California Proposes Bill That Would Give Pension For Retired MMA Fighters, Earns Support Of Ronda Rousey

Assemblymember Matt Haney talks about a proposed bill which would give back to fighters.

Ronda Rousey Gina
Image via @rondarousey Instagram

Fighters who hung up the gloves may rest easy, should a proposed bill pass in California.

A New Bill

The California legislature has proposed a bill regarding a pension fund for retired MMA fighters, who have fought a number of times in the state. Bill sponsor and Assemblymember Matt Haney, a democrat for San Francisco, broke the news to ESPN on Friday.

The pension bill debuted in Assembly on Feb. 15 and Haney has high hopes that it will pass into a law later into the year. When it comes to the Assembly floor, the earliest it can be heard is March 18.

California has the opportunity to make combat sports history a second time around. They are the first and only state to have a pension fund for retired boxers and they now look to recreate it with retired MMA fighters. 

“We know that this is an incredibly popular sport,” Haney said. “It’s a sport that’s growing and it’s also one that can be dangerous and people put their bodies on the line for our entertainment. And as fans, we appreciate it, but we should make sure they’re taken care of when they retire.”

How The Pension Fund Will Work

Should the bill be passed into a law, $1 from each MMA event ticket sold will go into the pension fund. Then, retired fighters 50 years or older with a certain number of fights in California will be given checks every year.

“I hope to see a lot of other states replicate this type of model,” Haney added. “I hope to see us find ways to grow the amount of revenue that we can put in. We’ve had a good set of conversations with some of the promoters and hopefully we can get them to be more invested in it as well and ultimately they can make even larger contributions to this fund.”

‘Rowdy’ Reacts

This bill will surely garner support from MMA fighters across the board. One fighter that is already showing support for the bill is former UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, who was surprised by the ‘humanity’ behind the proposal.

“I was really almost like shocked and encouraged by humanity [that] anyone is even thinking of the fighters after they’re not fighting anymore,” Rousey said. “I just kind of thought that nobody cares ever, that they only want to see us punch each other and it’s really cool and then they forget about us and don’t ever think about us for a second after that.

“This is the first time I’ve really felt that anyone is actually thinking about the fighters themselves, not just the fight, and actually cares about the people and not thinking of us as a product. And if this doesn’t pass, I’ll be extremely disappointed.”

Rousey continued.

“I can’t think of a single reason why all of these fighters who are literally fighting their hearts out and putting their lives on the line to entertain people haven’t had this support already. And I’m really keeping my fingers crossed — if I could cross them, because they’re so damaged from fighting — that this will pass.”

Published on February 24, 2023 at 9:55 am
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