UFC

Conor McGregor's coach requiring precautionary brain scans for all of his fighters

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: Conor McGregor of Ireland celebrates his KO victory over Eddie Alvarez of the United States in their lightweight championship bout during the UFC 205 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: Conor McGregor of Ireland celebrates his KO victory over Eddie Alvarez of the United States in their lightweight championship bout during the UFC 205 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

There's a lot to be said about head injuries and brain damage when it comes to mixed martial arts, but one prominent coach is taking matters into his own hands.

John Kavanagh, best known as the owner of Straight Blast Gym in Ireland and the head coach for Conor McGregor, is instituting a new policy for any of the fighters working out of his facility in Ireland.

In a Facebook post this week, Kavanagh explained that all fighters training at SBG will now be required to undergo brain scans as he hopes to increase safety for the athletes while also looking to inform the competitors on issues they may not have known even existed.

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"For 2017 all SBG fighters, both amateur and professional will be getting a one-off brain scan to make sure there's no underlying issues that would preclude them from competing," Kavanagh wrote.

"It is not yet a requirement to get this done to compete on shows but it will be a requirement to represent SBG."

While fighters who compete in shows like the UFC are required to submit pre-fight medicals to the athletic commissions, this type of precautionary measure is almost unheard of at a major gym.

It's clear Kavanagh is looking at the big picture for his athletes because brain damage is a serious issue with far reaching effects on a person's livelihood long after fighting is finished.

Kavanagh coaches a number of top fighters, including McGregor as well as fellow UFC fighters Artem Lobov, Aisling Daly and Makwan Amirkhani.

"Take 100 random people and scan them and a small percentage will have an issue that would stop them competing," Kavanagh said. "This is not from training in MMA, or any other sport but could be genetic or from some illness when young."

Brain damage in combat sports has always been a major issue, especially with so many boxers exhibiting long term effects from damaging blows taken inside the ring.

While MMA is a much younger sport, there have been numerous fighters who have suffered severe brain damage already, including former UFC fighter Gary Goodridge as well as Jordan Parsons, who passed away earlier this year and was posthumously diagnosed with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).

It appears Kavanagh is doing his part to ensure the fighters from his gym are taking every precaution necessary to compete with a healthy mind as well as a healthy body.