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No holds barred sport fighting: a 10 year review of mixed martial arts competition
  1. G J Buse
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Buse
 Cannon USAF Clinics, Aerospace/Preventive Medicine, Clovis, NM 88103, USA; george.buse{at}


Objective: To identify the most salient medical issues that may be associated with mixed martial arts competition by determining the types and proportions of match stoppages.

Methods: Publicly available video footage of 1284 men competing in 642 consecutive televised matches from November 1993 to November 2003 was reviewed to determine the reasons for which matches were stopped. Matches were sanctioned by either a United States or Japan based mixed martial arts organisation.

Results: Of the 642 matches, 182 (28.3±3.4%) were stopped because of head impact, 106 (16.5±2.9%) because of musculoskeletal stress, 91 (14.1±2.7%) because of neck choke, 83 (12.9±2.6%) because of miscellaneous trauma, 173 (27.0±3.4%) because of expiration of match time, and seven (1.0±0.8%) because of disqualification, where the values in parentheses are percentages±95% confidence interval.

Conclusions: Blunt force to the head resulted in the highest proportion of match stoppages. Further research is warranted to delineate the morbidity associated with participation in mixed martial arts.

  • KO, knockout
  • MMA, mixed martial arts
  • TKO, technical knockout
  • athletic injuries
  • craniocerebral trauma
  • epidemiology
  • martial arts

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  • Funding: none

  • Competing interests: none declared

  • Ethics approval: this study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of USAF Medical Center, Keesler, Mississippi, USA.

    Disclaimer: the views expressed herein are not to be construed as reflecting the policies of the United States Air Force or Department of Defense