From A Tragedy, There Is Hope That Good Can Come Of It: MAGO’S LAW



From A Tragedy, There Is Hope That Good Can Come Of It: MAGO’S LAW

It isn't like the family of Magomed Abdusalamov can rest easy now that they've been granted a settlement fee to go towards compensating them for the inappropriate manner in which the heavyweight boxer was treated following his rumble with Mike Perez at the MSG Theater in November 2013.

Mago will never box again and the version of him who walked tall and proud and spoke in a clear tone about his love for his wife and children is not to return. He is wheelchair bound, paralyzed on his right side,  and his wife Bakanay says but of course she'd spurn the $22 million settlement to get the old Mago back.

But she and the kids soldier on, as does the man, still a fighter, now battling how to persevere while knowing his vessel will not be returned to prior form. For the family, part of their successful handling of this injection of harsh fate into their lives is their push to help turn a massive negative into an impetus for progress in the realm of fighter safety. To that end, on Monday, Mago went back to Madison Square Garden, the scene where so much anguish was set in motion. Outside the fabled arena, he listened as the case was made to apply more stringent measures within combat sports, so athletes participating inside NY and beyond, have a lesser chance of becoming a sad statistic.

NYF asked attorney Paul Edelstein, championing an improvement in the handling of situations when a fighter absorbs excessive head trauma during a match.

So, what ideally would Mago's Law  result in, if recommendations are enacted?

“That any fighter with a suspected facial or head fracture be sent immediately to the emergency room,” Edelstein said. “That fighters be treated like emergency room patients which means that before they are cleared or discharged they are given a complete neurological and neuropsychological examination with observation and/or re-assessment a minimum of one hour after the completion of a match (“The Golden Hour”) and/or diagnostic testing (CT or MRI).”

And the doctors on duty that December evening in NYC, have they been dealt with effectively, in your view? “No.  The doctors on duty that night have not engaged in any settlement negotiations at all nor have we seen through their testimony that they have endeavored to alter the way they practice medicine while participating as ringside physicians.”

OK, so the settlement is some good news, but it reads like there’s more work to be done. “There is more work to be done on Mago’s case itself but more importantly to increase the safety of combat sports throughout the country,” Edelstein continued.

Some might be curious; does Mago…

…give input into what fixes should be implemented?

“No, Edelstein said.  “Mago’s condition leaves him unable to communicate effectively enough to give meaningful input. He suffers from amongst the worst type of disabilities, he has enough mental capacity to be aware of his limitations but not enough to participate in the joys of life. He is trapped inside a broken body which is unlikely to change in any significant way.  His input to the case is the fact that he has survived and endured so that he can be an advocate for improved safety in boxing by drawing attention to his own tragic situation.”

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.