Recently, in an interview media scrum interview with MMA Junkie, Johny Hendricks was asked about his sparring.
Interviewer: “How often do you get dazed in sparring?”
Hendricks: “My helmet is two inches thick… I don’t take head shots… I don’t get paid in the gym, I get paid in the octagon…Everytime you get rocked it gets a little easier. A lot of people take punishment in the gym… I want to save it for the important moments, and thats in the octagon.”
It’s truly an interesting topic as we’re now aware that Robbie Lawler stopped sparring for years (but resumed with American Top Team). The growing awareness of head trauma in contact sports is clearly showing, as many elite fighters are refraining from participating in “gym wars” now.
Some notable fighters that were known for their willingness to trade and hit hard were Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva, both of whom now have signs of slurring. Both legends have taken a tremendous amount of punishment for their style and toughness throughout their career, and many fans are growingly concerned about the stylistic choice (forward and brawl) and intensity (hard sparring and fighting).
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