Safe MMA: An open letter to all Amateur and Professional MMA athletes brave enough to enter the Cage

SAFEMMA Ireland’s Professor Dan Healy who is a Consultant Neurologist at Beaumont Hospital and the National Speciality Director for Neurology training in Ireland has issued an open letter to all amateur and professional mixed martial artists

Here is the letter in full..

“A chairde,

Training in MMA has many health benefits. There are also risks, as with all sports.

One in 3 professional MMA contests result in an unconscious fighter or a fighter technically knocked-out by repeated blows to the brain. One in 5 professional boxers prematurely dement or develop Parkinson’s disease. In my day job I look after many of them.

Commercial promotions are the life blood of Irish MMA and provide athletes a platform to demonstrate their skills. Under Irish law this platform must be in a safe environment where avoidable risk is minimised.

At a very minimum you should expect

(i) at least one qualified medical doctor. This doctor should have experience managing acute closed head injury and have the skills, drugs and equipment to manage your airway were you to stop breathing

(ii) your opponent is a consenting adult in good health. This should be determined by a proper annual medical examination performed in advance of the day of the fight

(iii) on the day of the fight that you and your opponent are given adequate and unrushed time with the doctor before and more importantly after each fight

(iv) appropriate plans exist for emergency ambulance transfer to one of the 2 neurosurgical units in Ireland (Beaumont Hospital and CUH in Cork)

(v) the promotion and doctor are correctly insured

(vi) you and your opponent are evenly matched and that the referee know the rules

Two months ago the Minister for Sport formally wrote to a number of MMA promotions advising them of their legal responsibility to protect amateur and professional fighters and demanding that Irish MMA safety standards match boxing.

Two weeks ago a young Irish rugby player successfully sued his school because the school failed to implement appropriate head injury protocols. The settlement was 2.7 million euros.

The next time you are offered a fight (amateur or professional) please please ask yourself, ask your coach and ask the promotion if all avoidable risk has been minimised on fight night. If not, please fight on a safer promotion.

If you have already suffered avoidable injury, the promotion is probably legally responsible. These promotions should be phased out.” – Professor Dan Healy

Owner/Editor of SevereMMA.com. Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.