After launching last January, Safe MMA enjoyed a successful first year which saw 6 promotions on board by the close of it and 186 UK and Irish fighters registered over the period. 2013 also saw the launch of Safe MMA Ireland in September.
The first 6 months of operation were pre-software and prior to the hiring of a dedicated data manager, with the system in development until June 2013 based on extensive feedback from promotions and fighters. The latest developments and improvements were agreed at November’s Annual General Meeting plus other administrative meetings.
Please see below for a review of key points covered at the AGM and Safe MMA’s first updates for 2014:
A. REVIEW AND UPDATES FOLLOWING SAFE MMA’S FIRST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
1. The First Year In Review
The First Year in Numbers plus Accounts
2. Public Safe MMA Fighters List
A public list of all currently Safe MMA cleared fighters list is now published on the Safe MMA website to aid matchmakers. Names will NOT be included of expired memberships or fighters that are registered but not cleared. Temporarily suspended fighters remain listed along with the end date of their suspension period: http://safemmauk.wordpress.com/safe-mma-fighters-list/
3. Changes to Promotions’ Membership Fees in 2014
A reduced annual membership fee for smaller scale promotions is to be introduced as follows:
- £300 for shows that carry 4 or less professional fights on a show
- £300 for a one off or annual show
4. Safe MMA Courses to be introduced in 2014
a) Safe MMA ringside training courses & focus groups for medical professionals are to be introduced. The first Safe MMAfocus group for medical professionals is to take place in March at 76 Harley Street, lead by Dr. Maeve Rodgers. Those wishing to attend should contact email@example.com
b) CHHP at 76 Harley Street runs Sports Injuries seminars. In 2014 an allocation of seats at these will be reserved for Safe MMA fighters and members, on a first come first serve basis
5. Planned Areas of Medical Research in 2014
- Serious vs minor injuries in MMA
- Serialised concussion
- Weight cutting risks (How weight cutting effects injury rate and performance.) Weight questions are to be added to fighter medical forms
6. Medicals – Areas needing improvement
a) Too many incomplete post fight medical forms have been returned rendering an incomplete picture of the first year, which has hampered research and progress. Promotions must ensure that hired doctors have completed the all pre/post fight forms.
b) Without complete statistics safety research can not be carried out and improvements can not be introduced. Dr Loosemore’s study on the effect of 60 years of rule changes on injury rates in Amateur boxing was referenced.
c) Photo ID must be supplied to doctors for remote blood testing and the doctor must sign to verify identity. The appropriate paperwork is now to be included in Safe MMA blood packs.
7. The Safe MMA Board
All major decisions regarding process are to be agreed either at AGMs or dedicated meetings. In lieu of crisis then emergency meetings, calls or email votes may need to be set up.
a) There is currently too small a number when it comes to voting matters and members can be viewed as partisan. Further support and expertise is needed. It is proposed that additional experts should be voted to the board (including a gyms representative, a legal representative and a financial expert) alongside people with time and energy to contribute.
b) Fair and consistent voting processes also need to be agreed on.
Safe MMA is working to develop fair and legally standing statutes regarding board membership and processes.
Safe MMA has been subsidised personally by Dr Kreindler this year and is working to close the gap between income and administrative/ medical expenditure through growth of the project. Any project management or work outside the clinical and clinical administrative is volunteer led. To progress and improve in various aspects (such as educational outreach and creation of fighter passports) obtaining further funding is essential through,
a) expanding the service
- by doubling the number of registered fighters
- by encouraging more promotions to join
- Safe MMA services can also be advertised to Amateur competitors though it should not be compulsory
9. Medical staffing at events:
How should promotions choose a ringside doctor?
- Doctors are covered by their own insurance and in medicine should not act outside their area of competency. The doctor’s competency falls under their responsibility. Promotions should always ask their doctor for their GMCnumber and verify them on the medical register (which is online). Promotions can also request to see doctors’ insurance.
- It is essential that ringside doctors should be competent and confident with airway management.
- Safe MMA Ringside Medical courses will help raise the standard and help cageside professionals to exchange experience and knowledge. Dr. Maeve Rodgers is in the process of organising Safe MMA’s first focus group for Medical Professionals. Those wishing to attend should contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The point has been raised that an anaesthetist is now required ringside in boxing. It is the expert opinion of Safe MMA doctors that this is not practically necessary and that the incident that led to anaesthetists being introduced in boxing was more complex. However, it’s ultimately a decision that promotions will need to make as to whether they choose to follow boxing guidelines in this respect as it will ultimately fall under their liability.
10. Foreign Fighter Blood Results Formats
Where blood results are in a foreign language, a covering letter from the competitor’s doctor in English, is now required.
11. Extreme Weight cutting and IVs
Extreme weight-cutting is dangerous and cutting to the point where IV is required puts fighters’ lives at risk:
Dr. Jack Kreindler: “Weight cutting to the point that IV fluid replacement is required puts people at risk. In hospitals, IV fluid replacement is performed only under controlled and supervised, sterile conditions where vital signs, blood chemistry and kidney function is continually measured before during and after fluid replacement with the correct fluids. Anyone having IV’s without such facilities and expertise is in danger of infection, harm or death and anyone encouraging weight cutting requiring administering IV’s may be putting fighter health and lives at risk.”
The World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) explicitly bans IVs as used in MMA on their banned list (as do Nevada State Athletic Commision and nearly all governing bodies for nearly all sports). SAFE MMA supports WADAS’ position but does not believe it is practical to try to enforce this at this time. Safe MMA’s priority is to educate.
WADA GUIDELINES ON INTRAVENOUS (IV) INFUSIONS: http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/intravenous_infusion_en.pdf
B. ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATES INCLUDING PRICE CHANGES
1. Fighter Prices for 2014, as supplied by CHHP:
Registration remains £75 for 6 months membership and £135 for 12
Annual medicals at 76 Harley Street remain £50
Blood test packs increase to £60, whether sent out in the post or used at CHHP
There will be no extra charge for the taking of bloods at CHHP if done during the course of an annual medical exam. In all other instances, the cost will be £10
These prices will also apply to non SafeMMA competitors, or those competing on non SafeMMA promotions.
NB: There will no longer be an option to purchase a second blood test pack in advance – ie what was previously called the ’12 months SafeMMA full passport service’ at £235. Those who have already purchased it will continue under the old system and no extra fee will be charged to account for the price increase.
Reason for Increase in Price of Blood Packs: The laboratory increases its prices annually, every January, and there is also an increase in the consumables needed to carry out the blood tests which CHHP at 76 Harley Street needs to pass on.
2. Fighter Identity
Photo ID must be supplied to doctors for remote blood testing and the doctor must sign to say this has been done. The appropriate paperwork is to be included in Safe MMA blood packs.
3. Foreign Fighters Bloods Format Information
Doctor’s covering letter in English required with bloods results in foreign languages, to verify that the competitor is clear.
4. Independent Fighters
Safe MMA is unable to screen for Independent fighters. Gym/ coach contact information is to be removed from application form.
5. Fight Card information
Names and DOB of fighters need to be supplied in fight cards to be provided by promotions.
First contact from fighters/gyms is to be encouraged via email rather than phone
Stay close to The MMA Review (www.themmareview.co.uk) for all the latest MMA news.
Jay Cee – @JayCeeMMA
*This is an official SAFE MMA press release. A press release is an announcement of an event, performance, or other newsworthy item that is issued to the press.