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As the UFC pushes Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) into the mainstream, an age old question remains: Is MMA safer then boxing? The main premise behind the debate has always been that unlike boxing, in MMA, there are more avenues to victory compared to hitting your opponent. Highlighting the obvious, there are less debilitating routes to success, therefore making some reductions in MMA less detrimental on a fighter’s body and mind. The Unified Rules of MMA make it possible for a MMA fighter to win a bout by judges’ choice or by maybe submitting their opponent. The resulting notion is that MMA athletes suffer fewer traumatic injuries and the chances are lessened that they may become punch drunk. However, proponents of boxing are always quick to point out the bigger gloves implemented in MMA and also the fact that the rules allowing for leg strikes and elbows. Therefore”it is time” to have a comprehensive appearance to both sides of the argument. Prior to getting into the thick of the debate, I’d like 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, lives in my mind. On paper, his life looks like a success story. However the actual truth is his boxing career killed his odds of having a successful life after his career was finished. A brief documentary on his narrative can be found below.Many would believe O’Sullivan’s career somewhat illustrious because he was 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 appeared like the fix has been in. Despite scoring two standing 8 counts at around two the judges awarded that round to Tate. Upon going expert, he found himself fast retired in 1988 with unsuccessful comebacks in both 1991 and 1997. Shawn’s overall listing of 23-5-0, with 16 knockouts passed him by without reaching 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 due to brain injury that he saw during a CAT scan. Today, O’Sullivan is living with the issues of brain damage, however, he doesn’t regret his career in boxing. Throughout my many conversations with O’Sullivan, he practically always slurred his speech also had problems recalling parts of his life. Sadly, his ability to talk about his story is all he has to show for his illustrious career. But, that is hindered because of the culmination of blows to the head that he endured during his boxing career. O’Sullivan suffers from fighter’s dementia, commonly known as being”punch drunk” caused partly as a consequence of the fighting style and gruelling sparring sessions at the gym. If you want 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 which highlights the significance of the article is that O’Sullivan was pushed to boxing by his first coach: his father. Rumors are his dad was letting his son spar against heavyweights and even bigger men as part of the everyday reality check for O’Sullivan. As parents, an individual may feel uncomfortable recommending that your child partake in any combat sport out of this fear of the long-term consequences. So signing up your child to either boxing or MMA training can become a matter of which is safer? Is there a possibility you could help select the lesser of two so-called evils. Until recently the whole argument behind MMA is safer then Boxing was entirely theoretical. There continues to be little scientific facts and findings to support the claim. Most recently the University of Alberta’s Dr. Shelby Karpman led a review of over 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 per cent of boxers. However, boxers were more likely to eliminate consciousness in a bout: seven percent versus four percent 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 professional bouts. It’s not my intention to cast doubt on the safety of a game, however both boxing and MMA have experienced cases of deaths that are well recorded. Lately a MMA fighter died because of complications reducing weight. John McCain, who once labeled the sport of MMA”human cockfighting,” sat ringside at the 1995 boxing departure of Jimmy Garcia. However, very few severe life threatening accidents in MMA come to mind because none have occurred on its main stage. A fighter’s death within the Octagon hasn’t occurred and hopefully it never will. But it’s something that has to be in the back of everybody’s mind once we see fighters getting knocked out lifelessly. Rendering an opponent not only defenceless but unconscious remains to be the name of the struggle game if it’s MMA or Boxing. That’s where a fighter’s fanfare, bonus cash and constant hype derives. UFC President Dana White declared MMA the”safest sport 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 all”safer” sports because they lack head trauma all together and pose little risk of passing. Touting up safety should include a duty to completely study the ramifications of your game. The construction on what’s going to be called the UFC Athlete Health and Performance Center begins this shortly and will take 15 months to complete. Alongside health insurance for training injuries, this is MMA’s second most important step towards taking on more of a leading role in sport safety. With that said, Dana’s end game is that Scientific research will finally develop MMA as a”safer” choice for fight sport athletes compared to boxing. But, it would just further the sport’s reverse relationship. As MMA increases in popularity, boxing’s visibility in the national understanding continues to fall and it’s simple to finger point. Additionally, it can not be stressed enough that the first generation of fighters are just getting out of the game over the past couple of years. Science has an incredibly small sample dimension to check at with respect to aging MMA fighters at this time, although UFC originals like Gary Goodridge are already feeling the effects. We probably still require a few more”generations” of fighters to retire and grow old to have an actual sense of the effects of the game on them as they age. And by that I mean boxers that have had to compete with other high level athletes, not boxers that had been the very best of a game 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 injury primarily due to their runs of dominance and their capacity to prevent significant harm. Johnson recently stated on the Joe Rogan Expertise that”There is not enough money in the entire world for me to risk brain damage” Johnson, like many other fighters that are educated, knows that carrying too much damage in his career will hurt his longevity both indoors and outside the sport, and that is why he’s so conscious of his safety in the Octagon. Perhaps that is the main reason why he’s never lost consciousness in the Octagon. Whatever the scenario, it is difficult to use findings of the past to find out the safety of the game today. So much constantly changes within the sport of MMA that trying to compare between eras is essentially the same in trying to compare completely different sports. Maybe then a much better approach isn’t to examine the sport’s past, and rather on its present and foreseeable future. The argument about which game is safer because of the glove size is moot. The amount 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 more powerful than boxing is truly the glove size. The boxing glove was created to guard the hands, not the person being punched. However MMA practitioners argue that they utilize the bare minimum in hand defense. Any argument surrounding the fact that a hand will break until the head is not the most attractive approach to advocate for a safer sport. The same goes for the standing eight count. Arguing that allowing a concussed fighter to continue in a struggle after being knocked down only furthers brain trauma. In MMA we witness a whole lot follow up punches after a fighter is left unconscious — possibly equally damaging to allowing a boxer to continue after receiving devastating blows. There are so many variables in determining the devastation of a landed punch–out of technique to time, to whether or not the recipient saw the punch coming–which it would be virtually impossible to determine in a live match which glove size would have caused the maximum damage. Furthermore, there are a number of different elements and rules that deciding on which game is safer. The average duration of a Boxing match is generally longer then that of an MMA fight. There are so many factors that are individualistic into the fighter. I’d like to announce each game equally as harmful, but until further research is done, an individual can not create such a statement with much confidence. The inherent risks in the sports are intrinsically connected. The ability of a fighter to achieve longevity in the game is much more dependant on the skills of the fighter themselves their various sports parameters alone. Generalizing that is safer without the scientific evidence to support such a claim remains a matter of opinion.
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