Monday’s Dream 13 event in Japan, unremarkable in most ways, is notable for a scene in which Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga spent minutes convalescing in a corner after Josh Barnett used his groin for a gong. Siligia eventually relented to official admonishment he continue, and was submitted. These are not the great sports moments we dream of.
While Mo’s misfortune took place overseas, it’s still a fair condemnation of the failure of athletic commissions to regulate equipment in MMA. There are two fouls that appear during virtually every major or minor event held: inadvertent groin strikes and eye pokes. The latter is complicated and may require a reinvention of a glove that has webbed fingers to restrict splaying of the hands; the former should be a relatively simple fix involving a better, MMA-centric groin protector.
Yet no one is designing one, and no commission is mandating one. At best, a low blow will interrupt a fight and potentially influence performance; at worst, it’ll create a testicular rupture that will make Valentine’s Day or wedding anniversaries too painful to contemplate.
It’s appalling that regulators can witness infractions day in and day out, yet remain completely oblivious to their obligation in addressing them. This sport needs a cup that remains stationary during grappling, protects the perineum* from kicks that slide up the thigh, and can sustain impact from world-class strikers. Mandating only a solid-material cup ignores the tendency for them to slide around, trapping delicate parts and otherwise impacting the outcome of a bout; mandating cups made for other sports ignores the problems exclusive to MMA.
If for no other reason than to get this space to eliminate reference to testicles -- can we do something about this already?
* Medically defined as the “taint.”