Objective: To provide an updated comprehensive profile of mixed martial arts (MMAs) injuries.
Design: Correlational and multivariate analyses were conducted on cross-sectional data to examine injuries sustained during 711 MMA bouts. One physician diagnosed any injuries occurring during the bouts.
Setting: Various sports venues in Kansas and Missouri holding MMA competitions.
Participants: Male and female and amateur and professional MMA competitors contributing to 1422 fight participations (fight participations = 711 bouts × 2 fighters/bout).
Independent variables: State, level (amateur or professional), gender, number of rounds, and bout outcome (knockout/technical knockout [KO/TKO] vs other outcomes [eg, decision]).
Main outcome measures: Injuries/fight participations, injury sustained (yes vs no), and fighter referred to emergency room (ER; yes vs no).
Results: The overall injury rate was 8.5% of fight participations (121 injuries/1422 fight participations) or 5.6% of rounds (121/2178 rounds). Injury rates were similar between men and women, but a greater percentage of the injuries caused an altered mental state in men. The risk of being injured was significantly greater for bouts held in Kansas, at the professional level, lasting more rounds, and ending in a KO/TKO. Fighters also were more likely to be referred to the ER if they participated in longer bouts ending in a KO/TKO.
Conclusions: The observed injury rate was lower than previously reported suggesting recent regulatory changes have made MMA a safer sport. Increased clinical awareness and additional research should be extended to head-related injuries in MMAs especially those associated with KOs/TKOs.