June, 2017
Archive

By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Final Tragic Stage of a Fighter’s Career

“Remember the good ol’ days of MMA, when guys like Fedor Emelianenko, Takanori Gomi, B.J. Penn and Andrei Arlovski were tearing up the scene in their respective promotions? There was nothing like those glory years of the early 2000s, when mixed martial arts was permeated with excitement from the original guard of the sport passing the torch to the next generation. Those four were among the trailblazers that pushed the heavyweight and lightweight divisions in Pride Fighting Championships and the Ultimate Fighting Championship to the next level of the fight game.

Fast forward a decade or so, and all four of them are continuing to compete, much to the chagrin of fans who were there in those early years. Penn and Emelianenko suffered demoralizing losses at Bellator 180 and UFC Fight Night 112, and the week before that, Arlovski and Gomi put some additional losses on their losing streaks at UFC Fight Night 111. To see these legends fade so drastically this late in their careers is tough to bear. When you’re pushing 40 in the fight game, Father Time starts to push back mercilessly…”

 

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By In book review

Book Review: “The Gustav Sonata” by Rose Tremain

On his first day in his new kindergarten class in small-town Switzerland, Anton Zwiebel can do nothing but weep uncontrollably. The teacher tries to console him, but Anton is helpless, carried off by the inertia of his emotions. She pairs him off with a friendless boy, Gustav Perle, whose first words to Anton are: “My mother says it’s better not to cry. She says you have to master yourself.” Anton immediately stops crying. This exchange, where the ever-caring Gustav stabilizes the torrentially emotional Anton, will come to define their relationship.

The story of Gustav and Anton as children in the years immediately following World War II composes the first of three movements in Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata. Part Two traces the pre- and mid-war relationship of Gustav’s parents, while Part Three moves fifty years into the future to see the final crescendo of Gustav and Anton. Despite the different times and historical contexts, Tremain, winner of numerous awards, including the Whitbread Award, the Orange Prize, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, skillfully investigates the philosophical implications and human costs of neutrality…”

 

Read more at Harvard Review Online

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Cost of Combat

“Traumatic brain injury for combat sports athletes is rarely the result of a singular event. It’s an accumulation of damage, a creeping punch-at-a-time erosion that takes place in every fight and sparring session. For the duration of his professional MMA career between 2006 and 2016, Hague fought once every 14 weeks. If he had a five-week training camp for every fight — short by industry standards — that means in a given year he was taking real-time, fight-prep punishment either in the gym or in a fight for over 200 days out of the year.

We don’t know Hague’s exact training conditions, but even the safest, most precautionary camps put the human body through extreme rigors. That is to say, the sport itself puts the human body through extreme rigors. There is no way to safely be a fighter; the best way to prevent injury of any kind is to not participate in the first place.

Such tragedies put a spotlight on a number of questions that are normally ignored or contentedly left unanswered. Why did the commission let this fight happen, knowing that Hague had been knocked out regularly and recently? Why did Hague, a former kindergarten teacher, want to continue putting his health on the line in this line of work? Why did the referee let the fight go on after Hague had been dropped several times in the opening minutes of the match? Why didn’t his corner throw in the towel? Why do we watch people inflict life-altering brain damage on each other?”

Read more at Sherdog

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Old Man and the Beast