by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The British Medical Association has a new cause to focus on, as they have stated that they now wish to ban mixed martial arts in England. This comes after years of work from the BMA in an effort to ban boxing as well.
In a recent article published with the BBC, the BMA has stated they wish to ban the sport due to its violent roots and claiming it causes traumatic brain injuries, joint injuries and fractures.
“This kind of competition hardly constitutes a sport – the days of gladiator fights are over and we should not be looking to resurrect them,” stated Dr. Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the BMA. “As doctors, we cannot stand by while violent fighting tournaments are allowed to take place.”
While serious injuries are rare in sanctioned mixed martial arts events, the doctors in the BMA believe MMA needs to go.
Dave O’Donnell, a promoter for Cage Rage, spoke to MMAWeekly recently about the comments released from the BMA about mixed martial arts.
“This reminds me of 25 years ago when they tried to ban kickboxing,” said O’Donnell. “You had people saying guys were going to get maimed, they were drawing comparisons with boxing and saying it’s more brutal and guess what? There wasn’t a single KO for something like 6 months.
“This is just something new to them and something they want to jump on, something to give these people purpose in the morning, a meaning to life. Their comments aren’t based on research or facts and chances are they haven’t event attended an event.
“My advice to them would be to do some research, it probably wouldn’t take you more than an hour and get some facts. We faced something similar 4 shows ago from a similar organization, but nothing came of it. They were saying it was barbaric sport, this and that and the sport is still going strong. Do some research!”
Ian Freeman, who has fought in professional mixed martial arts for more than a decade, expressed similar sentiments about the BMA’s stance on the sport.
“The BMA have been trying to ban boxing for ages, but they never succeeded and if they haven’t banned boxing, then they won’t manage to ban MMA, especially as statistically ours is a safer sport. I don’t see this complaint going anywhere.
“What is interesting is that Sir Henry Cooper received a knighthood for his contribution to British Sport via Boxing, a sport they would have arguably banned.
“I wouldn’t say that the BMA is ignorant because there are very highly educated individuals involved. They take offence to that, but I would say that they lack education on our sport as a whole,” stated Freeman.
“What concerns me more is that you can watch a program on television about BMX or motorbike jumping and you can see crashes with people getting all smashed up. There was a kid up here who crashed his BMX jumping off a ramp and broke his collarbone, his tibia, his fibia and various other injuries, and I have never seen anything like that in MMA. How can you argue that MMA is dangerous when compared with that?”
Many other fighters have stepped up in England to defend MMA when it comes to the attacks from the BMA. Gary Turner, who has competed in Cage Rage among other promotions in England, talked about the risk of injuries in MMA as well.
“Taking a hit to the head always runs the risk of damage, all fighters should take note of that and we try to take as many precautions as we can to protect ourselves through training, understanding and managing the risk,” said Turner in an interview with MMAWeekly. “However, this is a contact sport and by the nature of it, as willing participants, we choose to take that risk. We have rules and regulations in the sport and compete under strict medical supervision.
“The BMA’s comments strike me as ideological as they openly admit on their website and via spokesmen that more injuries occur in other sports. I believe they are calling a ban on MMA because we compete with the intention of engaging in combat, as such they appear to be forming their views on ideology rather than medical grounds. What is interesting about the BMA is that they are a trade union and don’t represent all British doctors, in fact, many doctors enjoy MMA.”
The BMA, as previously stated, has been on a similar crusade against boxing since 1982, and the sport has continued to thrive in England.
The statements made by the BMA are not much different from many other uninformed sources that speak out against MMA from time to time. The growth of the sport cannot be denied and promoters and fans from around the world continue to embrace it as one of fastest growing competitions in professional athletics.