Despite some people evangelicalising the safety of MMA compared to boxing, MMA is still a dangerous sport where athletes tuned like precision equipment often hit each other very hard. And thank God for that! The alternative would look something like the safe roughhousing from Adventure Time, but I bet Chris Weidman would be good at that too.
Aside from cuts and muscle tears, the main danger in MMA is most likely the same as boxing: concussion. There isn’t exactly a wealth of information on the long term brain damage caused by fifteen to twenty years of repeated blows to the head. Sure, you can say that MMA fighters will be less likely to suffer adverse effects since they statistically get hit in the head less per fight than a boxer. That’s probably true. However, who’s monitoring training time?
Back in 2007, a neat device called H.I.T. was created by Simbex to be worn inside football helmets to monitor head impact and relay useful information back to coaches. Taking advantage of the rise in quantifiable-self technology, Reebok have pounced on this and have created a combat-sport friendly skullcap which could easily be worn under a headguard during sparring. Created to feedback and monitor repeated head trauma in athletes, it won’t stop current fighters from going the way Gary Goodridge sadly has but it will help coaches monitor their athletes and manage their training in a way which limits potential brain injury.
As useful as this tool can be to athletes, I’d personally like to use it to see how much brain injury Gary LaPlante incurs headbanging at a typical hardcore punk show.