It was only a matter of time, I suppose. I must admit I was unaware of the existence of children’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) but can’t say I’m totally surprised.
CNN describes what has become one of the country’s fastest growing sports among kids. The brutal graphics show boys as young as 6 battering each other with punches, kicks and chokeholds.
Defenders of the “sport” argue it promotes staying in shape, sportsmanship and having fun. But judging by the lurid photos, there seems to be little fun in the bruises and black eyes that stick out like literal sore thumbs. And shaking hands after a match is great, but does it carry enough weight in the life lessons department to justify learning to cagefight before learning to read?
This reminds me of a more extreme version of children’s beauty pageants. There are plenty of individual pros and cons people are eager to present, but there’s something stopping me from probing that deep. Call it too strong a first impression, but it just seems wrong. I’m not sure there’s an existing point of view that is going to convince me that first graders should be marred in blood and tears. At least with the beauty pageants, only the kids’ minds and self-esteem will be scarred for life.
As we age, we learn that with little effort, we can expose ourselves to countless stories every day from around the world that will make us cry or cringe, and that we tragically cannot control. This is hardly the first time I’ve read an article that makes me want to climb inside the minds of senseless parents, or at least shake them by their unreachable shoulders.
I have accepted that these bewildering things will continue to happen. I have accepted that these disconcerting decisions will continue to be made. I have accepted that my voice, however loud, is unlikely to be heard.