Lowkick's MMA Truth Hour: Low Blows

Posted on May 24, 2013, 10:30 AM by Brian Cox
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Last Saturday night, Fabio Maldonado suffered a vicious spinning back-kick to the groin from Roger Hollett and was subsequently laid out on the canvas writhing in pain, requiring a 2:25 stoppage of the action.

I believe what transpired during that stoppage was a downright embarrassment to the sport and completely un-professional.

As Maldonado rolled around on the ground attempting to stretch himself out and fighting off (what must have been) waves of nausea, Leon Roberts (the referee) came over to him and advised him that he had up to five minutes to recover. Roberts then went over to Hollett and stated “Roger stand over here, for me”…he then went back to Maldonado and said “You stay here” (as if Fabio was going anywhere), at which point Roberts sought out an interpreter and asked him to come around to the side of the cage where FM was laying…Roberts then said to the translator….“If he doesn't get up, I want you to ask him if he wants to see a doctor…ask him for me, if he needs to see a doctor”. Dutifully, the interpreter, who was standing roughly 5 feet away from Maldonado and talking through the fence and over the crowd, asked the fighter if he needed a doctor. Maldonado affirmed in the negative, by moving his head back-and-forth indicating “no”. The interpreter then stated to Robertson… “He said no. He doesn't need to see a doctor.”

From moment of impact to getting the question answered took 90 seconds. In that amount of time, the doctor could have actually gone into The Octagon and established for himself, whether or not the fighter needed medical attention.

First and foremost and on the subject of a fighter’s health within The Octagon and during a fight, a fighter’s opinion of his own health is an irrelevant consideration.  If the question of medical attention is being raised as an issue, then a doctor should be brought in and regardless of the fighter’s opinion on the matter and if for no other reason other than the fact, that neither the fighter nor the referee are qualified to make a determination as to whether-or-not the circumstances or situation, warrants medical attention. That’s the (ring) doctor’s call, period.

It’s an even more stupefying question, when you consider that the clock has already been stopped and that it can remain so for up to five minutes. In short, they have the time so why not just have the doctor come in and check the fighter? One would think it to be the reasonable and logical course of action.

As we have seen this event played out in numerous fights in the past and as it will inevitably happen again in the future, it seems reasonable to ask the question, does The UFC need to develop a protocol for such occurrences?

Personally, I feel that they should and if I was going to offer up a protocol I’d simply suggest this, when a fighter takes a strike to the groin and goes down, the moment the referee calls time and sends the offending fighter to a neutral corner, the door to The Octagon should be opened and the doctor and the fighter’s corner be allowed to enter and attend to the fighter. The doctor could quickly check the fighter and establish if he’s fit to continue and if so, the corner guys could stretch the fighter out and help him recover his wind. They could also give him water and ice him, if needed.  I’m sure all of it would be greatly appreciated in the moment, by the downed fighter.

Another thought, might be to enforce the full 5 minutes of the stoppage.

I say this, because on occasion I’ve seen fighters re-start a fight when they were (probably) not fully recovered and did so, simply because they were feeling the pressure of the crowd. Crowd pressure, like a fighter’s opinion about his own health, should be an irrelevant consideration during a fight and in particular, when regarding an “in-fight clock stoppage” as a result of a referee’s intervention. Enforcing the full 5 and having the doctor and the fighter’s corner in there helping the fighter recover, would go a long way to relieving fan pressure (on the fighter) to re-start the fight.  At least he wouldn't be out there by himself, taking the heat.  

A simple protocol for what to do in the advent of a groin strike won’t prevent them, but it would certainly be a marked improvement on what we have now, which seems to be a whole lot of uncertainty. As every man can attest, getting kicked or punched in the groin is no trip-to-the-beach and recovering from it is neither quick nor painless. Taking that into consideration, I think The UFC, the fighters and even the fans, would be well served by having a methodology in place by which a downed fighter is simply attended to, minus any debates. I would also think that the referees would appreciate a straightforward guideline, as well. It would certainly make their job in The Octagon a great deal easier.


Comments

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  • Akordas
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    Exsidence happens, some times you can't even tap in time and you get your hand or leg injured in training, I got that few times, but its a fighting sport and you should know this risk.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • soiWANNABEafighter
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    what an irrelevant comment regarding the subject.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • dana&patrick; star are 1 person
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    why was kicking groin legal in WWE? i think its time to legalize the extreme rules specially the undercards, its time to bring it to the extreme, i think the ufc should put weapons to the corners.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • rabble
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    Not even being sarcastic here.
    How exactly does a doctor check for nut damage?

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    Well, if it was bad enough, I'd think that he'd put his gloves on and then put his hand(s) down the patient's shorts and check him. I'm not a doctor, but that would be my guess, at any rate.

    Without being sarcastic,I'd have to figure that a crushed testicle and how to diagnose and treat it, would probably covered @ most, if not all, medical schools. At least the ones in North America. I'm confident that even if the fan's don't know how to "check a nut for damage", the doctor will.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    You need to go to emergency room fast and a urologist will use x-rays and proceed with surgery if necessary..The most a ring side physician can do is the basic, try to reduce further swelling and bleeding and give pain relief.



