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
Sports Forum Podcast
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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