Why Is MMA Illegal in Norway? Jack Hermansson Sheds Light on His Plight After Win Against Joe Pyfer

The sport of mixed martial arts has come a long way in the three decades since its inception. Once described as “human cock-fighting” by former US Presidential candidate and Senator John McCain, the sport was banned in many US states including New York, home of the iconic Madison Square Garden, on account of it being perceived as a violent bloodsport.

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Today, however, largely due to the UFC’s popularity and marketing machine, MMA is a respected and mainstream sport in most parts of the world, keyword being most. There are still some countries that have not legalized the sport, including the Nordic country of Norway. #11 ranked UFC middleweight Jack Hermansson, who was born in Norway but lives in Sweden as MMA is banned in Norway, pleaded for the sport to be legalized in the country in his post-fight interview after defeating Joe Pyfer in a middleweight bout last night.

Why is MMA banned in Norway?

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Mixed martial arts is banned in Norway due to a law that the country’s parliament passed in 1982. Known popularly as the ‘Knockout Law’, it banned any sport wherein a victory or points could be scored due to a knockout.

This means that a range of combat sports, including professional boxing (and not amateur boxing since) and mixed martial arts were banned in the country. However, the Norwegian Parliament lifted the three decade old ban on boxing after a vote in 2014.

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Mixed martial arts, however, still remains illegal in the country. The reason behind this, according to Tarjei Morkve who runs mma-norway.com thinks this is because it is still perceived as a crude, vicious, and violent sport.

“There is a lot of misconception about what MMA really is. Some people seem to think its something that’s going on in abandoned industrial basements with no-rules almost ‘to-the-death’ fights. Which is to say the least, pretty far from the truth. So in many ways there is a lot of prejudice, but that is mostly due to lack of knowledge,” Morkve said.

In his experience, this misperception stems from ignorance about the sport as most people who accuse MMA of being too rough or violent have actually never even seen an MMA fight. And the data certainly speaks against this misperception.

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Stats show boxing is much more dangerous than MMA

Norway continuing to ban MMA even after legalizing boxing is strange, considering that experts and statistics show MMA is a much safer sport than boxing. The repeated head trauma and rules allowing fighters to continue fighting even after being knocked out momentarily as long as they can get up within a ten-count leads to CTE.

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This condition adversely affects the brain and leads to the degeneration of one’s cognitive abilities and causes serious quality of life issues. MMA may seem like a more violent sport from the outside, but this is not borne out by evidence. There are 13 deaths, on average, due to injuries boxers suffer in the ring. On the other hand, since its inception, the sport of MMA has had a total of 13 deaths due to injuries sustained in the octagon. Do you think Norway’s ban on MMA is justified?

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