Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney sees a day when fighters are contractually restricted from dangerous activities, as they are in other professional sports leagues.
It may be necessary to prevent the recent scenario in which UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo (21-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was forced to withdraw from a headliner against Frankie Edgar (14-3-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) at UFC 153.
"First of all, big Jose Aldo fan," Rebney on Wednesday told MMAjunkie.com Radio (MMAjunkie.com Radio | MMAjunkie.com
). "But second of all … really? You've got a major fight coming up."
Such restrictions prevent NBA players from picking up a basketball and playing a pickup game. But they also apply to activities such as riding a motorcycle, which statistically is more dangerous than driving a car.
Of course, it's a far more common activity in a country such as Brazil, which Aldo calls home. But with the money at stake in a pending fight, Rebney said promotions can't afford to gamble.
"Motorcycles are dangerous – it's as simple as that," he said. "If your job is competing at the highest levels of 145 pounds on Earth, man, riding a bike is just a very tough one to make sense of."
The UFC is currently searching for a replacement opponent for Aldo. Edgar's camp has signaled his willingness to fight at UFC 153, which takes place Oct. 11 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, or a later event.
Aldo isn't the only UFC fighter to take a spill on a bike. Extreme sports enthusiast Donald Cerrone took a bad one while doing motocross and told Sherdog.com he "kind of spilled his guts out" and re-aggravated the injury prior to a fight with Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FUEL TV 3. Amazingly, he turned in a dominating performance and won via decision.
Cerrone probably shouldn't have been doing motocross in the first place, though.
"I think especially as the numbers get bigger and we make the transition to Spike and transition into bigger and bigger events, I could completely conceptualize contract terms that prohibit fighters from riding a motorcycle on the street," Rebney said. "It doesn't matter how good of a rider you are. All it takes is one idiot to change lanes without looking, and you're done.
"It's a pity because [Aldo] is a heck of a fighter, he's a great talent, and he's fun to watch fight, but that's just one of those things you can eliminate.(I think of) Paul 'The Punisher' Williams. Great, great boxer … rides a motorcycle and breaks his back. That's one that most guys, from a common sense perspective, could mark off the list."