Since the UFC pushes Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to the mainstream, an age old question remains: Is MMA safer then boxing? The main premise behind the argument has always been that unlike boxing, in MMA, there are more avenues to success than striking your opponent. Highlighting the apparent, there are less painful paths to victory, thus creating some reductions in MMA less detrimental on a fighter’s body and mind. The Unified Rules of MMA make it feasible for a MMA fighter to win a bout by judges’ choice or by possibly submitting their competitor. The resulting notion is that MMA athletes suffer fewer traumatic injuries and the chances are lessened they might become punch drunk. But, proponents of boxing are always quick to point out the bigger gloves implemented in MMA and the fact that the rules allowing for leg strikes and elbows. Therefore”it is time” to take a comprehensive look to both sides of the argument. Before getting into the thick of this debate, I want to highlight one of the key reasons I chose to write this report. Shawn O’Sullivan, a retired fighter that I have met many occasions, lives in my mind. On paper, his life seems like a success story. However the real truth is that his boxing profession killed his odds of having a successful life after his career was finished. A brief documentary on his story can be found below.Many would consider O’Sullivan’s career marginally illustrious because he had been the 1981 World Amateur Champion, 1981 Canadian Athlete of the Year and 1984 Olympic Silver medalist at light middleweight. Also many consider his gold medal bout against Frank Tate very controversial as it seemed like the fix was in. Despite scoring two standing 8 counts at around two the judges awarded that round to Tate. Upon going expert, he found himself quickly retired in 1988 with unsuccessful comebacks in both 1991 and 1997. Shawn’s overall listing of 23-5-0, with 16 knockouts handed him by without reaching his dreams of competing in a world title bout. Following four fights in 1997, a neurologist refused to renew the permit he had to continue boxing because of brain injury that he saw during a CAT scan. Today, O’Sullivan is living with the difficulties of brain damage, but he does not repent his career in boxing. Throughout my many discussions with O’Sullivan, he practically always slurred his speech also had difficulties remembering parts of his life. Sadly, his ability to talk about his story is all he has to show for his famous career. However, that’s hindered as a result of the culmination of blows to the head he suffered during his boxing career. O’Sullivan suffers from fighter’s dementia, commonly called being”punch drunk” brought about partially as a result of his fighting style and gruelling sparring sessions at the gym. If you’d like to see exactly what I mean, take a few minutes and watch his bout against Armando Martinez. What remains untold to many, and something which highlights the significance of this article is that O’Sullivan was pushed to boxing by his first trainer: his dad. Rumors are his dad was allowing his son spar against heavyweights and even bigger guys as part of the everyday reality test for O’Sullivan. As parents, one may feel uncomfortable advocating your kid partake in any battle sport from this fear of the long term consequences. Therefore signing your child up to either boxing or MMA training could become a question of which can be safer? Is there a chance that you could help choose the lesser of two so-called evils. Until recently the whole debate behind MMA is safer then Boxing was entirely theoretical. There remains to be little scientific facts and findings to support the claim. Most recently the University of Alberta’s Dr. Shelby Karpman headed a review of more than a decade’s worth of medical exams from approximately 1,700 fighters in Edmonton, Canada. According to the study, Fifty-nine per cent of MMA athletes sustained some kind of injury, compared to 50 percent of boxers. However, fighters were likely to eliminate consciousness during a bout: seven percent versus four per cent for MMA fighters. Irrespective of the facts to as which sport is safer, The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on both MMA and boxing. By highlighting a 2014 University of Toronto study revealed an MMA fighter suffered a traumatic brain injury at nearly a third of professional bouts. It’s not my intention to cast doubt on the protection of a game, nevertheless both boxing and MMA have had instances of deaths which are well recorded. Recently a MMA fighter died due to complications reducing weight. John McCain, who branded the game of MMA”human cockfighting,” sat ringside in the 1995 boxing death of Jimmy Garcia. But, very few severe life threatening injuries in MMA come to mind because none have occurred on its primary stage. A fighter’s passing within the Octagon has never occurred and hopefully it never will. Nonetheless, it’s something that has to be in the back of everyone’s mind once we see fighters getting knocked