Here are four reasons MMA is safer than most contact sports. The fundamentals of mixed martial arts has an established foundation. MMA may be a new sport in the sense that the unique combination of techniques and rules is no more than a few decades old. But MMA is not a novel idea by itself, in the sense that it is built on the techniques and rules of already established sports. Sports such as the Olympic sports of boxing, Greco-roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, judo and taekwondo.
1. Serious Injury is Avoided
Contrary to popular belief, international statistics show that elite athletes competing in MMA are less likely to attain serious injuries than in a range of other contact sports such as ice hockey, boxing and the NFL. First,, an MMA athlete on the professional level has approximately 12-21 training sessions per week but only 4-10 bouts per year. The physical shape required to be successful in a competition is very high and hence every athlete will have long periods of rest and training in between each bout. Compare this with the NFL where most teams have one game per week spanning over more than half of the year.
Second, professional MMA athletes are examined by doctors before, during and after competitions. If a fighter is injured and the injury will prohibit his or her performance, during a pre-bout medical check by a physician, the athlete will not be allowed to compete. This is to protect their safety. In addition, if an athlete is injured during a competition, the athlete will be given medical suspensions prohibiting them from contact in training until an appropriate time period or being cleared by a physician.
Finally, an elite MMA athlete is trained to be offensive as well as defensive and hence knows how to protect him or herself. Compare this to being targeted in the NFL or when being checked hard in the NHL or accidentally crashing a race-car or an equestrian accident like Christopher Reeves. MMA is a sport where athletes are prepared and trained for impact, not where the major task is something else and the contact comes when the athlete is unaware.
2. Fighters Only Fight Evenly Matched Opponents
Back in the day, before weight classes, there was much more danger of injury. But now there are professional match makers who are charged with each weight class and match contenders to face each other that are evenly matched. This is what makes MMA exciting to watch. No one wants to see a 3 second knockout, we want to see a battle.
3. MMA Maintains Stingent Rules and Regulations
Most people think that in MMA everything is allowed, maybe in the early days of MMA, that was true. There are other unregulated sports in the world of martial arts that are unregulated that people equate with MMA. This is however false, the Unified Rules of MMA include::
- No strikes to the back of the head
- No small-joint manipulations
- No 12 to 6 elbows
- No groin strikes
- No hair pulling, head butting or inserting a finger or fingers in the mouth and pulling,
- No kicks or knees to the head of a downed opponent
- The tap-out (verbal or tapping of the mat) is a recognized submission
- Time determined rounds
- Weight classes
4. The Universal Nature of MMA
MMA is becoming ubiquitous. Initially. MMA competitors came from other disciplines in martial arts and used the techniques they trained in with when meeting an opponent from a different discipline. This is still true to some degree today, but as MMA grows and as the athletes become more complete, so does the “beginner” training in the sport. The athletes in the UFC are a very small percentage of the people that practice MMA around the world. MMA is absolutely a sport that one can start with at an early age, the only difference is the restrictions on techniques. The younger and the less mature the participant, the less the risk in injury is allowed. Bottom line, as the popularity of MMA grows all over the world, the more the spotlight will shine on the sport itself. The public will demand fairness and safety for the fighters that they care about and so will the establishment of the sport.