MMA Health & Safety
The creation of the Unified Rules of Martial Arts Changed the game as far as Safety was concerned. The rules associated with the UFC during 1993 were next to nothing compared to the rules & regulations in place today. The fighter is now the main concern when a fight occurs. The best sports doctors & medicine is at their disposal. Still many people question the safety of fighters & have concerns over the possible long term effects as well as other injuries that can occur during a fight. There are several studies that state that the injury rate in MMA is comparable to other contact sports such as Boxing.
After studying data compiled by the NV. State Athletic Commission in reference to professional MMA fights between 2001 & 2004 point researches found there was an overall injury rate of just less than 29%. A separate study of fights that took place in Hawaii between 1999 & 2006 show a lower injury rate less than 24%. This study mentions that the most common injuries were lacerations, abrasions, concussion, facial injuries & orthopedic injuries. The rates reported for the sport were comparable with other similar sports such as Boxing or Karate.
A report from Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in 2012 explains that of 109 professional boxers & mixed martial artists, the fighters with over 6 years of experience in the ring were likely to have size reductions in the thalamus as well as hippocampus. Fighters with over 12 years of experience in the ring was likely to have the same or greater size reductions along with symptoms like memory loss. One of the doctors conducting the study, Dr. Charles Bernick, stated that it might be more important to study the lesser blows that accumulate throughout such a career as opposed to the study of the much more infrequent concussions an athlete might experience.
There were no officially documented cases of death in sanctioned mixed martial arts until very recently. This is likely because such records were not kept in many of the grittier MMA events which preceded the very public sport we now know. There are now 2 recorded deaths in the sport as a result of sanctioned events. In November of 2007 Sam Vasquez collapsed after being defeated by knock out during a match held shortly before. He had 2 surgeries in attempt to remove a blood clot from his system but unfortunately he suffered a stroke & did not regain consciousness before he succumbed to his injuries. The second death was happened in South Carolina during June of 2010. Michael Kirkham a 30 year old fighter was knocked out during a match. He never regained consciousness & was eventually pronounced dead after 2 long days. Some other people claim there have been 7 deaths known to have resulted from the mixed martial arts but it really depends on the records you review.