Over the last few months, combat sports fans have been treated to some absolutely gruesome highlight reels as two top competitors suffered broken legs. At UFC 168 former Middleweight overlord Anderson Silva had his leg snapped after throwing an inside leg kick against current champion Chris Weidman. When Weidman checked the kick, Silva's leg wrapped around his like a snap bracelet. Tryon Spong suffered a similar fate at Glory 15 against Ghokan Saki.
With leg kicks and devastating defenses to them a hot-button issue, MMA Junkie brought up the subject with notable low-kicker and former UFC Heavyweight Pat Barry. "HD" says he's very conscious of the dangers:
"I think about it all the time," Barry told MMAjunkie of potentially breaking his leg while throwing a kick. "I’m a very conscious fighter. I think about it always – all the time. Every time I throw a kick. Every time my foot comes off the ground, if it lands I’m going to win, if they block it I’m going to lose. It’s a fact. I don’t hold anything back, I just let them go."
Despite his concern, Barry won't remove the technique from his striking regimen:
"If it happens, it happens," Barry said. "Everyone is evolving, getting better at offense and getting better at defense. Are people getting better at blocking low kicks? Yes. But, as time goes on and the sport evolves and everyone gets better, our bodies also get more worn out, more frail, more torn to pieces.
"The risk is worth the reward," Barry said. "It’s a dangerous thing to do sometimes. Fighting, period, is dangerous. It’s kind of strange – you throw the kick and your leg breaks, and everyone goes crazy. But if you throw a punch and you break your hand, nobody cares."
Barry's criticism of fan-reaction to injuries is fair. However, it ignores a couple key issues. First, a leg snapping mid-fight causes a far more visceral reaction than a broken joint under wraps and gloves. Second, the recovery period for a broken hand is significantly less than a broken leg.
Barry fights this weekend under kickboxing rules at Glory 16 Denver, live on Spike TV. Get our full coverage of Glory 16 right here.