Should the MMA Ban Elbows Jabs to Grounded Opponents? Phil Oscarson February 29, 2016 Recaps, Spotlight A lot of MMA fans have learned to watch fighters dust themselves off from a brutal knockout as if it never happened. This was the tragic situation that happened for the fighter Booto Guylain, who suffered a TKO loss on February 27, 2014. Guylain, 29, was pronounced dead on as a result of sustaining a severe brain injury while participating in the Fighting Championships of Johannesburg, South Africa, because of swelling and bleeding in the brain. MMA a Safe Sport? The EFC Africa president Cairo Howarth, said that after he heard of Guylain’s passing, it was a huge loss for the sport and everyone who knew him. His thoughts and prayers are with the family. With the tragic death of Guylain, it dispels any potential notions that said the MMA was a safe sport. While it is still in its infant stages, we have to make concessions if we hope to bring the sport to a more mainstream audience. That key might lie in the banning of elbow strikes to the head with grounded opponents because elbow blows will often create a lot of blood from minor damage, which can alienate many people to the sport. The problem with an elbow strike in this position is that it can be difficult to defend against, and you do not need much momentum to cause brain damage. We want to take steps to reduce the potential for head trauma because it can often prove fatal. According to the University of Toronto, researchers looked at the scorecards from the last seven years, and they learned that brain damage will often take place after repeated or surprise head strikes after a fighter is knocked out cold. There are about 6.4 knockouts for every 100 fights, which is compared to 4.9 concussions in boxing, 2.2 concussions in hockey and 8.08 concussions in football for every 100 games. Concussions Not As Spoken of in the MMA While concussions have become a hot topic in hockey and football, they have not been as widely spoken of in the MMA. The former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua learned many controversial techniques during his three-year stay in Japan’s Pride Fighting Championships. He says that the elbow blows to the head are more dangerous than the soccer kicks and the foot stomps that they accepted in Pride because they hurt more than the stomps. In multiple interviews, the retired UFC welterweight Nick Diaz mirrored the feelings of Shogun about elbows in fighting. In addition to Nick and Shogun, Nate Diaz, Nick’s brother, called the use of elbows a classless fighting method, and he said that under the current system, fighters are literally gambling with their lives. Hours and Hours of Preparation Aside from elbow strikes putting fighters at a greater risk of injury, we cannot forget the preparation that goes into these fights. For example, most fighters will log endless hours at the gym when preparing, and they will spend a lot of time training. No one wants to put that much time into training only to walk away because of a cheap shot. In addition, the fans pay good money to see these fights. When fighters are allowed to elbow jab grounded opponents, it makes the betting odds predictions more foreseeable and less exciting. No one wants to see a fight ended in the first round because of a cut. While MMA does consider a cut stoppage as a finish, it does not produce a winner who is deserving of the title. It could be compared to draws or winning because of a freak accident. In fact, according to Black Belt Magazine, there is an 80 percent chance of a knockout with a strike to head. What makes the elbowing a particularly cheap shot is that you take a guy and ram him into a fence, which is going to limit his mobility. In some ways, this gives him limited ability to defend himself from elbow strikes, and that is why it should be banned from MMA.