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17th Apr 2016

Dana White talks about preventing death and serious injury in MMA, following Joao Carvalho’s death

White believes MMA is "fairly safe"

Ben Kiely

Dana White believes it’s by no coincidence that there’s never been a fatality in the UFC.

The MMA community was rocked by the death of Joao Carvalho this week following his TKO loss to Charlie Ward at the inaugural Total Extreme Fighting event in the National Stadium.

An investigation by the Gardaí as well as a separate one from MMA’s international regulatory body is underway and the exact cause of the fighter’s death will not be known until these are carried out. However, the tragic passing of Carvalho has sparked questions over safety in MMA.

Joao Carvalho eye witness account

In an interview, the Tampa Bay Times, Dana White was asked about the topic of fighter safety following Carvalho’s death. Fatalities in MMA are an extremely rare occurrence and the UFC has never experienced a single death in its 16-year history. White believes there is a reason for this is simple.

“It’s all about doing the proper medical work before they fight, having the proper medical team there during the fight and making sure they get the right care after the fight. And that’s really what it’s all about. As long as you’re on top of that, it’s a fairly safe sport for a contact sport.”

White was then asked whether there was a policy implemented to encourage referees to stop fights earlier. The president brushed off the question, claiming the standard of refereeing has steadily improved in the promotion.

“The refs are better and continue to get better. What I’d like to see is guys who actually really know what it’s like to be in there and fight refereeing, not guys that don’t. I think we’ve come a long way. You used to hear me (complaining) about refereeing all the time and I haven’t in a long time.”