UFC president Dana White has given his thoughts on the recent passing of BKFC fighter Justin Thornton.
It was confirmed just a few days ago that Thornton had died due to injuries sustained following his 20-second knockout defeat at BKFC 20. There’s been an outpouring of support from the mixed martial arts community ever since then with many paying tribute to the 38-year-old and what he achieved in the sport.
Dana White, however, opted to take a different approach during a recent chat with reporters.
“First of all, is anybody shocked?” White said. “I mean, in bare-knuckle fighting? I’m not a big fan. And I get, I guess I would call it concerned, when I see some of our people when they leave here and go there. It’s like, oh my God.
“But when you look at this, we’ve been putting on fights for 25 years. I’ve done over 7,000 fights with no serious injuries in the UFC.”
“Every year we spend over $20 million on athletic medical — $20 million a year — health and wellness or whatever it may be,” White said. “And 25 percent of our athletes, we send to specialists. So a guy will come and his brain test won’t come out, it’ll be irregular, so we send him to a specialist. If something was irregular with his heart, he or she goes and sees a heart specialist, and we spend the money to find out whatever it is that’s wrong with him.
“And as a result of that, our pre-fight screening, throughout the last 20 years we found 10 athletes that had life-threatening medical problems with them and career-ending, that they shouldn’t be fighting — that if they weren’t in the UFC, they probably would’ve fought and they probably would’ve died.
“So we shouldn’t even be talked about in the same sentence as bare-knuckle boxing,” White continued. “It’s two completely different worlds. And yes, we’re very sorry to hear that this guy passed away, but you’re never going to see any of these other organizations doing the type of health and safety and medical testing that we do for our athletes.”
Quotes via MMA Fighting
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