Senator John McCain Says He "Absolutely" Would Have Tried MMA

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2014

U. S. Senator John McCain, R-Ariz, attends a press conference in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. (AP Photo/MTI, Laszlo Beliczay)
Laszlo Beliczay/Associated Press

Evidently U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has paid close attention to the drastic evolution that's occurred over the last 15 years in MMA, the sport he once demonized but ultimately helped change.

In fact, McCain made an appearance at a press conference last Wednesday in D.C., where he helped address funding and other issues regarding The Cleveland Clinic's Fighter Brain Health Study.

After the press conference, McCain, a former Virginia high school wrestler who later boxed for the Naval Academy, admitted to Inside MMA's Ron Kruck that if he were in his prime, he'd give MMA a go.

Kruck asked, "Now if mixed martial arts was around back then, do you think you'd give it a shot?"

McCain answered, "Absolutely. Absolutely."

Long gone are the days of McCain criticizing and protesting the legalization and progression of the sport.

These days, McCain, who's educated himself on the intricacies of the growth of MMA, has flipped his critical stance and become an advocate of sorts for the continued evolution of the sport. 

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McCain (front and center) at last Wednesday's press conference in Washington, D.C.
McCain (front and center) at last Wednesday's press conference in Washington, D.C.J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

“If we don’t do this, then I’m afraid that support for these incredible entertaining sports will wane on the part of the American people," McCain said via ABC News’ Alexander Mallin at the press conference Wednesday. "We owe it to the future of the sport, and we owe it to the future of the men and women who want to engage in it.”

The Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health will conduct the study, which will mark the first of its kind in quantifying brain health in pro boxers and mixed martial artists.

Several marquee boxing entities and MMA organizations, including the UFC and Bellator MMA, have teamed up to chip in and donate $600,000 towards the study.

The Cleveland Clinic hopes to subject more than 200 fighters to MRI testing and other related examinations in this multi-year project.


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