More than just fighting was on Tony Ferguson’s mind during Thursday’s UFC 274 pre-fight press conference.
A raucous crowd in Phoenix greeted “El Cucuy,” who was reminded by one reporter that during his last fight week, he’d successfully campaigned Dana White to boost the post-fight bonuses for UFC 262. The bump, to $75,000 from the usual 50K, was a one-night only deal.
Asked if he’d make a similar request this time out, Ferguson suggested something else.
“I’d say let’s get some insurance for these fighters. Let’s raise the tier up,” he excalimed. “When they did the Reebok [outfitting] deal, they had tiers, so how many fights you had inside the octagon. I say we do the same thing. We all have families, we all have to support our systems, let’s do that sh*t man. Dana’s not here, but insurance.”
UFC President Dana White was not present during Thursday’s presser. Headliner Justin Gaethje, a former opponent of Ferguson, of course was, and he chimed in as well. “I want bigger bonuses, bigger bonuses for sure. And health insurance,” Gaethje added.
Ferguson was steadfast on the insurance idea, however, retorting “I’m a grown-ass man, I have to look [out for] my family, so insurance is cool for me.”
Insurance benefits for UFC athletes have long been mulled, but as independent contractors without a fighters union, the chances of it happening are slim. White had teased last year that long-term health benefits for fighters was a possibility, but walked those comments back soon after.