The Neck Crank MMA Injury

Neck Crank InjuryA patient recently came into the clinic with a new complaint of a neck injury during an amateur cage fight contest that he lost by tapping out to a mixed martial art (MMA) submission move called a neck crank.

The MMA neck crank technique involves pushing the neck to one side as much as possible till the opponent submits to the pain and needs to tap out of the pressure. This is why my patient lost his amateur fight.

The reason he came to the Chiropractic clinic was because he noticed his left triceps muscle was weak during push-ups with pins and needles and pain running down his left arm. This looked to me like a case of a pinched nerve in the neck. If you haven’t seen before how the cage fighting neck crank move is done exactly then I have two videos of how to do the neck crank. One is by legendary professional MMA fighter, Bas Rutten. You’ll get to see why the patient may have badly irritated a nerve in his neck.

How to Do a Neck Crank Submission

Professional MMA fighter, Bas Rutten, explains how to perform a normal neck crank submission tactic.

In this video you can see a variation called the crucifix neck crank to get a fighter to tap out

As you can see in the above in the mixed martial art training videos this neck type of submission move can place a lot of stress on the cervical spine.

Other MMA Neck Holds

List of common MMA neck submission techniques:

  • Spine Crank
  • Can Opener
  • Twister
  • Choke Holds
    • Rear Naked Choke
    • Triangle Choke

As you can see there are lots of other ways that the neck is targeted in cage fighting.

What Type of Injury Can Happen?

Neck Injury
MMA Neck Crank Injury

Neck crank submissions are banned from most sports because of the danger of causing a serious neck injury. However, the exception is cage fighting and submission wrestling like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

A neck crank can be a legitimate form of submission, especially in MMA competitions. A lot of cranked injuries can often occur from poorly executed chokes. For example, the triangle choke, head and arm choke and guillotine.

In the case of the patient in question he caused himself a cervical spine injury diagnosed as a C7 radiculopathy. The main nerve damage sign and symptom being loss of strength power to his left triceps muscle.

The neck crank is designed to create a neck lock, which causes: “pulling or twisting the head beyond its normal ranges of rotation”.

Neck crank submissions are banned from most sports exactly because of this danger explained. However the exception is cage fighting and submission wrestling like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).

The exact cause of his muscle weakness is currently being investigated through an MRI scan of his neck. It is likely he either caused a stinger injury or he has hurt a disc in his neck via a neck disc herniation or an annular tear.

Either way a neck crank injury is some real nasty way to get injured with a compressed nerve in your neck. So watch out for the neck crank when your next in the cage or dojo MMA fighting or training is all I can say.


Image Credit: Some rights reserved by KellBailey