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5/2/13 12:19 AM
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Dr. Johnny Benjamin fosters invaluable debate about critical issues in MMA, through his biweekly column for MMAJunkie and via Twitter. He is also occasionally the source of controversy, a position he does not shrink from.

In 2008 he questioned Pat Miletich fighting Thomas Denny, noting of himself that he is "a pretty fair, fellowship-trained spine surgeon." Dr. Benjamin asked rhetorically "Isn't this the same Pat Miletich who retired because of a serious neck injury – then underwent surgery to address a herniated disk in his neck? Same guy, right?" He then went on to say Miletich's "safety is very open for debate."

The problem is that Pat Miletich had not, in fact, undergone surgery.

As Miletich reported via Twitter, the column cost him $4,000.

@DrJCBenjamin wrote I shouldn't fight after neck surgery. Thr was no surgery n cost me 4k 4 extra tests 2 fight.

Miletich knocked Denny out early in the 2nd round.

Dr. Benjamin's 2009 remarks that women should not fight five-round championship fights due to the dangers of fatigue is in various measures paternalistic, insulting, and remarkably goofy.

In 2010 he accused the UFC and ProElite of 'promotional lynching' for putting Kimbo Slice in the limelight. Lynching is one of the great evils in American history. On average, for nearly 50 years between 1882 and 1930, a black man, woman, or child was murdered nearly once a week, every week, by a hate-driven white mob. The 'lynching' Dr. Benjamin referenced made Slice a millionaire, with a TapouT contract alone worth $50,000 per month.  Dr. Benjamin noted "I do know what the word means," which only makes it worse.

In 2011 Dr. Benjamin said UFC marketing appeals to racism.

Part of the popularity of the UFC seems to be related to the domination of the white male wrestler.  I think it may be seen as one of the last sporting bastions of white male superiority.

Simply put.  The UFC/MMA, in large part, appeals to a young, white male demographic because young, white males are very good at it.  They can cheer for their own, drink with their own and feel good about it when their guy wins.

Do I think that the UFC and/or Dana White are racists?

Nope...not at all.

Does Dana understand his fan base (for better or worse) and markets to them like any successful businessperson...even if it appeals a deep-seated human deficiency?

Yes sir!

In 2012, Dr. Benjamin directly implied Frank Mir wrecked his body with past steroid abuse.

Let's be honest here. How many people who never wrecked their bodies with past steroid use, naturally need TRT at 33? Less than one or two percent.

However, setting aside the growing evidence of a tie between head trauma and low testosterone levels, given that far less than 1% of the 15,000 registered fighters in the sport have received a TUE (the number is closer to .1%) the remarks by a respected MD seem ill-thought through and unfair, even reckless.

The messages above are by no means comprehensive, but rather illustrate the unfortunate directions Dr. Benjamin sometimes veers into, year after year. 2013 is no different than 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Saturday night Jon Jones beat Chael Sonnen. In the process, at one point Jones pushed off so forcefully that his toe dislocated, breaking the skin. The toe was treated by a ringside physician, and Jones went to the post-fight press conference, before going to the hospital for further treatment.

Dr. Robert Klapper, Chief Orthopedic Surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, later appeared on UFC Tonight and explained that the bone did not fracture, but dislocated, and that Jones would be back fighting within two months.

“The rehab involves, number one, you put it back into place. Line it up again. Wash out the joint because there’s lots of bad bacteria on that mat, and you need to make sure there’s no infection. The rehabilitation is just let things scar down, which they will. Because there’s no fracture of the bone — it’s just a dislocation — in six weeks it’s healed, then you start range of motion and strengthening. Back to fighting, six to eight weeks.”

Dr. Benjamin took issue with Jones' treatment, first via Twitter, and then in his column, comparing what happened to Jones unfavorably with what happened in the case of University of Louisville basketball player Kevin Ware. Ware suffered a compound fracture of the leg, and was immediately transported to the hospital.

