In recent months, UFC fans have seen three bouts end abruptly after fighters suffered gruesome fractures.
Chris Weidman broke his tibia and fibula throwing a leg kick at UFC 261; Ronaldo Souza had his humerus fractured during an armbar from Andre Muniz at UFC 262 and Conor McGregor broke his leg after stepping awkwardly in the UFC 264 headliner.
Shortly after McGregor’s injury, Sherdog.com spoke to Dr. Rickson Moraes, the orthopedist for Rafael dos Anjos, Jose Aldo, Souza and many other UFC fighters. Moraes speculated about the impact restrictive weight loss diets can have on the bone composition.
"It's pretty common for stress fractures in patients submitted to rigid diets for long periods,” Moraes said. "The bones are a living tissue. All our lives we are forming and reabsorbing bones. Any human being subjected to long periods of nutrient deprivation can change hormone release rates, what can generate an imbalance, weakening the bones.”
Moraes said that it is impossible to confirm if the fractures suffered by Weidman, Souza or McGregor were at all related to the weight-loss process.
"Without exams before and after it's impossible to affirm 100 percent that a strict diet has changed bone densitometry and caused a fracture,” he said, while adding the he supports the possibility of all athletic commissions requiring bone densitometry exams during pre-fight medicals to help prevent these types of injuries.
The Brazilian orthopedist would like to see the UFC sponsor further research about that subject just as it has done with head injuries and CTE.
"Information is always welcome. All we have are hypotheses,” Moraes said. “It would be amazing for all combat sports if the UFC could sponsor research conducted by specialists testing fighters from different groups over a long period, with the right methodology.
“The sport is growing really fast and any support of science in order to protect the fighters' health and increase their career is always very welcome.”