    Reply 11 months ago
  • JTalbain
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    When Cro Cop took a low knee from Overeem, they actually draped a towel over him to pull down his shorts and check manually. The fight ended up being stopped because they couldn't find one of them. (It later redescended backstage)That was in Japan though, but the procedure does exist. Safety first and all that.

    The other point to take home from that is that Overeem knees so hard he drove Mirko's left nut back up into his body, protective cup be damned. No wonder Cro Cop refused a rematch.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    @ JTaliban

    Yeah and that's kind of my point...we don't know how bad the injury is and where most are no-big-deal and a fighter recovers, there is the chance that something significant happened. Again, if the clock is stopped just send him out or at least let the corner guys in and they can ask for the doctor if need be.

    Certainly going out and attending to the guy or putting a towel over him as they did with Cro Cop, at least demonstrates some concern for the fighter's health. To leave him out there rolling around on the ground, if nothing else, just looks bad. That too, is part of my point about the need for a protocol, it all just looks bad on camera.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    @ Enjoy

    Agreed, but the original diagnosis would have to be be made and the would be the ring doctor that would make the call.

    Either way, it's not really my point. I think as a general rule we can accept that most fighters will recover from a groin strike and do so, within a couple of minutes. Okay, when it happens, could we at least get his corner in to help him out a little and if the doc wants to come in, great. However, at a minimum help the guy stretch and re-wind. Give him a little moral support, as opposed to allowing him to flop around on TV by himself, while pulling at his bag.

    I don't se why, when it happens, that it just doesn't happen automatically. My only point to the whole article. LOL!

    Reply 11 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    @Truth.....its a tough one....you don't really know how bad an injury is until you look at it and the only thing the athlete feels at the time is immense pain. Getting kicked in the balls is liked getting winded...You often have to take a couple of minutes out to get your wind back. Alot of these guys don't want the fight stopped so the last person they want in there is the doctor. How many fighters continue on with broken bones or groin injuries (like GSp) without consulting. Winning comes first, medicals comes later for alot of these guys. but the doctors do come in during the rounds and do post fight examinations. If the athletes are conscious, there are not major compound fractures, huge blood loss etc then they usually expect let the fighters continue.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    @ Enjoy

    I expect him to continue as well, but let his corner in at least. Again, to me it looks pretty barbaric on TV or at least I'd think it would to your average novice or just getting into the sport, fan.

    Comparatively speaking, could you imagine a player in the NFL or NBA or any major sport being downed on the field or court and nobody going out to give him a hand? Again, for the cameras, at least, it looks barbaric to have a guy rolling around on the ground in pain and no one coming out to help stretch him out. My thought on it, at any rate.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    Definetly agree withn you Truth on that one...Its the natural response or at least the humane response.

    Ifs weird with cuts though, I've seen some pretty bad cuts where guys are allowed to continue.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Michael Stephensen
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    As a physician, testicular cancer patient and martial artist I might be able to comment here.

    First and foremost ask the fighter how he is. If he says he can't go on then he can't and he needs to be checked further. If he says he is fine you can't examine him against his wish but you can watch for evidence that he isn't fine and could over rule him (say for example he is in a quasi-fainting state and gets very light headed standing up.

    Next, if he is in a lot of pain and is clearly in significant distress then testicular rupture has to be considered. The other possibility is a tearing of tissue such as *****, scrotum or a blood vessel within the scrotum resulting in a scrotal hematoma. These would be easily determined on examination.

    I suppose also possible is a disruption of the pubic ligament. The pubic bone is actually two bones joined in the middle and much like a shoulder separation (a tear of the ligament that joins the collar bone to the acromion of the shoulder blade) there could be a tear in the ligament that joins the two pubic bones.

    Testicular rupture and scrotal hematoma would, in my opinion, require stoppage of the fight.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Michael Stephensen
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    Yikes! In the 3rd paragraph above it censored pen1s but let me say scrotum and testicle. Hmm.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • SatelliteMan
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    That's what I'm talking about. Our own resident LowKick doc. Your post answered every question I could have on the matter, and some.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    @ Michael

    Your post made me queasy.

    All I'm really saying is let the corner guys in to stretch and re-wind him. I think leaving the guy out there by himself, if nothing else, looks heartless.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • enjoylife321
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    @Truth...After reading Michael Stephensen's post I went out and bought a Muay Thai cup and am wearing it right now.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    LOL! LOL!

    Reply 11 months ago
  • HolyGrimace666
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    i think its up to the fighter to a certain point. if a doc came in every time then we wouldn't have amazing matches like Franklin vs Liddell or GSP vs Thiago Alves. but if its past a certain point, doctors need to be pulled in immediately.

    Reply 11 months ago
  • Brian Cox
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    This is about what to do when a guy get kicked in the groin and nothing else. When he goes down he gets five minutes either way. We should at least let the corner guys into The Octagon.

    How I feel about it, at any rate.

    Reply 11 months ago