By Ken Reed

My stomach turns every time I see mixed martial arts (MMA) on so-called sports television networks. It’s so spurious and barbaric … and a long ways from true sport.

Now there’s this: Adult-organized children’s MMA.

Kids — boys and girls — as young as 8 years old, with nicknames like Black Widow, Savage, and the Arm Collector are participating in a junior version of MMA. They punch and kick other kids while their parents stand outside the cage screaming for more.

Keep smashing her!” yelled one man at a youth MMA match between two young girls. In another match, a man is heard yelling “Hit him harder!”

To me, MMA appeals to the worst part of our nature, an immature part. It’s kind of like the cheap thrill we got watching the fistfight down at the corner after junior high school. Shouldn’t adults be above this kind of stuff?

Now this. Seeing some “adults” pushing their kids down the MMA path in organized competitions for pre-teens is depressing.

In some states, youth MMA is completely unregulated. In other states, it’s banned. California allows a toned down version after a few ugly incidents spurred new rules and safety regulations.


Let’s hope every state moves quickly to ban this child abuse disguised as sport and entertainment.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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