Wired, March 10, 2011

Watching the blood drive known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship one evening in 2007, Las Vegas plastic surgeon Frank Stile, MD, sat talking to his guests about the unfortunate nature of cuts. Eventually, the question was posed: Wouldn't it be something if he could take out the raw hamburger — OK, scar tissue — that often predisposes skin to lacerations and replace it with something that would have a fighter looking less like a Fangoria cover? His guests agreed wholeheartedly. One of them happened to be MMA, or mixed martial arts, fighter Nick Diaz, who had just suffered his first professional loss by stoppage in a fight against K.J. Noons. With the sharp hands of an athlete dabbling in pro boxing, Noons had sliced Diaz's face to ribbons. It was skill, but it was also the result of dozens of improperly sutured cuts Diaz had previously suffered in his fighting life. They had only healed superficially, leaving behind ground chuck underneath. Stile had a suggestion: What if he dug out the gunk and replaced it with the "fresh" tissue of a cadaver? Sure, the procedure had been used for cosmetic purposes, but never for athletic performance.

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