution that cannot do the job itself, but can work in conjunction with other solutions) to the steroid problem in MMA: higher purses. I don't believe that would work for every sport, but given the constant issue of sub-standard fighter pay - even at the highest levels - it's certainly worth further consideration.
411mania argues fighter stipends, manadatory health coverage, and contract restructing is in order. Notable quote:
What the UFC is obligated to do in order to save the sport is adjust their contracts. I am a technology contractor myself and I see no reason why a UFC athlete's contract cannot look like mine. The first thing the UFC needs to offer fighters is pay-in medical insurance, deducted directly from a fighter's purse. This will allow fighters to quickly manage injuries effectively, increase morale, and give the UFC a heads up on the status of each fighter. It won't be cheap, but it can be done quite easily with the amount of purchasing power the UFC currently has. The second thing the UFC needs to offer is a minimum advance in the event of injury. If a fighter is injured and cannot fight, they should not have to worry about putting food on their table just so the UFC can make their precious super fight happen on the proper date. Fighters should have the option to borrow an advance against a minimum losing purse ($2000 ought to do it) during which time they can rest their minds about the rent being paid and focus on rehabbing and getting back into the octagon as soon as possible (with a $2000 deduction from their purse, win or lose).