Louisiana Puts a Stop to Fake Breasts in Real Fights

Fightland Blog

By Josh Rosenblatt

Just in case you were hoping that the rise of Ronda Rousey and the success of Invicta had wiped out Americans’ strange, paternalistic fears about women’s MMA, on Wednesday the Louisiana State Boxing and Wrestling Commission passed an emergency rule prohibiting women with breast implants from fighting in sanctioned matches unless they get a letter from the doctor who performed the surgery.

It seems the commission recently had some trouble with a female boxer pulling out of a fight with an implant-related injury. Or as the chairman of the commission, Alvin J. Topham, told Fightland,  “We had an incident with a young lady.”

The manager of that boxer told the commission she had been injured in her last fight and that the injury had caused the muscle tissue around the implant to tear. And though such a ruptured implant would most likely not cause any health risks, repairing it would be costly. And that, Topham said, “opened a can of worms.”

“What would have happened if that rupture had happened during a fight,” he asked. “What are our liabilities in such a situation? We didn’t know, so we voted to impose this emergency rule so we could do more research and get a medical adviser to look into it and give us a medical opinion we can trust.”

The man most likely to be that medical adviser, according to Topham, is Thomas Ferguson, a doctor on the commission who was quoted in Wednesday’s New OrleansTimes-Picayune as saying, “I don’t know of a single plastic surgeon who is going to allow his artistic work to be messed up.” In other words, the doctors-note provision in the commission’s “temporary moratorium” was little more than an empty gesture in the direction of women fighters who had been lucky enough to enjoy the services of Ferguson’s “artistic” colleagues and who were risking messing up that work by stepping into a ring or a cage. An empty gesture and an invitation to a wild-goose chase. Sorry ladies.

Then there’s Commissioner Harold Williams, who said during Wednesday’s meeting, “If they want to look good, then they don’t have to be in the ring.” I have no idea what that means, but it doesn't sound great.  

Still, women shouldn’t take these comments to mean the commission is interested in telling them how to behave or judging them for the decisions they’ve made. Instead they should take the commission’s advice in the spirit in which it was given: deep and abiding concern. And also empathy. And understanding.

“When women started boxing a while back, women having breast implants wasn’t so common, so this wasn’t an issue,” Topham told Fightland. “Suddenly, 16-year-old girls are getting implants for their birthdays. And according to doctors, they can be dangerous. We’re not worried about the implant itself rupturing, but there are lots of safety and health issues for a young lady.

“Women want to look like they want to look, and that's fine. But if I had breast implants I would be very careful about my physical activities.”