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BMA in bid to ban fightclub event

By Steve Nowottny

The BMA today kicked off a war of words when it took on its toughest opponent yet – the Ultimate Fighting Championships.

UFC 75, a high-profile ultimate fighting event scheduled to take place at the O2 arena in London this Saturday, should be banned, the association said today. It warned that ‘no holds barred' mixed martial arts, which include ultimate fighting and cage fighting, can cause traumatic brain injury and even death.

But organisers have hit back, accusing the BMA of publicity-seeking and ‘attempting to regulate the morality of the British sports fan.'

The BMA's Head of Ethics and Science, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, said it had now extended its call for a complete ban on amateur and professional boxing to include all mixed martial arts competitions.

‘Ultimate fighting can be extremely brutal and has been described as ‘human cockfighting',' she said.

‘This kind of competition hardly constitutes a sport – the days of gladiator fights are over and we should not be looking to resurrect them. As doctors we cannot stand by while violent fighting tournaments are allowed to take place.'

But Marshall Zelaznik, president of UFC's UK division, said: ‘The BMA has never reached out to the UFC organisation to research and investigate their position but, instead, has chosen to seek publicity with this confused and confusing statement.'

‘The conclusion they reach that mixed martial arts can result in brain injury or serious injury is not based on evidence and is contradicted not only be the results of our own events which only occur under stringent medical testing and regulation, but also by the facts examined in a well-researched and peer-reviewed medical study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.'

This Saturday's event, UFC 75, is due to feature a number of fights, including a headline clash between 205lb heavyweights Quinton ‘Rampage' Jackson and Dan ‘Hollywood' Henderson.

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