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Young fighter almost dies; doesn’t really care

(“Pour some ‘Tussin on it!”)

Pretty scary moment up in America Jr. last week:

The fighting dreams of an 18-year-old Fort McMurray man were drowned in blood Friday after he collapsed in a Winnipeg mixed martial arts (MMA) ring. A severely shattered nose caused internal bleeding in Dean Lewis’s head, said the young scrapper’s Fort McMurray-based coach. The 135-pound fighter was having trouble breathing because of the copious amounts of blood he had breathed into his lungs. Doctors and paramedics had to feed a breathing tube down Lewis’s throat. Lewis passed out immediately after the three-round slobber knocker that left both fighters bathed in each other’s blood. Lewis suffered at least one seizure after the match, said coach Sandy Bowman.

The problem with MMA getting big is the stupidity of some of the competitors, who apparently think they’re capable of actually fighting without getting hurt. Unless you’re Dan Lauzon, you shouldn’t be fighting at 18. MMA is an all encompassing sport that requires at least proficiency in striking and grappling. It’s just gotten to that popularity level where a lot of grappling gyms are hiring guys that don’t know a hook from “I shouldn’t be teaching people striking” to instruct. The need to do some half-hearted boxing or armbar drills once a week just to call your school a mixed martial arts gym is setting a dangerous precedent. Guys are fighting without proper training. “This isn’t ballet”, people are getting hurt pretty bad like the kid mentioned above.

Since he’s got negligent teachers, the severity of his situation isn’t even conveyed to him:

Within 12 hours of the fight, Lewis was up walking around and joking. “He’s in really good spirits,” said Bowman. “He’s pretty proud. The coaches figured he had the fight won. He’ll be fine.” However, Lewis lost the fight in a split decision. It was only his third pro fight. He had a record of 1-1 heading into the Winnipeg ring. Bowman said Lewis – who planned a career as an MMA fighter – was already asking when he could start training for his next fight.

I don’t know what kind of head this kid has screwed on but it’s not a smart one apparently. There’s a fine line between being tough and possessing a “have you seen my baseball?” level of intelligence. If someone almost clinically dies from drowning on their own blood and nose bone shards, the farthest thing from their mind should be training. Nobody gets their face internally filled up with plasma and wants to start sparring again, not even The Terminator. Someone needs to tell this kid to go back to Pokemon, where at least the people beating him up are untrained (but may have weapons).

Promoters have blame for this one too, being morally irresponsible for chump change. Michael Woodford sees the issues well too:

“I think (the promoters) either just trying to get some blood, or trying to pad someone’s stats,” he said, adding that a number of his inexperienced students have been recruited. “I think it’s commonplace right now.” He said he was shocked by one student who showed up with a fight contract almost as soon as he joined his program. “I’m like, ‘who would sign you to a contract? You haven’t even sparred here yet,’ ” said Woodford. The student replied: “Oh no, they said they’ll match me with someone at my level.” “Well, someone at that level, you guys won’t even know how to block,” said Woodford. “It’s bothering me because what are the ethics of throwing (inexperienced) people in the ring? Wouldn’t you want to check out if they’ve fought – if they know how to fight?” he said.

We need a G.I. Joe public service announcement that has Sgt. Slaughter telling kids not to fight in MMA if they have no idea what they’re doing. Instructors need to stop being irresponsible before they get labeled as “the dead teen’s teacher”, which is pretty bad for business. Oh, and promoters need to stop being greedy, but the day that happens I’ll wear my big pants because monkeys will fly out of my butt. It was a close call but everything’s fine for now. Be glad the Canadian John McCain isn’t calling up The Duchess or whoever and trying to shut the sport down. Once Faces of Death: MMA comes out, THEN we need to start worrying.