top of page

What Does Science Say About A Fighter "Losing Their Chin"?

UFC knockout, UFC 300

In the brutal world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), fighters are celebrated for their resilience and ability to withstand punishing blows. However, even the toughest warriors can eventually “lose their chin,” a term used to describe the phenomenon where a fighter who could once take heavy hits starts getting knocked out more easily. This phenomenon is a complex interplay of neurological, physiological, and psychological factors that evolve with each successive knockout.

Neurological Damage

1. Cumulative Brain Trauma: When a fighter gets knocked out, it usually involves a significant concussive force that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull. This rapid movement can lead to microscopic tears in brain tissue, particularly the neurons and axons. Repeated concussions can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease that makes the brain more susceptible to injury over time. In a study by Dr. Collie Moriarity, she found that fighters reaction times had a noted decline following each subsequent knock out due to brain trauma.

2. Chemical Imbalances: Concussive impacts disrupt the normal chemical environment of the brain, leading to an influx of neurotoxic substances. The neurotoxin leads to cell death in the brain, and the more cells that die, the less tissue you have. This results in an increase in knockout ease as the brain is not able to handle what it once could. The amount of tissue lost is dependent on factors like severity of knockout and how long the person was unconscious. (Study by Dr. Brian Levine)

Physiological Changes

3. Weakened Musculature: The muscles around the neck and jaw play a crucial role in stabilizing the head during impacts. Repeated blows can weaken these muscles or cause chronic strain, reducing their ability to absorb and dissipate the force of a hit. As a result, the brain is less protected during subsequent impacts.

4. Structural Weakness: The bones of the skull and jaw can develop microfractures or other forms of stress damage from repeated impacts. These structural weaknesses make it easier for a blow to result in a knockout, as the bones are less able to protect the brain.

Psychological Factors

5. Mental Conditioning: Experiencing knockouts can lead to a psychological state where fighters become more apprehensive or fearful of taking hits. This can affect their confidence and reaction times, making them more vulnerable in the ring. Anxiety and fear can lead to hesitancy, which in turn makes them more likely to take direct hits.

6. Altered Reflexes: Fighters who have been knocked out multiple times may develop altered reflexive responses to incoming strikes. Their body may unconsciously brace differently, which can negatively impact their defensive maneuvers and make them more prone to knockouts. Similar to a drunk driver in a car crash, the drunk may be fine where as the victims tense up as they see it coming resulting in greater injuries.

Inadequate Recovery

7. Insufficient Healing Time: The brain needs time to heal after a concussion or knockout. Returning to training or competition too soon can prevent full recovery, leaving the brain in a more vulnerable state. Each subsequent impact can then cause more severe damage because the brain hasn't fully recovered from the previous injury. Concussions are monitored and many schools/organizations have limits on how many concussions they will allow before deeming an athlete unfit to compete. The UFC does not track the accumulative number of concussions a fighter has had, resulting in fighters staying in competition long after they should stop for their own health.

8. Long-Term Health Impacts: Over time, repeated concussions and knockouts can lead to long-term conditions such as CTE, which further reduce the brain's resilience. Fighters with CTE may experience symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, and progressive dementia, all of which can make them more susceptible to knockouts.

In summary, once an MMA fighter gets knocked out, their susceptibility to future knockouts increases due to the cumulative neurological damage, weakened physiological defenses, psychological effects, and often inadequate recovery time. This highlights the importance of proper medical care, sufficient recovery periods, and preventive measures to protect fighters from the long-term impacts of repeated head trauma. Understanding and addressing these factors is crucial for the health and longevity of athletes in high-contact sports like MMA.

Consider joining our website to help support us so we can keep bringing you custom content all year round! Plans start at $1, $5, and $10 a month with perks to enjoy throughout the year!


Good Luck as always if tailing! Find our squad rides and big bets over on Sharpz. Its free when using code: BETT269 when signing up!



bottom of page