Andrei Arlovski suffered his fourth straight loss Saturday night at the hands of hard-hitting Sergei Kharitonov. It was his third time his lights were put out in the span of two years, and knowing what we know today about the link between concussions and permanent brain damage, many feel it is time for Arlovski for hang it up including MMA Junkie’s Dr. Johnny Benjamin. In fact, in his professional opinion, he believes Arlovski should never be medically cleared to fight again.
Since January 2009, Arlovski has suffered three documented major concussions (to Emelianenko, Brett Rogers and now Sergei Kharitonov). Many other minor concussions went unnoticed, and any fighter is going to take countless routine blows to the head during sparring and training.
Ongoing research suggests that repetitive blows to the head (including those that do not produce concussions or any symptoms at all) are cumulative in nature and can be injurious to the brain. This battered brain syndrome is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and is very serious.
A prudent doctor and athletic commission will have a very difficult time ignoring the cumulative brain trauma sustained throughout Arlovski’s career and the growing mountain of evidence related to CTE.
Whether commission doctors will come to the same conclusion remains to be seen, but it does sound like we’ll find out because Arlovski has no intention of retiring. Immediately following Saturday night’s event, Strikeforce matchmaker Richard Chou told BJPenn.com that Arlovski’s manager had already approached him about lining up another fight.
It’s tough, Andrei’s a guy that’s had four straight losses. He still wants to fight though. His manager came up to us immediately after the fight and said he’s not done, he wants to get right back in there as soon as possible. We’ll see. I think the fire is still there. He’s been fighting really tough guys lately. All his recent losses are against top level competition, so we’ll have to have some more discussions with him. We’ll see what happens.
It’s unfortunate news, but not exactly surprising. I’ve never been a big fan of people calling for a fighter’s retirement, but in some instances such as this one and Chuck Liddell’s, the fighter needs to be saved from himself. Unlike Liddell though, no one’s offering Arlovski a cushy executive gig as a viable alternative. Sadly, he’s not the first and won’t be last.