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MMA, Boxing, and Brain Damage

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posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 10:56 PM
There's a certain stupidity, insanity - idiocy - that leads a person to dedicate themselves to an MMA or boxing career.

Think about it for a second. We know how delicate our gelatinous brains are; they are designed by nature to be protected by a thick frontal bone, with thinner bones at the side and back. But this thick structure is not there as an invitation: please, hit me - you won't suffer permanent brain damage.

Take a car accident. In a simple car accident, you may have been seat belted up, and an airbag cushioned your head upon impact. But that is not enough! The sheer speed of the whiplash, the front to back movement of the neck, was enough to smack your brain up against the inner wall of your frontal bone, causing a concussion. That is how sensitive our brains are.

It's well known that with every concussion, your mental functioning becomes reduced. Take MMA fighters or Boxers. The bulk of the hits to their heads are coming to the front or side: the pre-frontal cortex areas of our brain. It's almost ironic: it takes stupidity to engage someone in a sport where getting punched in the head is the purpose, and when they land that punch - its the very part of the brain which controls DECISION making and COST-BENEFIT ANYALYSIS - that becomes hit. It's as if each and every hurt encourages more and more raucous activity.

Studies have been done which establish that the majority of people who show an interest in boxing or MMA are exrtroverts. Extroverts, by nature, are external oriented people. They are under-stimulated when they aren't involved in some social-context. Introverts, by contrast, are thinking types. Being around too many people over-stimulates them. Therefore, introverts tend to become scientists, writers, in short, the thinkers of our world, while extroverts become the entertainers, sports stars, politicians, boxers, MMA fighters.

Of course, this little post isn't designed to end MMA or boxing. I know there will always be people who take an interest in it. But, for someone like me - a thinker - it is hilarious that a human being would willingly engage in an activity that would impair his mental-intellectual functioning. Only someone who has so devalued these faculties - while overvaluing social relations (and the fun of beating the $hit out of someone) - would care so little about it.

But then, one day maybe, these people will try to show the world how acute their mental abilities are: think Mike Tyson and his poetry.
. It's both funny, admirable, and sad. George St. Pierre, the MMA fighter, has a deep interest in philosophy. No doubt, I don't deny that he takes it seriously, and he has probably profited from his philosophical explorations. But again, imagine the brain damage he has suffered in the octagon. A part of me feels "oh, how nice, he's interested in philosophy, good for him", while another part thinks "this idiot better not try to 'enlighten people' with his views on things".

Point being: the brain is an exceedingly sensitive organ. It is protected behind a remarkably think skull - but it is only so thick. A quick kick to the head causes swelling in that poor brain of yours. Neurons die when that happens - oxygen, glutamate - blood flow is interrupted by this trauma to the head. You literally make yourself stupider.
edit on 27-6-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 11:00 PM
reply to post by Astrocyte

i hate they are paid so much money and some of them have ego problems but i do understand it it is about reclaiming a ancient warrior spirit that is still within us but repressed do to are "civilized" society
edit on 27-6-2013 by truthontheloose because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 11:09 PM
Firstly, i enjoy engaging in the art/sport of Muay Thai, and i consider myself more introverted than extroverted.

I guarantee that fighters understand the dangers they are in when they enter the ring or the cage, but i do not think it is stupid on their part to engage in fighting. Some individuals like the adrenaline of the sports, others like combat sports for the fitness and self defence aspects of it. And others just like the sport for what it is.

Yes they put themselves in danger, but it is a part of the game so to speak.

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 11:12 PM

Originally posted by Astrocyte
There's a certain stupidity, insanity - idiocy - that leads a person to dedicate themselves to an MMA or boxing career.

Well, the same can be said about those that smoke, take drugs, ride bikes without helmets, drive whilst drunk, do not wear seatbelts etc. etc.

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 11:16 PM
reply to post by Astrocyte

I compete for 10 years in boxing, and mixed martial arts and i can tell you you have an ignorant perspective on what it means to be a fighter. I dont disagree with you about the fact that it causes damage but i disagree with you on your premise of stupidity. Fighting is the most challenging thing you can do on the planet. It tests your mental focus, physical strength, and discipline. This may sound corny but being a fighter is like nothing else on the planet and i wouldnt give it up for anything.

Cage fighting happens to be safer then boxing as far as the brain is concerned. Also most of the damage happens in training and during competition.
edit on 27-6-2013 by onequestion because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 11:19 PM
Learning a form of self defense is a plus, but in the process you will have to learn how to take a hit as well.

