• Dennis Daugaard (R) is sworn in as governor of South Dakota (AP)A bill to create an athletic commission in South Dakota is going nowhere fast, largely thanks to the ignorance of Gov. Dennis Daugaard and state house Rep. Steve Hickey.

    Their primary objective is to ban sanctioned mixed martial arts in the state. In a blog post, Hickey writes that, "MMA Cage Fighting is the child porn of sports."

    The lack of knowledge and the lack of research both Daugaard and Hickey showed about MMA has to be frightening for persons who live in South Dakota. If they can't be bothered to do the minimal research required to learn that MMA is far safer than other "mainstream" sports, including football, it's scary to think about the laws they'll pass in the state regarding education, health care and budgets.

    The UFC is the largest MMA promoter in the world. No fighter has ever suffered traumatic brain injury, let alone died, in the UFC's 20-year history. A 2006 study done by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and which appeared in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found MMA has far less traumatic brain injury than other sports.

    Mixed Martial Arts competitions have changed dramatically since the first Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. The overall injury rate in MMA competitions is now similar to other combat sports, including boxing. Knockout rates are lower in MMA competitions than in boxing. This suggests a reduced risk of TBI [traumatic brain injury] in MMA competitions when compared to other events involving striking.

    MMA events must continue to be properly supervised by trained referees and ringside physicians, and the rules implemented by state sanctioning—including weight classes, limited rounds per match, proper safety gear, and banning of the most devastating attacks– must be strictly enforced. Further research is necessary to continue to improve safety in this developing new sport.

    A 2008 study released by the British Journal of Sports Medicine reached the same conclusions. After a five-year study, its authors wrote:

    Injury rates in regulated professional MMA competition are similar to other combat sports; the overall risk of critical sports-related injury appears low. Additional study is warranted to achieve a better understanding of injury trends and ways to further lower injury risk in MMA.

    Read More »from South Dakota legislator calls MMA ‘Child porn of sports,’ while governor says it’s too violent
  • (Getty)During their main event bout at UFC 157, Liz Carmouche took Ronda Rousey's back and had her in a neck crank. The crank was so deep that Rousey inadvertently bit Carmouche's arm. But Rousey told the Fuel TV aftershow that she was never worried about submitting to Carmouche. Instead, she was concerned about a wardrobe malfunction.

    “On the ground I feel so comfortable in every position, so I never feel in danger and I take a lot of risks. I felt fine with her on my back. I was more concerned with my sports bra staying on while she was choking me because I felt safe and in control," Rousey said.

    Rousey won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics in judo, so submissions have been part of her life for a long time. In fact, Rousey has spoken often about how her mother taught her judo by waking her up with an armbar. While the neck crank was uncomfortable, it wasn't new.

    What is new is having to worry about a sports bra not doing its job. Come on, sports bra. You had one job. Thankfully, it did stay in place, and Rousey went on to submit Carmouche seconds before the end of the first round.

    Read More »from Ronda Rousey was more worried about her sports bra staying on than being submitted
  • (Getty)“Women always have to work harder to prove themselves.”

    When Liz Carmouche said this at the UFC 157 open workouts on Wednesday, I couldn’t help but smile. Carmouche served in the Marines, is a lesbian, and is now a fighter in the UFC. She understands like few others that a woman’s work of proving herself is never done.

    UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey gets this, too. She had to work harder than few other fighters in UFC history in not just preparing for her fight but in selling it. During the run-up to her main event bout with Carmouche, the first ever UFC women’s fight, Rousey trained three times a day and was interviewed by everyone from Time Magazine to Larry King. Camera crews for the UFC’s “Primetime” and “Countdown” shows, as well as HBO's “Real Sports,” followed her. Rousey joked after she won the fight with a first-round armbar that she wants a week off from talking about herself.

    As a woman working in the male-dominated world of covering sports, I know this, too. I’ve been covering MMA for six years, five for Yahoo! Sports. But I am still questioned, dismissed and sometimes even attacked because I dare cover a “man’s sport.” Whenever I am confronted with sexism, whether subtle or vulgar, I have to take a deep breath and consider my response. As a woman, I have to work harder to prove myself, and remember one slip of the tongue can wreck it for me and other women who want to cover MMA.

    Read More »from Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche worked harder to prove themselves, teaching me to do the same
  • (Getty)UFC 157 completed the rare trick of living up to its intense hype. Who stood out as stars?

    No. 1 star — Ronda Rousey: Is there any better word to describe Rousey than star? After months of Rousey appearing on television, in magazines and on every site on the internet, she showed she's more than a media darling. Rousey not only escaped a submission attempt by Liz Carmouche, but also finished the fight with just 11 seconds to go in the first round. That's a star.

    No. 2 star — Robbie Lawler: Looking at this fight card, would you ever have guessed that Lawler would emerge as a star? Before returning to the UFC on Saturday, he lost three of his last five bouts. He was up against Josh Koscheck, who was eager to get a big win after losing to Johny Hendricks. But the power in Lawler's hands knocked Koscheck out in the first round, and earned Lawler a $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus.

    No. 3 star — Dennis Bermudez: When the preliminary fights started, the Honda Center wasn't even half full. The UFC's tailgate was still going strong in the parking lot. But as Bermudez's bout with Matt Grice wore on, I noticed the stands filling up. Perhaps they heard about the Fight of the Year candidate happening inside, with Bermudez throwing everything he had at Grice, and Grice not only withstanding the punches but coming back with big punches of his own. They each took home a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus.

    Who were your three stars from the night? Tell in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter.

    Read More »from UFC 157′s Three Stars: Ronda Rousey, Robbie Lawler and Dennis Bermudez shine
  • (Getty)ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Early in the main event at UFC 157, Liz Carmouche mounted Ronda Rousey's back. With Rousey standing, Carmouche clamped on and cranked Rousey's neck. She squeezed until Rousey finally shook Carmouche off, then finished the fight with an armbar in the final seconds of round one.

    It wasn't until after the fight that we found out how tight the neck crank was. When Carmouche had her arm across Rousey's face, it pushed Rousey's mouth guard out of the way. In trying to push Carmouche off, Rousey's teeth pushed into Carmouche's arm, leaving this impression.

    ( wasn't an illegal move because Rousey wasn't intentionally biting down. Still, Rousey did apologize to Carmouche for leaving the mark on her arm during the postfight press conference.

    When stuck in Carmouche's submission attempt, Rousey was doing more than just leaving a mark on her opponent's arm. She was being tested more than she had in any other fight. Though it still ended in the first round, at 4:49 it was the longest fight of Rousey's professional career.

    Read More »from Liz Carmouche’s submission attempt on Ronda Rousey leaves an impression — literally
  • (Getty)ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Lyoto Machida took a split decision over Dan Henderson in the co-main event at UFC 157 on Saturday. The judges saw it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 for Machida.

    Machida was elusive as usual in the first round, but Henderson was able to sneak in and land a few kicks and punches. At the end of the round, Machida took Henderson down with a leg trip and landed strikes.

    The second round showed Machida still being elusive and keeping his distance from Henderson. Machida tried for a front kick several times, but couldn't land it. Meanwhile, Henderson couldn't land much.

    [Also: Ronda Rousey

    Read More »from Lyoto Machida pulls out split-decision win over Dan Henderson at UFC 157
  • Urijah Faber hangs onto Ivan Menjivar. (Getty)ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Urijah Faber and Court McGee got back on the winning track at UFC 157 on Saturday.

    Faber got a first-round submission win over Ivan Menjivar. Faber and Menjivar started the fight with a rolling takedown and Faber ended up on top. He worked the top position until Menjivar got back to his feet. Faber held on, and while attached to Menjivar's back, Faber swung around and sunk in a rear naked choke. Menjivar tapped at 4:34 in the first round. The Anaheim crowd erupted for "The California Kid."

    It was an important win for Faber after he lost a title fight to Renan Barao in July.

    Read More »from Urijah Faber and Court McGee take UFC 157 wins
  • ANAHEIM, Calif. -- UFC 157's preliminary card started with a bang and ended with a snoozer on Saturday.

    Dennis Bermudez took a tight split decision in a fight that will go down as a fight of the year candidate. He won it 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 over Matt Grice.

    Bermudez fell into full mount early in the round and rained punches down on Grice's head, but Grice got out and came back late in the round by leveling Bermudez with a left hook.

    But it's the third round of the fight that the MMA world will remember. Bermudez threw everything but the kitchen sink at Grice, but Grice hung in. He continued to

    Read More »from UFC 157 prelims: Dennis Bermudez, Matt Grice deliver Fight of the Year candidate
  • Robbie Lawler throws a punch at Josh Koscheck's head. (Getty)ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Robbie Lawler came back to the UFC with a big win as he knocked out Josh Koscheck on Saturday at UFC 157.

    Koscheck used wrestling early on to control Lawler, but it backfired. Lawler took top position and then unleashed a bevy of punches on Koscheck until the fight was stopped at 3:57.

    “I felt so good tonight; I’m not surprised it went that way. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard, either. I hit him very hard, the referee was right to stop it. I whacked him, man. Hard! He was doing nothing but laying down taking big shots," Lawler said after the fight.

    [Also: Ronda Rousey

    Read More »from Robbie Lawler’s ground and pound gives him UFC 157 upset win over Josh Koscheck
  • (Getty)

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For the first time, women stood on the scales to weigh in for a UFC bout. Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Liz Carmouche both made weight in an uneventful weigh-in on Friday afternoon at the Honda Center.

    [Also: Ronda Rousey doesn't want to touch UFC title belt before fighting]

    Michael Chiesa came in slightly over weight but the athletic commission let the small overage slide. Nah-Shon Burrell was significantly overweight and will forfeit 20 percent of his purse to his opponent. Here are complete weigh-in results, thanks to MMA Junkie.

    MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
    • Champ Ronda Rousey (134.6) vs. Liz Carmouche (133.6) - for women's bantamweight title
    • Dan Henderson (205) vs. Lyoto Machida (202)
    • Urijah Faber (136) vs. Ivan Menjivar (135.6)
    • Court McGee (170) vs. Josh Neer (171)
    • Josh Koscheck (171) vs. Robbie Lawler (171)
    • Lavar Johnson (255) vs. Brendan Schaub (243)
    • Mike Chiesa (156.2) vs. Anton Kuivanen (156)
    • Dennis Bermudez (145) vs. Matt Grice (145)
    • Caros Fodor (155) vs. Sam Stout (155)
    PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 6:30 p.m. ET)
    • Brock Jardine (170) vs. Kenny Robertson (170)
    • Neil Magny (171) vs. Jon Manley (171)
    • Nah-Shon Burrell (175.8) vs. Yuri Villefort (170)

    Read More »from Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche make weight as all UFC 157 fights are official