This type of open injury, whether it involves a bone in the leg or foot, requires proper immediate care at the scene and surgical intervention within eight hours to limit the chances of serious infection. Surgery usually consists of a thorough wash and inspection with removal of any foreign bodies (dirt, sand, clothing fibers, etc.) that may have been introduced into the open wound, strong antibiotics, and hardware to fix the bone injury (pins, plates, screws, rods, etc.).

Unfortunately, Jones was allowed to give a post-fight interview in the cage, and then he went to the dressing room, where someone closed the wound with stitches, possibly trapping dirt and bacteria inside, and fashioned a rudimentary splint. He then sat through some portion of the post-fight press conference to answer questions – all with the eight-hour clock ticking away.

I have a question: Where was the UFC orthopedic surgeon or medical director during the immediate on-scene triage, care and medical decision-making process of one of the promotion's and MMA's greatest stars?

Jones' future is relatively easy to predict: very, very bright if he does not get an infection, but not so much if he does.

Now, in an interview with Fightland, Dr. Michael Kelly, the ringside physician who treated Jones at UFC 159, characterized Dr. Benjamin's remarks as "somewhat irresponsible."

I’ve read some of the criticisms that have been making their way around the Internet about what we should have done as doctors. I know there’s a doctor who writes a lot about MMA but doesn’t really cover any shows who always has a lot to say, and he derives most of his opinions from pictures on the Internet, which I think is somewhat irresponsible.

The treatment for a compound fracture is to clean up the wound, have it set, and then use antibiotics to make sure there’s no infection. I saw that somebody had said it was sutured and he was allowed to just walk on it. It wasn’t the case. It wasn’t sutured in the arena. Jones wasn’t walking on an open wound. That sounds like a silly quote from someone who doesn’t work many fights. Many fighters get cuts and wounds during their bouts and they’re cleaned up and covered or sutured and allowed to go about their day. The wound was cleaned, it was dressed; there were no sutures placed at the event. The injury was splinted and closed and covered with a dressing, and arrangements were made to have him taken to the emergency room.

As for the criticism that Jones shouldn’t have been allowed to go to the post-fight press conference before going to the hospital, everybody that practices medicine knows that a patient has a right to autonomy and to make their own decisions. You can’t force them to do anything. If he wanted to talk at the press conference, he had every right to, as does any other patient. You can’t force them to go to the emergency room that second. If they’re awake, alert, and oriented, and they can make a reasonable decision, they can decide when to go. It wasn’t a life-threatening issue, contrary to the nonsense I’ve seen on the Internet. It’s very funny when you’re there looking at something and then you see what propagates and how things get twisted and distorted. But it happens from time to time. Everybody plays Monday morning quarterback.

Dr. Benjamin is generally an immensely useful resource for the MMA community. He descibes himself as a "nationally respected orthopedic spine surgeon and author," adding, "best of all, I make complex medical issues easy to understand." Unfortunately, he sometimes makes complex medical issues harder to understand, not easier, too regularly offering positions that appear designed more to generate heat than light, something akin to high-level trolling.


5/2/13 12:29 AM
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i remember halloween
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Edited: 05/02/13 12:32 AM
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Glad to hear this.  Johnny Benjamin is a dipshit.  Unfortunately not too many speak the same medical language as he does so it isn't obvious.

5/2/13 12:33 AM
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FanToFighter
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I agree. Man is a numbskull with a PhD. Anyone who has been through any sort of college can tell you some real pieces of work end up with degrees some how. Phone Post
5/2/13 12:52 AM
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BeatonHauff
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I've always hated this guy, he's condescending in most of his articles even though he doesn't know what he's talking about, like he doesn't even watch events and gets his information second hand and plays the I have a phd and you don't card all the time. Overall a dick head. Phone Post 3.0
5/2/13 1:54 AM
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TEN10TEN
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Can someone please link the article. It goes right to an ad for the ug app. Phone Post
5/2/13 2:26 AM
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Cantona99
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He has some valid points sometimes but, most of the times I think he just says things to be controversial. He continually slates the UFC. He seems a bit of a fame whore IMO Phone Post
5/2/13 2:41 AM
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bknumber1
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Cantona99 - He has some valid points sometimes but, most of the times I think he just says things to be controversial. He continually slates the UFC. He seems a bit of a fame whore IMO Phone Post
This. He is Segal with MD at the end of his name, always trying to claim the spotlight after others have done the hard work.

