Mixed martial arts (MMA) is a prevalent sport and has gained so much popularity in recent years. MMA improves the body’s cardiovascular health, increases muscle strength, teaches discipline, improves coordination and balance, and builds self-confidence in participants. However, that doesn’t mean this sport is risk-free. Is MMA dangerous?

MMA is a dangerous sport. Fighters often risk traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, cuts, and fractures when participating in this sport. However, fighters can reduce these risks with the right training, the proper gear, and by taking care of their health.

Arguably, there’s no denying that many sustain injuries while participating in MMA. Read on for details on this sport’s primary risks and ways to stay safe when training or fighting.

The Dangers of MMA: Key Risks

Whether you’re considering participating in MMA or you’re curious about the risks, you’ve probably wondered: Is MMA dangerous?

There are many key dangers involved in any contact sport, especially martial arts training or competition. MMA is no exception.

Some of the risks of becoming an MMA fighter include:


This type of brain injury results from a forceful blow to the head. Bruising and small tears to the brain can cause varying degrees of impairment that cover a wide spectrum.

A concussion doesn’t always have to result from a big hit. It can also come from repetitive hits that are not powerful enough in their own right.

However, when your head takes such hits cumulatively over time, chances are higher of developing concussions.

Cerebral edema is another form of brain injury that results from a build-up of fluid inside the skull. It can also lead to neurological damage when the pressure in the brain exceeds what the blood supply can manage.

Here’s a YouTube video explaining the hidden risks of MMA:

Spinal Cord Injury

These types of injuries can be either acute (sudden) or chronic (gradual). Chronic spinal injuries are common in older athletes due to wear and tear.

These injuries can occur when an opponent applies force to your spine or neck. This may cause bleeding inside, damage to nerve roots, or scar tissue build-up around the cord itself.

Some injuries may not be visible immediately after an event but can take days, weeks, or even months to discover.

Severe Cuts

These include accidental elbow injuries, split lips, noses, or other facial features. Sometimes, this happens when a fighter bites their opponent during a fight.

Although MMA rules don’t allow such moves, accidents do happen, and fighters sometimes lose control. Fighters can also cut themselves while they practice their moves or spar with each other.

Hand and Feet Fractures

These types of injuries often happen as a result of blocked strikes.

Fighters may accidentally or unintentionally break their opponent’s hands and feet, causing severe injuries.

However, with proper training, fighters can minimize such injury risks.

Ways To Prevent MMA Injuries

Suppose you are still keen on pursuing MMA as a career. In that case, it would help to take the following measures to prevent injuries:

Get the Right Training

Ensure that your trainer has the right skills and qualifications to teach you how to fight safely.

It would be best if you asked about their accident history. Additionally, find out if someone has ever sued them for injuries in the past or raised any complaints against them.

This can help you determine whether or not they will be a good fit for you.

Wear the Proper Gear

Ensure that your equipment is well-maintained to prevent rips and tears.

Your gear should also fit correctly, so it doesn’t cause any injury throughout the fight.

Ensure your clothing and groin protector is comfortable but sturdy enough to prevent any accidental damage from happening.

Here is some quality MMA gear from Amazon.com:

Warm-Up Exercises

Stretching is important because it reduces the risk of injury.

Warm-up exercises can make you stronger and more resistant to muscle pulls and fatigue, which means better overall performance.

Avoid Fights When Injured

You should never participate in an MMA competition when you have broken bones, torn ligaments, or muscle sprains.  

You could make your injury worse and end up facing even more serious consequences.

Always consult your doctor to get a clean bill of health after recovery, even when you feel well.

Avoid Taunting Opponents

Reckless taunting can cause your opponent to retaliate with excessive force.

You also run the risk of getting hit when they unleash their attacks.

I recommend respecting your opponents, even if you think they are not as skilled as you are. It would help if you also tried avoiding any harmful language.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest, and recovery time are essential components to reaching your fitness goals. 

MMA is an intense workout that requires ample amounts of protein, iron, and calcium in the body. As a result, it counters its strenuous nature. 

Eating right plays a huge part in improving speed and agility throughout training. It means the difference between injury and being safe! 

Maintain Good Hygiene

Keeping your body healthy and well-groomed is essential to being successful in MMA.

Maintain good hygiene by showering before fights and avoiding all cigarettes or alcoholic drinks beforehand.

These substances can cause fatigue and dizziness during the fight. You wouldn’t wish to be dazed at any moment during a match!

Avoid Delaying Treatment

If you are looking for medical care following any serious injury, you should go to a hospital immediately.

Even if your injury isn’t life-threatening, it is still better to see a medical professional than attempting self-treatment.

How Long Does It Take To Recover from an Injury in MMA?

There’s no specific rule about how long it will take for you to recover from injuries in MMA. Since each person heals at their own pace, it may take several weeks or months before your body heals completely. As a rule of thumb, never resume fighting until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. 

Final Thoughts

So, to answer the question, “Is MMA dangerous?”, the answer is yes. MMA has a high injury risk because of its very nature. It involves both striking and grappling; hence, there’s a high chance you may hurt yourself practicing. Therefore, never pursue this activity if you have any pre-existing injuries or physical conditions that may worsen with strenuous training.

People new to MMA should also be wary of the risks of this sport and take precautions early on. Athletes who are already training must follow basic safety measures to prevent accidents.

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