While the sport is unquestionably booming in Ireland, mixed martial arts has drawn criticism due to the potential neurological injuries that may come of the head trauma received inside the cage. But once again, John Kavanagh continues to propel the sport in this country as he has made it mandatory for every fighter under the SBG banner to receive a brain scan in order to identify any possible issues.
Following the tragic death of the Joao Carvalho at Dublin's National Stadium, there were calls for further regulation to be implemented in Ireland. Respective figureheads in the sport came together to form Safe MMA to implement a strategic plan which would better protect fighters in the future.
When the new rule is implemented, fighters competing in both amateur and professional bouts will be expected to pay €150 for the scan. A reasonable fee, given the fact that it could prevent further deaths inside the cage.
John Kavanagh announced the details on his Facebook page;
For 2017 ALL SBG fighters, both Amateur and Professional will be getting a one off brain scan to make sure there's no underlying issues that would preclude them from competing. It is not yet a requirement to get this done to compete on shows but it will be a requirement to represent SBG.
Take 100 random people and scan them and a small percentage will have an issue that would stop them competing. This is not from training in MMA, or any other sport but could be genetic or from some illness when young.
Either way we're lucky in Ireland that SAFE MMA Ireland have secured scans for just €150 to give athletes peace of mind they are clear for training/competing.
Heading into the future it would be admirable to see other gyms adopting such safety measures. The news can only be viewed as a positive for a sport which is evolving every year.