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In the Wake of the Head Kick Heard Round’ the World

Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, MMA, UFC
Jones Head Kicks Daniel Cormier in the brutal finish of their UFC 214 title bout

As with the defeated, Daniel Cormier, we’re all a little bit shocked. Left leering in the wake of things yet to process.

Saturday evenings UFC 214, saw the formerly absent Jon Jones reclaim his light-heavyweight title from the incumbent, Daniel Cormier. Cormier, falling to what may be viewed as one of the most brutal head-kick knockouts in recent history.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to interview fighters after they’ve been knocked out,” commentator, Joe Rogan proclaimed, while interviewing the visibly decomposed Cormier. Cormier, going on to to insist through his diminished abilities, that there was no further contest between himself and Jones; the new champ besting him for the second time.

Yet all this, while impressive, is but secondary to the real drama at hand. Just a few weeks ago, researchers Boston University released an eye opening study on CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. A degenerative brain condition much talked about lately and possibly linked to everything from irregular, aggressive behaviors, irrational decision making and spiraling descents into depression.

The study, using 200 deceased brains of varying combat sport athletes, not only confirmed that the 110 of the 111 NFL players used had CTE pathology, but also players from the high school level, college and the most minimal experience were at risk.

So, what does this declaration for a team sport have to do with MMA? Everything. Yes, football players can hit each other undoubtably harder, due not only to the application of padding but also the harnessing of Olympic level speed. Still, nothing shuts off the lights quite like a shin to the head, evident in this weekends past events.

Likewise, will we see this phenomena addressed in the Octagon? Will the sport implement mandatory rest periods for particularly vicious knockouts, like that of Cormier’s? Or, as the athletic talent of its combatants increases, will we see the sport become a revolving door? Its athletes succumbing to shorter and shorter careers.

 

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