Las Vegas, Nevada neurologist, Dr. Margaret Goodman’s first experience in unarmed combat sports came when she was asked to perform a neurological consultation in 1993 on a high-profile boxer whose bout was canceled the night of the fight due to dizziness. She has remained a strong advocate for fighter health, safety and clean sport since.
Residing and practicing neurology in Las Vegas since 1988, she closely followed boxing. In 1994, she was appointed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission as a professional ring physician—one of a handful of women ring doctors in the world. She worked ringside in over five-hundred professional boxing and mixed martial arts bouts and was the NSAC’s Chief Ringside Physician from 2004-05. In 2001, she was appointed by then Governor Kenny Guinn as the NSAC’s Medical Advisory Chairman and served until her term ended in 2007. Dr. Goodman was instrumental in establishing cost-effective MRI/MRA testing on fighters, making Nevada the second U.S. jurisdiction to institute routine neuroimaging. On a national level, Dr. Goodman was the Association of Boxing Commission’s Medical Committee co-chairman from 2001-05, then chairman from 2005-06 and Medical Advisor to the International Professional Ring Officials from 2000-2005. She was a consultant to the New York State Attorney General’s Office regarding neurological injuries in boxing in 1999 and the NY State legislature on improving boxing safety in 2001.
In 2001, she co-edited, Ringside and Training Principles—an educational manual in English and Spanish available to fighters and trainers. In 2014, she wrote, Death in Vegas, a novel on medical and safety issues in boxing.
Throughout her years in the sport she has done countless media interviews nationally and internationally on boxing safety and antidoping.
In 2005 she received the Boxing Writers Association of America’s (BWAA) James A. Farley Award in recognition of a career marked by “honesty and integrity,” and has been recognized by the Association of Professional Ring Physicians as Educator of the Year. In 2012, she was recognized by HBO’s The Fight Game as their “person of the year” for her work with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. In 2017, she was again recognized by the BWAA for Long and Meritorious Service. June 2022, she was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as the first physician non-participant. In 2022, she became a board member of the Taylor Hooten Foundation—an organization dedicated to antidoping and stopping the use of performance enhancing drugs.
In 2011, Dr. Goodman founded and has served as president and board chairman of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). VADA has served to expand anti-doping education and testing in professional boxing and mixed martial arts. They’ve conducted thousands of anti-doping tests on boxers and mixed martial artists worldwide, in addition to participating in hundreds of boxing events. More importantly, they’ve given fighters a way to demonstrate their commitment to clean sport.