On Sunday night a friend of mine passed away after being knocked out in a full contact kickboxing match. He was 26, it was his 2nd fight his first being a long time ago and he was a fire fighter. I was there to see him fight and the knock out was like many others I've seen in the scores of shows that I've attended and supported...only difference is my mate didn't wake up.
I am aware of the arguments for and against governing bodies in our sport, by which I mean kick/thai boxing and MMA, but in light of this a lot of these arguments are weak and I'm now appealing to the fighters to demand some sort of licensing etc. I've trained MMA for a few years now along with Muay Thai and have a background in boxing and have suffered a number of injuries. When considering competing at pro, semi pro, i've heard the argument "whats the worst that can happen? you're not going to die in there" well tragically my mate did and I never want to read of another fighter suffering the same fate.
We all know that we partake in a risky sport, but we are all at the mercy of promoters, their rules and more importantly our own body and its susceptability to damage. Some people's bodies are not equipped to deal with the punishment we expose it to in sparring let alone competition. This is why you are not allowed to fight in a professional boxing contest unless you have your license and in order to get your license you have to pass a thorough medical which i believe includes a CAT scan. I really think the time has come that we need to introduce something like this in order to help stop further fatalities or terminal damage in our sport. I'm not saying that this would've helped my friend, but its certainly started me thinking. I've witnessed fighters ignore their contractual obligation to undertake a blood test before an MMA fight because its a hassle, but if the promoter or license was to forbid a fighter from putting him/herself and opponents at risk, then we should hopefully cut down on these terrible incidents.
The only argument against this is cost, well how much is it worth to not do this? Maybe we shouldn't fight for 50 or 100 pounds and demand upwards of 300/ 500 for any pro fight, which I know will upset the promoters, but this may bring MMA in the UK more mainstream. I know that the UFC make their fighters undergo CAT scans and other medical check and they seem to survive pretty well. And if we're all paying to get medicals done then the costs will come down and i'm sure there are some medical practicioners will jump at helping out.
So I'm guessing I'm calling for a collection of fighters to lobby for some kind of license which should let them fight with greater peace of mind that they are safer in doing so and hopefully wont get hurt or hurt an opponent to the point that they cannot fight again. Licensed fighters should then also be able to command a higher purse.