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Mann Talk: why I disagree with Dr. Benjamin

Every once in a while, when I’m trolling the around blogs, I come across Dr. Johnny Benjamin’s column over on MMAJunkie. Normally, I either gloss over the article or skip it all together — a medical professional who says there is room for the neck to recoil in a Thai plum does not pique my interest. However, this week’s column sucked me in like a Billy Mays commercial.

I have long been a supporter of the ladies fighting five-minute rounds just like the men. To me, fights like Kelly Kobald vs. Gina Carano almost demand the extra time. Since I have yet to hear a credible argument against it, I figured I would peruse the Doc’s little dissenting article. Basically I was thinking “a noted combat-sports specialist” would be able to give a reasonable explanation. I was wrong.

Benjamin begins his piece by telling everyone that most fans of women’s MMA are simply fulfilling the urges of a pubescent boy. I’m glad he cleared that up. All this time I was under the impression that MMA fans were interested in competition between high-level athletes, and sometimes these athletes were female.

Here’s hoping that other journalists and proponents of women’s MMA like TJ Desantis, Jordan Breen, Maggie Hendricks, Loretta Hunt, and Mauro Ranallo get the message and stop writing and talking about the ladies side of the sport. Clearly all they need to do is list the women’s measurements and hum porno soundtracks in order to satiate the masses.

The crux of his argument against the round expansion is rather simple. A fighter is much more likely to become injured in an exhausted state, and a female fighter being injured on TV could be catastrophic to the sport.

I may not have Doc Ben’s credentials, but I’ve seen women compete for much longer than nine minutes before, and live to tell about it. How long are Olympic soccer games, or WNBA basketball games? Even in boxing, a combat sport, women regularly fight ten two-minute rounds — or for those who want me to make my argument with simple, yet apparently impressive, math, that is a whopping 122 % increase over three three-minute rounds.

MMA is a sport with rules. It lost its bare-knuckle bravado a long time ago. If a female fighter is entirely exhausted and can no longer defend herself the referee will stop the bout. How many times have you seen a tired male fighter eating too many punches and the referee steps in? That is how the sport works.

I have yet to see a compelling argument against women fighting under the same round structure as men. Dr. Johnny Benjamin’s attempt fails to even pass the common sense test. In this case, despite his degree and experience, his opinion in no more valuable than anyone watching some fights at a local bar.

Doctors should have a place in MMA going forward, but not the type who make meaningless arguments in exchange for the chance to plaster their face and web address all over the Internet.

By:  Richard Mann

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