Are you or is someone you know considering becoming an MMA fighter? If so, you may have wondered is MMA dangerous? There is no doubt that MMA appears to be quite dangerous. Though every precaution is taken regarding safety it is a reality that MMA fighters take a risk when they enter the ring. Arguably all MMA fighters have had some form of injury throughout their careers be it minor or severe. But you shouldn’t jump to conclusions that MMA is dangerous or that you will become severely injured if you choose to become an MMA fighter.
How Dangerous is It?
MMA is about as dangerous as any other full contact sport. Like in sports such as hockey and football MMA athletes are prone to a wide variety of injuries ranging from mild sprains to brain injuries such as concussions. Just like in other sports, not every athlete will sustain a major injury. Precautions must be taken in order to prevent injury and every athlete should consider their safety to be a priority. Below we will detail some of the injuries that may be associated with MMA and other full contact sports. We believe that MMA is not necessarily dangerous and that you can learn and compete safely. But awareness of potential injuries and knowledge of preventative measures is important too.
Potential MMA Injuries
- Concussions – concussions are one of the most serious injuries that an MMA fighter can experience. They occur when a blow to the head or body causes the brain to rapidly move back and forth. Concussions are to be taken seriously and if you suspect that someone you know has experienced one, they should receive medical treatment. The CDC provides a wealth of information on the signs and symptoms of a concussion. As a precaution, anyone who may have experienced a concussion should cease competing or physical training until cleared by a doctor.
- Broken Bones – broken bones in the feet, legs, hands, arms and even ribs can be common in MMA fighting. Both in training and competition breaks can happen. But it is not a regular occurrence or something to be expected. Due to athletes using their limbs to hit others and receive hits sometimes breaks happen. Though some broken bones can be serious and require surgery many will heal over time through treatment. In order to avoid broken bones it is critical that athletes use proper form and wear adequate safety equipment when training.
- Bruises & Aces – bruises and aches are usually nothing to be worried about. But any severe bruising should be seen by a doctor as it may be an accompaniment to a broken bone. Muscles aches due to working hard while training are fighting can’t quite be classified as an injury but like small bruises, they are something you can likely expect while training in MMA. If aches or bruises every seem out of the ordinary or you feel they are concerning, you should seek medical care. – bruises and aches are usually nothing to be worried about. But any severe bruising should be seen by a doctor as it may be an accompaniment to a broken bone. Muscles aches due to working hard while training are fighting can’t quite be classified as an injury but like small bruises, they are something you can likely expect while training in MMA. If aches or bruises every seem out of the ordinary or you feel they are concerning, you should seek medical care.
- Sprains and strains – sprains are a common injury that even non-athletes have likely experienced. Though some sprains are worse than others, they generally are nothing to be concerned about. Always rest after a sprain and try not to re-injure or aggravate the injured area. Sprains can be common due to the fast-paced movements required of an MMA fighter and can also occur during training and cardiovascular activities such as running.
- Muscle Injury – muscle injury such as an ACL tear or tearing of any other muscle can happen to any athlete. Though the risk of this happening to an MMA fighter is about the same as any other sport, it is something to be aware of. It may not be evident that this injury is present at the time of injury. An MMA fighter who is consistently experiencing pain should seek medical attention to diagnose or rule out a muscle tear or related injury. In some cases, muscle injuries will require surgery.
How Can I Prevent Injury?
Injuries can be common in full contact sports. MMA fighters will likely face a range of minor injuries throughout their fighting career. Though not all injuries are preventable, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent injuries as an MMA fighter. Injury prevention is everyone’s responsibility when it comes to full contact sports. See our tips on how to avoid injury as an MMA fighter below.
- Communicate with you coach – listen to your coach and always speak up if you have concerns. Your coach should have your safety as a top priority. Always listen to directions carefully and pay attention if they are suggesting that you rest. Additionally, you should always speak up if you have an injury or safety concern. See our previous article “What Makes a Good Personal Trainer” for tips on finding the right coach for you.
- Warm Up and Cool Down – warming up and cooling down is an important step in injury prevention. Though you may want to hop right to it and skip a warmup try to at least get your body moving a bit before conducting a strenuous workout. See our previous article “How Warm Up and Cool Down Can Help Prevent Injury” for more information on these injury preventing activities.
- Use Proper Form – you can very easily injure yourself by not using proper form. You may already know that improper form is dangerous during weightlifting. But it can cause painful injuries when using your bodyweight too. An improper kick can cause a pulled muscle or sometimes even more serious injuries. Always focus on using correct form and don’t do something that you aren’t sure that you can do safely.
MMA has its risks but is about as dangerous as any other full contact sport. Always take precautions and make your safety a priority during training and in the ring. Though professional MMA fighting may be dangerous most recreational athletes should be able to participate in MMA without much concern for injury.