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August 28, 2008

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Chad Love: Suffer the Children

Chad Love has reported for the likes of People Magazine, but he tired of stalking B-list celebrities and decided to spend more time hunting, fishing and reporting here on the absurdity of a culture that's lost touch with the land.

If the way we raise a child is the truest and deepest measure of who we are, then I can't help but think we are lost. How can you reason with a parent who would subject their child to this.

This is apparently what many American parents view as a constructive and wholesome childhood activity. Screw wading the creek to catch tadpoles or god forbid roaming the woods with a BB gun. No, let's force our child, our baby, our seven-year-old darling, to climb into a ring and, in essence, kill or be killed. Show no mercy. Destroy your opponent. Let's take away whatever tiny fragment of childhood innocence he may still possess so that we can get a few vicarious thrills out of it.

But I'd bet dollars to donuts a great many of these same parents would flat refuse to allow their children to pick up a gun or a bow, because in the bizarro world we live in that's a sign of dangerous anti-social behavior, and we certainly don't want to foster a culture of violence, now do we?

ESPN's "Outside the Limits" recently aired an excellent look at the Youth MMA movement, archived here.

There was a lively and interesting debate on the Gun Nut blog a few weeks ago concerning the effect of youth sports on hunting and fishing. I came down squarely on the "It's hurting the future of hunting and fishing" camp, but there were well-reasoned arguments to the contrary. I respect that.

The explosion in the popularity of "Youth MMA" however, is not worthy of any measure of respect or understanding. It is well and truly sick. How the hell did we, as a nation, get from the way boys (and girls, for that matter) used to spend their free time to something as twisted as this?

This weekend thousands of American parents will be taking their seven or eight-year old boys to what are in essence no-holds-barred cage matches. I'm taking my seven-year-old son perch fishing. If you care about what kind of person your child will grow up to be, maybe you should, too.



For the life of me, I don't understand why parents would subject their kids to this crap.

As little time as many parents actually spend with their kids and this is how they define "quality time"?

"C'mon Johnny, it's time for your weekly a$$ kicking. Ah, quit crying, it builds character".

Sorry, I think I'd rather take my kid outside and spend my precious time just letting them be a kid.



I can understand teaching your kid to defend themselves. Letting them learn martial arts or just teaching them how to fight but only in self defense. My brothers taught me how to fight so I could defend myself. In my opinion there are only three reasons to fight: to defend yourself, your family, and your country. Any other reason is stupid. So, teaching our kids to fight for the fun of it can't be a good start on teaching them how to be an adult.


Any father who pushes his children into this nonsense should have to mix it up himself- maybe in prison with his butt on the line (literally) It seems like child abuse. Every armature wrestling and boxing match I've ever seen required some head gear. They are going to have cauliflower ears before high school.


If one wishes to read a case study on how we got this point and where we are headed in the future. I suggest reading about Sparta, and no, rewatching 300 will not suffice.

If something more modern is to your liking, Pat Buchanon, Andrew Bacevich, and Pual Craig Roberts have all commented on the subject recently.


Are you guys serious?

How many of you played full contact youth sports as kids? Football? Boxing? How many of you watch it on TV with your kids?

Is Mixed Marial Arts that much different? I'm not buying it... especially not the suggestion that this is somehow "child abuse". Frickin' please!

Some of you sound like the PETA people equating being a hunter with being a serial killer (and that video looks exactly like the kind of propaganda footage PETA would use...right out of the fanatical activism playbook).

Sure, there are parents who push their kids into these arenas, and yeah, that's wrong. As a previous youth football player, and later as a coach, I watched enough fathers trying to live their sports hero fantasy vicariously through their kids... and that was pretty sad, especially when the kid didn't want to be there.

There's a lot more to be said about parents pushing their kids too hard to excel, but it's hardly restricted to MMA or other full-contact sport. And it's hardly an atrocity.

But at the same time, there are kids who beg to be part of it. With parental support and a love of the sport, these kids are learning a lot about teamwork, cause-and-effect, and the rewards of putting out an effort.

And as far as how we, boys and girls, "used to spend our free time," I remember dirt clod fights, bb gun wars, tackle-the-man-with-the-ball games, street football games,and on and on... most of that was neither sanctioned nor approved of by our parents, but we did it anyway. We also spent a lot of time hunting and fishing.

Physical contact sports and play are common in all species. It's not the end of the world, nor is it a de-evolution of our society.

Mike Diehl

Stupid is as stupid does, and that which I just saw on that video was stupid.

