Is it Time We Allow Teenage MMA Fights in the USA?

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(Editor’s Note. The topic of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) would seem to be one that is not appropriate for The Sport Digest. Yet the study of ethics in sport is in fact one that concerns anyone planning to work in the fields of sport administration and sport management. What, for instance, does a person do in her job as Director of a Parks and Recreation program when a group of parents comes in with a demand that the organization add MMA to its list of youth sports offered. This group of parents represents taxpayers and may be large in number. What would you do if faced with this question? The writer is a reader of the blog who takes a position on this sport that is reasoned and well stated. This kind of debate is one engaged in by students at the United States Sports Academy. For more on Academy programs go to http://ussa.edu).

Ever been punched in the face? Ever been kicked, stepped on, or slammed? In the USA, boxing, soccer, football, and wrestling are all youth sanctioned sports, whose participants are almost all under the age of 18. Why then, if our children can be punched, kicked and slammed, can they not partake in the truest form of these activities, mixed martial arts (MMA)?

The goal of sport is to pit one human spirit against another to test bravery, sacrifice, commitment, teamwork, and perhaps glory or defeat. Have you ever seen or heard the raucous roars of the crowd from a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fight? It’s carnal, very real, and in one form or another has been around well since before Romans immortalized gladiatorial combat at the Coliseum. There is simply no greater feeling than defeating another competitor in direct “fight for your life” combat, which pits mental and physical chess in a poetic symphony of punches, kicks, slams and body movements.

We are still savage and perfect creatures
This is the same reason why the movie “300” was immensely successful – fighting, integrity, self sacrifice, love of team (country), and pure combat (the most honest expression humans have ever possessed). Some people would like to correlate anything violent with the worst in human nature; however, it’s a dangerous conclusion to reach, because unless you have ever achieved great victory, you don’t’ know what it tastes like. It’s addicting, and the greatest motivating force we possess.

Ultimate Glory or Defeat: No in between
Lose a swim meet, and you shrug it off. Give up a layup, and you’ll get it next time. Face off against a human in a pseudo fight to the death (with safety rules in place) and your best will ALWAYS come out. Plato is credited with saying “necessity is the mother of invention”. Necessity arrived at the Spartan walls in the form of the Persians. They birthed the Spartans. Is it time the USA decided to become a warrior country, rather than a fast food, T.V. zombie cesspool of “alternative sports”? In the movie, Spartacus, Leonidas’ father beat his young son in combat, not to be cruel, but to ready him for his REAL FIGHT (life); we see this as his life or death encounter with the Wolf, where preparation and victory culminate to form the great man, father, and eventual King of the Spartans – Leonidas.

This is …. Sparta or Twinkieville?
America is breeding a culture of new age sports players, creating absurd youth sanctioned sports, giving out medals to everyone (even losers), and coddling the parents and children’s feelings. The reality is, we live in a harsh world where you will always be tested, never forget that. Many people reminisce high school, or their glory days of college sport, when they were forced to look at the mirror, their exercise routine, food consumption, and warrior lifestyle. It’s not because people want to live in the past; but as adults we lose this fundamental puzzle piece to what makes us homo sapiens – testing ourselves, team (country) comradery, and physical/mental perfection just as the Ancient Greeks taught. Why deprive our future generations this?

Safety concerns:
Keep an open mind here. Being knocked out is “safer” than being punched in the head repeatedly, or receiving blows to the temple and sides of head. In MMA, devastating knockouts come in the form of “chin shots” where the brain shuts off temporarily due to the overload. In boxing, football, and even soccer, it is a repetitive stress to the head itself, rather than the chin that causes severe brain damage

Kids break their legs every day in soccer, their arms in wrestling, become paralyzed in rugby/football, tear ACL’s in basketball, and suffer broken noses/concussions in boxing. Yes, in MMA these things can all happen; BUT they rarely do, because 1) your opponent can tap out before having his arm/leg snapped/choked and 2) a referee is there to instantly stop the fight if there is any real danger.

It’s NOT mandatory:
Don’t want your child to partake in MMA? More power to you. However, your personal choices, concerns and moral issues shouldn’t impact that of your neighbors. I’m sure many vegans hate the fact meat is served in their school district, but this is America, where we have the freedom of choice.

