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Going Overboard with MMA and Kids in Canada – SportsUntapped.com
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Added October 30th, 2010 by Matt

Going Overboard with MMA and Kids in Canada
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Someone in Canada has done lost their mind. How else can you explain this situation: children being allowed to employ “Ground and Pound” in a kids MMA tournament. From the National Post, via Mixed Martial Arts:

“A veteran mixed martial arts coach says he had to stop several children from being held down and punched in the head at a recent tournament, after new rules were introduced allowing youngsters to engage in “ground and pound.”

Organizers of a tournament last weekend in Burnaby, B.C., included a new division that allowed children to be hit in the head once they are on the ground, despite rules prohibiting that level of violence. Competitors wear protective headgear.

Previously, hits to the head were permitted only when children were on their feet.

Children are at risk of concussions and other injuries if punching to the face is allowed once they are down, said Chris Franco, owner of Vancouver’s Franco Kickboxing-Pankration gym.

“There was one child who is 95 pounds competing against another child who was 150 pounds,” Mr. Franco said. “They were both 12 years old, but I stopped the match because I thought the boy might be snapped in half.

“One of my students, who is a seven-year-old girl, had a bigger boy on her in what is called a mount position. The referee wasn’t stopping it and the boy just kept hitting her in the head.”

Mr. Franco, who has coached martial arts for more than 20 years, said he stopped the fight before the girl was hurt because he believed there was potential for severe injury.

However, Don Whitefield, who organized the new MMA division and is an MMA coach, said that the new rules were “better and safer.”

“In the past during this tournament … there always was lots of blood on the mat and it was not safe,” Mr. Whitefield said in an email.

“The only problem I can think of was that some poor-fitting head gear (could slip) and impair the vision when clinching and grappling, since some parents hope their kids … grow into the gear rather than buying properly fit gear.”

Joe Ferraro, host of MMA Connected on Rogers Sportsnet, said only professional adult MMA fighters should use the “ground and pound” technique.

“I personally don’t condone children grounding and pounding each other in tournaments,” Mr. Ferraro told the Vancouver Sun.

“That’s something that has to be taught and learned, and your body has to get conditioned to that. You don’t throw somebody learning how to play hockey straight into a body-checking system. They have to learn how to skate first.”

Jason Gagnon, who was a referee at the tournament and is an instructor with Mr. Whitefield at West Coast Jiu-Jitsu, said “the most important thing to us as coaches is that the kids are safe. We are very aware that these are not professional athletes, and want to make sure we can run the most successfully safe and fun tournaments for the participants.”

I suppose you can make a case for it if there were strict weight divisions. But a 95 lb. kid facing a 150 lb. kid? That’s just stupid. There are weight classes in MMA for a very good reason now. Even at this level of kids they should also adhere to them.

MMA has come along way in the mainstream. It’s hardly ever referred to as “Human Cockfighting” anymore. But stuff like this can definitely set the sport back. People read this and think of how barbaric it is. And if you’re going to let a150 lb. kid throw down with ground and pound on a kid more than 50 pounds less than him, they’d be right. That is barbaric. Thank goodness they stopped this nonsense.

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2 Responses to “Going Overboard with MMA and Kids in Canada”

  1. Kévin Paré says:

    I fell pissed off by all this. I live in Vancouver and I did not like learning that.

    A first problem I have is: This is MMA. This is somewhat of a civil version of the military combative; look at the origin, Pankration in Greece which was “all in wrestling” and used to train the “millitary”, and now look at Combatives developed for Vietnam war and now look at MMA. They are very similar; MMA might be “o.k” for adult, but for kids? It is not that martial art are bad;Karate, Taekwondo or Wrestling or Capoeira are sometime good for kids, it is just that MMA is quit “martial” and less “artistic”, and that the art should not be downplayed when we regard kid. MMA could be teach to kid, but the tournament should be similar to these more classical form.

    A second thing is… Ground and pound? I mean really? This is a technique use by Brock Lesnar: keep the opponent on the ground, punch him in the face. That include an hi risk of minor brain injuries for adults; look at them, sometime they look drunk when they just submit to strong punch… It is because, somehow, “they are” drunk! Their brains been shock for a short period of time and they need some medical attention. That for adult, a problems is that on kid it is harder to detect. Another one, even if the direct effect are short term, that could lead to dementia pugilistica in long term, which affect 1 out of 5 ex-boxers including Sugar Ray Robinson and Mohamed Ali. This mean that we got some 55 years old pugilist that have the brain capacity of an 90 years old with Alzheimer disease! And they authorize that to kid, in a crucial part of development? Common!

    A third problems is equipment: if they have issue with headgear, they should have striker rules over that. It is just basic: a race driver have an helmet on that should be “tailored” to him, anybody who do some sky should be able to see properly the road in front of him. Same thing over here: proper equipment is necessary in all sport, whatever level we are talking about.

    A fourth problems is weight. Very little MMA fan with brain will send Brock Lesnar against Frankie Edgar, or Akebono against Rambaa Somdet. This is why there is some class weight divisions! A 95 pounder against a 150 pounder mean, following the shooto weight class in Japan, a Strawweight against a Welterweight and this fight would not be allowed.
    Same thing about that 7 years old girls: first there is a sex division which will forbid that fight forever, and that boy had 9 pound more than her which is in shooto a full categories. This mean, in “pro-mma”, this fight would have been refused on two ground, not one! If a fight would not be allowed for an adult on some technicalities, well why allowing it for child in development? Particularly when 9 pounds is not a lot for an adult if we consider that in % (132/123=1.07), but for a 7 years old that a lot more in % (80/70=1.14).

    A fifth problems is the lack of knowledge about medical information. It is not because their been no blood that there is no injuries, and the absence of check-up after the fight is quit frightening. Some injuries are not that apparent, and several small blow to the head or some nerve badly twitched could bring some problems in long terms. MMA figther, pro-boxer, entertainment wrestler and stunt figure have now a continuous medical follow up: if there is a MMA fight between kids, I want some medical follow up.

  2. Matt says:

    You make excellent points — much better than I did!

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