Friday, 9 May 2008

Is MMA Safe?

In a Renegades Extreme Fighting bout in 2007, Sam Vasquez took on Vince Libardi. The fight was over after a punch to Vasquez in the third round which saw him lose consciousness, suffer a blood clot and remain in a coma for 42 days where he then died. RIP SAM

It is a great tragedy for someone to die doing what they enjoy. When the UFC first started, people saw it as brutal and unacceptable. It was labelled as human cock fighting and still some see it as completely unsafe. But is this the real case?

Compared to boxing gloves MMA fighters use smaller ones which don’t hold enough padding. And this is exactly why they are safer than boxing gloves. Because boxing gloves hold lots of padding, more punches can be absorbed, which means a fighter can be hit more times. These constant hits over the course of a fight can leave a traumatic effect to a fighter’s head. If you watch a boxing match most of the hitting is done to the head area. Few people attack the body much as the best way to knock someone out is through head strikes. In MMA fighters don’t limit there striking to just the head. They strike the legs and body also as kicks are allowed, so less blows are absorbed to the vulnerable head area.

There is no standing 8 count in MMA. In boxing if a fighter is in trouble, the ref will momentarily stop the fight via a standing 8 count allowing the fight to recover slightly but then the fight resumes allowing for further possible punishment. In MMA if a fighter is in trouble, the fight will be stopped, allowing for no further punishment.

Rarely, you see fighters choked out or get injured due to not tapping out. This is there own fault. If you are caught in a submission hold you should tap out. The ones that don’t are silly and risk injury. But if this happens not only will the ref instantaneously break the hold, but doctors are on hand to examine any injuries.

Where there could be accidental injuries is through falling. Slams, throws, and take downs are all allowed in MMA. Although there are rules regarding these, such as you cant drop an opponent onto his head or neck, accidents may happen. But it has to be remembered that MMA athletes are used to falling and getting thrown. They learn the correct method in break falling and these types of accidents are very rare.

This discussion could go on and on, and with various people, it shall. What is a fact though, is that MMA has been around for a number of years. Rules are kept so as major injuries can be prevented and up until now they are proving successful.

Instances such as Sam Vasquez are rare. Injuries happen in most sports and will continue to happen, but long as we train safe and train smart, major injuries can easily be prevented.


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Anonymous said...

I think MMA is quite safe, both in training and in competition (naturally competition does carry more risk since you’re actually trying to hurt the guy), at least compared to other sports (both regular and combative).

It’s true boxing is alot more dangerous – in terms of deaths and brain-damage – than MMA since it involves only striking and most blows are directed to the head. MMA has a far more diversified arsenal of techniques and since alot of fights end with a submission there’s more control and less chance of serious injury. That being said MMA-fighters generally are superbly trained athletes and their training is basically designed to both inflict and deal with punishment.

Just look at Bas Rutten (I know he’s retired now but think of him in his prime) or Randy Couture: they are probably among the greatest athletes the World has ever seen (with the one possible exception being contenders in the Iron Man-contest in Hawai) and certainly the most developped overall.

If you’re doing over a thousand sit-ups a day you’re well protected against any type of strike directed at your midsection (providing it doesn’t hit your solar-plexus directly), their defensive-skills are honed through countless hours of practice and sparring-bouts and with all their experience they know perfectly well when to tap out and when to keep on fighting.

Overall MMA is reasonably safe, I don’t have the exact numbers but I’m quite sure more people got killed on a football-field than in the cage. Or in traffic for that matter.

Btw: dying while doing what you love is not a tragedy but a blessing, seeing we all have to go at one point (might aswell go when you’re having fun). For me personally that would be the a sweet way to kick the bucket, right after dying in my sleep.



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