Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and boxing are two popular combat sports that involve striking and grappling techniques. However, there is an ongoing debate about which sport is safer. This article aims to explore why MMA is considered safer than boxing from various perspectives.
1. Greater variety of techniques
MMA allows a wider range of techniques, including striking, grappling, and submissions. This variety reduces the reliance on repetitive head trauma, which is common in boxing. In MMA, fighters have the option to use takedowns and submissions, minimizing the number of head strikes.
2. Smaller gloves
MMA fighters wear smaller gloves compared to boxers. While this may seem counterintuitive, the smaller gloves actually result in fewer head injuries. The larger gloves in boxing can absorb more impact, leading to a higher chance of brain damage. The smaller gloves in MMA encourage fighters to be more cautious with their strikes.
3. Less focus on headshots
In boxing, the primary target is the opponent’s head. This constant targeting of the head increases the risk of concussions and other head injuries. In contrast, MMA fighters have the option to target different areas of the body, reducing the repetitive blows to the head and minimizing the risk of severe head trauma.
4. More emphasis on ground fighting
MMA incorporates ground fighting and grappling techniques, allowing fighters to take the fight to the ground. This aspect of the sport decreases the likelihood of continuous head strikes, as fighters can control their opponent’s movements and neutralize their striking ability.
5. Shorter rounds
In boxing, rounds can last up to 12 minutes, whereas in MMA, rounds typically last 5 minutes. The shorter rounds in MMA reduce the overall exposure to strikes, decreasing the chances of sustaining serious head injuries. Additionally, the breaks between rounds allow fighters to recover and minimize the accumulation of damage.
6. More frequent medical checks
MMA organizations have stringent medical protocols in place. Fighters undergo thorough medical examinations before and after fights, including brain scans and neurological assessments. The regular medical checks ensure that fighters are fit to compete and help identify any potential health issues early on.
7. Referee intervention
MMA referees have the authority to intervene and stop a fight if they believe a fighter is in danger or unable to defend themselves. This ensures that fighters are not subjected to unnecessary punishment, reducing the risk of severe injuries. In boxing, the referee’s intervention is limited to counting knockdowns, which may prolong a fight and increase the chances of sustaining further damage.
8. Less weight cutting
In MMA, fighters are required to compete within specific weight classes. This reduces the practice of extreme weight cutting, where fighters dehydrate themselves to make weight. Weight cutting can lead to severe dehydration, which affects cognitive function and increases the risk of injuries during a fight.
While both MMA and boxing have inherent risks, MMA is generally considered safer than boxing due to the greater variety of techniques, smaller gloves, less focus on headshots, emphasis on ground fighting, shorter rounds, frequent medical checks, referee intervention, and reduced weight cutting. However, it is important to note that safety precautions and regulations continue to evolve in both sports to ensure the well-being of the athletes.
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