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The_Education

MMA is not as dangerous as boxing

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Back in the 90s when MMA was starting to appear, and most guys were not wearing gloves, the argument was that such fights were safer than boxing because:

 

1. Guys would ultimately take less cumulative punishment to the head in fights because the lack of gloves meant fighters would be less willing/able to hit their opponent repeatedly due to the higher risk of hand injuries.

 

2. Fighters had more options than trying to knock out their opponent, as they could also try to choke or submit them.

 

3. Fighters would be able to more easily quit a fight if they were receiving too much punishment, because they could tap out and honorably "live to fight another day", as opposed to boxing, where quitting a fight has historically been seen as the worst form of cowardice (e.g. Leonard - Duran 2 "no mas").

 

Since those early days, there has been more focus not only on the effects of cumulative head trauma, but also the number of concussions an athlete suffers in his/her career, be it in contact sports such as football (Junior Seau), hockey (Derek Boogaard), or combat sports such as wrestling (Jacob Deitchler), boxing (innumerable examples) and MMA (Chuck Liddell).

 

For this reason, in the boxing vs. MMA argument, I would say that while points 2 and 3 above are still valid, for point 1, the smaller gloves, ability to kick, and overall increased emphasis on striking in MMA over the past 20 years definitely mean there are more thorough knockouts, thus more concussions, and thus more potential for long term problems in MMA than was previously thought.

 

Not that these guys would necessarily have such problems during their young competitive days, but you'd definitely see them once they hit middle age in their 50s or even 40s, in the form of severe memory problems, dementia, depression, and other long-term psychiatric issues that are very debilitating and often permanent.

 

Grappling instructor Stephan Kesting wrote a great article about the subject recently:

 

http://www.grapplearts.com/Blog/2013/09 ... ou-stupid/

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