Weighing in on the “body slams” debate

You’ve probably seen the highlights of the Sarah Kaufman/Roxanne Modafferi fight for the Strikeforce women’s welterweight championship. It ended abruptly when Kaufman knocked Modafferi out with a spectacular slam. It was amazingly similar to Rampage Jackson’s famous slam on Ricardo Arona –which some consider the greatest knockout in MMA history.

Kaufman’s KO raised a debate on message boards and forums that I consider absurd – but that warrants discussion. Believe it or not, some pundits are posing the question, “Should slams be outlawed in mixed martial arts?”

Hmmm? To me, the argument is so silly that it’s hard to even discuss it. But I’ll try. First off, it’s inspired by a tiny handful of spectacular incidents that stand out because they were, admittedly, violent. But to discuss outlawing a traditional part of grappling in a combat sport is mind boggling.

First off, there’s the suggestion that slams are dangerous in that they can cause head injury or concussion on impact. So does that mean we should outlaw striking? The last time I checked, a Mirko Cro Cop head kick or Junior Dos Santos fist damages opponents’ skulls far more frequently than a slam does.

And what about submissions? Armbars, chokes, neck cranks and kneebars, if held too long, can be seriously hazardous to our health. Should we ban BJJ too?

An even stranger part of the debate is the notion that slams are too “barbaric.” That saddens me. I really thought MMA had evolved past the point of “extreme” culture. It’s not like slams are used in fights just for the sake of causing carnage. Almost every time you see a powerful slam, the fighter doing it is using it strategically to escape a dangerous position. Most commonly, the slam is an attempt to break up an armbar, guillotine, or some other submission attempt.

For anyone out there thinking slams should be outlawed – I suggest you try tiddlywinks.

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