Office meetings, health insurance, pensions ... fighting in the UFC is starting to sound like a "real" job.
Even if it isn't, it still has "real" consequences. Like what happens when the fights stop coming and the sponsors go away but the bills keep piling up.
While mixed martial arts (as a professional sport) is still in its infancy, it's not too early to start thinking about the long term plan for full-time fighters. Developing a UFC pension could help keep this generation of cage combatants from taking fights in high school gyms or backyard barbecues in order to pay the electric bill.
But as UFC President Dana White explains to The Canadian Press, it's not as easy as it sounds:
"We're trying to prevent a situation where guys retire with nothing. In this sport, we have guys that are going to make millions of dollars. We have guys that are going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you've got guys that are going to make a few bucks and then they're going to have to get a real job. That's the reality of life in a professional sport. Hopefully no matter what tier or level you're on, you've got a guy who comes in here and he can put off his home. And he owns his house free and clear for the rest of his life. There's going to be guys that can do that, there's going to be guys who can own four homes. Yes, if we can figure something out for a fighter pension, yes, that's something we'd love to do too. It's a tough thing to do. Guys are like 'I need all that money and I want it now.' So it sounds like a great idea and it sounds like something to do, but it's a lot harder than people think."
Hard ... but not impossible.
Zuffa recently announced the introduction of customized accident insurance coverage underwritten by Houston Casualty Insurance Company designed to complement existing event coverage to nearly all of the 350 athletes competing on the UFC and Strikeforce rosters.
The expanded policy now adds "24-hour worldwide medical life insurance and dental coverage, as well as emergency medical evacuation," in addition to paying 100-percent of the insurance premiums.
Fighters are being protected now and if the UFC can "figure it out," they'll hopefully be protected in the future as well.