Statement on New Study of "Mixed Martial Arts"

Liz Krueger

March 27, 2014

Sen. Krueger issued the following statement on a new study highlighting the dangers of "mixed martial arts" (MMA) professional fighting:

University of Toronto researchers have found evidence that almost a third of professional MMA fights result in traumatic brain injuries. This deeply disturbing statistic is reported in today's National Post of Toronto, and is backed up by troubling comparisons to other sports: traumatic brain injuries occur in MMA many times more often than in rough full-contact sports like hockey, twice as often as in football, and many times more often than in other competitive fighting systems such as boxing and kickboxing.

This needs to be a wake-up call and a mandatory time-out in the conversations about legalizing this under-researched but obviously dangerous 'sport' in New York State.

The enthusiastic supporters of MMA have lobbied all of us in Albany for a number of years, but they haven't convinced me that this sport isn't barbaric, and I don't think they can when I'm reading sentences in newspapers like this one: "[The researchers] concluded the damage done to MMA fighters is likely exacerbated by the 'surprising,' repeated blows to the head delivered after they have already been put out cold." And the medical impacts of this 'sport' have barely been researched -- studies like this one are only scratching the surface.

All the while, we've seen a string of participants in MMA who have displayed pathological misogyny, and we're continuing to see illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs.

It's time for the MMA legalization drumbeat to end.