The recent case of a severely injured boxer, Z ‘The Dream’ Gorres, has led the Nevada Athletic Commission and members of congress in Nevada to consider raising state insurance requirements for athletes who participate in state sanctioned boxing and martial arts bouts.
An article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Nevada taxpayers are responsible for Gorres’ $450,000 tab.Â The state of Nevada currently requires promoters of boxing matches and martial arts fights to provide fighters with $50,000 of medical coverage. Gorres remains in the publicly funded University Medical Center hospital in Las Vegas after sustaining a severe traumatic brain injury in a fight with Luis Melendez at Mandalay Bay.
Gorres still requires further treatment to the tune of $45,000, the article reported. Doctors at the University Medical Center want Gorres to receive the treatment at their hospital instead of in his home country, the Phillippines. Dr. Richard Ongtengco told the Review-Journal that he is ‘hesitant to send back to the Philippines for the procedure because I’m not sure he can get it done right there.’
In response to the media attention given to the Gorres case, members of Nevada congress are working with the Nevada Athletic Commission and hospital officials to determine possibilities for developing a fund to provide for injured fighters. Boxing and mixed martial arts fights bring a great deal of revenue to Nevada. The Review-Journal article reported on a recent study by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority revealed that almost $200 million came into the Nevada economy from 20 major fights since only 2005.
Nevada has the most stringent requirements in the nation for medical insurance coverage for fighters at $50,000 per injured fighter. Some states only require promoters of fights to provide for $2500 for an injured fighter. As demonstrated by Gorres’ case, a traumatic brain injury sustained by a fighter can cost upwards of half a million dollars. That doesn’t include months and sometimes years worth of expensive rehabilitation.
Pat Lundvall, the chairwoman of the Nevada Athletic Commission, said in the article that she ‘envisions a monetary pool for catastrophic injuries being funded through a small percentage of both ticket sales and pay-per-view sales in Nevada.’ With millions of dollars reportedly flowing into the Nevada economy from boxing and martial arts fights, hopefully a percentage of it will go to providing much needed medical coverage for the star attractions of the lucrative events.
Harasim, Paul. (January 6, 2010) ‘Boxer’s treatment costs spur look at injury fund.’ Retrieved on January 10, 2010 from the Las Vegas Review-Journal website:http://www.lvrj.com/news/boxers-treatment-costs-spur-look-at-injury-fund…