The California State Legislature this week passed a bill that would create a state-run pension fund for mixed martial arts fighters in California, which hosts the most fights and most fighters of any state.
Assembly Bill 1136 or the Mixed Martial Arts Retirement Benefit Fund bill, introduced by Assemblymember Matt Haney, D-San Francisco, was overwhelmingly approved on the Senate and Assembly floors without opposition on Wednesday.
Under the legislation, event promoters like the UFC and Bellator MMA will be required to allot a portion of ticket sales to help MMA fighters have guaranteed income after retirement, according to Haney’s office.
Haney’s office clarified that the pension would not be funded by state money but “financed through ticket sales, sports paraphernalia, and souvenirs.”
“For every ticket sold, $1 would go towards the MMA Fighters Pension Fund. MMA fighters would become vested between 12-14 fights, which is around 39 scheduled rounds at Commission regulated MMA events,” Haney’s office said.
Once Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the bill, the California State Athletic Commission who will manage the new fund will begin creating it as soon as January next year, according to Haney’s office.
Notable retired MMA fighters and coaches like Ronda Rousey, Urijah Faber, Cat Zingano and Cesar Gracie, along with veteran MMA referees Herb Dean and Mike Beltran, have voiced support for the bill since its first announcement in February.
“Everyone loves you when you’re fighting in the octagon, but will any of those people be there for you when you’re in your 90s paying the price?” Rousey said.