I don’t know if this is a “bug”, a design flaw, or just intended to be this way… so please take this as my observation rather than some kind of demand for justice.
Towards the end of my 1st career (I’ve just completed my 3rd), I felt the career damage seemed a little “off” towards the second half of the career… like it suddenly spiked… but I shrugged it off as me forgetting how many significant strikes I had taken. At roughly the same point during my 2nd career (which I was playing on hard to unlock Bruce Lee), I thought I noticed the same thing, but I hadn’t been paying close attention… the difference this time being that on the hard difficulty, I was playing very defensive and focusing as much as possible on not getting hit.
I finished the 2nd career at 40 fights (exactly the same as the 1st career), but with very different playstyles – my 1st being rabid dog style not caring if I was getting hit but going for the flashiest KO possible, and the 2nd being ultra defensive because the hard difficulty CPU could probably 1 shot me. The 40 fight ending on both careers struck me as strange… so I decided to try another career and document each and every fight.
3rd Career: Normal difficulty, defensive (not ultra defensive since it wasn’t hard mode) play style. I did allow myself to get carried away and hulk smash stuff in a couple of matches, which resulted in slightly higher numbers of significant strikes absorbed in those matches. They do help to provide more significant strike absorbed vs career damage numbers in a sense, so nothing lost there.
The link to the spreadsheet is at the bottom of the post… and yes, I got a little carried away with the chart.
If you don’t want to look through the spreadsheet, the TLDR is here. Match 32-37 appear to be the matches (at least in this case study) where your career damage seems to be MULTIPLIED. A conservative figure would be 5x career damage during these matches… a non-conservative estimate… well… I can’t even calculate it.