A bill creating the nation’s first pension fund for mixed martial arts fighters has been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

Assembly Bill 1136 from Assemblymember Matt Haney, D-San Francisco, will build the Mixed Martial Arts Retirement Benefit Fund using $1 from each ticket sold and some proceeds from sports paraphernalia and souvenirs. 

Eligible fighters will become vested after 12 to 14 fights.

“California is the biggest state in the country for professional mixed martial arts, with more fights, fighters, fans than any other state,” Haney said in a news release after the governor signed the bill Wednesday. 

“The sport brings in billions of revenue worldwide, and the athletes who compete in this highly-skilled, state regulated sport, should be protected while they are in the ring and be able to live with security and dignity when they retire,” said Haney.

The California State Athletic Commission administers the new fund and will begin the process of creating it as soon as January 2024.

“With this bill, we are revolutionizing the way we support and care for our fighters, ensuring that their hard work and sacrifice are rewarded not only in the ring but also in their retirement years,” said Ronda Rousey, former bantamweight champion and the first female athlete to have signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Kiley Russell writes primarily for Pagransen on issues related to equity and the environment. A Bay Area native, he has lived most of his life in Oakland. He studied journalism at San Francisco State University, worked for the Associated Press and the former Contra Costa Times, among other outlets. He has covered everything from state legislatures, local governments, federal and state courts, crime, growth and development, political campaigns of various stripes, wildfires and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.