With 2012 just days away from coming to a close, many mixed martial arts (MMA) fans are crossing their fingers that a year plagued by injuries is in the past and 2013 is going to produce the fights everyone wants to see.
But why did all the injuries happen in 2012?
Some believe it's because of fighters not training properly, others say it's just a string of unfortunate circumstances, while Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White is of the opinion that fighters need to tone it down, as well as focus more on themselves, implementing boxing-style training camps that focus around one fighter.
At this point, after a year of fighters dropping by the wayside event after event, it doesn't seem any of the suggested reasons can be proven right or wrong.
Everyone has their opinion on how to stop injuries in MMA, but who better to ask then one of the fighters, and UFC Lightweight contender Donald Cerrone said in a recent Q&A with UFC Fight Club Members that in a sport as physical as MMA, he simply doesn't know how injuries can be prevented.
"It's so crazy cause you're training and your body's in the best shape it can be and it just takes one wrong slip or one wrong takedown to cause injury and unfortunately that's what we do every day, we get in the cage and beat the (expletive) out of each other, you know, and there's no real light way to do that. So, when you are training with your partners and you're going hard those injuries happen, I don't know what we can do to train and be the best and not go hard, you know, you really can't really practice lightly so I have no idea."
While Cerrone's perspective isn't exactly groundbreaking, he does have an extremely valid point. With the physicality involved in MMA and the wear and tear training takes on a fighter's body, stopping injuries may simply be out of the question.
There is certainly precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk of injury, but at the end of the day when two fighters are practice wrestling and one tweaks his knee and therefor is unable to fight, there's simply no preventing that from happening.
Moreover, the injury plague hasn't spread everywhere. There are some fighters who only competed one time in 2012, and there are others, such as Cerrone, who has stepped in the cage seven times in the last two years.
Cerrone may not have the solution to stop injuries in MMA, but his answer certainly sheds some truth on the risks involved with training for such a physical sport.
Cerrone will next step into the cage at UFC on FOX 6 on Jan. 26, 2013, when he meets bitter rival Anthony Pettis in a fight that could very well determine the next No. 1 contender in the UFC lightweight division.