As the year draws to a close, many journalists try to figure out the “story of the year” for MMA. This year it is likely to be all the changes to events due to injuries and that has Chuck Fabio asking a specific question with regards to them.
“Do you think all the injuries have more to do with the fighters now having insurance?”
This is a question that has been debated back and forth and even Dana White has chimed in with his answer. But now it’s time for me to give my opinion on the matter.
I don’t think the fact that the fighters have insurance is the biggest factor in all of this. Do I think it is a part of it? Yes. But not the biggest factor in the injuries. In fact, I place insurance as the number three issue, but it could be seen as an offshoot of the number two factor.
The biggest thing I think that is causing the injuries is over training. I could be wrong, but from what I see of fighters interviews, tweets, video blogs, etc… it seems like they are training harder, longer, faster and more frequently than they did before. I think training at as high of an intensity as they are training they aren’t getting enough down time.
Think of it this way, you cut your finger with a knife and that took all of a second to do. But yet it takes days, maybe even weeks before it heals up completely. Now imagine what is going on while training without proper time to heal. Without that recovery time, the body can’t heal properly and thus eventually gets injured.
Of course this doesn’t prevent the freak accidents like a fighter breaking his hand while punching the heavy bag or getting his orbital bone broken while sparring. But the most common injury I am seeing amongst the fighters is a knee injury, and something about that location means that something is going on.
The other factor that plays a role in this is the amount of money a fighter is making. We are seeing more and more high profile fighters withdraw due to injury than lower tier guys. Why? Because they can afford to let their body heal up. Before when a fighter was making maybe $10,000 for a fight he couldn’t support his family. But with higher pay comes more financial freedom. We don’t know how much each fighter is making, but we have minimums and the amount is increasing each year.
With that said, we are also seeing more mid level fighters withdraw to injury. And this is where I think the insurance issue comes into play a little bit. A mid level fighter who before couldn’t afford to pay his medical bills and not fight was a scary thought. But now that he doesn’t have to pay the medical bills, so long as he has enough in savings, he could be fine. Might he struggle financially up until the fight? Sure. But it might be a risk he is willing to take now where as before he would just tone things down and hope for the best come fight time.
So no, I don’t think insurance is the biggest factor in all the injuries. The thing I will continue to point my finger at is training. Not many people know or even recall, but the NFL players association in their contract talks actually negotiated for less physical contact in practice citing player safety and health. The NFL has been plagued recently with former players having long term effects and now more than ever there is a focus on it. Something to consider as the sport of fighting grows.
Tags: Fighter Insurance