Doctor Patrick Golden is an emergency medicine physician based in Mt Claremont, working at both Bunbury Regional Hospital and St John of God Hospital in Murdoch.
He is also the premier doctor for combat sports in WA, performing pre-contest medical examinations, treating any injuries as a result of the contest and performing post-contest medical examinations.
He has acted as the chief medical advisor to the WA Professional Combat Sports Commission since mid-2011 and has serious concerns over the State Government’s ban on the fenced enclosure used in MMA bouts.
The ban came after a State Government review of the rules for MMA that saw the rules largely remain.
Sports Minister Terry Waldron said it was not in the best interest of the wider community to have MMA bouts conducted in the fenced enclosure.
The WA PCSC website states that they support the use of fenced enclosures for MMA contests but will abide by the decision and MMA bouts must now take place inside a boxing ring.
However, Dr Golden has said the State Government has set a dangerous precedent, claiming that Mr Waldron is ‘failing his duty of care to sportspersons’.
He wrote to the Minister in April, saying he had ‘grave concerns’ about the decision.
‘In medicine there is a requirement for decisions to be made using an evidence base where available and where this is unavailable, expert opinion and common sense,’ he wrote.
‘I have personally witnessed significant risk of contestants’ unplanned ejection from arena both above, below and through the ropes.
‘This makes my duty of care in keeping the contestants safe more difficult.
‘I feel that the decision not to endorse an enclosure that is likely to be much safer is one based on perceived emotion and is not a common sense decision.’
The Stirling Times sent questions to Mr Waldron about Dr Golden’s letter and the State Government’s potential response to a competitor falling out of the arena.
A spokesperson for the Minister replied: ‘The Government’s decision to ban the use of the cage was made in the best interests of the wider community.
‘As with all combat sports, MMA will be monitored by the Combat Sports Commission to ensure the safety of all contestants, officials and spectators.
‘It is the responsibility of event organisers to ensure all necessary precautions are in place to ensure the safety of all contestants.’
Dr Golden said perception must be left out of the equation for the sake of the safety of fighters.
‘It’s a very different sport, it takes place on several levels, on the ground, at waist height and standing, and those transitions can happen very quickly and I’ve seen guys get propelled out of a boxing ring due to those transitions before,’ he said.
‘From the medical aspect of things, MMA taking place in a boxing ring is dangerous.
‘Reality is more important than perception and reality should trump what anyone thinks about the sport, good or bad.’
To see Dr Golden’s letter in full, click here
To see the Minister’s response to Dr Golden in full, click