i love MMA but lately i’ve been feeling worse and worse about the vicious injuries some fighters have sustained or even died from, and the chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) that all fighters are doubtlessly working on. that stuff just doesn’t sit well with me.
this has been on my mind because of bellator fighter jordan parsons, who was killed in a hit and run accident and then found to have CTE in the autopsy. he was only 25 and already his brain was irreparably shriveled and damaged.
and former UFC fighter antonio ‘bigfoot’ silva who has been brutally knocked out 9 times in career — certainly a candidate for CTE if ever there was one.
and portuguese fighter joao carvalho who died 48 hrs after an MMA fight due to cerebral bleeding.
and yang jian bing who died while dehydrating himself in order to make weight for his flyweight fight.
and bellator fighter ‘cyborg’ santos who had his forehead literally smashed in.
the fact is, MMA costs many participants their bodies, brains, and lives, so as much as i enjoy the pure, distilled sporting nature of one-on-one, hand-to-hand combat (i believe it’s the only sport that truly matters), i feel like i am preying on the people who do the fighting. i feel like they are chasing fleeting, petty goals and are blind to the enormous risks they are taking. i mean, how could anyone be willing to risk inflicting CTE and the violence routinely associated with it on themselves and their families? is that worth trading a championship belt or the pitiful money that most MMA fighters make?
i don’t think anything is worth throwing away your health, your future, so i feel guilty being a fan and consuming this life and death game as mere entertainment. of course all the fighters are grown adults, capable of making their own foolish decisions, and they’d likely do the same shit whether i watched MMA or not, but that’s little consolation. i still feel horrible about it.