It's hard to come up with a sport that's tougher than all out fighting. No protective equipment, hardened bones and muscles crashing together, breakneck pace, numerous ways to win and lose...you gotta be tough to step into a cage for a living. Some guys are maybe too tough for their own good!
Recently, I came across a story about Melvin Manhoef, a famed striker from the Netherlands who isn't afraid to mix it up with anybody. He is both a kickboxer and a mixed martial artist and proficient at both.
Last month, April 26th, he tested himself against the much taller Remy Bonjasky in a kickboxing match in Amsterdam. He fought valiantly, but the size difference was too much. After numerous knock downs he was eventually knocked out.
Only two weeks after the knockout he was fighting in MMA in Saitama, Japan! Without sanctioning this kind of stuff can happen and it did in this situation. Only two weeks after a brutal battle Manhoef laced up the thin gloves once again and got after it. He actually won! Talk about tough, but should he even have been fighting?
I'd say absolutely not, especially because this is just part of the story. He actually spent seven days in the hospital after the fight and had his lungs drained of blood! You heard me right, seven days. Then he flew to Japan and fought. Now that's tough...too tough! He kept the hospital visit a secret until after the victory then showed off the wound (I have a picture of it on my blog).
So yes sometimes MMA fighters are too tough. Sometimes somebody has to look out for their safety, step in and keep them from fighting until they are at less risk for serious injury. It doesn't always happen, but it should.
If you'd like to read a more in depth account of this story and see the picture of Manhoef's "hole" check out my blog, Sports by the Numbers MMA.