The increase in mixed martial arts training injuries has created much debate. Some, including Dana White, feel that fighters train too hard. The fact is that there are fighters who only know how to train with that kind of intensity. Others feel that it is necessary to train tough to make the fight easy. The philosophy on that issue is up to each individual. While the concerns of training style do carry some substance the reasoning for the increase is merely due to the growth of the sport.
As MMA becomes more popular, the number of fighters continues to expand. Law of averages dictates that more competitors will create more injuries. Unfortunately for fighters, fans, and promoters alike, many anticipated fights never come to fruition. From an optimistic point of view, we as fans realize that any MMA fight has potential for excitement. We also know that MMA has a much better track record of matching desired fights than…let’s say, boxing. Injuries may delay the matches but they tend to happen eventually.
In mixed martial arts there are no teammates. If an injury occurs then the contest cannot proceed as scheduled. In a team sport, injuries may devastate a team but the game goes on. This makes MMA injuries much more recognizable, especially for main event fighters. There are several ways to become injured while training. Many seem to overlook the fact that although these are some of the toughest people on Earth, they are still human and susceptible to pain and trauma.
The connection between the UFC’s new insurance policy and increased amounts of cancelled fights are indeed related to an extent. In the past fighters would compete with serious injuries because they had little to no choice in the matter. Now, with the option of insurance, UFC fighters are more likely to be treated. In the long run this is better for all involved, including fans. If a fighter is hurt and they miss a fight, it is frustrating short term. In reality, when the fighter returns, their performance should be better than that of an injured fighter. Everyone wins in the end due to the benefit of career longevity. When competing injured the risk of a possible career-ending injury grows dramatically. It makes sense for a fighter to heal rather than perform far below their capabilities.
Injuries will never go away, they can occur in everyday life as well. Of course intense training will add risk but professional fighters will always decide the level at which they want to hone their craft. Fortunately there are more combatants than ever these days. The opportunities that can arise from one fighter’s injury can be great for the person that fills in. Accept the fact injuries will continue and hope that the replacement fights live up to the potential MMA provides.