Documenting CTE in Mixed Martial Arts

Three of the ongoing lists I’ve kept on this site are documenting doping in MMA, documenting weight cut injuries/deaths in MMA and MMA’s modern fatality list.

With Tim Hague being the second known MMA athlete (and first UFC alumnus) to be diagnosed with the disease I will now also document this.  As with the other lists I will update this as new cases become known.  CTE can only be definitively diagnosed by direct tissue examination after death.  The below list will therefore be broken down to confirmed cases of CTE and suspected.  The latter will be comprised of athletes who publicly admitted to be suffering from the disease but without a definitive diagnosis.

  1.  Jordan Parsons (Confirmed)– Parsons, a Bellator fighter, was diagnosed in 2016, via autopsy, as having CTE following being killed as a pedestrian in a vehicle collision.
  2. Tim Hague (Confirmed)– In 2017 Hague died from brain trauma in a boxing bout.  He was subsequently diagnosed, via autopsy, as having CTE.
  3. Renato Sobral (Suspected) – In 2019 the longtime MMA veteran Sobral admitted to living with the disease.
  4. Gary Goodridge (Suspected)– In 2012 Gary Goodridge admitted to living with CTE.
  5. John Doe (Suspected) – In 2018 a physician authorized a paper titled ‘Dangers of Mixed Martial Arts in the Development of CTE ‘ in which a patient MMA practitioner was identified as having developed the brain disease.  The diagnosis was made without brain autopsy.
  6. Cal Ellenor (suspected) – Ellenor admitted to being pulled from  Bellator Europe 4 on September 27, in Dublin, Ireland after not being able to obtain medical clearance. Ellanor, referencing a discussion with a neurologist, after reviewing a brain scan noted ““Basically he looked at my scans and told me I had a gap in my frontal lobe that wasn’t there previously, and that I also had three black spots of damage on the right side of my brain,” said Ellenor, as transcribed by Simon Head for MMA Junkie. “He basically told me it was the start of brain illness, and it wasn’t a case of what could happen, but it was a case of what will happen. His advice was he doesn’t want me to ever take another shot again. He doesn’t think it’s a wise move to even continue training at all, never mind fight. Obviously I was devastated about it.”
  7. Spencer Fisher (suspected) UFC veteran Spencer Fisher, who was retired from the sport due to brain trauma, has his medical symptoms and suspected CTE well documented in this worthwhile article by Steven Marrocco.

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