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MMA Fighters May Receive Pension Under New California Bill

Last week, California Assemblymember Matt Haney filed a Bill (AB 1136) to create a pension fund in California for mixed martial artists. The Bill would make California the first state to create a fund for mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters.

As independent contractors, MMA fighters often receive low wages. Plus, the fighters do not receive retirement nor disability benefits, forcing fighters to pay out-of-pocket for injuries from a sport that causes athletes to retire early and frequently causes long-term injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.

The new California Bill would set up a pension fund for MMA fighters that have participated in a certain number of matches in California during their careers. The money contributed to the fund would come from a portion of each ticket sold to a fight in California or via donation.

In 1982, California led the way in providing retirement protections for some fighters by creating the Professional Boxer’s Pension Fund. The boxer’s fund is valued at over $5 million for retired boxers meeting certain qualifications.

Now, California is again leading the way for mixed martial artists.

Landis Barber is an attorney at Safran Law Offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or via his blog He can be reached on Twitter @Landisbarber.

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