Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Miltiadis Kotinis

Committee Member

Sebastian Bawab

Committee Member

Gene Hou


The purpose of this research is to gain some insight on the type of head trauma an athlete may encounter during mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. These athletes endure continuous blows to the head throughout their training and fighting career. The knowledge obtained from this research may assist MMA athletes and trainers in assessing the way they train, how they compete and, more importantly, how long they choose to compete in their amateur or professional MMA career.

The analysis is performed by first creating a three-dimensional solid model of the human head based on geometric coordinates originally obtained from a cadaver. The geometry is then imported into a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software and validated by simulating a benchmark model based on experimental results.

This research utilizes experimental data provided by the National Geographic on impact loads of various MMA striking techniques applied to the already validated geometry and FEA model to obtain the resulting pressure that occurs in the brain of the human head. These results are subsequently analyzed to determine how severe this trauma may be to an athlete. Key points such as ways to further improve the FEA results are also discussed.