Anti-cut surgery for fighters

| Comments (2) | Sports
It's reasonably common for MMA fights to be stopped due to excessive bleeding by one of the fighters. In fact, in some cases fighters will deliberately try to open up a cut on their opponent in order to get a stoppage. Apparently, some fighters are more susceptible to cuts than others. The NYT has an interesting article about plastic surgery to make them more resistant to bleeding:
So last summer, Davis, 35, contacted a plastic surgeon in Las Vegas. He wanted to make his skin less prone to cutting.

The surgeon, Dr. Frank Stile, burred down the bones around Davis's eye sockets. He also removed scar tissue around his eyes and replaced it with collagen made from the skin of cadavers.

There appear to be two claimed underlying problems: (1) sharp bone ridges in the skull which result in cuts when strikes to the face force the skin against the bone and (2) poor treatment of cuts in the ring resulting in "unstable scar tissue" which is thus more likely to result in a propensity to future cuts.

As usual with medical procedures applied to athletes, we are immediately faced with the question of whether this is simple treatment or an enhancement. To the extent to which you're fixing incompletely healed injuries, that certainly looks like medical treatment. The bone shaving, on the other hand, starts to look more like enhancement. On the other hand, I guess you could think of sharp bones the same way you would think of, say, asthma, in which case treatment starts to look appropriate. On the third hand, I think we can agree that implanting a plastic plate over your forehead, while an effective anti-cut measure, would probably be outside the rules. All this just reinforces that these distinctions are basically arbitrary; if we ban this kind of surgery, it's an advantage to people with good bone structure. Contrariwise, if we allow this kind of surgery, people who formerly had the advantage of good bone structure lose that advantage.

Of course, all this assumes that the surgery actually works. But if it doesn't, likely something that works will eventually come along.

2 Comments

Mixed martial arts is what UFC does, right?

It seems as if there were ever a place for a "no-holds barred, get your cyborg implants and steroids while they're hot" contest, it would be MMA.

third hand -> gripping hand :-)

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