Australian doctors renew call for ban on cage fighting

Canberra, Aug 31 (IANS) Australia’s apex medical body on Wednesday renewed its call for ban on cage fighting in Victoria.

As the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) prepares to return to Melbourne in November, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has urged Daniel Andrews’ Victoria government to reconsider its decision to legalise the sport in 2015, Xinhua news agency reported.

“If you see someone hitting someone else, who is to say that doesn’t normalise that sort of activity?” AMA Victoria Vice President Xavier Yu told the media.

“What message does that send to our young people? It says that it is OK to hit someone, and from a doctor’s point of view that is just wrong.”

Yu said the medical concerns raised in “The Hurt Business”, a new documentary about UFC and doctors’ concerns over the sport, such as “extreme” and “traumatic” head injuries caused by a single punch did not surprise him.

Revelations in the documentary that UFC fighters are regularly treated for anxiety and depression and had tested positive to steroids were also not a shock to Yu, who said the full damage of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) would not be known for years.

“The dark underbelly is certainly not revealed in their marketing material,” he said.

John McCarthy, a former MMA referee, said he had been instructed not to stop fights regardless of the extent of injuries being caused.

“It got to the point where I had guys getting hurt in a significant fashion and they did not have the ability to defend themselves,” McCarthy said.

Victoria Sports Minister John Eren said the legalisation of cage fighting ensured the fights were taking place in the safest possible environments.

“We have honoured our election commitment to lift the ban on holding these events in a safe enclosure — a move industry experts say will increase safety and reduce the likelihood of serious injury,” Eren said upon legalising cage fighting in 2015.

More than 56,000 persons attended UFC 193 at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium in November last year, making it the most attended fight night in UFC history.

–IANS

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