Call for UFC to invest in fighter safety

by David Mayeda | source:

The conundrum for the UFC and other established MMA organizations is that they need these smaller "minor league" organizations to nurture future competitors who can one day reach the highest level of competition (currently the UFC). Yet, the major and minor MMA organizations lack a formal relationship. None of the major MMA organizations provide smaller, regional ones with the financial backing that would allow for a more robust medical infrastructure and help prevent the most serious ramifications of sporting violence. Thus, up and coming fighters must gain experience in smaller organizations, where the risky consequences of more serious violence and injury rise.

In other sports, even violent, collision-sports, such as football, an infrastructure exists that at least in theory is there to help prevent tragedy at all levels, from the NFL, down through the collegiate, high school, and even Pop Warner levels (true, serious injuries, even deaths, still occur on occasion). Granted, MMA has only been formally institutionalized in the United States now for 17 years. Still, we as a society know the immediate and long-term risks of collision and combat sports (football induced head trauma is now well documented).

Professional and semi-pro mixed martial artists - frequently seduced by the financial gains and popularity that the sport's biggest stars enjoy - should be treated as human beings, not as collateral damage dismissed in the wake of the sport's growth. Neither society's thirst for violence nor a sport's increasing popularity should be cited to justify or excuse athlete safety.

Perhaps this means larger MMA organizations like the UFC and Strikeforce need to consider investing their profits in smaller organizations to help improve an infrastructure that bolsters safety precautions - obviously a major financial undertaking and one unlikely to transpire. However, this would be an investment in the fighters, who at the lower levels receive less reward for more risk. Bottom line - until some structural change is made, sporting violence will continue to harm MMA athletes at the lower levels to a disproportionately large degree.

David Mayeda is lead author of Fighting for Acceptance: Mixed Martial Artists and Violence in American Society

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Recent Comments »

Paul Benjamin site profile image  

7/26/10 12:06 AM by Paul Benjamin

 Because there have been such a rash of deaths recently.... oh wait...

humphrey sphinctermuscle site profile image  

7/25/10 11:06 PM by humphrey sphinctermuscle

this is one really stupid topic and makes no sense of any kind.

JBALL site profile image  

7/25/10 11:03 PM by JBALL

Maybe they should pass out condoms before the matches. Thats about as much as the UFC is responsible for figther safety. 

mongo54 site profile image  

7/25/10 10:15 PM by mongo54

 newbie is new

mmabbn site profile image  

7/25/10 9:39 PM by mmabbn

The Athletic Commissions are in charge of fighter safety, not any org. The supply the refs, rules and guidelines for the sport. Look to them not the UFC and all. Good luck with that since the government is run my sociopaths and/or idiots.

Mister Saigon site profile image  

7/25/10 4:07 PM by Mister Saigon

Dumb fucking article, Ban UG News for UFC bashing

I GOT FRATE TRANED site profile image  

7/25/10 4:06 PM by I GOT FRATE TRANED

 This is one of the stupidest posts Ive ever read on the UG, and thats saying something.  You are an idiot of epic proportions! VTFD

Uncle Justice site profile image  

7/25/10 2:54 PM by Uncle Justice

 What a strange, annoying, and illogical way to say "all levels of MMA should be safe".

SinCityHustler site profile image  

7/25/10 1:46 PM by SinCityHustler

"MMA organizations like the UFC and Strikeforce need to consider investing their profits in smaller organizations to help improve an infrastructure that bolsters safety precautions" Already being done. WEC Kudos Mr. Dana White

OneScoup site profile image  

7/25/10 1:38 PM by OneScoup

I'd like somebody to find a way to get fighters MRIs on the cheap. Combat sports could literally eliminate deaths altogether if this was done.Additionally I'd like to see a national amateur organization, where guys can get experience under a safer ruleset.