Comprehensive analysis of ‘knockouts’ in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

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Abstract

Objective

To quantify and identify potential risk factors for knockouts (KOs) and technical KOs (TKOs) in Mixed Martial Arts fighters.

Setting

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Design

Retrospective. Fight card and fighter data was collected from all numbered UFC events over a 4-year period ending in 2009. Publicly available databases and digital video images were used to retrieve all pertinent information.

Outcome Measures

Event characteristics (eg, location, date, etc), fighter demographics (eg, age, nationality, time since last match), match characteristics (eg, match significance, rounds fought), and injury mechanism.

Results

A total of 503 matches were reviewed of which 36% ended in either KO (58; 12%; 57.7 per 1000 AE) or TKO (119; 24%; 118.4 per 1000 AE). The prevalence of KOs was highest in fighters between ages 36 and 40 (20.6%). The mechanism of contact resulting in a KO was predominately a direct blow to the head by a fist. 20% of all TKOs occurred in the heavyweight class. 33.9% of title matches result in TKOs and one in five of all KOs occurred during the first minute of a round.

Conclusion

Most often the mechanism of contact resulting in a KO was direct blow to the head. We have identified factors which were associated with a higher incidence of KO or TKO including age, weight, fight significance, time within the round, and time since last fight.

Acknowledgements

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategic Team in Applied Injury Research funded this research.

Competing interests

None.

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