A disgruntled former middleweight champion took the microphone in Salt Lake City to air a list of grievances about how things are being run today in the UFC. Rockhold hit on everything from fighter pay, to fight night bonus structure and more. One key point that stuck with UFC president Dana White, was his perception of fighter healthcare.
“These guys don’t know what they’re doing, and they’re letting Dana just run the show and suppress the sport,” Rockhold told reporters, including MMA Junkie at Wednesday’s media day. “They need to grow. This whole f*cking thing needs to grow together. Our lives are on the f*cking line. Healthcare needs to be taken care of. Our f*cking health needs to be taken care of. Mine has not been taken care of.”
White heard the comments from Rockhold, and he took exception to his claim. Furthermore, the UFC boss explained the promotion has been working on long-term healthcare for its fighters when their days of competing inside the octagon are over.
“That’s something we’ve been working on since day one,” White told TSN. “While they’re fighting here, these guys are very well taken care of, and so is Luke Rockhold.”
The former champ has dealt with a number of health issues throughout his career. Ahead of UFC 199, Rockhold admitted he was training with a torn MCL. He went on to compete anyway and lost to Michael Bisping. After the fight, his knee worsened and got a stem cell procedure, ultimately leading to a UFC Fight Night 101 main event fight cancelation against Ronaldo Souza.
Rockhold would make it to the cage to face Yoel Romero for the vacant interim middleweight title in early 2018. However, a few months later, a “nightmare” injury to his surgically repaired leg occurred, forcing him to pull out of his UFC 230 bout against Chris Weidman.
Rockhold’s attempt to return to action in 2021 was stopped when he was forced out of the UFC 268 bout against Sean Stickland due to herniated L4 and L5 discs in his back. According to White, throughout all of his troubles, he did not have to worry about his healthcare.
“Luke Rockhold was above and beyond taken care of with the issues that he had here,” White said. “I don’t give a sh*t what health insurance plan you have, they would have never covered the things that we covered for Luke Rockhold when he was going through his stuff. Everything he said was absolute f*cking gibberish and absolute bullsh*t.”
While White is unable to provide a timeline for accomplishing the goal of providing long-term healthcare, he maintains it is something that is a focus point for the promotion since he became president 21 years ago.
“Everybody who fights here gets unbelievable healthcare,” White said. “Unbelievable healthcare. I mean, we don’t even sew people up with regular doctors. If it’s bad enough, we send them to plastic surgeons to get sewn up.”
Rockhold returns to action at UFC 278 to face Paulo Costa in the co-main event at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 278.