There's nothing sportsmanlike, competitive, socially valuable, or that bears any resemblance to "martial arts" in a contest that has one person pummeling another one when the latter is flat on his back.

That said, it's a free country so "carry on" I say. I'm pretty sure that natural selection will take out a disproportionately large share of the participants before they have a chance to reproduce, so why complain?



I agree with your 100%! Letting children beat each other senseless is hardly "character building" and any father who would allow it makes me feel sorry for his kid.


Chad Love

To Phillip: you know what a strawman fallacy is? Google it, and then read the post again.
Parents egging on their children to beat the living hell out of another child in what amounts to an unregulated fight club can hardly be compared to organized and regulated full-contact sports like football or wrestling, nor can it somehow be associated with the nostalgic BB gun-soaked stupidity of youth.
I will agree youth MMA does teach brutal but effective lessons on cause-and-affect and the rewards of putting out an effort.
Of course, they're lessons like "if I cause this kid's arm to bend like this, it'll pop out of its socket. I'll then be rewarded for causing such intense pain by winning the match and receiving the adultation of my parents and the crowd."
Aping the violence kids are subjected to every day on television and in video games and on the computer is nothing new.
Parental approval and encouragment of those behaviors is, however.
And it's sick. These are children. They're not little gladiators.

To Mike: All natural selection will do in this case is ensure the most violent and sadistic qualities of modern American culture will be rewarded and aspired to.

Chad Love

Sorry, that shoud read "cause-and Effect...

Mike Diehl

I meant natural selection in the biological sense. If these kids come to adore violence of the sort in that vid for its own sake and carry it with them into teenhood or adulthood, some fraction of them will wind up dead, paralyzed, or jailed before they have a chance to reproduce. But I share your sentiment that no good comes of the ennobilization of mindless brutality.


I think it's awfully ironic that you guys are attacking this thing you obviously know very little about, in the same terms and arguments used against the sport of hunting (or agaist black rifles, or handguns, or whatever).

"It's terrible, it's barbaric, it teaches violence, there's nothing sportsmanlike or competitive about it, etc. ad nauseum."

And all this based on what?

An inflammatory clip on YouTube and an "expose" from one of the very major media outlets that so many of you proclaim to be the voice of satan whenever they air anything negative about guns or conservative politicians...

Look at yourselves. Is that what you really want to be? Kneejerk reactionaries lead around like slavering dogs by the latest hot-topic, major media talking point? ...Because that's exactly what this is.

And what's so sad about it is that in a week, when Dave or Chad, or whoever, posts a new issue to tear apart in the anonymous safety of the Internet, this one will be pretty thoroughly forgotten and left in the dust of the archives. Of the small handful of you who will even remember this exchange, none of you will do anything to put a stop to this "atrocity".

For all the apoplexy, nobody is going to do a danged thing. Yeah? Prove me wrong.

There's enough important crap in this world to get upset about. Some kids involved in full-contact fighting sports should be the least of your worries.

And I don't care how you stretch it, Chad, this has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting recruitment or attrition. You don't know anything at all about these kids or their parents except what the media has told you, hence your asinine pronouncement that:

"But I'd bet dollars to donuts a great many of these same parents would flat refuse to allow their children to pick up a gun or a bow, because in the bizarro world we live in that's a sign of dangerous anti-social behavior, and we certainly don't want to foster a culture of violence, now do we?"

How many of these parents do you know?

How about instead of posting up inflammatory crap, you use some of that "journalist background" to find out what's really going on? How about a report on youth MMA, with real conversations with real people?

Ahh.. the hell with it. This is crap. When does Hurteau come back?

MIke Diehl

If smacking someone who's on their back is your idea of great sportsmanship that is your vice or virtue as you see fit. But I'm not going to call it a "sporting event" any more I'd call obvious crass porn "artistic expression."


Maybe after these "fathers of the year" are finished having their kids participate in this fine "sporting activity" they could take them (their kids) to the dog fights.

Wow what fun!


So when do we start steriod testing these kids?

And who pays the medical bills?


First off Phillip, the clip shown is a promotional video for the sport, not some "inflammatory crap". Secondly, do you have children? If so, you would really let your child participate in something like this? Probably so. Also you say that there is enough important crap to worry about in the world besides kids MMA. Well, in my opinion, parents are supposed to be the first line of defense for their children, therefore I would consider this to be fairly "important crap." I think you might be eating your ignorant words in a year or so when ESPN is doing a story on the amount of 7 year olds who are suffering from spinal cord injuries or massive head trauma. Am I a Dr.? No. But I am pretty sure young brains that are still in the stage of development shouldn't take the kind of punishment that they are going to. I have no problem with the sport itself, I watch it and have a few friends who compete in it, but to let children participate in it is ridiculous.

don mitchell

`sad,sad,sad,and a lot of B.S.from Phillip. My kids were raised to hunt & FISH and to respect all living things.



