LONGEVITY IN COMBAT SPORTS: MMA VERSUS BOXING

Since the UFC pushes Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) into the mainstream, an age old question remains: Why Is MMA safer then boxing? The major premise behind the debate has always been that unlike boxing, in MMA, there are more avenues to victory than hitting your opponent. Highlighting the apparent, there are less debilitating routes to victory, therefore making some reductions in MMA less damaging on a fighter’s body and brain. The Unified Rules of MMA make it possible for an MMA fighter to win a bout by judges’ decision or by maybe submitting their opponent. The resulting idea is that MMA athletes suffer fewer traumatic injuries and the chances are lessened they may become jaded drunk. However, proponents of boxing are always quick to point out the bigger gloves employed in MMA and the fact the rules allowing for leg strikes and elbows. Therefore”it’s time” to take a comprehensive look to either side of this argument. Before getting into the thick of the debate, I want to highlight one of the key reasons I decided to write this article. Shawn O’Sullivan, a retired fighter that I have met many times, resides in my mind. On paper, his life seems like a success story. However the actual truth is that his boxing profession killed his chances of having a successful life after his career was finished. A brief documentary on his narrative can be found below.Many would consider O’Sullivan’s career somewhat illustrious as he had been the 1981 World Amateur Champion, 1981 Canadian Athlete of the Year and 1984 Olympic Silver medalist at light middleweight. Also many believe his gold medal bout against Frank Tate very controversial as it appeared like the fix has been in. Despite scoring two standing 8 counts in round two the judges awarded that around to Tate. Upon going pro, he found himself fast murdered in 1988 with unsuccessful comebacks in both 1991 and 1997. Shawn’s overall listing of 23-5-0, with 16 knockouts handed him by without accomplishing his dreams of competing in a world title bout. After four more fights in 1997, a neurologist refused to renew the license he needed to continue boxing because of brain injury that he saw during a CAT scan. Now, O’Sullivan is residing with the difficulties of brain damage, but he doesn’t repent his career in boxing. During my many conversations with O’Sullivan, he almost always slurred his speech also had problems recalling parts of his lifetime. Regrettably, his ability to share his story is all he has to show for his famous career. However, that’s hindered because of the culmination of blows to the head he suffered during his boxing career. O’Sullivan suffers from fighter’s dementia, commonly called being”punch drunk” brought about partially as a consequence of the fighting style and gruelling sparring sessions in the gym. If you’d like to find out exactly what I mean, take a few minutes and see his bout against Armando Martinez. What remains untold to many, and something that highlights the relevance of the guide is that O’Sullivan was pushed to boxing by his first trainer: his father. Rumors are his dad was letting his son spar against heavyweights and even larger guys as part of the daily reality test for O’Sullivan. As parents, an individual may feel uncomfortable recommending that your child partake in any combat sport out of the fear of their long-term consequences. Therefore signing up your child to boxing or MMA training can become a matter of which can be safer? Is there a possibility that you could help select the lesser of two so-called evils. Until recently the whole argument behind MMA is safer then Boxing was completely theoretical. There continues to be small scientific facts and findings to support the claim. The University of Alberta’s Dr. Shelby Karpman headed a review of more than a decade’s worth of medical exams from approximately 1,700 fighters in Edmonton, Canada. According to the study, Fifty-nine percent of MMA athletes sustained some form of injury, compared to 50 percent of fighters. But, fighters were likely to lose consciousness in a bout: seven per cent versus four per cent for MMA fighters. Irrespective of the facts to as which sport is safer, ” The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on both MMA and boxing. By highlighting a 2014 University of Toronto study showed an MMA fighter suffered a traumatic brain injury at nearly a third of professional bouts. It is not my aim to cast doubt on the safety of a sport, nevertheless both boxing and MMA have experienced cases of fatalities that are well recorded. Recently a MMA fighter died due to complications cutting weight. John McCain, who once labeled the game of MMA”human cockfighting,” sat ringside at the 1995 boxing death of Jimmy Garcia. However, very few serious life threatening injuries in MMA come into mind as none have occurred on its primary point. A fighter’s death within the Octagon has never happened and hopefully it never will. But it’s