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Haney proposes pension fund for MMA fighters who compete in California

PIX Now -- Tuesday morning headlines from the KPIX newsroom
PIX Now -- Tuesday morning headlines from the KPIX newsroom 11:37

SACRAMENTO – A bill introduced Frday in the state Assembly would create a state-run pension fund for mixed martial arts fighters in California, which hosts more MMA fights than any other state.

Assembly Bill 1136, introduced by Assemblymember Matt Haney, D-San Francisco, would require event promoters to earmark a portion of ticket sales to help these athletes have guaranteed income after retirement, according to a press release from Haney's office.

The bill to create the MMA Fighters Pension Fund was supported by MMA fighter Ronda Rousey.

"This bill is one of the first times I'm seeing folks think of these athletes as people rather than just a product," she said in a statement. "And this bill isn't just good for the fighters, it's good for California. Fighters have a say in where fights are located, and they're going to choose to have fights here in California because it's an investment in their future."

The bill would require $1 per ticket sold to be invested into the fund, along with a percentage of sales from merchandise and other revenue sources. Fighters would become eligible after the age of 50 if they fought in at least 14 competitions in California. The amount of money they will be eligible for will depend on the length of their career and number of fights in California.

No state funding would be dedicated to the fund, according to Assemblyman Haney.

"This pension fund is the right thing to do," he said. "It allows these athletes to save money for their retirement and creates a financial safety net to pay for medical bills. It's the first of its kind in the world of MMA and it's an important step to support these athletes who make MMA one of the fastest-growing sports in the world."

A similar fund exists in California for boxers who have competed in the state. A.B. 1136 would extend the program to MMA fighters, according to Haney. 

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