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MMA fighter Jordan Parsons diagnosed with CTE

January 29 2016: Bellator 148 Daley vs. Uhrich: A photographer captures a bloody Ryan Couture out cold. Patricky Pitbull Freire defeated Ryan Couture in the first round with a fight ending vicious left. Bellator 148 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno Ca. (Photo by Rick Dodd/Icon Sportswire)
Rick Dodd/Icon Sportswire

Six months after being killed by an alleged drunk driver as a pedestrian, former MMA fighter Jordan Parsons has been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Parsons is the first fighter in MMA history to be diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease.

The diagnosis was disclosed to the Boston Globe by Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist noted for his work on CTE and portrayed by Will Smith in the movie Concussion.

 “These findings confirm that the danger of exposure to CTE is not limited to just football, hockey, and wrestling,’’ Omalu told the Boston Globe. “Mixed martial arts is also a dangerous sport, and it’s time for everyone to embrace the truth.’’

Jordan “Pretty Boy” Parsons was a fighter for Bellator. He began competing in MMA events at 17-years old and turned pro at 20. He was undefeated in his first seven professional matches before a knockout in his eighth match left him out of fighting for a year.

This could be the beginning of an issue for the relatively young professional sport of mixed martial arts. Parsons’ mother provided information about her son to Konstantine Kyros, a lawyer who represented many NFL players in the league’s concussion settlement. Kyros said he has no plans to sue Ballator in this case. “Out of the tragedy of Mr. Parsons’s death, I hope the results serve to both warn and educate other athletes and their doctors about the hidden risks involved,’’ Kyros said.

Parsons’ mother did not comment on the case, telling the Boston Globe that she was still focused on the pending prosecution of the driver who struck and killed her son.

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