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Mixed Messages on Mixed Martial Arts

Last week on the “Grill Room” on Sun TV, one of the topics that we debated extensively, was the announcement from the Canadian Medical Association, calling for all provincial governments to ban professional Mixed Martial Arts. The statement they issued about their concerns made perfect sense, from a medical point of view.

I say that in spite of the fact that I trained in kick boxing and kung-fu as a teenager, at Twin Dragon Kick Boxing and Kung Fu, from 1973 through 1976, for the purposes of learning self defense, getting in better physical shape, and developing self confidence. My goals were achieved in all those areas, due to the superior instruction I received at Twin Dragon, which is still in operation, at several locations in the Toronto area.

I think that those who are old enough to make legal decisions that affect their daily lives, should have the right to decide if they want to put themselves at risk for possible brain damage, by participating in a professional sport where their heads will be pounded by fists and elbows. As opposed to being completely dismissive of the Canadian Medical Association, the Ontario government should have considered adopting legislation,if it’s not already in place, that would prohibit those under the age of 18 from practicing the sport, even in a sparring scenario, without head and face protection, and to consider banning the use of elbow hits to the head completely.

I doubt that you need to be a brain surgeon to figure out that repeated blows to an unprotected skull, by an elbow or fist, will probably cause trauma of some kind. We have all come to learn through research on football and hockey injuries, even with helmet protection, that blows to the skull that cause the brain to move, are dangerous in terms of concussion and long term damage to the brain.

The most puzzling statements that emerged from all of this, were from Tom Wright, the head of UFC’s Canadian operations, as detailed in the Toronto Star story by Daniel Girard last Thursday: “ he was disappointed the doctors brought forward the motion to ban professional MMA without first consulting his organization or having the medical evidence to back up claims that competitors face extraordinary risk of injury.” Wright was more direct in the comments attributed to him in the same story, in his remarks to Toronto’s 680 News: “ Clearly potential for injury is no different than it is in football and hockey, and indeed significantly less than it is in boxing.” Wright is the former commissioner of the Canadian Football League.

It is a little hard to believe that Wright could possibly state that there is no difference in the potential for injury with an unprotected skull, as in MMA, where blows to the skull are delivered with elbows and fists, in comparison to football and hockey, where the object of the sport is completely different, and blows to the head do occur, but those incidents are not the focal point of the sport, or a strategy to win games, and can result in penalties in certain situations.

The questioning of the credibility of an entire medical association, as Wright is clearly doing, makes this approval for professional Mixed Martial Arts in Ontario, look like a cash grab, which it obviously will be for those promoting the events, for the local economy, and for the provincial government in tax revenue, with estimates in the Toronto Star story at $6 million in local economic activity, that may result from hosting a professional MMA event.

That’s all well and good, especially with a still shaky economic environment. Having said that, it would be appropriate to hear something other than complete dismissal of the concerns of Canadian medical professionals, as it pertains to the potential for serious neurological problems, for those who participate in the sport.

3 comments: on "Mixed Messages on Mixed Martial Arts"

Anonymous said...

Id love to see Stormin Norman talk that noise to Tid. Tid would smash that argument to bits.


mkf said...

Norm, you know hockey. You know baseball. You know football. Hell you even know soccer.

But you DON'T know MMA. Leave it alone.

Anonymous said...

where the hell is djb and his raw report, ever since big dadyy donnie disagreed with the last one he wrote hes been in hiding or donnie did something to him lol.