Mixed martial arts induces significant fatigue and muscle damage up to 24 hours post-combat

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Abstract

This study investigates the physiological/physical responses to a simulated mixed martial arts (MMA) competition over 24 hr. Twelve fighters performed a simulated MMA competition, consisting of three 5-min MMA matches. Physiological/physical data were assessed before (Trest), directly after round 1 (Trd1), round 2 (Trd2) and round 3 (Trd3), and then 30-min (Trecovery30min) and/or 24-hr (Trecovery24h) post-competition. Heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and blood lactate concentration ([La-]) were assessed at Trest, Trd1, Trd2 and Trd3. Biological data were collected at Trest, Trd3, Trecovery30min and Trecovery24h. Physical tests were performed at Trest, Trecovery30min and Trecovery24h. HR, RPE and [La-] were high during competition. Leukocytes, hemoglobin, total protein and glycemia were increased at Trd3 compared with all other time points (p<0.05). Cortisol was increased at Trd3 compared with Trest and Trecovery24h (p<0.05). Testosterone was higher at Trd3 and Trecovery30min than Trest (p<0.001). Higher values of uric acid were noted during recovery periods (p<0.001). Lactate dehydrogenase was lower at Trest compared with Trd3, Trecovery30min and Trecovery24h (p<0.05). Countermovement jump was higher at Trest than Trecovery30min (p=0.020). Consequently, MMA is a high-intensity intermittent combat sport that induces significant fatigue and muscle damage, both of which are still present 24-hr post-competition.

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