Medical Associations Lobby for Mixed Marital Arts Fighting Ban

August 30, 2010
Sean Johnson

The British Columbia Medical Association and its parent body, the Canadian Medical Association, are lobbying for a Mixed Martial Arts Fighting ban for multiple reasons.

The British Columbia Medical Association (BCMA) and its parent body, the Canadian Medical Association, are lobbying for a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fighting ban for multiple reasons.

The BCMA’s concerns aren’t without justification; just a couple months ago Michael Kirkham, an MMA fighter making his professional debut in South Carolina, died from a brain hemorrhage after receiving repeated blows to the head. Kirkham’s death marked the second US MMA fighter to die because of injuries sustained in the ring.

There are some who are concerned with not only the health of the fighters who willingly pursue a career in MMA fighting, but also those of the general public who are influenced by what they see these men do. Dr. Louis Francescutti, emergency physician and professor at Canada’s University of Alberta, claims that the MMA is encouraging bad behavior by members of the public. Francescutti said that he often sees trauma victims from bar fights, and he believes that the MMA has had an influence on the assailants. He believes that the aggressors see this type of fighting on television and act with the explicit intent to brutally hurt or even fatally injure. “If this were to happen on the street, someone would be arrested and charged with battery and assault but because it's happening in the ring it's supposed to be okay.”

Unfortunately for the BCMA, their concerns seem to be falling on deaf ears. Earlier this month, Ontario --Canada’s largest province and most populated metro region -- agreed to begin formally regulating MMA bouts in 2011. So, for now, the battle outside the ring rages on. Some doctors have given up hope on banning the MMA in Canada and have resorted to lobbying for more stringent regulations and ways to improve the safety of the fighters.

What do you think should happen with the MMA? If you could, would you ban the “sport”? Or do you believe that it’s just as dangerous and violent as any other sport, such as football or hockey?