Luke, it really isn't important if I have kids or if I'd let them participate (I do and I would if they wanted to). Doesn't even matter if I support the sport, which, like most of the other people on this board, I don't really know that much about. Never even heard of youth MMA until this thread popped up.

What matters is the invective and pure ridiculous, knee-jerking, righteous indignation that goes on...not only on this topic but so many others, wherein the folks participating can't even see that they're behaving exactly like the anti-hunters and anti-gunners... or for that matter, like the "concerned parents" who want to see an end to all youth contact sports.

They know nothing about the activity or the participants, yet they stumble all over each other to cast aspersions and to stereotype total strangers. Let's by god ban this thing, whatever it is! And draw and quarter the individuals responsible!

What matters is that for all the finger-pointing and denigration and accusatory rhetoric directed at the parents of the kids involved in this activity, not a bloody self-important individual here is likely to motivate himself out of his desk chair to actually do something about it. Make yourselves feel good through a little typographical masturbation, and then move on to the next hot topic. This will be forgotten just like the last hot button issue. No lesson learned and nothing achieved. The world, Youth MMA and all, will go right on as it did before.

You want ridiculous? That's ridiculous!



In the video, these kids aren't even wearing headgear and you think this is okay?

This isn't a sport. It's just training for drunken bar fights later in life.

I've already written my Senators and Congress people about this and hope it does some good. I would hope that others on this site would do the same thing before someone's child is killed.



I'm not saying it's OK or not.

I'm saying look at yourselves. The mirror. What do you see there?

I'm done with this one folks. Do what you think you have to do. Say what you think you have to say. But please, for frickin god's sake... look at yourselves.


As someone who has been practicing martial arts for 17 years, I think it worth pointing out that boxing is far more dangerous than MMA. For one thing, in boxing you get hit with an 8 to 16 ounce boxing glove in the side of the head that shakes the brain. Hours of sparring a week over a period of years can do permanent brain damage. Because MMA usually involves 4 ounce gloves, and because it allows kicks which are often thrown to the body and legs rather than the head, and because it allows takedowns and submission holds, the punsihment to the brain an MMA fighter recieves is far less than a boxer. Yet kids this young have been boxing for years and no one says anything about that. Submission holds are safe because you just tap when it hurts and the opponent lets go. Getting punched in the head with a 4 ounce gloves does not shake the brain the same way and getting punched in the face is more likely to result in tissue damage rather than brain damage. I'm not trying to win anyone over, I'm just pointing out that boxing has far more health ramifications. There is a very powerful boxing lobby (John McCain for example) that has done everyting it can to destroy MMA in order to save it's own skin. The effort has been futile. And the argument that MMA is a substitute for outdoor recreation? The same could be said about baseball, T ball, soccer, or basketball.


By the way, you may not like kids doing this and that is fine, but to say it's not a sport and just a drunken brawl is to discredit the very skilled MMA fighters who put years of hard work into this. MMA is just a combination of kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, freestlye/greco-roman wrestling, judo, and boxing. Grappling alone is an incredibly complex and infinite endevor. The boxers,from the beginning, have tried to downplay the sport by saying it is just a barfight. All the pro boxers who crawl into the cage with nothing but boxing skill get beat.


And one last thing, is ESPN is taking some sort of moral stance? Have you seen some of the "hunting" photos on their website. Some scantily clad blonde with a .50 caliber machine gun blasting an entire prairie dog town? Oh yea, that is great for the image of hunting.


Quote:who crawl into the cage with

Who crawl into a cage! This crap is nothing more than the old tough man contests with a hint or "pro" wrestling showmanship thrown in for appeal to the drunked masses.



MMA takes more skill and training than boxing. If you don't believe, spend a week in an MMA gym. You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Those heavyweight boxers who make millions per a fight would get destroyed in the UFC.


We're talking about children her genius! I could care less about billy bob bada$$ who wants to crawl in a cage and beat hell out of each other. If the drunken masses consider this entertainment then more power to them.

But, when a 8 year old crawls into a ring with no protective gear and gets beaten into submission, gee, call me old fashioned but I think it's wrong. Unfortunately, it'll probably take the death of a couple of kids before the authorities get the testicular fortitude to stop this nonsense.

And if you can't see the difference, obviously you've already taken a few too many shots to the head.

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