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MMA club’s video of eight-year-olds in cagefighting match causes controversy, for some reason

Sep 21, 2011, 2:36 PM EDT

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kidscagefighting AP

Yep, you know childhood — one minute you’re sharing your Graham crackers with your best pal during recess, the next you’ve got him in a rear naked choke submission hold. How young is too young to climb into the Thunderdome? At least one club in England is staging cage fights between eight-year-olds, and amazingly, some have a problem with this. A YouTube video of one such bout was bouncing around the Internets this morning, and was pelted with condemnation — including rebukes by Child Protection Awareness and the British Medical Association — before being taken down an hour or two ago.

In the video, two boys could be seen grappling and flinging each other to the canvas — with no gloves or padding — trying to put each other into a variety of sleeper holds and headlocks. At one point, one of the boys appears to be crying. A crowd of adults are cheering them on, and, my favorite part: a scantily-clad ring girl parades across the ring between rounds.

Michelle Anderson, owner of Greenlands Labour Club, who attended the event, defended the spectacle, saying: “There was nothing wrong with it.

“The kids were there to fight, they have fought before. The parents were there. Would people rather these kids were out on the streets with guns and knives?”

Um, are those my only two choices?

The YouTube video — shot at a sold-out ticket-only event at Greenlands Labour Club in Preston, Lancashire, England, is now gone, but here’s a video that’s still working. Most of it’s been blurred to conceal the kids’ identities. Although if I were a seasoned kid cage fighter, I’d want my friends to know about it.

More screen grabs from the YouTube video here.

Youth cagefighting has been growing more popular in England and the U.S. for some time, actually. Many bouts involve children as young as six, and allow striking — although those participants also wear padding. Here’s a video from 2007, which I call UFC 9 1/2: Leggo My Eggo.

Children filmed in ‘disturbing cage fight’ [London Telegraph]