When Combate Americas CEO (and co-founder of the UFC) Campbell McLaren heard the news that Titan FC fighter Deivison Ribeiro had been injured in his last bout and was stuck with a $60,000 medical bill with little to no help from the promotion, he knew he needed to help out.
"It's our community and our business," McLaren said to Champions. "First thing — I felt pretty bad. Not only is he hurt and getting a huge bill, but he's not going to be able to fight for quite a while. On the business side I was worried that this could impact all promotions, not just the one he fought for. On a personal side I think there is a morality thing that you have to face up to when you have men and women fight for entertainment."
Ribeiro, broke his leg during his bout with Andre Harrison in the co-main event for #TitanFC, he was told that the promotion would not cover the entire injury and to seek help from his fans.
"I tried talking to the promoters. I just want this hospital bill taken care of. I don’t want to make any money above and beyond that. I’m not looking for any personal gain, even though I have other bills I can’t pay," Ribeiro told MMAJunkie. “In short, the bill is mine, and not their problem. They suggested starting a GoFundMe page to raise the money from my fans, and from whomever takes pity on me. I can walk again. I don’t want to take advantage of donations, when the bill should go to the promotion or the insurance company.”
McLaren gave Ribeiro gave $5,000 and put him in touch with Aspira A Más, a health insurance company, who is looking to help Ribeiro further.
"I wanted to give him some money because, kind thoughts are good, but money helps," McLaren said.
But just donating money to Ribeiro wasn't enough for Campbell who then set out to see how he could protect his fighters from a similar fate.
First he looked over his insurance plans to confirm that his fighters, if hurt in competition, would be fully covered - and they are. Then he, and Combate Americas sponsor Aspira A Más set out to figure out a way to extend the insurance coverage and help the fighters create income in their free time.
"We're partnering with Aspira A Más to set up our fighters to become insurance reps to make money in their free time," McLaren explained. "I know it sounds funny imagining them knocking on doors to sell insurance, but they will be more like the face of it."
He says that once these fighters become the reps they will have full time health insurance, which is a win-win.
"We are structuring this now, Ricardo Palacios is the first one we are trying it with. He can be the front guy," he said.
Campbell also explained that with the current political changes, insurance will be even more important, and everyone deserves to be covered — somehow, and that we as a country just need to agree on who pays for it.
This would be the first program of it's kind initiated by a promotion for it's fighters.
Combate Americas will be making their Mexico debut on Thursday, January 19. Combate Americas 10 airs live on #UFCFightPass, Azteca, and ESPN Latin America.