Leading neurologist calls for MMA to be banned

Mater Hospital's Prof Tim Lynch says the sport is designed to inflict brain injury

A leading neurologist says he's in favour of a ban on Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) due to the risk of brain injury.

Professor Tim Lynch, consultant neurologist at the Mater Hospital and one of the country's leading authorities of brain injury, was speaking follow the death of Portuguese fighter João Carvalho, in Dublin.

Asked whether MMA was dangerous enough to merit an outright ban, Prof Lynch told Newstalk Breakfast: "I find it abhorrent that you'd be having any sport where you'd be trying to hit and knock a player out and cause brain damage.

"So from a personal perspective yes, I think those types of sports should not be allowed."


Last night Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring claimed he foresaw the possibility of a tragic incident occurring in MMA, and says an investigation will take place into the death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho.

"I’ve done my best," he told Newstalk's Off The Ball. I saw this coming down the line before anybody else. I wrote to these operators and I told them I expected them to have the same standards as every other sporting event in the country and I certainly will continue to do that."

In the wake of the Portuguese fighter's death following a mixed-martial arts event in Dublin on Saturday night, Minister Ring said he had written 17 letters to organisations to ask for greater safety measures amid concerns over a lack of regulation.

He added that he "wouldn't be one of the biggest fans of the sport" and that there will be an investigation. 

"The State will have an obligation, like any sudden death or any death in the country, there will be, I'm sure, a coroner's report and I'm sure there will be some sort of investigation. I'd expect that investigation would come quickly," he said, before turning to the issue of regulation.

"On the 20th of February 2014, before this event ever happened, I wrote to 17 organisations and these were commercial operators that were running for profit events in Ireland. I wrote to the 17 of them and I outlined to them that I expected the same kind of safety standards that existed for other sports such as rugby, horse racing and professional boxing. I am concerned and I have been concerned. And I've been concerned about the growth of this sport and the way that it's unregulated. It needs to be regulated."