Like With The NFL, CTE Could Become a Major Problem In MMA
It appears that a problem that many mixed-martial artists onlookers have predicted for the future of MMA has finally come to pass. It is a problem that reminds us of the inconvenient truth about combat related sports: While MMA is a great sport, it is also brutal, dangerous and could have potentially long-term effects.
This week, we have come to learn more about the condition of deceased Bellator MMA featherweight fighter Jordan Parsons. Jordan Parsons was killed in a hit and run accident in Florida in May 2016. Jordan Parsons amassed a 12-2 record during his career.
Yet, Dr. Bennet Omalu has taken the first step in making inroads into showing how CTE is a potential issue for fighters in mixed martial arts. As the subject of “Concussion”, it is well-documented how he has proven that CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is a major issue in football even if it made the National Football League uncomfortable.
Dr. Omalu revealed that Jordan Parsons was diagnosed with CTE. To date, this is the first case of an MMA fighter that has been diagnosed with this disease. Nearly three years ago, a report came out that made it clear that MMA fighters were on pace to develop brain diseases that are similar to boxers, football players and professional wrestlers.
The report showed the example of former Pride FC fighter Gary Goodridge. In 45 professional fights, Goodridge amassed a 23-22 record and had several fights after he turned 40 years old. Unfortunately, Goodridge would be diagnosed with early onset CTE. It has been reported that Gary Goodridge has considered suicide and that his condition is worsening every single day.
UFC welterweight competitor George Sullivan recalled times in which he was punch drunk after sessions of training. It is also important to note that an MMA fighter by the name of Joao Cervalho died in the immediate aftermath of a TKO in Dublin, Ireland in April 2016.
The diagnosis of Jordan Parsons needs to be a wake-up call for Dana White and the UFC. In the past and present, Dana White has touted the UFC and how superior it is to the NFL in terms of safety. Yet, we must be reminded that the University of Toronto released a report that a mixed martial arts fighter suffers a traumatic brain injury in 1/3rd of all professional bouts.
Yet, I believe that the UFC being the equivalent brand of the NFL but in mixed martial arts, should take early steps to beef up their concussion protocols. Otherwise, Dr. Omalu may become a big thorn in the UFC’s side just like he was to the NFL. As the sport grows in popularity, the sport’s brutal nature may be glorified even further. The UFC must do more based on this news which in turn would help younger promotions and fighters in the long run.