MANILA, Philippines – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White claims mixed martial arts (MMA) is “the safest sport in the world” because of its strict policies regarding concussions.
During the New Media Expo in Las Vegas, White said the UFC has even stricter policies about concussions compared to the National Football League (NFL).
“Concussions is a huge dilemma right now for the NFL,” White said, as quoted by MMA Mania. “Here’s the difference between the UFC and the NFL as far as concussions are concerned.”
“First of all, if you get a concussion, if you get knocked out or you get hurt whatsoever in the UFC, (you get) three months suspension. You are on suspension for three months and you cannot come back until you are cleared by a doctor,” he added. “You cannot have any contact whatsoever.”
White said the NFL can’t afford a similar strict policy when it comes to their stars.
“In the NFL, you’re not going to lose (New England Patriots quarterback) Tom Brady for three months, man. You lose Tom Brady for three months, and your whole season is wiped out,” he said.
The long-term impact of concussions has become a hot topic in the NFL, especially regarding its links to mental illness and depression. In the past two years, three former NFL players have committed suicide.
“In the 20-year-history of the UFC... there has never been a death or a serious injury,” White said. “Never been a death or serious injury in 20 years, because we go above and beyond when it comes to the safety of these guys.”
“When you have two healthy athletes getting ready to compete, they get proper medication before and after,” he added. “It’s the safest sport in the world.”
The issue of concussions goes beyond professional sports; this week, the Institute of Medicine announced they will conduct a “sweeping study of rising sports-related concussions among U.S. youth.”
The study will be done in part due to concerns that “the injuries may have contributed to the suicides of professional football players.” -- With a report from Reuters.