Dr. Bennet Omalu, who was the first to locate the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy—commonly known as CTE—in football players, recently announced the diagnosis of the first case in a mixed martial arts fighter.
According to the Boston Globe’s Bob Hohler, Omalu revealed that CTE was posthumously found in the brain of Jordan Parsons, who was killed in a fatal hit-and-run accident by an alleged drunk driver.
"These findings confirm that the danger of exposure to CTE is not limited to just football, hockey, and wrestling," Omalu said, per Hohler. "Mixed martial arts is also a dangerous sport, and it’s time for everyone to embrace the truth."
The announcement of Parsons’ diagnosis came on the same day Omalu disclosed that CTE was posthumously discovered in the brains of former WWE wrestlers Balls Mahoney and Axl Rotten.
According to Hohler, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian’s Dr. Julia K. Kofler performed the autopsies on Parsons, Jon Rencher (Mahoney) and Brian Knighton (Rotten).
While Parsons’ case of CTE is the first in the brain of an MMA fighter, WWE has employed several wrestlers who suffered from degenerative brain conditions brought on by repeated blows to the head.
In June 2007, doctors announced tests on deceased wrestler Chris Benoit showed "Benoit’s brain was so severely damaged it resembled the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient," according to ABC News.
Just over two years later, ESPN.com’s Greg Garber reported Andrew "Test" Martin was linked to CTE following a postmortem exam by Omalu.
The NFL has also been dealing with issues of head trauma for years.
Not only were there 271 diagnosed concussions in the NFL last year, according to CNN, but the league acknowledged in 2016 that there was a direct link between playing football and being diagnosed with CTE.
"The answer to that question is certainly yes," NFL vice president of health and safety policy Jeff Miller said, per CNN.com’s Jill Martin.
In April, an appeals court upheld a ruling ordering the NFL to pay former players a settlement of $1 billion based on a collection of concussion lawsuits filed against the league.