Solutions to Steroids

On Any Given Saturday yesterday, I recommended one solution (admittedly, one solution that cannot do the job itself, but can work in conjunction with…

By: Luke Thomas | 16 years ago
Solutions to Steroids
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

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:

I do not feel the UFC is obligated to conduct in-house testing for banned substances, because that is an arbitrary solution to a deeper problem. Many fans have stated that the responsibility for use of banned substances falls squarely on the fighter who chooses to take those substances. In an ideal world, these fans would be right, but if Hermes Franca has anything to say about it, they are not. A UFC contract is simply an agreement to fight in exchange for a monetary purse. The UFC has not been able to supply any medical coverage for fighters, nor do they allow any room for injuries or rehabilitation. In a UFC contract, if you fight, you make money. If not, you are screwed, and it doesn’t matter why. This is similar to a WWE contract. A professional wrestler can take time off away from the road whenever they want to, but if they haven’t saved their money they do so at the risk of losing their homes and possibly their job. At this time, UFC contracts are structured in a similar way, although professional wrestlers have a well known much harder life on the road that intensifies the banned substance situation there.

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).

List your solutions – if you’ve got one – in the comments section.

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Luke Thomas
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