- CSAC wants to add MMA fighters to the list of pension fund beneficiaries in the state
- The commission’s executive director has laid out his plan to make the new program plausible
Over the years, there has been a wide array of former MMA fighters who have struggled financially after retirement. Now, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) is hoping to help some of them by proposing a pension program to the state’s legislators.
The first step
CSAC has recently agreed to group a subcommittee that would work on adding MMA fighters to California’s pension program for retired boxers. CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster has designed several proposals primarily about eligibility requirements for MMA fighters which will be reviewed by the subcommittee, per MMA Fighting.
Foster also proposed some viable ways to “raise additional revenue for the program which distributes money to boxers from an investment account funded by a tax on ticket sales.”
The executive director noted that CSAC only got “one shot” to have it prepared and submitted to the California legislators in the next legislative session next year. Foster stressed the need for CSAC to convince California legislators “to sponsor and pass a bill to add MMA fighters to the pension.”
“I have a feeling that if they fought here they’d be eligible for a pension,” Foster said. “It might make out state more competitive for fighters to want to be here.”
Foster is well aware that the pension fund has to be appealing to MMA fighters and recommends “lowering the number of scheduled bouts to qualify for it by scheduling 36 rounds, or between 10 and 12 fights, so they are more likely to qualify for money at retirement.” (Fighters are given credit for the full number of scheduled rounds in fights whether or not they are completed, so if a fight ends in the first round of a three-round fight, the fighter still gets credit for three rounds.), the report added.
Foster also wants funds to be distributed to licensed combatants in California – 65 percent for retired boxers and 35 percent MMA fighters.
The pension is primarily funded by small percentage (88 cents) of all tickets sold that’s “capped at $4,600 per event.” Foster eyes to have it raised “to capitalize on deep-pocketed promotions.” To do so, Foster plans to “create a specialty license plate with CSAC branding that will put $40 in the pension fund for every plate sold.” Using the said strategy, 7,500 plates are needed to be sold from now to next year for the commission to be able to fund the estimated $250,000 to $300,000 full amount of the fund.
Due to the pandemic, Foster knows that the commission “lost a sizable amount of the revenue for the pension” but he is optimistic that the above plan would be a significant help.
According to subcommittee member and new CSAC commissioner AnnMaria De Mars, mother of former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, Nick and Nate Diaz would be “ideal targets for the pension.” However, once the program takes effect on the target date, only Nick would qualify for it as he already had 12 fights in California. Nate, meanwhile, would need a couple more fights to happen in the state as he now has eight.