At least that's the way he comes off to me. Phone Post 3.0
5/2/13 2:44 AM
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hmb
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Dr. Johnny "Chael" Benjamin.


It's nearly the same thing...
5/2/13 3:13 AM
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Lanway
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As a ringside doc, myself, who has worked hundreds of fights, I will have to agree with Dr. Kelly. It is somewhat stupid to criticize the actions of another professional not knowing all the facts nor the exact situation in which decisions were being made. My experience with the UFC has been that their medical decisions are bordering on being overly cautious, as they are so high profile.

The medical oversight in the UFC is top notch, in my opinion. And the guys working shows in New Jersey are some of the most experienced in the business.
5/2/13 3:30 AM
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UGCTT_Rychek
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This was honestly one of my favorite UG Blog reads ever. I read every single bit, and thats rare coming from you guys. Now make one similar to this but about Lloyd Irvin and i'll love you even more.
5/2/13 3:32 AM
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Porkchop
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"Dr. Benjamin is an immensely useful resource for the MMA community, but he too regularly is at the center of controversy, holding positions that are hard to defend."

Immensely useful? Can't we agree that he isn't all that useful at all?

The guy is a total knob. Always has been, always will be.
5/2/13 3:33 AM
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DoomFarmer
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It's clear the guy just wants attention . Phone Post 3.0
5/2/13 7:55 AM
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SmackyBear
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I also liked his declaration that T:E ratios above 2:1 were impossible without exogenous testosterone. And that the aim of TRT was to get a 1:1 T:E ratio. Good times.
5/2/13 8:26 AM
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SC MMA MD
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Lanway - As a ringside doc, myself, who has worked hundreds of fights, I will have to agree with Dr. Kelly. It is somewhat stupid to criticize the actions of another professional not knowing all the facts nor the exact situation in which decisions were being made. My experience with the UFC has been that their medical decisions are bordering on being overly cautious, as they are so high profile.

The medical oversight in the UFC is top notch, in my opinion. And the guys working shows in New Jersey are some of the most experienced in the business.
I am a ringside physician also, and agree with this statement. Like most physicians that are clearly trying to establish a media presence, Dr. Benjamin seems to have a hard time remaining professional and not commenting on issues not in his area of practice during his efforts to draw attention to himself. Criticizing a physicians actions based on assumptions he made by what he saw on television was inappropriate Phone Post 3.0
5/2/13 8:30 AM
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Another Foob
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"Dr. Benjamin is an immensely useful resource for the MMA community, but he too regularly is at the center of controversy, holding positions that are hard to defend."

The UG blog is being too kind imo. And, I'm probably one of the most tolerant people around here.
5/2/13 8:42 AM
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OnlyTheStrongSurvive
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I'm pretty sure he said Kevin Ware would be fine in 3 months like his injury was no big deal right after it happened too, lol.

5/2/13 8:49 AM
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Fly Rodder
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Edited: 05/02/13 8:50 AM
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"How many people who never wrecked their bodies with past steroid use, naturally need TRT at 33? Less than one or two percent," he wrote of Mir. However, setting aside the growing evidence of a tie between head trauma and low testosterone levels, given that far less than 1% of the 15,000 registered fighters in the sport have received a TUE (the number is close to .1%) the remarks by a respected MD seem ill-thought through and unfair, even reckless
This is really sloppy reasoning. There's a direct correlation to low testosterone from previous steroid use - it's not some hypothesis with flimsy evidence. It's also inaccurate to use all registered fighters as the comparison when the vast majority don't fight for a living at the highest level of the sport and don't have the pressure to succeed (or the money/access to friendly doctors to prescribe TRT). In the UFC fighter population, TRT exemptions are much higher than .1 or .2%.

