Direct engagement in physical conflict has turned MMA into arguably the most thrilling sport in the world today. It’s almost like watching a Gladiator match in the modern age. And just like the ancient times, spectators remain largely oblivious to the toll fighting can have on the fighter’s body.
Injuries in UFC happen quite frequently. The arm breaks, the shin splits, and the broken jaw is a common sight and seemingly recovers with time. But a bigger underlying threat for fighters is CTE(Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) which the NHS describes as,
“A progressive brain condition that’s thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion.”
The scarier thing is our lack of knowledge regarding this condition. Scientists and doctors have not had much luck studying this condition owing to the critical parts involved and lack of information. Former UFC Bantamweight Julie ‘Fireball’ Kedzie has decided to donate her brain to further the study in this field.
Julie retired in 2013 following a long career fighting for promotions such as UFC, Strikeforce, and KOTC. The now 41-year-old fighter has decided to donate her brain for research in CTE as she concluded ‘It was the right thing to do.’ Her brain will be extracted whenever she dies.
CTE is such a serious threat as it combines symptoms from different conditions like Amnesia, Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s, and many more. Taking even one strong blow to the head can be fatal. UFC fighters take blows to the head for years in their training camps and in actual fights.
Diego Sanchez put up a war in UFC 166 but immediately in the post-fight speech, struggled to talk properly. Junior Dos Santos later admitted he couldn’t remember any events after two rounds with Cain Velasquez. Pride FC veteran Gary Goodridge is already in the early stages of CTE.
T.J. Grant was supposed to compete for the lightweight title but he wasn’t allowed to fight owing to a concussion he received while he was preparing. That’s right, even the head protective gear fighters use during training is not enough to save them from CTE, just imagine what repeated blows to the head during actual combat can do!