Mixed Martial Arts is a sport that has been gaining popularity across the country. Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA as it is more commonly known, is a sport that is, at its core, a violent fight. Fighters will wear limited protective gear, and fights themselves will consist of both striking and grappling techniques. Striking involves punching, kicking and other attacks in an attempt to knock out the opponent. Grappling involves holds, chokes, and other grabbing maneuvers to try to force an opponent into submission. Fighters can either continue battling until they are knocked out, or they can “tap out” for submission to their opponent. Needless to say, with all of these complex attacks, the sport itself involves a very clear risk of injury.
Even with the risks of the sport, MMA still continues to gain popularity. MMA-specialized gyms and training centers are popping up across the United States. With many people joining as a way to get in shape while also learning to defend themselves, the popularity doesn’t seem like it will fade anytime soon. While it may be a great way to get oneself in shape in a short amount of time, the contact involved is a surefire way to suffer both short and long term injuries, especially to the brain.
Like most standard gyms, any given MMA gym will undoubtedly have its attendees sign a waiver or an acknowledgment of risk in order for MMA-hopefuls to participate in actual practice fights or sparring. Even though a waiver is signed, safety while training is usually of utmost importance. In general, the MMA training can be physically exhausting, but it should not lead to serious harm or injury. Fighters are supposed to respect “tap outs” and to know when to hold back while sparring.
While “assumed risk” definitely plays a factor in participating in a combat sport, injuries can result from things that you do NOT necessarily assume the risk of. For instance, you can reasonably assume that when you enter the ring, you will fight using the proper safety guidelines of what you have been taught, and your opponent will respect your wishes to stop the sparring if necessary. You do not assume the risk of an accident occurring because of poor maintenance to the gym itself, such as training equipment failure, or a fighting ring that collapses.
So what should you do when you are injured while participating in a combat sport? If you have suffered a serious injury, you may benefit from a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. Depending on the circumstances of the injury, you may be able to build a case against the responsible parties despite signing any documentation prior to participation.