Professional mixed martial arts fighters put their health and well-being at risk every day. Even the most scrupulous and seasoned practitioners may find themselves seriously injured by an errant knee or a mistimed shot, not to mention the beating they may take in competition.
Unfortunately, the very people who need health insurance the most are some of the most unlikely to be able to afford it. The typical uninsured MMA fighter is young, just starting out, and is also spending hours at a time in the cage and on the mat honing technique and working on strength and metabolic conditioning. This makes for a lifestyle that usually precludes a 9-to-5 gig that would provide full coverage.
Enter Jeremy Augusta, a Tennessee-based MMA practitioner and insurance salesman, who is also the mastermind behind Combat Sport Insurance. A student with Team Oxendine in Johnson City, TN, Augusta started training with his son about two years ago.
When the guys at Team Oxendine asked Jeremy to find them medical plans, he realized nothing exists they could afford. This is so even though, in his words, they were getting “twisted and beat up” on a regular basis. So he started to do some research and was able to work out an arrangement with a well-known insurance carrier.
An individual fighter can sign on for an accident policy. If s/he gets hurt, whether through training or in a professional bout, s/he receives a payment directly from the insurance company. This is unlike traditional policies.
Amazingly, Augusta was able to get the carrier to set up a group rate of about $25 per month (depending on which state the person resides in) that covers everything for the fighter, including injuries or issues sustained in the rest of everyday life. He also says his research shows there isn’t really anything else like this available, which means he is in the vanguard.
Augusta also works with promoters on the insurance various states require they carry to put on events, as well as with gym owners to insure martial arts academies. Further, he has relationships with travel agencies for deals on travel, lodging, and other amenities for fighters who enter promotions in multiple and far-flung geographic locations. These relationships end up being very beneficial for cross-pollination; if a promotion needs a last-minute replacement fighter, Augusta can recommend someone, set up their travel arrangements and cover their insurance.
The reaction so far has been positive, though Augusta is somewhat surprised that more people haven’t signed on. It is a new endeavor, and he is slowly building a base of fighters who use this service through word of mouth, though it is ultimately a labor of love for him.
For further information, contact Jeremy at [email protected].