Call for a ban on 'ultimate fighting'

LONDON -The British Medical Association has called for a ban on mixed martial arts competitions, including "ultimate fighting", on the grounds they can cause traumatic brain injury.

LONDON -The British Medical Association has called for a ban on mixed martial arts competitions, including "ultimate fighting", on the grounds they can cause traumatic brain injury.

In a report released yesterday, the BMA extended its long-standing call for a ban on both amateur and professional boxing to all mixed martial arts (MMA) events, which include ultimate fighting and cage fighting.

The call comes as London's O2 arena gears up to host an ultimate fighting event on Saturday, following sellout shows in Manchester and Belfast last year.

Ultimate fighting is billed as a form of mixed martial arts fighting that uses striking, grappling and ground fighting. The BMA's head of ethics and science, Vivienne Nathanson, said these competitions did not qualify as sport.

"Ultimate fighting can be extremely brutal and has been described as human cockfighting," she said. "It can cause traumatic brain injury, joint injuries and fractures."

It was the responsibility of a civilised society to actively campaign against ultimate fighting, she added.

But the official Ultimate Fighting Championships website is keen to stress the importance of competitor safety. It said "it is noteworthy that no competitor has ever been seriously injured in a UFC event". - Reuters

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