When 2012 is over it may most be remembered as the year of the injury.
Numerous main events, co-main events, featured bouts and even an entire card fell victim to the injury plague that has cancelled many fights from taking place this year.
While training injuries are part of the sport, the UFC and parent company Zuffa are doing their part to at least hopefully curb the injuries that happen outside the gym.
Sources have told MMAWeekly.com that new bout agreements issued for the latest round of fights that have been signed include an additional clause to prevent “dangerous activities” from taking place.
Some of these activities include snowboarding, wakeboarding, and mountain climbing, as well as driving a motorcycle or participating in any kind of exhibition game for sports like basketball or football.
The fighters enter into this new contract when signing a bout agreement for a fight being scheduled. This is not an amendment to new contracts as a whole, only bout agreements. Essentially, when a fighter signs on for a fight they are now contractually held to not participate in ‘dangerous activities’ outside of normal recreational sports like swimming or hiking.
Some of these details were recently revealed in an interview with UFC lightweight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in which he spoke about the new dangerous activities addition to contacts.
“They say you can’t snowboard, wakeboard, bungee jump, all kinds of ridiculous things, horseback riding. Which, I own horses and I will not, not ride them. So I guess I just down with Dana and figure this out. But that’s who I am, you know? I’m just wild and crazy and I need to have these things, I can’t get painted into a corner,” said Cerrone.
To clarify however, the new ‘dangerous activities’ clause is only on bout agreements in relation to eliminating these types of activities once an athlete has signed on to compete on a show.
The motorcycle clause is undoubtedly in reference to UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who recently had to drop out of UFC 153 in Brazil due to an injury caused from an accident while he was riding a motorcycle.
The other activities listed on the new bout agreements are also subject to approval from the UFC if the fighter requests and is given permission by officials.
These new bout agreements are not unlike contracts in other major sports where teams protect themselves from players participating in dangerous activities outside of the realm of training and preparation.
In 2003, Chicago Bulls guard Jay Williams suffered major injuries from a motorcycle crash that effectively ended his playing career outside of a couple failed comeback attempts. Due to the clause in his contract for ‘dangerous activities’, the Bulls legally did not have to compensate Williams anything, but ultimately paid him $3 million to help with rehabilitation costs before releasing him from his contract.
The biggest difference of course is the UFC clause for dangerous activities only applies when a fighter signs into a bout agreement. It would be similar in nature to a band or performer who signs into an agreement with a concert promoter for a set number of dates to avoid certain activities while on that tour.
When a fighter is on their own time not in a fight camp with a signed bout agreement, they are free to conduct their business however they see fit.