I just don't like how UFC glorifies trash talking to sell more tickets, that takes away from the discipline perspective.
edit on 27-6-2013 by peashooter because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 11:20 PM
reply to post by peashooter

Yeah they dont really highlight the most important part of martial arts.

I was just reading the OP and his comments about GSP and philosophy. When you fight in front of thousands of people its an out of body experience and its really close to a state of meditation and mental focus and clarity i have never been able to achieve through meditation, not even close. You really have no idea what your talking about.
edit on 27-6-2013 by onequestion because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 11:23 PM
Lot of money in them fights. Big purses too? Theres your motivation.

You're right, fighting is stupid. Getting paid to fight (if you are good at it) is something else.

Just about any sport is dangerous anyway. Football, car racing, skiing?

posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 11:29 PM

Originally posted by peashooter
Learning a form of self defense is a plus, but in the process you will have to learn how to take a hit as well.

I just don't like how UFC glorifies trash talking to sell more tickets, that takes away from the discipline perspective.
edit on 27-6-2013 by peashooter because: (no reason given)

That's why you should watch Muay Thai instead.

No trash talking, only respect for oneself, their trainer and their opponent. It also has all the good bits (punched, elbows, knees, kicks and clinches).

A good rundown on respect and the Wai Kru Ram Muay in Muay Thai.
edit on 27-6-2013 by daaskapital because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 12:02 AM
Nearly all physical sports can be dangerous. We get serious injuries in Boxing, Hockey, Football, Skiing, Car Racing etc. Sometimes we even see the occasional death.

I enjoy boxing greatly. To me it is an art form. It is Pure and Raw and it is not for the weak. It is Brutal, but also Scientific and Beautiful.

The Injuries do happen. We see many who leave the sport and are not the same. Simply put it is a sport which sees a lot of concussions. Unfortunately we are all different and some of us are more tolerant to receiving trauma to the head than others. If you look back in the history of the sport, sometimes trying to figure out how and why some fighters leave the sport a wreck, and some may not makes no sense. Some of the most defensive fighters of the sport, who hardly ever hot hit, came out in bad shape. While other fighters, like George Chuvalo, took tons of punches from some of the hardest punchers in history, with no defense, and walked away 100% fine.

All MMA and Boxers know the damage their sports can cause. Anything though that comes with an adrenaline rush can be dangerous. The amount of skiing deaths and head injuries per year world wide is fairly staggering. 900 Americans even die every year from bicycle accidents and that 900 does not include serious injuries. So on the grand scale of things, I feel combat sports get attacked too much on the subject.

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 12:02 AM
reply to post by Astrocyte

You might want to add Hockey to your list.Things have changed in the last few years with regards to "hits to the head",but the sport will always be violent and dangerous to play.I never had the opportunity to play hockey at more than the basic "house" level but we were instructed to cause as much harm(within the rule of game) as possible. There is a very good chance that I received some serious brain trauma during the years that I played. I am also responsible for hurting many people(I was never hurt seriously but I most likely crippled 50-200 people). I was never a total goon but after someone gave me a cheap shot I would slash the back of the left leg until the person in question would never be able to walk normally(usually after a cross-check to the head/elbow/shot to my groin). Please keep in mind that I was told to do these things by my coaches(to a certain extent); also I was never suspended from the game(s) for doing so. Shoulder to head hits were not only legal but encouraged(if you had the puck you got pasted).

edit on 28-6-2013 by TheWetCoast because: add

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 12:21 AM
reply to post by hellobruce

I agree. But this thread was about boxers/mma fighters.

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 12:24 AM
I knew a girl once who was a brain smasher

and a leech
edit on 28-6-2013 by libertytoall because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 12:39 AM
reply to post by daaskapital

It's a generalization; like, for example "men are taller than women". That statement represents the average man verses the average women. In this case, more extroverts engage in the sports of boxing/mma than introverts. Just as you would find more introvert writers - locked up in their rooms, writing and reading all day - then extroverts, who feel understimulated when they aren't participating in some social activity.

Don't take this personally. Another person mentioned how smokers, drug users, are similarly stupid. But we hear so much about this anyways. I thought it'd be nice to reflect upon the fact that boxers/mma fighters engage in a sport that causes incremental brain damage.

