UFC middleweight contender Paulo Costa spoke about the effects of blows to the head in MMA and says he’s willing to donate his brain for research.
Costa is one of the top middleweights in MMA and is known for pulverizing his opponents’ heads and being the one who dishes out the damage. But in a recent interview with AG Fight, Costa admitted he thinks about the effects of blows to the head on his brain, and it’s the reason why he plans on retiring from the sport by the time he’s 36.
“We know that the brain is made up of cells that no longer regenerate, we are only losing. As the age advances, this amount decreases, so reflex is slow, speech becomes bad, forgetfulness. From time to time I research. There is even Rose, from the Gracie family, campaigning for brain donation, fighters, for research on this. I want to make my career as fast as possible, conquer everything, and I don’t want to fight after the age of 36. I put my brain with pleasure,” Costa said (translated with Google).
“This is a very serious thing because we don’t have data to know how much it can affect each one. Each one will have symptoms and will react differently with that amount of strokes. What you can do is do a type of fight that minimizes the blows to the head. And in training maybe even wearing protective equipment, like a helmet. This can mitigate a lot. Wearing big gloves, I never do sparring with MMA gloves, always with 16-ounce gloves to avoid blows to the head,” Costa added.
“I don’t think I will stop doing sparring, but there is no other way, it is a price that our profession pays.”
It’s pretty incredible to hear an MMA fighter speak so openly about brain damage, as for many it’s a topic that seems to be avoided. But clearly Costa is very aware of the real damage that MMA gives its athletes and he seems well-prepared for the future. With MMA being such a new sport we don’t know for sure what the future effects on the athletes will be. By looking at the brain of fighters like Costa, we can learn much more.
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