Despite a valiant (and somewhat unexpected) performance against Floyd Mayweather Jr. — widely recognized as one of the finest pugilists of all time — Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Conor McGregor was unable to shock the world in his “Money Fight” last Saturday night (Aug. 26, 2017) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Notorious” was stopped by way of tenth-round technical knockout (watch it).
Following their boxing match, Hall-of-Fame referee Robert Byrd came under fire for what appeared to be a premature stoppage, likely because a wobbly McGregor, despite taking heavy damage, was still on his feet when the bout was called.
I guess people forgot about this.
But McGregor’s assessment of the finish, which he attributed to fatigue after nearly 30 minutes of boxing, may be incorrect. That’s according to former ringside physician Darragh O’Carroll, MD, who praised Byrd for putting the brain before the brawn.
From his post on TONIC:
Byrd's calculation to call a stoppage was likely not based on signs of fatigue, but rather signs of traumatic brain injury. Ataxia, or dizziness and loss of balance, is one of the hallmarks of concussion, a type of mild traumatic brain injury. Fatigue may cause sluggish and slow movements, but does not cause the imbalance and poor coordination exhibited by McGregor in the 10th round. Being wobbly, in the setting of pugilistic trauma, will always be treated as the result of head trauma and not as fatigue. To let a fighter continue on would be grossly negligent.
Who cares about brain cells when you can just let him bang, bro?
The discussion on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has slowly started to permeate the “just bleed” culture of cage fighting, which is still relatively young. It’s hard to initiate a call to action when everyone is fine.
But in reality, they’re not fine.
That’s why fighters like Krzysztof Soszynski and Ian McCall, among others, are struggling to preserve what’s left of their grey matter. Until then, it’s up to the folks in charge of fighter safety to do their jobs.
Assuming they haven’t been compromised themselves.