We’ve all seen the gruesome footage of boxers and mixed martial arts fighters’ injuries following a battle. They often have multiple facial injuries, most commonly around the eye and nose. There’s blood, missing teeth, damaged ears, and deep cuts, to name but a few. It’s enough to put any sane person off training in boxing or MMA. But it never deters a new generation of fighters from coming through and seeking the fame, fortune, and recognition that accompanies being a prizefighter.
Watching a world heavyweight boxing bout live on TV from Las Vegas will scare you off trying the sport or allow your children to practice boxing. But for some, watching a bout from the sofa and making predictions on the outcome at the top betting sites isn’t enough. They desire to get up close and personal with the sport they follow.
Boxing and MMA fights on TV inspire the thrill seeker to dive in at the deep end and discover what you’re made of underneath the surface. Is there gladiator blood in you? There’s only one way to find out. That curiosity drives millions of people to take up combat sports each year to compete or simply for health benefits. It’s a far more exciting way to keep fit than visiting the gym and lifting heavy weights, that’s for sure.
Pros and cons of training combat sports
Yes, the gory images of a professional fighter covered in a mixture of their blood and that of their opponent are enough to make most people sick. But there are many benefits to combat sports training without fighting or sparring.
The worst injuries happen to professional fighters who know the risks, are well-paid, and have access to medical assistance at ringside. The risks involved in visiting your local boxing gym, hitting the heavy bag, or learning self-defense is less scary. Injuries happen in boxing training but also in football, soccer, badminton, and any other competitive sports you may want to try. The health benefits aren’t nearly as good as what boxing and MMA offers.
Here are some pros and cons of combat sports training to consider before moving and joining a gym.
- Improves your physical fitness
- Great for mental well-being
- Lose weight and build muscle
- Learn self-defense
- Meet new people and learn new skills
- No commitment to spar or fight
- Possible injuries related to training
The pros and cons show the health benefits of boxing and MMA far outweigh the risks. The benefits listed above are guaranteed if you are committed to your training. But the risks are precisely that. They happen to some, but not many fighters, and not often.
Here are three of the most common injuries suffered by those who practice boxing and mixed martial arts as a hobby rather than their full-time employment as professional fighters.
The boxer’s fracture is a wide-ranging term that sounds much worse than it is, conjuring up images of fractured and broken eye-sockets. In reality, it’s a minor fracture to the little or ring finger caused by consistently punching a stationary object with a closed fist.
As you can imagine, this can occur in both professional fighters and those using boxing to keep fit. The symptoms are easy to spot, with instant pain and swelling of the hand. This injury can occur in around 20% of boxers. An x-ray is required; if the bone is broken, your hand may be placed in a cast or bandaged.
A shoulder dislocation is another injury medical professionals see in professional boxers and keep fitters. This injury is most often the result of heavy sparring but may occur when hitting the punchbag.
The injury results in instant pain and a reduction in movement in the shoulder joint. It’s a quick fix for a trained professional who can realign the shoulder with minimal recovery time.
A strange injury for a boxer, but tennis elbow is prevalent in combat sports. It results from many years of the same movement, such as punching or blocking.
This causes damage to the tendons, which may appear gradually but worsen with continued use. A physio can deliver the best treatment for tennis elbow.