out lifelessly. Rendering a competition not just defenceless but unconscious remains to be the title of the fight game whether it’s MMA or Boxing. That’s where a fighter’s fanfare, bonus money and continuous hype derives. UFC President Dana White declared MMA that the”safest game in the world, fact.” The idea that MMA is the most popular sport in the entire world is mad. Tennis, golf, track and field, swimming… Are all”safer” sports in that they lack head injury all together and present little risk of death. Touting up security should come with a duty to fully study the effects of your sport. The construction on what will be known as the UFC Athlete Health and Performance Center starts this soon and will take 15 months to finish. Next to health insurance for training injuries, this is MMA’s next most important step towards taking on more of a leading role in sport security. With that said, Dana’s end game is that Scientific research will eventually brand MMA as a”safer” alternative for fight sport athletes when compared with boxing. But, it would just further the game’s inverse relationship. As MMA increases in popularity, boxing’s visibility in the national consciousness continues to fall and it’s simple to finger stage. It also can’t be stressed enough the very first generation of fighters are only getting out of this game over the past few decades. Science has an incredibly small sample dimension to look at with respect to aging MMA fighters at this time, although UFC originals such as Gary Goodridge are already feeling the effects. We probably still need a couple more”generations” of fighters to retire and grow old to have an actual sense of the effects of the sport on them since they age. And by that I mean fighters that have had to compete with other high level athletes, not boxers that had been the best of a game that was still very much in the developmental phases. Fighters like George St Pierre, Demetrious Johnson and Ronda Rousey are unlikely to deal with any longstanding consequences of brain injury primarily due to their runs of dominance and their capacity to avoid substantial damage. Johnson recently said on the Joe Rogan Experience that”There is not enough money in the entire world for me to risk brain damage” Johnson, like many other educated fighters, knows that carrying too much harm in his profession will harm his longevity both indoors and outside the sport, and that is why he’s so conscious of his safety in the Octagon. Maybe that is the reason he’s never lost consciousness from the Octagon. Whatever the case, it’s difficult to use findings of yesteryear to determine the safety of the sport now. So much constantly changes within the sport of MMA that trying to compare between eras is essentially the exact same in trying to compare completely different sports. Perhaps then a better approach is not to examine the sport’s past, and instead on its present and foreseeable future. The argument about which sport is safer due to the glove size is moot. The amount of punishment a fighter chooses over their career is individualistic and highly determined by a fighter’s style. The main selling point as to why MMA is safer than boxing is actually the glove size. The boxing glove has been made to protect the hands, not the person being punched. However MMA professionals assert that they utilize the bare minimum in hand defense. Any debate surrounding the fact that a hand will break until the head isn’t exactly the most attractive approach to advocate for a safer game. The same goes for the standing eight count. Arguing that allowing a concussed fighter to continue at a struggle after being pumped only furthers brain injury. In MMA we witness a lot follow up punches after a fighter is left unconscious — possibly equally damaging to allowing a boxer to continue after getting devastating blows. There are so many factors in determining the devastation of a landed punch–from technique to timing, to whether or not the recipient saw the punch coming–which it would be virtually impossible to determine at a live game which glove size would have caused the most damage. Furthermore, there are a number of other rules and elements that deciding on which game is safer. The average duration of a Boxing match is generally longer then that of an MMA fight. There are many factors that are individualistic to the fighter. I’d love to announce each game equally as harmful, but until additional research is completed, one can’t create this kind of statement with much assurance. The inherent dangers in the sports are intrinsically connected. The capability of a fighter to achieve longevity in the sport is much more dependant on the skills of the fighter themselves then their respective sports parameters independently. Generalizing which is safer without the scientific proof to support such a claim remains a matter of opinion. Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links and MMA Odds Breaker is going to be paid if you make a purchase after clicking on the hyperlinks. Read more: theboxinghype.com