Midnight Mania! Retired UFC fighter to donate brain to science after frightening symptoms — ‘might be CTE’
Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Julie Kedzie (16-13) isn’t a name every casual fight fan would recognize, but “Fireball” is well-respected by those in the know as a pioneer in women’s MMA. She started fighting professionally in 2004, nearly a decade before Ronda Rousey introduced women’s MMA to the UFC and mainstream media alike. Across her 29-fight career, Kedzie faced many of the era’s top names, athletes like Miesha Tate, Tara LaRosa, and Gina Carano.
Unfortunately, all that competition may have come at a cost.
Kedzie recently revealed to BBC Sport that she struggles with insomnia, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness since her 2013 retirement, which came at the heels of a four-fight losing streak in Strikeforce and UFC. These are all possible symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and Kedzie believes she has it.
“Sorry I lost track of your question,” Kedzie said at one point during the interview. “That might be CTE.”
As a result of her symptoms, Kedzie revealed that she intends to donate her brain for post-mortem research.
“It seems a very normal thing to do,“ she explained. “I’ve been hit in the head a lot so we might as well see what is in there and get some good out of it for data. If there is a way that I can still keep pushing in this field [of mixed martial arts] and advancing the cause of women, then yeah.”
She later continued, “I want to give back to the women in this sport because there are all these studies on male athletes’ brains and there might be something completely different from a female athlete’s perspective.”
There is currently no cure or treatment for CTE, which can lead to dementia as it slowly (or quickly) grows worse. There’s been some progress in general understanding of the condition (despite one former champion declaring CTE fake), which has affected how many fighters train and prepare in the modern era, but a lot of the older generations of athletes are really struggling. Recently, sudden head trauma has forced athletes into early retirements.
“I love this sport so much and I want it to be better,” Kedzie concluded. “If you stay in this sport long enough you are going to suffer. Athletes have to be protected.”
An old school martial arts photo with a couple of legends:
Bruce Lee with Chuck Norris in New York City in 1968… When Chuck was fighting for, and won, the World Middle Weight Karate Championship at Madison Square Garden. pic.twitter.com/DUR000lVAE
— Bruce Lee The Dragon (@bruceleedragon1) November 16, 2023
A simple explanation, but it gave me a chuckle.
Does Aliaskhab Khizriev improve to 15-0 or will “Mach” get it done? Solid 185-pound booking.
Matt Brown confirmed legend of the sport and wise sage of MMA. Just say no to junior varsity headlock throws!
Any predictions for who Roman Dolidze’s main event opponent could be? Given UFC’s recent weird run of unrequested rematch booking, I feel like it’ll be something silly like Marvin Vettori.
Contract signed ✍️ Main event!
— Roman Dolidze (@romandolidzeufc) November 15, 2023
A nice bit of instruction from the former world champion Aljamain Sterling.
Anecdote of the week: I cornered one of my team mates a few years ago, and after the win, his leg was wrecked. I didn’t have to carry him, but fortune smiled upon us when we found a battered computer chair in a random San Francisco alleyway, so I spent some time wheeling him around!
Slips, rips, and KO clips
Melvin Manhoef is one of the most powerful hitters to ever strap on four-ounce gloves.
That was an UNFORTUNATE time to lose the mouthpiece. Not sure how I missed this one when it happened, but that’s an utterly brutal KO.
Saenchai and Buakaw really threw down despite their friendship in a bare knuckle fight. That’s hardcore!
A very cool time lapse.
Midnight Music: Indie rock, 2014
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.