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LONGEVITY IN COMBAT SPORTS: MMA VERSUS BOXING

As the UFC pushes Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to the mainstream, an age old question remains: Why Is MMA safer then boxing? The major premise behind the argument has always been that unlike boxing, in MMA, there are more avenues to success compared to hitting your opponent. Highlighting the obvious, there are less painful routes to success, therefore making some losses in MMA less detrimental 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 possibly submitting their opponent. The resulting notion is that MMA athletes suffer fewer traumatic injuries and the chances are lessened they might become jaded drunk. But, proponents of boxing are always quick to point out the smaller gloves employed in MMA and also the fact that the rules allowing for leg strikes and elbows. Therefore”it is time” to have an in-depth appearance to both sides of the debate. Before getting into the thick of this argument, I want to highlight one of the important reasons I decided to write this report. Shawn O’Sullivan, a retired fighter that I have met many occasions, resides in my mind. On paper, his life looks like a success story. However the real truth is that his boxing career killed his chances of having a successful life after his career was over. A brief documentary on his narrative can be found below.Many would consider O’Sullivan’s career somewhat illustrious because he had been the 1981 World Amateur Champion, 1981 Canadian Athlete of the Year and 1984 Olympic Silver medalist at light middleweight. Also many consider his gold medal bout against Frank Tate very controversial as it seemed like the fix has been in. Despite scoring two standing 8 counts at around two the judges awarded that round to Tate. Upon going pro, he found himself quickly murdered in 1988 with failed comebacks in both 1991 and 1997. Shawn’s overall record of 23-5-0, together with 16 knockouts handed him by without reaching his dreams of competing in a world title bout. Following four fights in 1997, a neurologist refused to renew the license he had to continue boxing because of brain damage he saw during a CAT scan. Now, O’Sullivan is living with the difficulties of brain damage, but he does not repent his career in boxing. During my many discussions with O’Sullivan, he almost always slurred his speech also had difficulties remembering parts of his life. Sadly, his ability to talk about his story is all he has to show for his famous career. But, that is hindered as a result of the culmination of blows to the head that he endured during his boxing career. O’Sullivan suffers from boxer’s dementia, commonly known as 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 what I mean, take a few minutes and watch his bout against Armando Martinez. What remains untold to many, and something that highlights the significance of the article is that O’Sullivan was pushed to boxing with his first trainer: his dad. Rumors are his dad was allowing his son spar against heavyweights and even larger men as part of the daily reality check for O’Sullivan. As parents, an individual may feel uncomfortable advocating your child partake in any combat sport from this fear of the long-term consequences. Therefore signing your child up to either boxing or MMA training could become a question of which is safer? Is there a possibility you could help choose the lesser of two so-called evils. Until recently the entire argument behind MMA is safer then Boxing was entirely theoretical. There remains to be little 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 health care exams from approximately 1,700 fighters in Edmonton, Canada. According to the study, Fifty-nine percent of MMA athletes lasted some form of harm, compared to 50 percent of boxers. However, fighters were likely to eliminate consciousness in a bout: seven percent versus four per cent for MMA fighters. Regardless of the facts to as which game is safer, The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on both MMA and boxing. By highlighting a 2014 University of Toronto study revealed an MMA fighter suffered a traumatic brain injury in nearly a third of specialist spells. It’s not my intention to cast doubt onto the safety of a sport, however both boxing and MMA have experienced cases of fatalities which are well documented. Lately a MMA fighter died because of complications cutting weight. John McCain, who branded the game of MMA”human cockfighting,” sat ringside at the 1995 boxing departure of Jimmy Garcia. But, very few serious life threatening accidents in MMA come into mind because no one have happened on its primary stage. A fighter’s passing inside the Octagon has never occurred and it never will. Nonetheless, it’s something that has to be in the back of everyone’s mind once we see fighters getting knocked out lifelessly. Rendering a competition not just defenceless but unconscious remains to be the title of the struggle game if it be MMA or Boxing. That’s where a fighter’s fanfare, bonus money and continuous hype derives. UFC President Dana White announced MMA the”safest game in the world, fact.” The idea that MMA is the most popular sport in the world is mad. Tennis, golf, track and field, swimming… are”safer” sports because they lack head trauma all together and pose little risk of death. Touting up security should include a duty to completely study the effects of your sport. The construction on what will be called the UFC Athlete Health and Performance Center begins this shortly and will take 15 weeks to finish. Alongside health insurance for training accidents, this can be MMA’s next most important step towards taking on more of a top role in sport security. That said, Dana’s end game is that Scientific research will finally brand MMA as a”safer” alternative for fight sport athletes compared to boxing. However, it might just further the game’s reverse relationship. Since MMA increases in popularity, boxing’s visibility in the national understanding continues to fall and it is easy to finger point. Additionally, it can not be stressed enough the very first generation of fighters are just getting out of the sport over the last few years. Science has an incredibly small sample dimension to look at with respect to aging MMA fighters at this time, although UFC originals such as Gary Goodridge are already feeling the consequences. We probably still require a few more”generations” of fighters to retire and grow older to have an actual feel for the impact of the sport on them since they age. And by that I mean fighters who have had to compete with other high level athletes, not fighters that were the very best of a sport that was still very much in the developmental phases. 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 as well as their capacity to prevent significant harm. Johnson recently said on the Joe Rogan Experience that”There’s not enough money in the entire world for me to risk brain damage” Johnson, like many other educated fighters, understands that carrying too much harm in his profession will harm his longevity both inside and outside the sport, and that’s why he’s so conscious of his safety in the Octagon. Maybe that’s the main reason why he’s never lost consciousness from the Octagon. In any case, it’s tough to utilize findings of yesteryear to determine the safety of the sport now. So much always changes within the sport of MMA that trying to compare between eras is essentially the exact same in trying to compare completely different sports. Perhaps then a much better approach is not to look at the game’s past, and rather on its present as time goes on. The debate as to which sport is safer because of the glove size is moot. The amount of punishment a fighter takes over their livelihood is individualistic and highly dependent on a fighter’s style. The most important selling point as to why MMA is more powerful than boxing is actually the glove dimensions. The boxing glove was created to guard the hands, not the individual being punched. However MMA professionals assert that they use the bare minimum in hand defense. Any debate surrounding the fact that a hand will crack before the head isn’t exactly the most attractive approach to advocate for a safer game. The same holds for the standing eight count. Arguing that allowing a concussed fighter to keep in a struggle after being knocked down only furthers brain trauma. In MMA we see a whole lot follow up punches following a fighter is left unconscious — maybe equally damaging to allowing a boxer to continue after receiving devastating blows. There are many variables in determining the devastation of a landed punch–from technique to timing, to whether or not the receiver saw the punch coming–that it would be virtually impossible to determine in a live match which glove size would have caused the maximum damage. Furthermore, there are quite a few different elements and rules that deciding on which game is safer. The normal period of a Boxing game is normally longer then that of an MMA fight. There are many factors that are individualistic into the fighter. I’d like to announce each game equally as harmful, but until additional research is completed, an individual can not create such a statement with much assurance. The inherent dangers in the sports are intrinsically connected. The capability of a fighter to achieve longevity in the game is more dependant on the abilities of the fighter themselves then their various sports parameters independently. Generalizing which is safer without the scientific evidence to support such a claim remains to be a matter of opinion.
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