A 5-year analysis of age, stature and armspan in mixed martial arts

KIRK, Christopher (2023). A 5-year analysis of age, stature and armspan in mixed martial arts. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.

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Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02701...
Open Access URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/epdf/10.1080/02701... (Published version)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2023.2252473


Athlete stature and armspan is anecdotally assumed to provide an advantage in mixed martial arts (MMA), despite an absence of supporting data. In contrast, winners of MMA bouts have been shown to be younger than bouts losers. Whilst absolute measurements of stature, armspan and armspan:stature scale (A:S) have been shown to not distinguish between winners and losers of MMA bouts, relative differences between competitors have not been analysed. This study aimed to analyse 5 years of athlete age and morphological data to replicate and expand previous studies to determine whether absolute and/or relative age and morphological variables effect winning and losing in MMA. Bayes factor (BF>3) inferential analyses conducted on the cohort overall (n=2,229 professional bouts), each year sampled and each individual body mass division found that only absolute (winners = 29.8±4 years; losers = 30.7±4.2 years) and relative age (winners=0.82±5.3 years younger than losers) differentiates between winners and losers across the whole cohort, in 4 of the 5 years, and in 4 of the 13 divisions sampled. Armspan appears to provide an advantage in heavyweight only (winners = 198.4±6.6cm; losers = 196.1±7.7cm), with greater A:S being a disadvantage (winners = 1.003±0.022cm∙cm-1; losers = 1.010±0.023 cm∙cm-1) in women’s strawweight only. No variables had any effect on how bouts were won. These results confirm previous reports that the effect of athlete morphology is greatly overstated in MMA, appearing to be irrelevant in most divisions. Bout winners tend to be younger than losers, particularly in divisions displaying more diverse skill requirements.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences; 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy; 1701 Psychology; Sport Sciences; 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy; 4207 Sports science and exercise; 5201 Applied and developmental psychology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2023.2252473
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2023 09:28
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2023 16:15
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/32072

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