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The Pension for Punishment

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Sinister

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"The ultimate fighter at 25 has a body with a good temperament for training. He can take repeated abuse and repair himself. He can fight four times a year -- or five, or seven -- if he wishes. If he suffers a significant dent (broken bones, damaged eyes, muscles torn from their adhesive) he’ll be ambulatory before long.

And he gets attention. Lots of attention. From sponsors, from fans who admire his abilities and from women. He can close a nightclub the week of a fight and not suffer the consequences. He makes a decent wage, gets his training subsidized by sponsor money and splurges when bonuses crop up. He’s not a champion, so he can’t afford to buy the Escalade outright, but he can make the lease payments."

LINK

Great and much needed read

Post #1   10/13/09 11:50:12AM   

bjj1605

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A good read and he reaches some strong conclusions. However, I feel he missed a point. Perhaps its just because it wasn't the central issue of the article, but this just highlights for me that these guys need to be paid better.

If MMA athletes were able to retire at 35 knowing that they were financially set for life I believe more would be willing to do so. Sure there careers set up other options: movie deals, sponsorship/commercials, commentating, teaching/training, starting your own promotion.... but not everyone can be successful with these secondary careers.

Closer inspection of a fighters mental state will help. But in the end a lot of the problems these guys are facing revolve around money. Consider all of the mental stresses mentioned in the article. Now consider the same stresses and add the fact that you feel under-compensated for the physical and psychological punishment you endure.

Dana White likes to point to the nice cars and nice houses that the stars of the sport own. Thats great. But it does little for the guys who don't make it big or who only manage to reach the top for a short span of time. Even for those stars Dana uses as examples, these guys have a relatively short shelf-life compared to other professions.

I would like to close this argument with a question: Would any one believe that if Brett Favre retired tomorrow and never worked another day in his life that he wouldn't be able to sustain himself? How about Dan Henderson?

Post #2   10/13/09 1:48:04PM   

jiujitsufreak74

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the problem i have with this is that it does not take into account the emotional temperament or psychological state of the fighters BEFORE they even started MMA. was Junie ever well balanced? did Evan walk into the desert because he was was deluded form concussions or was he just the kind of guy that wanted to find himself. yes MMA is a very physically demanding sport, but it is still too young, imo, to diagnose long terms effects just yet. we can infer based on the damage and a lot of assumptions will be made, but there is no way to definitively know.

the examples they gave of specific fighters holds absolutely no merit to me, as like i said it does not even once consider the psychological state of those fighters throughout their whole lives. hell, half the reason some fighters even started fighting was because they didn't fit anywhere else in society and were psychologically unstable. nice attempt, but it falls short for me

Post #3   10/13/09 1:54:25PM   

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Posted by bjj1605

I would like to close this argument with a question: Would any one believe that if Brett Favre retired tomorrow and never worked another day in his life that he wouldn't be able to sustain himself? How about Dan Henderson?



Brett Favre has competed in exactly 300 professional games not counting exhibition games with an average attendance figure of probably around 60,000. That's about eighteen million paying fans at NFL level ticket prices.

Hendo has 32 fights with an average attendance of maybe 5,000. That's about 160,000 paying fans.

Essentially Favre has 112 times the amount of paying fans, and maybe 112 times the amount of money.

Not the best comparison.

Last edited 10/14/09 10:59AM server time by kpro
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Post #4   10/13/09 2:15:49PM   

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Posted by jiujitsufreak74

the problem i have with this is that it does not take into account the emotional temperament or psychological state of the fighters BEFORE they even started MMA. was Junie ever well balanced? did Evan walk into the desert because he was was deluded form concussions or was he just the kind of guy that wanted to find himself. yes MMA is a very physically demanding sport, but it is still too young, imo, to diagnose long terms effects just yet. we can infer based on the damage and a lot of assumptions will be made, but there is no way to definitively know.




That is a good point. Some things I would like to add are,

Is MMA more prone to attracting competitors that are mentally unstable (or rather unstable) than other sports? I've always been inclined to think that MMA is the sport that tends to attract larger numbers of unstable competitors. Part of it I think stems from the fact that it is a violent sport. Like it or not, you have to like hurting other people to want to do MMA, and I believe there is a correlation between instability and being prone to violence.

The other aspect why I think MMA might draw unstable people (more than other sports) is how things are structured. There are a lot of small shows that can be quick paycheques for unseasoned fighters or guys desperate trying to make a buck. This is in contrast to the long road that other professional athletes usually need to travel, usually having to go through college/university as a door way to the big leagues. In most professional sports, if you don't get drafted, you are pretty much finding another line of work. There are thousands of fighters in MMA that still make careers in "bush" leagues, albeit not a great living.

