Caging Dr. Kessler

Meet Orange County's ultimate fight doc

MMA is a young sport, so it's hard to determine if there are long-term cumulative injuries common to it, like the brain damage sometimes associated with boxing. Kessler has seen all types of sports injuries, and, he says, he thinks MMA is a lot safer than viewers may believe, more so than boxing, NFL football, or NHL hockey. "Boxers typically take [hundreds of] punches throughout a 15-round bout," he says. "An MMA fighter is usually going to take one or two good ones before he gets knocked out."

The sport's relative newness also makes some people think it's going to be easier than it really is. Kessler won't waste time disavowing newcomers of that notion—they can find out firsthand. If somebody thinks they can take down one of the star athletes in the ring, "we let 'em!" says Countryman. "Just to see what happens, and they are surprised. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience—a couple of people have had rude awakenings."

And when they awaken, Doc's right there to fix 'em up.


lythompson@ocweekly.com

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