Some individuals like the adrenaline of the sports

Hey, I'm not denying the presence of other incentives. Yes, there's the adrenaline, the kick - the satisfaction of being better at something than someone else - and the social approval that goes along with it, in contact sports (hockey players and football players also incur concussions to a unwelcomingly high degree, but no where near as certain as in boxing/mma).

fitness and self defence aspects of it

I just don't want to put myself in a position where I could get a concussion - where neurons in the part concussing don't die off.

Internalize that. Really. Scientists have proved that concussions cause massive neuronal cell death.

Included in the cascade of events unleashed in the brain by concussion is impaired neurotransmission, loss of regulation of ions, deregulation of energy use and cellular metabolism, and a reduction in cerebral blood flow.[31] Excitatory neurotransmitters, chemicals such as glutamate that serve to stimulate nerve cells, are released in excessive amounts.[50] The resulting cellular excitation causes neurons to fire excessively.[51] This creates an imbalance of ions such as potassium and calcium across the cell membranes of neurons (a process like excitotoxicity).

Concussions are liking mini strokes in the brain. That over-excitation caused by glutamate - causing the neurons to shoot excessively - is like what happens in the brains of people who are seizuring. Chronic seizures, as is well known from epileptics, causes brain damage.

So, science aside, brain damage and boxing MMA go together. Unless you can manage to defy the odds, by participating in MMA boxing, you agree to this trade off: adrenaline, fitness, social gratification, for intelligence, executive functioning, concentration, memory, inhibition, among other things.

Even worse, concussions increase your odds of developing dementia or parkinsons disease later on in life. Is that worth it?

This may be like the: "it's worth eating something tasty even though I'll die early". Of course, not all compulsive eaters die early - but most do. Statistics show the general trend: 80 people will die younger than they would have had they taken care to eat healthy food.
edit on 28-6-2013 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 12:56 AM
reply to post by onequestion

I have one question to ask."Have you ever been in a REAL fight?"I would be inclined to think the answer is NO as a REAL fight has no rules and someone always gets hurt.I have no problem with MMA as long as you get payed enough money to make a living but I do not think violence is a good form of entertainment. I will not hurt another person unless I absolutely have to.

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 01:14 AM
reply to post by onequestion

I dont disagree with you about the fact that it causes damage but i disagree with you on your premise of stupidity.

That is a funny sort of reasoning - the type that perhaps only a "fighter" could make sense of.

So you agree it causes damage - to your brain, and thus, your very thinking. But you disagree that it wouldn't make you "stupider", i.e. less incisive, able to retain many pieces of information in mind at a time. Losing cognitive faculties like these, in fact, makes you "stupider". If stupider is politically incorrect (to the people who are doing it to themselves) than you could substitute it for something else; perhaps "cognitive regression"?

Fighting is the most challenging thing you can do on the planet.

I can sketch for you what is happening to your brain, just so you understand the trade-off being made.

Mental focus is orbitofrontal and ventromedial activity. This is the area beneath your eyes (hence, 'orbito') and the area immediately above your nose. This is where focus is represented in the brain. So this mental state is being "strengthened" by the fighting. And since you have to constantly remind yourself, refocus yourself, during the fighting, you have to recruit the dorsolateral and anterior PFC as well - this is where executive functioning and decision is mostly localized.

But then you get a knock to the head. Lets say on the right side, just to the right of your orbital bone. Someone gave you a strong left punch to the side. If you fall down and things become dizzy and you feel disoriented, you've likely suffered a concussion. Now that part of your brain is concussing, blood flow is being reduced, glutamate release causes excitation of nerve cells, leading to excitoxicty (when excitement causes death of brain cells).

The effects on intelligence are hard to really gauge, because simply put, people who box and engage in MMA aren't big readers, aren't as acutely aware of their internal states as people who regularly develop these capacities. What we do know, besides the presumed effect that its impairs intellectual faculties, is that concussions cause serious emotional disturbances to the personality. Most of the time, its temporary, but in a certain percentage of cases - and increasing with each new concussion - people who have suffered concussions report pesychological problems months and years after the event.

This may sound corny but being a fighter is like nothing else on the planet and i wouldnt give it up for anything.

