Icelandic MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter Gunnar Nelson lost the second fight in his career over the weekend, when he fought against Brazilian Demian Maia at the UFC 194 in Las Vegas, Vísir reports. Mai had the upper hand for most of the fight and punched Gunnar 193 times, compared to Gunnar’s seven punches.
Gunnar commented after the fight, “It wasn’t my day. I felt I was lousy. I wasn’t feeling well and never felt I was good throughout the game.”
Gunnar’s face was in bad shape after the fight. Never before have his injuries been so visible after competing.
By losing the fight, Gunnar lost an opportunity to rank among the very best, while Maia succeeded in climbing to their rank. The latter requested a title fight following his victory.
Gunnar’s loss has sparked discussion in Iceland about the dangers of MMA. Psychologist Hafrún Kristjánsdóttir has brought attention to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a type of progressive brain disease found in athletes with a history of concussions. The disease may not present itself until after the athlete‘s career is over.
On her Facebook page, she states:
“Gunnar received 142 punches to his head during the fight, from a man who practices punching daily…It’s clear that those 142 punches Gunnar received increased his chances of developing CTE in the future. I’m not necessarily promoting that MMA be banned, but we must at least insist that those who choose the route of practicing this [sport] be well informed about CTE.”
Physician Gunnar Jóhannsson expressed a similar worry on Rás 2 radio. He explained that even though fighters don’t lose consciousness, small hemorrhaging occurs when the head is hit hard, brain cells die and are damaged.
Many worry that this kind of sport glorifies violence and sets a bad example for children.
Yesterday, DV reported on a fist fight between two young boys in Salaskóli school, who hit each other in the head. The principal, Hafsteinn Karlsson, blamed the fight on their admiration for Gunnar Nelson. Hafsteinn finds it deplorable that such a sport is glorified, and he sees Gunnar as a dangerous role model.
Gunnar’s record is now 14-2-1 (Win-Lose-Draw) while Demian Maia’s is 22-6-0. Gunnar is ranked 12th in Welterweight and Demian 6th.