Gilbert Burns hopes MMA promotions get more serious about healthcare after witnessing Damar Hamlin’s injury in the NFL

By Josh Evanoff - January 19, 2023

UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns is hopeful MMA promotions paid attention to Damar Hamlin’s injury.

Gilbert Burns

The 24-year-old is a starting safety for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. Earlier this month after making a routine tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin collapsed. Initial fears were that he suffered a concussion, but fans quickly realized something was seriously wrong.

The Buffalo Bills staff quickly gave medical attention to the star safety. While not known until later that night, Hamlin had suffered cardiac arrest on the field. Luckily, his heartbeat was quickly restored, and he was taken to the hospital, where he was put on a ventilator.

Weeks on from the incident, Damar Hamlin is out of the hospital, and even attending team meetings. However, it was still a scary, and horrifying incident that nearly cost the player his life. While things are now returning to normal for the Bills’ safety, Gilbert Burns hoped MMA promotions paid attention.

In a recent interview with MMAFighting, ‘Durinho’ discussed the situation. There, Burns discussed the importance of quality pay, as well as healthcare in combat sports.

Khamzat Chimaev, Gilbert Burns

Image Credit: UFC

“I hope MMA gets way more serious with healthcare because we put everything on the line,” Burns said. “At the end of the day, we do that because first off, we like it. We know the dangers. We know what we are doing. That feeling that we could live or die, we accept that. I go into the fight knowing I could get hurt pretty bad. But financially, we still need to get better.” (h/t MMAFighting)

He continued, “That guy [Damar Hamlin], I don’t know how much he makes but I bet that money, his kids will be taken care of, his family will be taken care of in case something happens. I just hope that MMA and [NFL] steps up and provides for the family if something happens with the fighters or the football players cause when you get to the highest level, things are going to happen. I would like to see all the athletes taken care of financially, especially if something that bad happens so the families are taken care of.”

Gilbert Burns is currently expected to return against Neil Magny this Saturday at UFC 283. The pay-per-view card is slated to be headlined by a light-heavyweight championship clash between Glover Teixeira and Jamahal Hill.

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