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LONGEVITY IN COMBAT SPORTS: MMA VERSUS BOXING

Renfrew

Since the UFC pushes Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to the mainstream, an age old question remains: Is MMA safer then boxing? The main premise behind the argument has always been that unlike boxing, in MMA, there are more avenues to victory compared to hitting your opponent. Highlighting the apparent, you will find less debilitating routes to victory, thus creating some reductions in MMA less damaging 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’ decision or by maybe submitting their opponent. The resulting idea is that MMA athletes suffer fewer traumatic injuries and the odds are lessened that they may become jaded drunk. But, proponents of boxing are always quick to point out the smaller gloves implemented in MMA and the fact the rules allowing for leg strikes and elbows. Therefore”it is time” to have an in-depth appearance to either side of the debate. Before getting into the thick of this 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 occasions, resides in my hometown. On paper, his life seems like a success story. However the actual truth is that his boxing career killed his odds of having a successful life after his career was finished. A brief documentary on his story can be found below.Many would consider O’Sullivan’s career marginally 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 was in. Despite scoring two standing 8 counts at round two the judges given that around to Tate. Upon going pro, he found himself quickly retired in 1988 with unsuccessful comebacks in both 1991 and 1997. Shawn’s overall listing of 23-5-0, together with 16 knockouts passed him without accomplishing his dreams of competing in a world title bout. After four fights in 1997, a neurologist refused to renew the permit 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, however, he doesn’t repent his career in boxing. During my many conversations with O’Sullivan, he practically always slurred his speech also had problems remembering parts of his lifetime. Regrettably, his ability to talk about his story is all he has to show for his illustrious career. However, that is hindered because of the culmination of blows to the head he suffered during his boxing career. O’Sullivan suffers from boxer’s dementia, commonly called being”punch drunk” caused partly as a result of his fighting style and gruelling sparring sessions in the gym. If you want to see what I mean, take a few minutes and watch his bout against Armando Martinez. What remains untold to most, and something that highlights the relevance of the article is that O’Sullivan was pushed into boxing by his first coach: his dad. Rumors are his father was allowing his son spar against heavyweights and much larger guys as part of the everyday reality check for O’Sullivan. As parents, an individual may feel uncomfortable advocating that your kid partake in any battle sport out of the fear of the long term consequences. So signing your child up to either boxing or MMA training could become a question of which can be safer? Is there a possibility you could help select the lesser of two so-called evils. Until recently the entire argument behind MMA is safer then Boxing was completely 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 injury, compared to 50 percent of boxers. But, boxers were more likely to lose consciousness in a bout: seven per cent 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 showed an MMA fighter suffered a traumatic brain injury in almost a third of specialist spells. It is not my intention to cast doubt onto the protection of a sport, however both boxing and MMA have experienced instances of fatalities that are well documented. Lately a MMA fighter died because of complications reducing weight. John McCain, who once labeled the game of MMA”human cockfighting,” sat ringside at the 1995 boxing departure of Jimmy Garcia. However, very few serious life threatening injuries in MMA come to mind as none have happened on its primary point. A fighter’s passing within the Octagon hasn’t happened and hopefully it never will. Nonetheless, it’s something which must be in the back of everybody’s mind when we see fighters getting knocked out lifelessly. Rendering an opponent not just defenceless but unconscious remains to be the name of the struggle game if it be MMA or Boxing. That is where a fighter’s fanfare, bonus cash and continuous hype derives. UFC President Dana White announced MMA that the”safest game in the world, fact.” The concept that MMA is the safest sport in the world is mad. Tennis, golf, track and field, swimming… Are all”safer” sports because they lack head injury all together and present little risk of death. Touting up safety should include a responsibility to completely study the ramifications of your sport. The construction on what’s going to be known as the UFC Athlete Health and Performance Center begins this soon and will take 15 weeks to complete. Next to health insurance for training injuries, this is MMA’s next most significant step towards taking on more of a leading role in sport safety. That said, Dana’s end game is that Scientific research will eventually develop MMA as a”safer” choice for battle sport athletes when compared with boxing. But, it would just further the game’s inverse relationship. Since MMA increases in popularity, boxing’s visibility in the national understanding continues to fall and it is easy to finger stage. Additionally, it can not be stressed enough that the very first generation of fighters are only getting out of this game over the last few years. Science has an incredibly small sample dimension to look at in terms of aging MMA fighters right now, although UFC originals such as Gary Goodridge are already feeling the effects. We probably still require a few more”generations” of fighters to retire and grow older to have an actual sense of the impact 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 fighters who were the best of a sport that was still very much in the developmental phases. Fighters like George St Pierre, Demetrious Johnson and Ronda Rousey are unlikely to face any longstanding consequences of brain injury primarily due to their runs of desire as well as their ability to avoid substantial damage. Johnson recently said 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 harm in his career will hurt his longevity both inside and outside the sport, and that’s why he’s so aware of his safety in the Octagon. Perhaps that’s the reason why he’s never lost consciousness in the Octagon. In any case, it is difficult to utilize findings of yesteryear to find out the security 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 better approach is not to look at the sport’s past, and instead on its present and foreseeable future. The argument as to which game is safer because of the glove size is moot. The amount of punishment a fighter chooses over their livelihood is individualistic and highly determined by a fighter’s style. The most important selling point as to why MMA is more powerful than boxing is truly the glove dimensions. The boxing glove was made to protect the hands, not the person being punched. However MMA practitioners argue that they use the bare minimum in hand protection. Any debate surrounding the fact that a hand will crack until the head isn’t exactly the most appealing approach to advocate for a safer sport. The same holds for the standing eight count. Arguing that allowing a concussed fighter to continue in a struggle after being pumped only furthers brain injury. In MMA we see a whole lot follow up punches after a fighter is rendered unconscious — possibly equally damaging to permitting a boxer to continue after getting devastating blows. There are so many factors in determining the devastation of a landed punch–out of technique to time, to whether or not the receiver saw the punch coming–that it would be almost impossible to determine at a live game which glove size would have caused the most damage. Furthermore, there are a number of different rules and elements that determining which game is safer. The normal duration of a Boxing match is normally longer then that of an MMA fight. There are so many factors that are individualistic to the fighter. I’d like to announce each game equally as harmful, but until further research is completed, one can’t make this kind of statement with much confidence. The inherent risks in the sports are intrinsically linked. The ability of a fighter to achieve longevity in the sport is much more dependant on the skills of the fighter themselves then their respective sports parameters alone. Generalizing which is safer with no scientific evidence to support such a claim remains a matter of opinion.
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