Every time someone dies in the cage, I wait for a backlash that pushes the sport back into the socially reviled shadows we existed in until 2006. That hasn’t happened yet – maybe when it’s a UFC death – but that doesn’t mean we’re all just going to carry on as if nothing happened. The UFC was in Winnipeg yesterday to promote their upcoming UFC 161 card, and promotional prime minister of Canada Tom Wright was asked about it:

“What we don’t know is whether or not there were any pre-existing medical conditions that Pablo was suffering from, and in a regulated environment, we would have known that. We also don’t know if the referees were properly trained. We don’t know whether or not there were the appropriate EMTs and ambulances and medical precautions in place. We don’t even know if it was a fair fight as far as if the competitors were evenly balanced.”

There is little known about the details of why there was no medical staff on site at the Michigan event, Wright continued.

“Those are kinds of things we would know if the sport had been regulated, if the event had been regulated. It speaks to the importance of regulation in our sport, why it’s important that we have the appropriate kind of rigor and standards, from medical care to pre- and post-fight medical testing to drug testing to insuring the health and safety of these athletes is always first and foremost. And in the case of an unregulated event, you don’t know whether those things are in place, which is why we as an organization have always run to regulation.”

We can only hope that questions are being asked in Michigan too, where the death occured. Unfortunately, regulation costs money … something that state doesn’t exactly have a lot of lying around. Does this mean the choice is between unregulated amateur MMA and no amateur MMA at all?

(pic by Ken Pishna for MMA Weekly)