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Tag: head trauma

The Moral Weight of Being an MMA Fan


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Watching MMA comes at a cost. Not $60 for a PPV. Not $10 every month for Fight Pass. Not even the hours you spend watching low-level fighters on prelims learn their craft so you can watch the main card. No, being a fan of this sport comes at a human cost. Real people are putting their permanent health on the line for…money? A pittance? For our entertainment? For the tired notion of glory?

Each fighter has their own motivation for stepping into the cage, but most fans generally watch MMA for the entertainment value; if something about MMA didn’t entertain or excite them, they wouldn’t watch.

And how can MMA fans be blamed? The kernel of Dana White‘s blowhard persuasions about fighting being “in our blood” is true. The highest level of MMA transcends “sport” as we’re used to it. There are no overweight outfielders scratching their balls between innings. There are no fines for wearing your socks the wrong height or for excessive celebration. MMA, at its best, is a phantasmagoric display of violence juxtaposed with art. It’s raw. It’s visceral. It’s a grotesque, screeching cacophony of carnage that unfolds into a single, unparalleled and strangely soothing melody. There is nothing on earth like (good) MMA. Nothing.

This is why Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva was so spectacular. As MMAFighting’s Chuck Mindenhall noted, UFC Fight Night 40′s main event reminded us why we watch MMA in a time when lackluster card after lackluster card had us questioning our fandom.

But Sunday mornings are always sober; the high has worn off. The consequences of combat are the violence junkie’s hangover.

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Why Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Happen


(The Mir-Overeem preview segment from ‘Countdown to UFC 169′. Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

By Adam Ackerman

This weekend’s UFC 169 card looks to be an entertaining night for MMA fans, featuring Renan Barao defending his now-official bantamweight championship against Urijah Faber, and a chance to (possibly) see Jose Aldo get a decent stand-up test against Ricardo Lamas. It is the next match up — Frank Mir vs Alistair Overeem — that makes me cringe.

Why do I cringe? Because I fear what the future holds for both of these men. Mir is coming off of three losses, including two by violent TKOs. Overeem is in a similar boat, having been put to sleep in his last two fights. When you look further back, even more red flags can be found. Out of the eight losses that appear on Frank Mir’s MMA record, seven have been by some form of knockout. It gets even worse for Alistair, who has lost by KO or TKO 11 times between his MMA and kickboxing careers.

Based on what we now know about head trauma in MMA, it’s safe to assume that both fighters have suffered at least some level of brain injury, which means they could be in for an incredibly wide array of consequences. Depending on the area of trauma and severity, either fighter could suffer cognitive, physiological, emotional, psychological, and behavioral changes. Basic physical functions like hand-eye coordination can also be affected, making those devastating strikes even harder to avoid. And the damage does not end there.

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