This is the second in a two-part series about why the NCAA should add MMA as an officially sanctioned sport.
A second reason for MMA’s qualifications as a legitimate college sport is (shocker alert) … It’s safe!
That’s right, despite common perceptions about the sport, its injury rates are actually lower than that of football, hockey, soccer, wrestling and boxing.
In fact, studies show that football is the sport in which males are most likely to receive a concussion, the same being true for soccer in regards to women.
It’s also important to note that while serious injuries can obviously occur in MMA, the most common injuries within the cage are cuts, hand injuries, black eyes, and bruising.
These injuries are minor in comparison to concussions and ACL tears, two injuries common in football.
Plus, safety of the fighters is the No. 1 concern of the officials of an event, with every sanctioned fight having a doctor ringside overseeing the health and well being of the athletes.
If you need a specific example of how MMA can be considered safe, compare it to boxing, another popular full-contact sport.
In boxing, a fighter gets beaten from pillar to post standing up, gets knocked down, then has to stand up again to continue receiving a beating.
In MMA, a fighter gets knocked down and his opponent jumps on him quickly finishing the job, and the referee slides in to stop the fight before any unnecessary damage is administered.
Probably the most important reason that MMA should be made official by the NCAA is the many opportunities it would provide.
Since there are really no official “teams” for MMA in college, it’s hard to gauge how many scholarship opportunities could come about.
One way would be to follow the format laid out by wrestling teams. There are currently about 6,000 males competing in NCAA wrestling.
If MMA could work its way to that point, that is 6,000 more scholarship opportunities for young students trying to get an education in this troubled economy. That way these students have the option of using their brain or their fists to make a career with.
Besides, most colleges have some form of intramural martial arts club, such as judo, taekwondo, etc.
Putting in a MMA program would allow these students to put to use their skills, and make valuable use of their time.
Adding MMA to the list of collegiate sports would be a huge step in the right direction for the NCAA.
It would see them not only provide scholarship and career opportunities to young adults across the map, but take part in what is becoming a revolutionary sport.
Children aren’t just growing up watching Lebron James dunk a basketball anymore, they are also watching Anderson Silva use his knees to separate his opponents from their senses.
This will only cause the sport to continue to grow, and the NCAA needs to be there to grab their share of the pie when the children of today become the athletes of tomorrow.
Cheyene Miller is a journalism freshman and MMA fighter. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.