Tragedy strikes mixed martial arts (MMA) in many ways, especially when it comes to former Bellator featherweight Jordan Parsons, who died in a hit-and-run incident this past May at the age of 25. It now seems as if more bad, yet informative, news is being drawn from Parson's unexpected passing, as Boston Globe reports the young fighter had already been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease directly associated with countless blows to the head.
According to the report, forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who has been at the forefront of CTE discovery in NFL players and professional wrestlers for years, determined that Parsons was suffering from CTE prior to his death earlier this year. It's an alarming diagnosis not only because Parsons had compiled just 13 professional fights, but also due to the collective assumption that MMA is a "safe" sport when stacked up against outlets like the NFL and WWE.
"These findings confirm that the danger of exposure to CTE is not limited to just football, hockey, and wrestling," said Omalu. "Mixed martial arts is also a dangerous sport, and it's time for everyone to embrace the truth.''
Remember, 28-year-old fighter Joao Carvalho died earlier this year after suffering a brutal TKO loss in Ireland. Carvalho underwent brain surgery before passing away a few days later. With new evidence supporting the presence of CTE in fighters as young as Parsons, it's safe to say the entire sport of MMA will be paying close attention to head trauma heading into 2017.