Tuesday, May 22, 2007

MMA In The New York Times

I love MMA, so I'm always happy to see it get more exposure in the popular media. The New York Times has an article on Johnny Morton, and ex-NFL player I'd never heard of, training for his MMA debt, and all in all, it's a good read. Certainly I'm excited about the possibilities when guys as athletic as this dude (benching 400 lbs as a reciever) want to step into the cage.

But then you get a line like this:
Together, they are teaching Morton how to compete in mixed martial arts, one of the few sports that may be more violent and more dangerous than professional football.
Now, it's a throwaway line, and it has the qualifier "may", but it's yet another example of people's reflexive view that MMA is really, really, dangerous, despite lack of any evidence. Now, MMA doesn't have nearly the participation rate, and hasn't been around as long as something like football (so it's hard to make a direct comparison), but there's substantial evidence that football is QUITE dangerous, particular for neck and spine injuries, and people have died while playing and practicing.

Of course there's danger in a sport where you Mirko Crocop can soccer kick you in the head, but there's hardly a physical activity that doesn't involve some risk of serious injury or death. To me, it seems fairly obvious that the biggest injuries come from being hit with a lot force from behind or from an angle you can't see - something much more likely to happen in football than in MMA.

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