Mixed Martial Arts Controversy
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a group of fighting sports - some of the most dangerous. No wonder, that some medicine officials want it banned in Canada
A hundred years ago, people developed a fighting style which is nowadays called Mixed Martial Arts. A wide selection of fighting techniques is allowed in a match. Because of that, martial artists skilled in different arts are able to compete in the ring. It is a full-contact sport and can be traced all the way back to ancient Rome.
In recent days, medical professionals met in Niagara Falls to talk about this sport during this year’s Canadian Medical Association’s general annual meeting. The convincing majority of the professionals expressed their belief that this sport would best be outlawed. They argue that there is too large a prospect of injuries – much larger than it is in other sports, like boxing for instance.
The British Medical Association (BMA) also went public with worries regarding MMA in Januray 2009 and are actively campaigning to ban this sport in Britain. They also argue that the sport tends to get excessively brutal and violent.
Dr. Ian Gillespie, the president of British Columbia Medical Association (BCMA), says that “MMA fighting, like boxing, is distinct from many other sports in that the basic intent of the fighter is to cause harm in order to incapacitate his or her opponent.” He adds: “the various techniques aren’t limited to punching, and there may be the presence of fewer safety rules.”
A website of MMA fans, WatchKalibRun.com, expresses their own take on the arguments of the British Medical Association. They note that any statistics available are extremely limited and link to an American study, hinting that numbers of injuries and knock-out rates in MMA are similar or lower than other fighting sports.
The Hamilton Spectator interviewed two MMA professionals the issue. Less efficient protection in the form of thinner gloves which makes fighting more “painful” is a preeminent worry. Also, the referees are less specific and there are fewer regulations overall. Unlike in box, the target of a strike is not confined to the opponent’s head and torso in MMA, which brings about more types of injuries, although it could decrease the relative prominence of head injuries specifically. Both experts are calling for a unification of the procedures in the whole of Canada instead of per-province regulations.
So why didn’t we hear from the doctors on this topic earlier? Because only now (in the middle of August), Ontario government finally cracked and agreed to legalize MMA in the province. The two largest players – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warrior One (W1) – already have business plans aiming to develop activities in lucrative locations around the province. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty decided to sign the law after prolonged negotiations and much thought, but insists on continuous supervision of all events and all the rules. Reported by Toronto Sun.
Doctors argue that there are hardly ever trained professionals at the matches. They say that even if there were, it would be unthinkable for them to watch the injuries without even being able to help the fighters. Martial artists from traditional schools are displeased that the sport basically negates the basic values of martial arts which are most importantly respect, self-control, courtesy and discipline.
According to CTV, Dr. Shelby Karpman warns that since MMA is already very popular, outlawing it would force the fighting to occur illegally. Also, health supervisors would not be required and for those reasons the artists could count on subpar care, which in turn translates into even more danger.
In summary, it appears reasonable to say that if MMA cannot be banned, it should at least be very closely regulated and adherence to rules should be controlled. This means that there should be appropriate medical support present with appropriate competencies; insurance, licensing and preventative measures should be enforced during every match.
from the insurance point of view, extreme sports are treated as a special case for life insurance. Not every company will even want to cover you if you partake in this or a similar extreme sport. Those who have such policies in their portfolio are absolutely going to ask a substantially higher premium. The resulting surcharge is going to be based on the nature of the sport. A combat fighter must pay attention to any exclusions and caveats in the plan and should make sure the combat is part of a properly licensed event. Illegal fighting may mar your chances of ever successfully claiming on your policy.
Nevertheless, life insurance alone isn’t sufficient. This is because a fighter will most probably harm her or his counterpart which will make her or him liable for all associated damages. And so, it is a good idea that each fighter has a liability insurance coverage of her or his own. As with life insurance, with liability insurance it also holds true that the combat must be part of a properly licensed and supervised venue and is subject to any exclusions in the plan.
In case you really want to risk your health, you better think about no medical life insurance!