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Medical Exams for MMA Fighters-how to handle the cost!

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Medical Exams for MMA Fighters-how to handle the high cost!

If you’re an MMA fighter, promoter or work for your state’s Athletic Commission, chances are you’ve had medical report issues that may have delayed, or even prevented, a scheduled fight. Such delays can be costly to everyone involved – not just in terms of money, but time, resources, current effort, stress, credibility and more.

The answer? According to Jan Hubbard, the creation and maintenance of a national database of fighter medical information, easily available to members with paid access, including fighters and their representatives, state commissions and promoters. In fact, Hubbard, who used to maintain just such a database for the now defunct IFL, has developed just such a program, through MedLic, LLC, where Hubbard serves as CEO and founder.

According to their website: “MedLic, LLC is the original Medical Record Database Company assisting both amateur and professional fighters in the boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts sports industry. MedLic was founded in mid-2008 by a team of experts who work in the industry and recognized the need in assisting amateur and professional combative fighters in obtaining their license to compete. In doing so, MedLic has enabled all fighters, sports medicine doctors and all U.S. Territories, North American Tribal Commissions and Canadian Athletic Commissions to have access to a centralized records database to help expedite licensing procedures.”

This is a unique and valuable concept that has been sorely needed!  It also raises the question of not just legitimacy in medical reports, but the need for consistency in medical requirements from state to state.


For example, if Thiago Alves had fought in South Carolina, he might never have found out about his brain abnormality and obtained treatment for it, because South Carolina does not require the same medical exams required by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission (NJSAC).

In his pre-fight medical exam, the abnormality was discovered. Subsequent tests revealed that an artery in Thiago’s brain was dangerously close to becoming fused with a neighboring vein. Dr. Wulkan, the NJSACB medical official credited with discovering his condition, found a discrepancy between a CT scan image done on the Brazilian fighter in 2005, and one he had taken a week before the ill-fated fight with Fitch.

Alves himself has now said he believes that if it weren’t for the stringent, necessary medical testing procedures the NJSACB’s require fighters to undergo and pass before granting them an MMA license in the Garden State, he never would have known that he had this condition in his brain and could have suffered an aneurysm, internal bleeding or worse – death, as although it would not necessarily have proven fatal under normal circumstances, had the two vessels joined, his chances of mortality would have increased tenfold.


Michael Kirkham, an MMA fighter out of South Carolina, was not as fortunate. Without the same level of medical exam requirements, Kirkham fought on June 26th at an MMA event – and after being knocked out during the fight, never recovered and sadly, passed away on June 28th. At this time, it’s unknown if the brain hemorrhage that led to his death was pre-existing. If not, then there was nothing anyone could have done. If it was, and if a complete medical exam had shown the abnormality before his fight, then this tragedy may have been avoided.

But we aren’t talking about blame at this point. We need to move forward and make sure that Kirkham’s tragic death was not in vain, and that an important lesson was learned.

Here’s what we need: 1) Before fighting, MMA fighters MUST have a complete medical exam. 2) Medicals must be kept up-to-date. 3) The requirements for medical exams must be consistent nationwide, and they should definitely include more than just a basic medical screening. 4) Medical records must be easily accessible by MMA fighters and their teams, state athletic commissions and promoters, when needed.

Herein rises the problem for many MMA fighters, who are responsible for obtaining their own exams: it’s expensive! Oftentimes, the cost of a basic screening is beyond the reach of a local community fighter, let alone one who is crossing state lines. Now if they are forced to obtain pre-fight MRI tests and more, they might just test themselves out of a fight, in terms of the financial costs.

And this is where Jan Hubbard, and MedLic, LLC, can help. Amazingly, and I mean this really is amazing, this innovative lady has managed to successfully work with a group of MMA-related experts to put together a “team” of professionals who will provide Medical exams at an affordable price to MMA fighters.

Medical records are then all housed in one place: online, through MedLic’s secure website database. The fighter, fight manager, promoter, state AC – no longer need to worry about carrying, losing, or forwarding the paperwork – it’s all right there, a browser away.

Through her industry connections, Hubbard has managed to get doctors to agree to giving fighters discounted rates on their exams. In fact, two of the most costly exams that EVERY fighter should get at least once a year, include an MRI of the brain, and a Neurological Exam. Normally these will run a fighter about $1,500.00 and $250.00, respectively. 

MedLic's discounted price?  For the MRI - $500.00, and only $90.00 for the Neurological exam.

For a fighter to become a member of MedLic, there is a member fee, but when you look at the cost of savings on your meds, as well as the cost of obtaining your records, making copies, mailing them to promoters and state AC’s before every fight, or (whoops!) losing your medical documents, the membership fee is miniscule and worth it! And you can pay annually or monthly – it’s your choice.

But wait – it gets better! If you’re an MMA promoter, and you need to work on getting medicals for your fighters, you know what a hassle that can be, right? How about letting MedLic do it all for you? They’ll schedule the appointment, make sure the records are available, and even get a copy to the state AC, when needed. Think of it: it’s Saturday afternoon, 4pm, the day of the event. One of your fighters has misplaced his meds. The AC rep is checking the fighters in, but now this one fighter has lost his copy.

Normally, the fight would be canceled. The money you spent on your posters, media coverage, etc. would be lost. Your credibility and that of your fighter’s, would come into question, right?

As a member of MedLic, however, it’s easy to just go online, log in, and print out a copy in minutes…and the fight would go on.

MedLic does not charge State Athletic Commissions to access your medical information, so this is a program that really serves the MMA community well, and is cost-effective in the process.

All told, MedLic provides a service that is unmatched, yet sorely needed, in this industry. If you’re an MMA fighter, coach, promoter, State AC, I highly suggest you take a look at their website and consider becoming a registered member here. I don’t make anything from referring you, but tell ‘em Katrina sent you anyway!

 
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