Opinion: MMA promotions should stop holding events in Wyoming

KJ Gould argues for recognisable 'name' MMA promotions to cease holding events in the state of Wyoming due to the recent fiasco at RFA 14.

Junior Maranhao should not have been allowed to continue fighting after he collapsed from his stool before the final round of his fight at RFA 14. It's dumb luck and fortune it didn't end up being the final round of his life and for tragedy to befall the MMA world and his friends and family. It's dumb luck and fortune the MMA media aren't currently writing about how unnecessary and avoidable this young man's hypothetical death would have been.

With too many unknown facts and variables during that instance of Maranhao keeling over and lying temporarily motionless, face-down outstretched and prone, the appointed referee and doctor's inability to err on the side of caution and terminate the fight undermined the core purpose of a regulatory body overseeing this combat sport.

With the safety of the fighters at the heart of regulation, in addition to the legality and image of the sport, another core purpose is apparently missing from the Wyoming athletic commission's reason for being: accountability. While criticism and scrutiny should not be spared toward the corner team of Maranhao for not looking out for the best interest of their fighter, Wyoming's failure to acknowledge the severity of the situation in the event's aftermath -- and even giving a skewed summary of the circumstances in their official statement -- suggests a reckless and negligent attitude to a sport that allows concussive blows to the head and trauma to almost all other parts of the body.

As de facto leaders in this industry I can only hope the UFC, Bellator and WSOF publicly make the decision to avoid Wyoming and publicly deride the state as not fit for purpose for professional MMA, and I would certainly hope RFA and smaller promotions would follow suit.

If MMA promotions are at all serious about the integrity of the sport and that of their own reputation, it is in my opinion in their best interest to cease holding events in Wyoming, since it is their revenue generation that contributes to the state's budget to run the commission to begin with. Until Wyoming realizes heads should roll and their commission needs a complete restructuring with people who value the importance of fighter safety, and recognize what happened at RFA 14 with Junior Maranhao was completely unacceptable, they should not receive another penny to aid the continuance of its current form.

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