(UPDATED on 12/20/16 at 8:45 p.m. ET to reflect comments from Titan FC officials.)
Things went from bad to worse when Ribeiro (26-10) was stuck with a $60,000 medical bill.
The situation was initially made public when the Twitter account for the MMA Fighters Association tweeted out an X-ray with the message: “After world title bout for Titan, Deivison Ribeiro ‘was left with a broken leg and $60k in unpaid medical bills.’”
Ribeiro explained the situation to MMAjunkie in late November.
“After I broke my leg, I went back to Brazil,” Ribeiro said. “Once I returned, and started training lightly, the hospital started sending me bills. They say insurance only covered $20,000 of the total cost. Almost $60,000 still needs to be paid. They’re putting pressure on me, sending my name to collections. I contacted the owners of Titan FC. When we finally talked, they said their insurance only covered $20,000.
“In short, the bill is mine, and not their problem. They suggested starting a GoFundMe page to raise the money from my fans, and from whomever takes pity on me. I can walk again. I don’t want to take advantage of donations, when the bill should go to the promotion or the insurance company.”
Titan FC CEO Jeff Aronson told MMAjunkie he offered money out of his own pocket to help assist Ribeiro with any immediate pressing needs and remains committed to helping the fighter through this difficult time.
Ribeiro’s manager, Alex Davis, said his client is certainly upset at the pending medical bills but that Titan FC officials, including COO Lex McMahon, have stayed in contact since the injury and are actively seeking the best possible resolution.
“Its a really unfortunate situation, we have been talking with Lex, who has been proactive,” Davis told MMAjunkie. “Titan agreed to set up a GoFundMe and is working with their insurance company trying to handle the issues. Titan was in compliance with the Florida athletic commission regulation that requires a $20,000 insurance policy, and that $20,000 was applied to the medical bills.
“Deivison has a lawyer, as well, who is helping him with the hospital. Both myself and Lex and Deivison have met, and all of us are seeking a solution.”
McMahon confirmed the company did, as Florida regulations require, have both $20,000 worth of medical coverage, as well as $1 million in general liability that he hopes may be utilized to make up any shortcoming in the mandatory medical coverage. He also confirmed that Titan FC will be contributing to the forthcoming GoFundMe account and will assist in raising awareness for Ribeiro’s current situation.
“I’m in a very bad spot,” Ribeiro said. “I’ll spend an entire year without being able to fight, and I still get a $60,000 bill for my troubles. I can’t even earn money. I tried talking to the promoters. I just want this hospital bill taken care of. I don’t want to make any money above and beyond that. I’m not looking for any personal gain, even though I have other bills I can’t pay.”
Ribeiro said the situation shows the need for some sort of unity in the fighting world.