Edited to add: Johnny Benjamin is no doubt a tool, but even a stopped clock is right occasionally.
5/2/13 9:17 AM
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BubblesNS
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What outs him as a crap Dr. Is that he gives medical opinions on people has never personally assessed or given a chart review. He appears to put his own desire for notoriety above his professionalism. In short, his opinion is worthless. Phone Post 3.0
5/2/13 10:28 AM
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Kirik
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The UnderGround, Mayor
Fly Rodder - 
"How many people who never wrecked their bodies with past steroid use, naturally need TRT at 33? Less than one or two percent," he wrote of Mir. However, setting aside the growing evidence of a tie between head trauma and low testosterone levels, given that far less than 1% of the 15,000 registered fighters in the sport have received a TUE (the number is close to .1%) the remarks by a respected MD seem ill-thought through and unfair, even reckless
This is really sloppy reasoning. There's a direct correlation to low testosterone from previous steroid use - it's not some hypothesis with flimsy evidence. It's also inaccurate to use all registered fighters as the comparison when the vast majority don't fight for a living at the highest level of the sport and don't have the pressure to succeed (or the money/access to friendly doctors to prescribe TRT). In the UFC fighter population, TRT exemptions are much higher than .1 or .2%.

Edited to add: Johnny Benjamin is no doubt a tool, but even a stopped clock is right occasionally.

If there are 350 fighters under contract with the UFC, 2% would be 7 fighters. Are there more than 7 fighters in the UFC receiving a TUE?

In the last few years there have probbaly been 1,000 fighters in the UFC.

For guys who used TRT at some point for the last few years I can think of Vitor Belfort, Todd Duffee, Forrest Griffin, Dennis Hallman, Dan Henderson, Rampage Jackson, Nate Marquardt, Frank Mir, Shane Roller, and Chael Sonnen. There have got to be more, so add below, please.

Still, the issue is addressed as if it is an epidemic, but I don't see it.

For Michael Bisping, it is definitely an epidemic. "At some point, as you start getting older, your balls don't work as well and you don't make as much testosterone," said Bisping who fought three of the people on the list, adding "but, that's life and you deal with it."

I do feel bad for Bisping, but don't think the number breaks the less than 1-2% that Dr. Benjamin referenced above.

5/2/13 10:52 AM
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AndyMain
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Dr Kelly is brilliant. He's my primary physician a long with the resident go to in NJ for medical information in the fight world. This Dr. Benjamin seems to be not much more than a Troll with a PhD.

5/2/13 10:59 AM
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Kirik, can you at least get rid of the "immensely useful resource" remark with respect to Benjamin, it takes away all of the author's credibility. 

5/2/13 11:15 AM
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crwhitlock
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The real criticism and outcry here should be focused entirely at MMAJUNKIE. They continue to give this man a platform to spout ignorance, arrogance, and racism. How many incidents need to occur before they cut him off? I guarantee they would get a laundry list of doctors willing to write a column for them.
5/2/13 11:17 AM
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BeatonHauff
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Self proclaimed fight doc Phone Post 3.0
5/2/13 11:21 AM
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hmb
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He saw a niche and filled it... Can you blame the guy?

UFC has no one else talking from a doctor perspective.


Benji opens his mouth and it's instant MMA news. I would say he is doing ok. I'm sure he hardly thinks out most of the shit he says. He knows at this point any random sound bite gets him eyes and ears, and that he basically has a monopoly on the subject. Seems like he just has fun with it as a doctor/fan, and isn't truly trying to be an authority.
5/2/13 12:09 PM
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BubblesNS
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hmb - He saw a niche and filled it... Can you blame the guy?

UFC has no one else talking from a doctor perspective.


Benji opens his mouth and it's instant MMA news. I would say he is doing ok. I'm sure he hardly thinks out most of the shit he says. He knows at this point any random sound bite gets him eyes and ears, and that he basically has a monopoly on the subject. Seems like he just has fun with it as a doctor/fan, and isn't truly trying to be an authority.
I guess the only part i disagree with is that as a doctor he will be seen as an authority whether he thinks he is or not. He should know that. I guess i just see him as a wannabe celebrity quack. Im a bit militant because im a health professional. Phone Post 3.0

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