That being said, I've heard the phrase, "all I can do in life is fight" all to often from MMA fighters' mouths and to me that kind of attitude comes from people that are more unstable in life. That is, if the only thing you feel that you can do in life is fight, I think it illustrates a certain level of instability, either within or around that person.


Now before someone quotes me out of context, I am not saying all MMA fighters are innately unstable. I am suggesting that for any given sport, I think the number of innately unstable participants is higher in MMA than other sports, and that has nothing to do with the physical nature/consequences of the sport itself.

Last edited 10/13/09 4:37PM server time by Rush
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Post #5   10/13/09 4:10:16PM   

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Posted by jiujitsufreak74

the problem i have with this is that it does not take into account the emotional temperament or psychological state of the fighters BEFORE they even started MMA. was Junie ever well balanced? did Evan walk into the desert because he was was deluded form concussions or was he just the kind of guy that wanted to find himself. yes MMA is a very physically demanding sport, but it is still too young, imo, to diagnose long terms effects just yet. we can infer based on the damage and a lot of assumptions will be made, but there is no way to definitively know.

the examples they gave of specific fighters holds absolutely no merit to me, as like i said it does not even once consider the psychological state of those fighters throughout their whole lives. hell, half the reason some fighters even started fighting was because they didn't fit anywhere else in society and were psychologically unstable. nice attempt, but it falls short for me



I was thinking the samething.
Junie
Evan
Page
War
I can't coment on the rest but lets be real none of those guys seemlike out side of fighting to have " It " together.
Not that its right but the Neer episode isn't new to the world either.

Post #6   10/13/09 4:15:21PM   

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i wrestled and coached wrestling for many years and the same could be said about wrestlers. it takes a certain kind of guy to really get into wrestling, and many of my friends and the people ive been around in the sport are a different breed of character. of course like rush said, it doesnt mean they are all that way, but a good chunk of the guys i know are just a little off in one way or another and when i say that i mean that as in moreso than your average person.

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Post #7   10/13/09 4:20:02PM   

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I think there is a definite relationship to concussions and depression and mental health issues. It doesn't need to be proven in MMA, although it will be eventually, because it has been proven with pro football players.

LINK

Here is a clip of a former pro wrestler that is collecting athletes brains when they die so they can better understand what happens to it when it is concuss. I think they have Chris Benoits brain too. if not them someone does for sure.

LINK

Post #8   10/13/09 4:45:58PM   

jiujitsufreak74

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Posted by Rush


Posted by jiujitsufreak74

the problem i have with this is that it does not take into account the emotional temperament or psychological state of the fighters BEFORE they even started MMA. was Junie ever well balanced? did Evan walk into the desert because he was was deluded form concussions or was he just the kind of guy that wanted to find himself. yes MMA is a very physically demanding sport, but it is still too young, imo, to diagnose long terms effects just yet. we can infer based on the damage and a lot of assumptions will be made, but there is no way to definitively know.




That is a good point. Some things I would like to add are,

Is MMA more prone to attracting competitors that are mentally unstable (or rather unstable) than other sports? I've always been inclined to think that MMA is the sport that tends to attract larger numbers of unstable competitors. Part of it I think stems from the fact that it is a violent sport. Like it or not, you have to like hurting other people to want to do MMA, and I believe there is a correlation between instability and being prone to violence.

The other aspect why I think MMA might draw unstable people (more than other sports) is how things are structured. There are a lot of small shows that can be quick paycheques for unseasoned fighters or guys desperate trying to make a buck. This is in contrast to the long road that other professional athletes usually need to travel, usually having to go through college/university as a door way to the big leagues. In most professional sports, if you don't get drafted, you are pretty much finding another line of work. There are thousands of fighters in MMA that still make careers in "bush" leagues, albeit not a great living.

That being said, I've heard the phrase, "all I can do in life is fight" all to often from MMA fighters' mouths and to me that kind of attitude comes from people that are more unstable in life. That is, if the only thing you feel that you can do in life is fight, I think it illustrates a certain level of instability, either within or around that person.


Now before someone quotes me out of context, I am not saying all MMA fighters are innately unstable. I am suggesting that for any given sport, I think the number of innately unstable participants is higher in MMA than other sports, and that has nothing to do with the physical nature/consequences of the sport itself.



great points to add

now, i would just like to clear up that i am not denying the correlation between concussions and long term effects; i am merely saying that this particular article uses fighters as examples to make its case and that it is ignoring a lot of other confounding variables that Rush continued on that weaken their case.

Post #9   10/13/09 7:21:24PM