Filipino professional mixed martial artists from struggling families may now have their diagnostic, medical, neurologic exams for free in 28 hospitals in the Philippines. This was made official by the Administrative Order No. 2019-0006 issued by the country’s Department of Health (DOH) on May 23, 2019.
On August 15, 2018, the DOH entered into a new memorandum of agreement with the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the government-ran regulatory body of professional sports that regulates and supervises the conduct of professional boxing and other contact sports in the Philippines. It was signed by GAB Chairman Abraham Mitra and DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III.
In line with FOURmula One Plus for Health, the Philippines’ platform to boost universal health care, the new MOA includes professional MMA fighters as recipients of free services for a term of two years. The old version only includes professional boxers.
As defined by the Administrative Order No. 2019-0006, a professional MMA fighter is a citizen of the Philippines who is “paid a sum of money or other equivalent compensation as a salary of prize” for participating in a game, bout, tournament or contest of professional MMA arts. The fighter must also be certified or endorsed as such by the GAB.
The free diagnostic, medical and neurologic examinations is strictly limited to those required by the GAB for purposes of issuance of new MMA or boxing license or its renewal. It does not include treatment of existing illness nor in-patient admission.
Regardless of membership to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, financially challenged Filipino professional MMA fighters and boxers as well as applicants for new or renewal of license are entitled to free services. To qualify, they should be eligible to the Medical Assistance for Indigents Program (MAIP) and they must obtain an endorsement letter from the GAB.
The free services are neither transferable nor convertible to cash. For Filipino professional MMA fighters and boxers who are slated to have international fights, they are entitled to additional free diagnostic and medical services from the three selected
DOH-supervised specialty hospitals.
One of the recent professional MMA events in the Philippines is “URCC Global: Raw Fury,” which took place at The Cove at Okada Manila in Parañaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines on April 27, 2019. Eight URCC Global champions were undethroned at “URCC Global: Raw Fury,” namely Chris Hofmann, Mark “Mugen” Striegl, John “The Outlaw” Adajar, Ernesto “Iron” Montilla Jr. and Drex “T-Rex” Zamboanga as well as Sugar Ray “The Mammoth” Estroso, Brian “The Batman” Paule and Mark “The Wolf” Palomar as a group, whose respective divisions are middleweight and light heavyweight, featherweight, welterweight, flyweight, bantamweight and 3 vs 3.
Meanwhile, watch the official “URCC Global: Raw Fury” weigh-ins with the GAB here: