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Let fans, not physicians, decide on mixed martial arts
Posted on Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 7:20 am
by IDMA Editor

Recently, the world's premier mixed martial arts (MMA) association, the Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC, announced it would be bringing an event to Toronto. It is expected that this event, to take place on April 30, will be the highest-attended event in the promotion's history with more than 50,000 people expected to fill the Rogers Centre.

The previous record for the best-attended UFC event was in another Canadian city, Montreal. Recently, over 23,000 fight fans packed the Bell Centre to watch UFC 124. These events have allowed the president of the UFC, Dana White, to call Canada "the Mecca" of MMA.

The great popularity of MMA in this country is contrasted with the feelings of health and political officials. In August, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) called for a ban on MMA in Canada. The reason the CMA cited for its position was because MMA put its athletes at risk for "severe head trauma and other injuries that could have lifelong effects." Similar arguments are used by politicians in states and provinces where the sport is close to becoming legalized.

The main problem with the argument of the CMA is that it simply doesn't make any sense. The game of football is very popular across Canada, but the CMA has not tried to ban the game in this country -- this in spite of the fact that head injuries have become a huge issue in the game in the past few years.

Professional football players have, on average, a shorter life expectancy that their non- football-player counterparts. This shortened life expectancy could be blamed on the consistent head injuries that football players get while playing the game -- and that go undiagnosed. If the CMA was the true moral watchdog that it makes itself to be with MMA, it would try to ban other contact sports, such as hockey and football, that also put athletes at risk of long-term injury.

What the CMA failed to recognize is that mixed martial arts is a legitimate sport.

In modern MMA, the kind the UFC promotes today, there are unified rules in place to keep the athletes as safe as possible.

The fans in Canada desperately want to see this sport in their own country. To have organizations such as the CMA come down against the sport is the real crime.

In Canada, we are a free country where citizens should be able to see contact sports such as MMA just as we can watch professional football. To have politicians and national organizations that are supposed to be in the interests of the people of Canada try to make a sport like MMA illegal just shows they are not in tune with "wants" at all.

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