After seeing the fight videos and hearing from the parents of one champion MMA child fighter, some parents were horrified. The tweets and Facebook comments came pouring in. Two weeks after we first introduced you to Pankration, the conversation has not stopped.
"As a young mother I find it disgusting. Those mothers should be charged with child abuse!! It's unacceptable," Maria N. wrote. "My 4-year-old son is watching with me and told me, 'Mom, those kids are really bad kids.'"
"Seeing things like this and any other child abuse is outrageous, infuriating, and very sad... [This] could be considered abuse," Martin L. wrote.
Comments and rebuttals also came in from the parents of other MMA child fighters. And there are a few things these parents would like for you to know.
- There are fewer serious injuries in this sport than in football, soccer or cheerleading.
"Looking at injury reports, which leagues are mandated to keep on record, there's 10 times the amount of injuries in cheerleading. So should I put my boys in a skirt and hand them pom poms instead?" Kara A. wrote.
"Good parenting includes finding a sport that your kids can get passionate about and then supporting them," Mark S. wrote. "[My son] loves the sport, loves to train and has the best coaching/mentoring and group of quality friends that a parent could hope for. No concussions, no visits to the hospital. Safer than soccer (look at the stats). These are healthy competitions, not fights."
Click hereto see the latest injury reports, which were posted in response to an article on HLNtv.com.
- Their kids are learning invaluable skills.
Suzette M. wrote, "My kids have grown tremendously in self confidence, discipline and great academically. Most of these kids have a great deal of respect for one another as athletes and people."
"I have 2 sons who are both 6 years old who are training for tournaments. This sport has given them confidence, self discipline, and it is absolutely not a 'no holds barred' sport. There's an extreme amount of technique and training that these kids are enduring long before they get to competition level," Kara A. wrote.
- The cage is for protection.
While many parents were appalled at seeing the fight happen in a cage, Clay C. wrote in to say the cage "protects kids from falling through ropes and colliding with concrete or tables & chairs."
- These kids are not bullies.
Many parents echoed the comments made by Richard R.: "A large percentage of kids with perceived power tend to abuse that power outside the ring. They are called bullies because they know they can take down their peers with little effort. I am concerned for the kids that will get picked on with no training at all."
But Christian D. and other parents say that's not the case. "I have three boys that train in MMA at a very high-level gym. Their coaches stress the importance of not using their skills on other children off the mat. They do not tolerate any type of bullying. My 7 and 10 year old have both walked away from school bullies because of their confidence."
- There's a reason the kids don't wear headgear.
Amber M. wrote about her concern that the kids weren't wearing more protection. "Shin guards, cups and gloves are not enough! My son is proof that there are lasting effects to things like their bone structure when doing Martial Arts and MMA and things like that, at a young age."
But Mario M. wrote that "the kids don't wear headgear because it is absolutely a foul and a penalty for hitting someone in the head. You can't hit the collar bone or above."
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