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California is Creating an MMA Fighter’s Pension Fund

Assemblymember Haney’s AB 1136 will require Mixed Martial Arts promoters to set aside a portion of their ticket sales for a California state run retirement benefit fund for combat sports

For immediate release:
  • Nate Allbee
  • (415) 756-0561

Sacramento, CA — Today, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assemblymember Matt Haney’s (D-San Francisco) AB 1136, the Mixed Martial Arts Retirement Benefit Fund into law.  

The fund will not be paid for using State dollars. Instead, it will be financed through ticket sales, sports paraphernalia, and souvenirs. For every ticket sold, $1 would go towards the MMA Fighters Pension Fund. MMA fighters would become vested between 12-14 fights, which is around 39 scheduled rounds at Commission regulated MMA events. Champion MMA fighters nationwide have rallied in support of the bill since it was first announced earlier this year, emphasizing the importance of supporting combat sports athletes who often risk their lives for the sport. 

“I couldn’t be more thrilled that Governor Newsom has signed the MMA Pension Fund into law. This is a monumental victory for the fighters who pour their hearts and souls into this sport,” said Ronda Rousey, former Bantamweight champion and the first female athlete to have signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). “With this bill, we are revolutionizing the way we support and care for our fighters, ensuring that their hard work and sacrifice are rewarded not only in the ring but also in their retirement years.”

Other notable supporters of the bill include world champion MMA fighters Urijah Faber, Cat Zingano, renowned Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) coach Cesar Gracie and MMA all-star referee and former pro-fighter Herb Dean and Mike Beltran who have been outspoken advocates of the bill since its first announcement earlier this year.

“California is the biggest state in the country for professional mixed martial arts, with more fights, fighters, fans than any other state. The sport brings in billions of revenue worldwide, and the athletes who compete in this highly-skilled, state regulated sport, should be protected while they are in the ring and be able to live with security and dignity when they retire,” said Haney. “I am grateful to Governor Newsom for his leadership and commitment to the fighters and to the sport in California. Together, we are championing a new era of care and respect for mixed martial arts fighters in our state,” said Haney.

California is the national leader in MMA, hosting the most fights and most fighters of any state.

Currently, MMA fighters do not have a guaranteed source of income or retirement benefits once their careers have ended and many fighters have long term injuries from their time in the ring. 

“We cannot express enough gratitude to the Governor for his unwavering support and for recognizing the significance of this initiative. This is a groundbreaking moment for the sport and we couldn't be more excited to witness the positive impact it will have on the lives of our fighters. It's a new era for MMA, and we are honored to be a part of it,” said Andy Foster, Executive Officer of the CA State Athletic Commission.

Now that the Governor has signed the bill into law, the California State Athletic Commission who administers the new fund will begin the process of creating it as soon as January of 2024.