something that has to be in the back of everybody’s mind when we see fighters getting knocked out lifelessly. Rendering a competition not only defenceless but unconscious remains to be the title of the fight game whether it be MMA or Boxing. That’s where a fighter’s fanfare, bonus cash and continuous hype derives. UFC President Dana White announced MMA that the”safest sport in the world, fact.” The idea that MMA is the most popular sport in the entire world is crazy. Tennis, golf, track and field, swimming… are”safer” sports because they lack head injury all together and pose little risk of passing. Touting up safety should come with a responsibility to fully study the ramifications of your sport. The construction on what’s going to be called the UFC Athlete Health and Performance Center begins this soon and will take 15 weeks to finish. Next to medical insurance for training injuries, this can be MMA’s second most significant step towards taking on more of a top role in sport safety. With that said, Dana’s end game is that Scientific study will eventually develop MMA as a”safer” alternative for fight sport athletes when compared with boxing. But, it might just further the game’s reverse relationship. Since MMA increases in popularity, boxing’s visibility at the national understanding continues to fall and it’s simple to finger stage. Additionally, it can not be stressed enough that the first generation of fighters are just getting out of this sport within the past couple of years. Science has an incredibly small sample dimension to look at with respect to aging MMA fighters right now, though UFC originals like Gary Goodridge are already feeling the consequences. We probably still need a few more”generations” of fighters to retire and grow old to get an actual feel for the effects of the game on them as they age. And by that I mean fighters that have had to compete with other high level athletes, not boxers that were the very best of a sport that was still very much in the developmental stages. Fighters like George St Pierre, Demetrious Johnson and Ronda Rousey are not likely to face any longstanding consequences of brain trauma primarily due to their runs of desire and their ability to avoid significant damage. Johnson recently said on the Joe Rogan Expertise that”There’s not enough money in the entire world for me to risk brain damage” Johnson, like many other educated fighters, knows that carrying too much damage in his career will hurt his longevity both inside and outside the sport, and that’s why he is so conscious of his safety in the Octagon. Perhaps that is the main reason he’s never lost consciousness in the Octagon. In any scenario, it’s tough to use findings of the past to determine the safety of the game now. So much constantly changes within the sport of MMA that trying to compare between eras is basically the exact same in attempting to compare very different sports. Perhaps then a much better approach is not to examine the game’s past, and instead on its current and foreseeable future. The debate about which game is safer due to the glove size is moot. The quantity of punishment a fighter chooses over their career is individualistic and highly determined by a fighter’s style. The main selling point as to why MMA is safer than boxing is truly the glove dimensions. The boxing glove was created to protect the hands, not the person being punched. However MMA practitioners argue that they use the bare minimum in hand defense. Any argument surrounding the fact that a hand will crack until the head is not the most appealing strategy to advocate for a safer sport. The same goes for the standing eight count. Arguing that allowing a concussed fighter to keep at a struggle after being knocked down only furthers brain trauma. In MMA we see a whole lot follow up punches after a fighter is left unconscious — possibly equally damaging to allowing a fighter to continue after getting devastating blows. There are many factors in determining the devastation of a landed punch–out of technique to timing, to whether or not the receiver saw the punch coming–which it would be virtually impossible to determine in a live match that glove size would have caused the maximum harm. Furthermore, there are quite a few other rules and elements that determining which game is safer. The average duration of a Boxing game is generally longer then that of an MMA fight. There are so many factors that are individualistic into the fighter. I’d love to announce each sport equally as dangerous, but until additional research is completed, an individual can not make such a statement with much confidence. The inherent dangers in the sports are intrinsically connected. The ability of a fighter to achieve longevity in the sport is more dependant on the skills of the fighter themselves their various sports parameters alone. Generalizing which is safer with no scientific proof to support such a claim remains a matter of opinion.
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