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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
Labor leader Mark McGowan has the opportunity to show that he is ready to lead the West Australian health system by pledging to ban all concussion loving blood sports, and to refuse the cash of those involved in promoting it, the Australian Medical Association (WA) said today.
AMA (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller called on Mr McGowan to pledge not to seek or accept any donations from any organisation wanting to change the current state ban on cage fighting.
“We find it very curious that Mr McGowan decided to announce his disappointing change of heart on this issue on the same day that salesmen from the UFC were in Perth to lobby state politicians,” Dr Miller said.
“We also want to know if any donations have already been made to the ALP from any groups lobbying against the current ban.
“Mr McGowan’s backflip seems to be a grab for a few votes. MMA is a dangerous activity where the ultimate aim is to knock out your opponent. Once trapped in a cage the losing fighter can be beaten and kicked unconscious within the rules of this violent spectacle.
“UFC Director Tom Wright claims UFC is similar to legitimate sports such as football, rugby, judo, or taekwondo. If you intentionally knock out your opponent in any real sport you are banned usually for life. In UFC such violence is encouraged and traumatic brain injuries in the form of concussions are celebrated.
“Mr Wright is very slick and is being deliberately misleading in his effort to increase his organisation’s profit. We hope that any WA politician that he comes into contact with realises that he is only talking to them to increase his bottom line. He is clearly not interested in the health of West Australians,” he said.
Dr Miller also said it was very encouraging that Mr McGowan seemed not to have the full support of the Labor Party on his latest stance on the issue.
“It is pleasing that a number of his parliamentary colleagues have obvious concerns about Mr McGowan’s conversion on cage fighting. I’m confident that they can see this revision for what it is, a negative and an anti-health step,” he said.
“The AMA has never changed its position on this issue. MMA should be banned. Until it is banned, it should not be legal to conduct it in a cage as this will only make the activity seem safe and make it more popular.
“This is not an activity based on health. No doubt it is skilful and difficult but it is based on violence, intentional brain damage and money.
“Legitimate sports and all work places do all they can to avoid concussion because we know it causes early Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, anxiety, depression and suicide.
“Saying UFC is safer in a cage is like saying we will all be safer when everyone carries a gun. Mr Wright has learnt a lot from the public relations playbook of the National Rifle Association.
“WA politicians should tell him that WA has a positive record in healthy sports – we don’t need this violent dangerous activity here,” Dr Miller said.