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Tag: Dementia pugilistica

Myth-Busting: Is MMA Really ‘Safer Than Boxing’?

(“See, when boxers get knocked out, their eyes *close*. I rest my case.”)

By George Shunick

If you’re anything like me, chances are you’ve claimed that MMA is safer than boxing whenever some know-it-all claims that MMA is too dangerous to be legalized. (Well, I live in New York, so maybe I get into this argument more than most people.) But the case seems fairly logical; unlike boxers, a significant part of MMA training does not involve striking. Moreover, the type of striking found in MMA targets the full body of the opponent. Boxing only allows punches above the waist and takes place at a closer range, invariably guaranteeing more blows to the head. So it follows that since boxers are struck more in the head throughout months of training and in their fights than MMA fighters are, MMA is a safer sport for the brains of athletes.

Well, common sense and logic help a lot, but ultimately aren’t quite as authoritative as those pesky things called facts. Recently, conducted an interview with Dr. Charles Bernick, who is in charge of a study of the brain health of professional fighters titled the “Professional Fighters Brain Health Study.” (Creative, isn’t it?) The study is conducted by the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas and is designed to last for four years. Its purpose is “to detect subtle changes in brain health that correlate with impaired thinking and functioning. If changes can be detected and interpreted early, there may be a way to reverse or soften trauma-induced brain diseases, like Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The study could also point regulators to specific markers in fighters’ brain scans that indicate a problem.”

When pressed if there is a discernible difference between the brain health of boxers and MMA fighters, Dr. Bernick responds:


Quote of the Day: Dr. Johnny Benjamin Feels Joe Warren Should Take a Year Off From Fighting

(Turns out, Pat Curran received a nickel for every unnecessary shot he was able to deliver to Warren’s dome. He used the proceeds to buy his mother a house in Brazil.) 

Whether you love or hate former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren, you were likely up in arms over the ridiculously late stoppage that marred his Bellator 60 title fight with Pat Curran. In fact, you were likely curled up in the fetal position when forced to re-watch that travesty while writing for a MMA website some ten days later. You weren’t? Well, neither was I, but this guy I know…

In either case, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Joe Warren vomited backstage in the wake of that loss, which basically wrote home the general consensus that he had suffered a concussion that night. Thankfully, Warren has undergone several tests since then that have cleared him of any permanent brain damage, but the idea that he could receive a scant 90 day suspension for his injuries has earned the ire of medical columnist Dr. Johnny Benjamin, who feels Warren should take closer to a year to fully recover from that ungodly beating:

He needs a year off for his brain to heal and then reassess his life and say, ‘Is this what I want to continue to do? Two vicious knockouts in a row? You don’t even want to begin to think what that’s doing to your brain. The man really needs a year off from taking blows to the head.

Given that Gary Goodridge was recent diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy as a result of similarly acquired punishment, perhaps this is something Warren should consider.

Join us after the jump for more from Dr. Benjamin’s interview.


Landmark Vegas-Based Research Study to Explore Brain Injury Prevention in Combat Sport Athletes

(RIP Gatti. One of the most solid chins in the game.)

In the wake of Gary Goodridge’s revelation last week that he has been diagnosed with early onset pugilistic dementia, a group from Las Vegas announced last week that it is spearheading a study to determine why some boxers and MMA fighters fall victim to brain injuries while others don’t.

According to the chief investigator from the group, the aim of the landmark project isn’t to try to have contact sports banned, but rather to come up with better methods of prevention when it comes to protecting fighters from acquiring irreversible neurological damage.

“You can’t stop these sports, and the last thing we want to do is stop these sports,” Dr. Charles Bernick, the chief investigator for the project told the Sac Bee. “But we want to be able to protect athletes from long-term brain issues.”


Shocking Pic of the Day: James Toney Might Beat Ken Shamrock Into a Living Death

Mumbles getting his party on, after getting his swole on.  PicProps: 8CountNews

Remember when James Toney trolled his way into a main event matchup against Randy Couture? And remember when he lost about thirty pounds on the fight poster thanks to a grueling Shoop diet? And then he came into UFC 118 weighing 237, was sluggish, and looked kinda lost for pretty much the entire goddamn fight?

Well according to, after all that stuff happened, Toney sat down, evaluated his life choices, took stock of his skills, knowledge and abilities, and resolved to rededicate himself to training in combat sports.

Or, as Toney explains: “My wife and pops sat down with me and they told me to take my career serious.”