UFC Dangerous Activity Clause Won't Squash the Injury Bug

Scott HarrisMMA Lead WriterOctober 18, 2012

Donald Cerrone does him some wake boarding. (Photo credit: CombatLifestyle.com)
Donald Cerrone does him some wake boarding. (Photo credit: CombatLifestyle.com)

A little while back, word came out that the UFC announced it is adding a dangerous activities clause to new contracts.

Information on the clause, obtained earlier this month by MMAWeekly, shows that new no-nos include snowboarding, wake boarding and mountain climbing. Driving a motorcycle—no doubt influenced by the Jose Aldo situation—is also banned. Even playing in an exhibition football game is verboten.

Big caveat: the UFC clause is included only in specific fight agreements, not overall contracts with the promotion. It also doesn't do anything about injuries sustained during training, and more on that in a second.

Is it a good move? You bet. Other sports have similar clauses. A standard NFL contract prohibits players from doing anything off the field that presents "a significant risk of personal injury." Pro baseball and basketball contracts usually contain similar provisions. (Tellingly, boxing and other combat sports are often strictly prohibited.) 

Limiting the UFC clause's effectiveness is the fact that these "dangerous activity" incidents, while regrettable, represent a very small portion of fighter injuries. Most occur in training.

By my rough count, UFC fighters have sustained more than 60 fight-altering injuries in 2012 alone. The only one that resulted from an activity other than training (that we know about, anyway) was Aldo. Fighters are a high-risk, adrenaline-junkie population, of course—just ask Donald Cerrone. But it's not like this is some epidemic.

In a nutshell, then, this new clause certainly does no harm, but it only affects a small portion of injury cases a small portion of the time. Therefore, it may not mean dramatic changes in the number of fighter injuries or the number of fights canceled, changed or rescheduled. That remains a much larger and trickier challenge.