Besides, it’s already legal in many places throughout the world. Europe, which loves football (our soccer) has whole heartedly embraced MMA. Their rowdy spirit and love of country is translated into an obsession of sport. There is nothing more powerful than a group of like-minded, well capable warriors – just ask our Military forces. Imagine if we can foster a sense of pride, teamwork, and ultimate glory and acceptance of defeat (when victory is not possible) in our children.

Oh, and by the way, it just might save your life 40 years from now.

Matthew Anton is an avid MMA fan, a 4 letter varsity athlete in high school who played rugby in college. He wishes MMA existed when he was in school. He currently works as an online marketer helping websites increase search engine rankings through the use of social media. He can be reached through the following website. He can also be reached at: http://backlinksindexer.com.

5 thoughts on “Is it Time We Allow Teenage MMA Fights in the USA?

  1. Mrgeraldwood

    In simple terms: MMA should not exist for younger adults or teenagers. Why: In the current form, MMA does not differentiate different forms within Martial Arts.

    The problem: when focusing on a single sport, Sample: H.S.wrestling. rules exists that are focused to insuring the athletes safety & security. This movement, Full Nelson in High School wrestling is against the rules: possible injury to the neck spinal columun, (Cervical Vertebrae).

    MMA allows the FULL NELSON, stating its up to the athlete to state, i’m hurt, or, give up.

    Cervical Bones can slide out of place due to simply by applying pressure, or, lifting a heavy load…body. That pressure may lead to a pinched nerve or cracked cervical bone. Where the bodies ability to hold weight is decreased to the point where the athlete may not perform any sport. Learning may also become impaired by pinched spinal nerve.

    We make Rules, where young & less experienced Athletes whom require greater amounts of insulation to gain: Strength, Endurance & Technique will allow them to find growth and have fun.

    MMA should not be rushed into due to popular enthusiasm.

    • Anonymous

      You need to read an article entitled INCIDENCE OF INJURY IN PROFESSIONAL MMA COMPETITIONS from the Journal of Sport Science and Medicine (2006) by Gregory H. Bledsoe.  I know, the article focuses on professional MMA as oppose to a high school sport, but I seriously feel that most people respond subjectively, out of instinct, negatively about MMA without really knowing the true incedence of injury.  Highschool football is more dangerous than professional MMA.

  2. Anonymous

    Mr. Anton,
    Thank you so much for writing this.  There is so much you say here that I have felt and could not put into words.  Thank you.  I’m currently a graduate school student at United States Sports Academy (Sport Management/Sport Medicine).  I am one of those students you speak of making a legitimate name for MMA in the acedemic realm of things. Great article. Thanks again.  I comend you on your choice of words.
    Ramon Amezcua, Jr., RN., MSN., FNP-BC
    raymondamezcua@yahoo:disqus .com
     facebook   raymond amezcua

  3. Greg Tyler

    It appears that the link referenced in the second to last paragraph is to an MMA website.  It is not known if this website is operated by the author of this article.  The Digest does not have any agreement with this or any website and in no way is implying any approval of this website.  By the Digest editor

  4. GTW USSA graduate '88

    Mixed martial arts are for the glorification of the individual. “Me! I won!” Sorry, it doesn’t remind me of “300″, No eye-gouging, no biting, no scratching, no spears in the back, no ckoking the neck with the hands, plus, you can tap out if you get tired. Please pardon me, but, where is the MIXED in this activity? Where is the MARTIAL in this activity? Where is the ART in this actitivity? Art, for arts’ sake, is meant to elevate humanity. How does MMA elevate humanity if it is `retro’ to the time before “300″? When I watch a MMA match I am not inspired, instead, I wonder, “Why do these guys do this to themselves?”. The martial arts were developed for self-defense and then refined for character-improvement WITH self-defensive capability, for the edification of the individual AND improvement of society. In my opinion, MMA is challenged to fit in a modern world and does NOT belong in adolescent sports activities simply because of the danger AND liability inherent in knocking out a kid with a shot to the chin. A child’s brain, and the neck supporting it, is too important an organ to waste for a moment of thrill. For the time being, the classical martial arts are safe enough for children. When they become adults, perhaps then, they can give informed consent to have their heads bashed in. Let adults do MMA if they wish, they can assume that risk. MMA may even be beneficial for the pracitioners, as long as they can do their jobs the next day.

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