As explored and established in part I of this series, sanitization in MMA is of the utmost importance (as is disease or infection disclosure and testing). Unfortunately, the sport has seen some disease contraction from athlete-to-athlete in its existence, ranging from serious skin-based ailments like staph infections, to even more serious diseases that can be contracted by coming into contact with another carrier’s blood—namely Hepatitis. Due to the nature of these latter diseases’ contraction, disclosure and frequent testing are the most effective methods in place to assure that the sport remains clean, and the competing athletes safe.
Unfortunately, serious diseases such as these haven’t been kept away from the sport entirely. While the largest and most reputable MMA organizations in the world, such as the UFC and Bellator, (as well as the vast majority of regional promotions) have utilized thorough testing practices that have assured that serious diseases have largely stayed out of their rings and cages, some lax or nonexistent testing has given way to life-threatening infections in the cage in smaller and unregulated promotions.
The non-legalized status of MMA in the state of New York has caused countless underground and poorly regulated amateur (to say the least) MMA fight clubs to become popular places for athletes to test their skills.
Unfortunately, as was made clear in an eye-opening report of this NY MMA, fighters competing with—and spreading—serious blood borne diseases, such as Hepatitis C, are prevalent on the underground scene; the unregulated nature of these shows has made the possibility of long-term and life-threatening disease contraction a real possibility for participating athletes. It certainly falls on the shoulders of the promotion that is holding the fight(s) to test the athletes competing in their organization—in the underground, it is clear that morality and regulation are simply too expensive of costs to assume, for promoters. While these were a rare set of incidents (in regard to the entire MMA scene), that were the result of the unregulated MMA competition in New York, the diseases were nevertheless spread and contracted through the sport of MMA.
There really isn’t much more that needs to be said about just how important thorough sanitization and testing are in MMA. The inherently physical nature of the sport allows for diseases and infections to be easily transferred from one infected athlete to another; prevention and pre-emptive measures are the keys to assuring that the sport is safe from these dangerous diseases and infections.
Top MMA organizations in the world have perfected these hygiene specific procedures so that athletes are safer than ever in this way. Smaller promotions have taken notice and now implement similar procedures. The sport of MMA is safer than ever before from athlete-contracted disease.
However, anyone that’s training in MMA or a discipline of the sport should take note: the best way to entirely eliminate or further reduce the risk of disease in the cage and the gym is to utilize proper safety and sanitization measures on a personal level. Cleaning gym floors and equipment, as well as requesting gym-wide blood tests for those training in MMA will help to further assure safety and well-being from life-altering diseases such as those discussed. The diseases don’t discriminate, and can be formed and transferred in the largest cage in the most popular promotion in the world, or on a small training mat of a local gym.
Accordingly, you shouldn’t compromise in the safety procedures and measures that you take to assure that you—and fellow athletes—will be safe when training and competing.