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John Kavanagh Announces Mandatory Brain Scans For All SBG Fighters In 2017

John Kavanagh has introduced a progressive new rule at SBG.

MMA as a sport has grown a lot in its short life. Over the years its increasingly detailed rule-set has made it almost unrecognisable from its younger days in which one of the main attractions that drew people in stemmed from its promise of a ‘no holds barred’ approach to competitive unarmed combat.

And though the sport still has its fair share of detractors, the improvements and overall refinement of its rule-set have seen it gradually elevate itself into the mainstream, and for the most part, well clear of the kind of criticism that dominated its early days in the 1990s.

One issue, however, that will more than likely always be a constant in combat sports is the problem of the post-retirement brain damage a lot of MMA, and other heavily physical sports athletes suffer after several years of consistent head trauma, whether it be the type sustained in actual competition, or built up gradually after years of training each and every day.

John Kavanagh of SBG Ireland recently took to his official Facebook page to outline his plans to introduce one single mandatory brain scan for all SBG MMA fighters in 2017, both for those competing on an amateur and professional level, with the aim of preventing long-term problems before they become too serious to control, with his insistence being that – in the coming year – all of his fighters partake in testing to ensure they are in a position where all necessary measures can be taken to avoid any potentially life-long problems before they continue with their respective careers.

Kavanagh’s statement in full can be read below.

“For 2017 ALL SBG fighters, both amateur and professional will be getting a one off brain scan to make sure there’s no underlying issues that would preclude them from competing. It is not yet a requirement to get this done to compete on shows but it will be a requirement to represent SBG.

“Take 100 random people and scan them and a small percentage will have an issue that would stop them competing. This is not from training in MMA, or any other sport but could be genetic or from some illness when young. Either way we’re lucky in Ireland that SAFE MMA Ireland have secured scans for just €150 to give athletes peace of mind they are clear for training/competing.

“I would strongly advise all Irish based fighters, Pro or Am to take advantage of this great offer. Details can be found here.”

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at