Dennis Daugaard (R) is sworn in as governor of South Dakota (AP)A bill to create an athletic commission in South Dakota is going nowhere fast, largely thanks to the ignorance of Gov. Dennis Daugaard and state house Rep. Steve Hickey.
Their primary objective is to ban sanctioned mixed martial arts in the state. In a blog post, Hickey writes that, "MMA Cage Fighting is the child porn of sports."
The lack of knowledge and the lack of research both Daugaard and Hickey showed about MMA has to be frightening for persons who live in South Dakota. If they can't be bothered to do the minimal research required to learn that MMA is far safer than other "mainstream" sports, including football, it's scary to think about the laws they'll pass in the state regarding education, health care and budgets.
The UFC is the largest MMA promoter in the world. No fighter has ever suffered traumatic brain injury, let alone died, in the UFC's 20-year history. A 2006 study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and which appeared in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found MMA has far less traumatic brain injury than other sports.
Mixed Martial Arts competitions have changed dramatically since the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. The overall injury rate in MMA competitions is now similar to other combat sports, including boxing. Knockout rates are lower in MMA competitions than in boxing. This suggests a reduced risk of TBI [traumatic brain injury] in MMA competitions when compared to other events involving striking.
MMA events must continue to be properly supervised by trained referees and ringside physicians, and the rules implemented by state sanctioning—including weight classes, limited rounds per match, proper safety gear, and banning of the most devastating attacks– must be strictly enforced. Further research is necessary to continue to improve safety in this developing new sport.
A 2008 study released by the British Journal of Sports Medicine reached the same conclusions. After a five-year study, its authors wrote:
Injury rates in regulated professional MMA competition are similar to other combat sports; the overall risk of critical sports-related injury appears low. Additional study is warranted to achieve a better understanding of injury trends and ways to further lower injury risk in MMA.