Boxing injuries more severe than in mixed martial arts


Mixed martial arts may look more savage than boxing, but the popular sport actually poses a lower risk of serious injury, according to a new study.

Cuts and bruises

Canadian researchers reviewed the medical records of almost 1,200 mixed martial arts fighters and 550 boxers. The athletes fought in Edmonton, Alberta, between 2003 and 2013.

Medical exams are required after a match for both sports, the researchers said.

Mixed martial arts fighters were more likely than boxers to suffer an injury during their bouts about 59 percent versus 50 percent, the study found. But most of those injuries were minor, such as cuts and bruises.

Read: What to do with head injuries

Compared to mixed martial arts fighters, boxers were almost twice as likely to lose consciousness during a match. Boxers were also more likely to have serious eye injuries, and to receive medical suspensions due to injuries suffered during bouts, the research showed.

"Yes, you're more likely to get injured if you're participating in mixed martial arts, but the injury severity is less overall than boxing," lead author Dr Shelby Karpman, a sports medicine physician at the University of Alberta in Canada, said in a university news release.

"Most of the blood you see in mixed martial arts is from bloody noses or facial cuts; it doesn't tend to be as severe, but looks a lot worse than it actually is," he added.

Karpman believes that mixed martial arts fighters "do not get the respect they deserve for what they're doing or the medical treatment because the medical community doesn't want to deal with such a bloody sport with head injuries and concussions".

Read more:

Sports injuries creep up on you

Shocking photos of injuries in the 2015 Tour de France

How you can avoid sports injuries

Image: Mixed martial art injuries from iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
28% - 9800 votes
72% - 24709 votes