Mixed Martial Arts the combat sport that has risen in popularity in recent years has been one of the most debated and controversial topics in the sporting world.
Fighters in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) put their body and life on the line every time when they enter the cage to fight. From the outside, it looks entertaining and full of excitement but on the inside, the fighter goes through a lot of pain and suffering.
How MMA can benefit your Health?
When it comes to MMA training, the sessions can be very grueling.
But for the fighters to stay active in the game they need to be in shape and that provides the motivation to train and stay in good shape, obviously weight training session and cardio along with MMA training session and a good balanced clean diet keeps the body active and healthy.
MMA training provides an intense full-body workout that can burn an ample amount of calories depending on how intense the session is, which can help to lose extra weight fast.
This is because MMA training involves a grueling session that can include boxing, kicking, and grappling which is a moderate to high-intensity activity that causes your body to burn more calories than traditional cardio exercises.
Training mixed martial arts increases cardiovascular endurance, strengthens muscles, and improves mobility, flexibility, balance, and coordination.
Plus, it can be an effective way to alleviate stress levels.
After a good fight or sparring session, one should feel more relaxed as the body releases endorphin and boosts the overall mood.
Due to that reason, most fighters sustain a good physique even when they are not fighting.
This means there are a lot of health benefits that come with being a fighter, one of which is the body stays in shape and healthy, with good training and diet habits, which also helps to stay disciplined.
MMA Health Risks
But with all these benefits comes a lot of costs. It is not a secret to have danger in combat sports like mixed martial arts (MMA) to health. The sport has already been criticized many times for its vicious nature.
For a fighter, injuries are inevitable and they can come with lasting consequences on health.
Training martial arts can have a negative effect on your health. From ligament tear to bone injuries that can even occur during the training session, apart from fighting in the cage, which makes it a riskier sport even when you are only training. As MMA training sessions are intense and vigorous which means, if over-train that can lead to injury or illness.
Therefore it becomes imperative for a fighter to take days off from intense and grueling training sessions, which allows the body to recover and reduces the chances of illness or injuries.
MMA Weight cut risks
To qualify for certain weight classes, fighters have to go through a rigorous process.
This involves following a calorie-restricted diet and as the weighing, gets closer they also put their body under severe conditions as they dehydrate their body to lose further pounds as they try to lose weight to make the desired weight.
However, this does not come without consequences because it can lead to health issues such as dehydration, loss of muscle mass, and other unpleasant side effects, like renal failure, kidney stones, effects on brain function, and risks to heart health.
This is likely due to the fact that to achieve the qualified weight faster, fighters undergo a fast and intense weight loss program that makes them susceptible to certain health risks that can be associated with the kidney, brain, or heart.
The process of weight cuts can also affect the fighter’s performance in the ring both physically and mentally.
Increased Risk of Mental Health Issues
As mixed martial arts is a combat sport that can carry an increased risk of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
Weight cuts not only put fighters at risk of feeling dizziness and lightheadedness but can also put them at risk of depression and anxiety, which is likely due to hormonal imbalance or nutritional deficiency as they go through an exhausting process of quick weight cuts.
To the violent nature of the sports, sometimes fighters also tend to show violence and aggression outside the ring sometime in actual or sometime in order to create hype and excitement for the fight, which pictures violence as a good thing to thousands of viewers or MMA Fans, which directly or indirectly affects the individual’s mentality who is the fan of the game.
Fighters are prone to CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy)
Another risk that is associated with combat sports like boxing and martial arts is CTE(chronic traumatic encephalopathy) which is the side effect of continuous blows a fighter takes during a fight.
In MMA those fighters are more prone to cte which chose to fight in a more brawler style rather than opt for technical style fighting.
Further fighting on the feet means exchanges would be more severe where fighters can deliver a blow with more force and power when compared to fighting on the ground, where the fighter movements are restricted.
Well, whichever fighting style a fighter prefers for a fight, cte can affect any fighter, depending on the severity of the blows one is getting during the fight.
The effects of cte are fatal and show the symptoms of memory loss, difficulty in thinking, unable to speak properly, mood changes, depression, state of confusion, etc.
CTE can lead to dementia if not diagnosed earlier, which is another problem attached to cte that is hard to diagnose and so far only a few methods like a person’s history of any head injury or being involved in any combat sports can be used to diagnose cte.
Risk of Bone Breakage, ligament tear, and Disc Herniation
During training or in a fight, there is a risk of broken bones, ligament tears, and herniated disks.
Broken hands, feet, fingers, and toes are common in MMA. Broken finger bones or metacarpal fractures are a result as the fighter delivers heavy punches or blows to the opponent which occurs even the fighters have padding protection from gloves and taping over the hand.
Other bone injuries like breakage of the tibia bone such as, when Anderson silva fought Chris Weidman in UFC 168 and the same wrath faced by Weidman when he fought Uriah Hall at UFC 261.
Ligament tears and herniated discs are two of the more common injuries that MMA athletes can experience. The most common ligament to tear is the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, and the medial collateral ligament, or MCL.
Herniated discs are when the disc between vertebrae moves out of place and pushes on a nerve. Both injuries can cause long-term problems with mobility, depending on the severity.
Mixed martial arts is a taxing sport and does come with health benefits like weight loss, increased endurance, improved mobility, etc, but it also comes with some lethal health risks, especially when the fighter enters the ring and engaged in a brutal fight.
These risks include chronic traumatic encephalopathy(CTE), broken bones, dehydration which can lead to kidney damage and kidney stones, etc.
But despite the danger involved with this sport, it is one of the most popular sports in the world and still growing in popularity.
If we see the positive aspect of the sport, people who train MMA not to become a fighter but only to learn self-defense and combat skills not only get in shape and attain a better physique but also increase their overall confidence and self-image.
In a nutshell, every sport has its own pros and cons and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is no different.