When kids fight like this, something's not right.

Most kids fight. In the car. At the park. On the trampoline. And they fight over everything.

This is normal. (Yes, breathe. Your brawling kids are pretty normal).

But you know what isn’t normal? When fighting kids are thrown in a ring and their parents cheer them on.

Cage fighting for kids is the latest controversial sport playing out in America and it’s gathering momentum. Last night, Channel 7’s Sunday Night aired a story about junior mixed martial arts (MMA) events for kids as young as six. The ring is on a site in California that is situated on Indian reservation so it isn’t subject to Californian Law – under which, it would be completely illegal.

Like it is in most US states.

And in Australia.

For most, this little loophole is terrifying, unfair, brutal and sad. Some even argue that it’s simply child abuse.

But the most terrifying part is that there are parents who are up for it. Take a look.

Apparently, we should be comforted to know that there are rules and ‘boundaries’ like no kicking or punching above the collarbone and that opponents are determined by weight, not gender. (But strangling is allowed. Huh?).

David Bramlette’s son, Mason “The Beast” has been fighting since he was diagnosed with ADHD. His Dad thinks it’s the best thing for him, “I just don’t feel football is safe for a kid, I just I don’t.”

New York photographer Sebastian Montalvo has taken photos of the kids mid-action. He says, “they’re mega-competitive… They love their kids 100 per cent and they just want them to win. A lot of these MMA parents want their kids to go pro someday. They want them to earn million-dollar paychecks.”

And it’s big business. The Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) movement has evolved into a $3 billion dollar industry. Kids cage-fighting is riding on the coat tails. UFC boss Dana White bought the Californian business for $2 million in 2001. He is convinced fighting is a primal urge and that he simply provides a venue for it.

White told Sunday Night, “it’s in our DNA. You put two babies on the floor, right. You’ll see this all the time. One baby will take the other babie’s thing, the baby smacks the other baby, the baby wants his thing back.”

A few months ago, Mamamia parenting editor Bern Morley wrote about this very thing:

These children are practising an “art” called Pankration, an ancient and violent Greek fighting style that allows for everything but blows to the head. 

Advocates for the practise say the kids are taught principles of losing fair and winning well, and the techniques of having fun and staying in shape.


I don’t know about you, but to me, this is kiddie cage fighting dressed up as a legitimate sport.

I am ALL for children learning a martial art, to defend themselves, to learn self-discipline and to learn how to win AND lose with grace but I’m sorry, to let them fight one another for nothing other than what is essentially a blood sport?  Well, the word ‘barbaric’ comes to mind. And an another would be: ILLEGAL.

It is illegal to do this to dogs, how can it be okay for children?

I’m pretty sure I’m going to be preaching to the converted here. Kids fighting one another while parents just stand by and applaud is basically beyond comprehension to any rational human being. I don’t think however, we are dealing with rational human beings.

Would you let your kids cage-fight? If they wanted to do it, could you stand on the sidelines and cheer them on? What happened to just a good ol’ fashioned wrestle in the backyard?