Are Mixed Martial Arts Dangerous?

By: James Liu

There has been a lot of bad press surrounding MMA fights and the UFC. Many critics say that mixed martial arts are barbaric and gruesome and are nothing more than amateur street brawls. The beginning of the MMA movement in America and the inception of the UFC did not help matters at firs as they promoted the sport as the most violent combat sport available and only helped to further the negative serotype. Originally, MMA fights were banned in many states but after stricter rules were put in place and new UFC owners worked to change the barbaric stereotype, the MMA movement has gained huge popularity.

But are mixed martial arts dangerous, at least any more dangerous that other combat or contact sports? Sure, in the beginning the sport itself claimed to be extremely violent but things have changed since then. To really answer the question of the danger in MMA fights, one would have to understand the rules of the UFC and compare it to other sports.

Mixed martial arts is just that, a mixture of many different fighting styles from boxing to wrestling, to jui jitsu, most of which have ancient roots and were at some time a part of the Olympic Games. Critics against the UFC and MMA fights say that it teaches kids that fighting is ok or honorable. Some of these same critics agree that all combat sports are bad and other single out MMA. The truth is, when compared to boxing MMA is not as bad. The object ion boxing is to beat your opponent until they are unconscious or so badly injured that they can no longer get up. In MMA a victory option is knockout, but fighters can also win by submission or referee stoppage, two options not available in boxing. Instead of going at it until irreparable damage is done, many MMA fights end when a fighter submits or the referee stops the fight before serious injuries occur. This seems like a much safer option.

Critics that say that MMA is barbaric and dangerous must not realized that there have been no deaths in sanctioned MMA fights ever. No MMA fighter has ever died during a fight; the same cannot be said about boxing a sport that has lost hundreds of fighters. Injuries are also infrequent, as well as brain damage because submission and referee stoppage is a victory option. The same is not true in boxing, many fighters end up with long term problems, brain damage, or have their careers halted abruptly because of injuries. Even non combat sports like football and hockey see more serious injuries than MMA fights such as broken and fractured bones, spinal damage, and concussions. While MMA fighters do receive injuries, they are not usually severe.

Critics that initially called the game barbaric and dangerous spoke of the lack of rules and regulations. MMA fights have over gone rule changes and additions, and although still allow for a great variety of fighting techniques, the fighters well being is considered. No matter how many people think that MMA fights are dangerous, the sport will continue to grow and attract fans.

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