MMA Is Brutal and Dangerous, But That Doesn't Justify Banning It

This description from Fight Report was so vivid and compelling I just had to share:

Matt Lindland TraumaBelfort fucked Lindland up BAD in this fight. He landed a short left that dropped Matt then followed up with five more blows until he was totally out. The last blow caused Lindland’s left leg to quiver uncontrollably as he lay in complete unconsciousness… 45 seconds after the KO, Lindland began drifting in and out of consciousness. His eyes opened halfway but they were still totally out of focus… 1 minute and 25 seconds after the KO, paramedics finally revived Lindland but he thought the fight was still going on so he tried a single on a nearby medic… 1 minute and 55 seconds after the KO, Lindland appeared to realize he got knocked out but he was trying to stand anyway. The doctors struggled to keep him down and the former Olympian remained in an uncomfortable half standing position as he battled with the doctors…. 3 minutes and five seconds after the KO Lindland resigned himself to a sitting position as the doctors kept a brace secured tightly around his neck. It looked like a dog collar and was obviously humiliating to Matt. I was glad to see him finally get up and walk out of the ring under his own power. He was able to do this less than five minutes after Belfort knocked him out. As disturbing as the knockout was, Matt recovered fairly quickly.

This was a vivid and compelling reminder of the nervousness I felt watching as Lindland recovered last night. It is obvious why the UFC has a policy of not focusing on injured fighters. However, I think I prefer Affliction's honest approach.

Let's not kid ourselves. MMA is a VERY dangerous game. Fighters are risking their health each and every time they enter the cage/ring.

That's only one reason why I strongly believe the sport needs to be treated with the highest degree of seriousness. It is also the chief weapon used against the sport by our enemies.

Earlier this week the influential New York Times editorial board blogged against legalizing MMA in the Empire State. They recycled all of the most uninformed arguments against our sport. Luke is promising to give them their come uppance. Please harass him until he does so.

In the meantime, Zak Woods has blown up the British Medical Association study that the NYT based its argument on. He does this by drawing on a superior American study of MMA (pdf.):

Of the 171 fights observed over a three year period only 11 ended via knock out, or 6.4%. Approximately 40% ended due to technical knock out, and 30% ended due to tapout. According to these number the knockout rate is lower in MMA than boxing. 

Now let's recap quickly. The BMA study uses physics, in force studies, comparing 'probable' movements in MMA and found that only two of the four held 'serious risk', and were 'comprable to motor accidents'. Their study was not based on actual fight data, but rather biomechanical models. 

The U.S. study looked at available data from an Athletic Commission over a three year period and found that the risk of knock out was lower than boxing. Also the injury data does not indicate permanent damage, or traumatic brain injury that the BMA cites in their position paper. 

Now which study appears to be better science? The BMA study, dealing with force models based upon 'commonly performed manuvers' (which were not described in the overview), or the U.S. study which analyzes over 170 fights over a three yaer period? The answer is clear the U.S. study.

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