clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A look at the injury rates of major MMA fight camps (2009-2016)

Michael Hutchinson takes a look at what MMA camps are the most and least injury prone.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Machida vs Dolloway Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The following table takes a look at the biggest and most notable fight camps in MMA and their injury rates. The fighters included are ones who have been scheduled for 5+ UFC fights between 2009 and 2016. Injuries are only counted for fighters who were booked for a fight, but had to pull out due to an injury.

*AKA says that 4 of the injuries listed happened at other camps. Adjusted % would be 15.6%.
**Team Nogueira is mixed with Black House MMA

According to these statistics, American Kickboxing Academy is the most injury prone fight camp. In 141 scheduled fights, their fighters have pulled out of 26 due to an injury. This puts them at an 18.43% injury rate.

I spoke with AKA head coach Javier Mendez about his team being the most injury prone. He added that four of the injuries that were listed came from Khabib Nurmagomedov and Ruslan Magomedov, and that those injuries occurred from their training in Russia.

Mendez did say that his team has gone through a rough period for injuries and that he’s been doing all he can to change training methods. He explained that Cormier’s injury that took him out of UFC 206 happened while teaching his own wrestling class. He’s insistent that he’s doing all he can to hold back his fighters from over-training and from hard sparring.

“If fighters are looking at me like, ‘you’re f’ing us up coach,’ then I should probably quit. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I do the best to take care of them and they’ll tell you that I don’t let them spar when they’re injured. I hold them back.”

Alliance MMA posted the lowest injury rate out of any fight camp, with only 7 injuries among their 11 fighters. Although the camp does have injury-prone UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, fighters like Phil Davis, Jeremy Stephens, Joey Beltran and Ross Pearson have gone 16+ fights with 1 or no injuries.

The difficult part of putting the list together is figuring out what fighters count for which camp, and who is eligible. While looking at injury rates, I noticed that injuries hardly ever occurred in Bellator from 2009 to 2013. I also noticed a huge influx in injuries when a fighter made it into the UFC.

For these reasons, I have only included fighters who made it to the UFC and had 5 or more scheduled fights. I also only counted fights that took place in the UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator, WSOF, and Invicta as other organizations had little to no injury data. I also did my best to track fighters who moved camps for a couple of fights, and counting those fights towards that camp.

Below is the full list of fight camps, there fighters and their injuries. Thanks to Tapology for the injury information.