It's also sort of pointless nowadays. In bygone eras, where rules and regulations didn't govern human relations, fighting definitely has it's raison d'etre. But nowadays it's just a sport - done for fun, not for necessity. People who actually use what they learn again people in society get arrested and are put in jail - probably longer since they've trained themselves to become a greater threat: this applies because society expects expert martial artists to exercise a greater degree of self restraint. The irony is, fighting in the past was about letting go of your inihibitions and just beating the hell of the person you're fighting. Nowadays, training yourself as a fighter comes with social contracts: you'll be especially careful not to use any of this on people who aren't as trained as you are; and when you do use it, it must be in a legally sanctioned and regulated setting.

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 01:32 AM
reply to post by Astrocyte

Thank you for creating this thread.Head injuries aside what I see in MMA today is the use of what should be purely defensive techniques being used to inflict injury. I am sure that the Shaolin Monks of the past that created some of the best defensive techniques in the world would be very much ashamed with what people are using that knowledge for today.

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 01:33 AM
reply to post by deanNS

We get serious injuries in Boxing, Hockey, Football, Skiing, Car Racing etc. Sometimes we even see the occasional death.

This sort of argument requires probabilistic thinking. Probability, as you probably know, means how often something occurs. If it's a "high probability" occurrence, then we can judge more scientifically whether it is worth it or not.

The sports you list have substantially less major head injuries than boxing or MMA. Here's my basis: MMA and boxing INVOLVES punching-kicking-kneeing-elbowing heads. This would then mean that brain injuries would be more common. True, football and hockey players experience concussions as well. I mentioned this in an earlier post. But, if you add them all up - all the players - and the concussions, you discover that it is much more infrequent then in boxing. For example, someone could reasonably play football or hockey without every incurring a concussion. Conversely, it's impossible - save a person with herculean type of invincibility - to fight MMA and not experience a concussion.

Scientific and Beautiful.

Scientific for whom? There was an article recently in Time magazine that called Lebron James a geinus. I read the article and it made it's point well. Lebron's instinct - his spatial awareness when playing (called proprioception by scientists) - is phenomenal. His high efficiency, in scoring (percentage), in low turnovers, is at least as unusual as his retardedly atypical body size (6'8, 250lb) and absurd athleticism.

Boxers have to have "instincts" and strategy. Granted. You should make a distinction between the words "stupid" and "stupider". Stupid is just a word for non-intelligence. Acting or thinking in ways that are unintelligent. Someone can be perfectly rational, yet engage in an activity or behavior that has negative effects (stupid). A boxer strategizes while he boxes, and this requires some degree of intelligence. Like an animal (as behavior psychologists would argue), he trains himself to one particular skill with tremendous proficiency. Being good at this one area - even though the hits to the head might impair it (but with renewed focus and training, neuroplasticity can counter some damage) - he still risks damage to other cognitive abilities. But since he more or less lacks such abilities, he's not in a position to determine whether they've been impaired or not. In anycase, it's hackneyed to point out that someone who values their intelligence wouldn't put themselves in a position to incur brain damage.

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 01:48 AM
reply to post by TheWetCoast

I know this might sound like a contradiction, but I DO and CAN enjoy a good MMA fight. I know, I seem like a hypocrite, but not really.

Boxing is something other people do. So long as they are doing it - and wanting to do it (being a libertarian, I will fight for the right for someone to fight) - I might as well enjoy it.

At the same time, these people are welcoming brain damage with every hit to their preciously delicate head.

I think society should have many types, and appears to naturally produce many types. People like me think, read, go to university, become scientists, doctors, philosophers, writers - you don't even need university - just an impulse towards thinking, or exploring the avenues of the mind. People like me value the subtle powers of our mental functions (concentration, memory, spatial reasoning, language recall etc) way more than people who engage in boxing and MMA. They thrive on something else: the adrenaline, the motions, the experiences. The boxing tends to not make them fully retarded i.e. unable to follow social rules, drive a car, raise children or be decent upright people. Boxing causes brain damage, but not so obviously that it would leave them noticeably changed by their peers.

From my perspective - from the perspective of brain science, boxing/MMA is idiotic. From the perspective of society at large, perhaps boxing/MMA has it's social purposes - an outlet for aggressive urges? A way to experience the primal urges that typified our ancestors behavior?

I'm not a hippy about this. I don't want to bring to an end MMA or boxing. I merely found it amusing what people do.

posted on Jun, 28 2013 @ 02:19 AM
reply to post by Astrocyte

I know what you mean;there is something primal inside me that does like the violence. But I hurt too many people during my days of hockey(because I was told to do so) to want to continue. I ruined the lives of too many people(I maimed them very badly), and I don't feel good about it at all.

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