MMA is in the news again for the wrong reasons. This time a high school wrestler who willingly participated in an MMA style fight in the wrestling room at the school, at the time of a canceled wrestling practice, is suing the school and the school district for financial damages relating to the medical costs of injuries sustained during the bout. The details of the story come from KansasCity.com.
Samuel Gomez, a junior and former member of the wrestling team at Blue Springs, filed the lawsuit that seeks damages in excess of $25,000 against the school district. According to the lawsuit, around Oct. 1, 2008, a preseason workout was canceled, but some wrestlers remained in the practice room. One team member pulled out MMA-style sparring gloves while another young man shot video footage of wrestlers partaking in an MMA fight.
According to Dan Baylard, the Gomez family’s attorney, a Blue Springs assistant wrestling coach, James Williamson, watched and cheered. Mixed martial arts fighting is a full contact combat sport that combines boxing, wrestling and martial arts.
During his fight, Gomez suffered two broken teeth, and another tooth was knocked out. Later that night, Gomez spent two hours in a dentist’s chair, had a rod placed in his mouth and later needed two root-canal surgeries that cost more than $7,000. Gomez’s family expects to spend at least $20,000 more on future surgeries.
The lawsuit names Williamson, head wrestling coach Mike Hagerty, known as “Hag” to his athletes, activities director Tom Round, principal Dave Adams and superintendent Paul Kinder as defendants.
The lawsuit alleges that the Blue Springs wrestling program promoted extreme fighting and created Wildcat (school’s mascot) wrestling T-shirts that featured the Ultimate Fighting Championship emblem. Also, the school once employed a wrestling assistant coach, Matt Cox, who has since started a career as an MMA fighter.
Furthermore, Baylard contends that it is the Gomez family’s belief that MMA-style fighting had been going on at least a year before the October 2008 incident.
“The principal did something to stop that,” Baylard said. “Obviously, it didn’t work.”
A BloodyElbow Member found video of a fight from the high school in question.