Anorak News | Ignorant Media Experts Slam Lancashire Child Cage Fighting Ring: It’s Not Child Abuse – It’s Sport

Ignorant Media Experts Slam Lancashire Child Cage Fighting Ring: It’s Not Child Abuse – It’s Sport

by | 22nd, September 2011

THE Lancashire Evening Post’s children cage fighting story has gone national. The press sets about monstering the adults and pitying the children. The front page of the Daily Mirror yells:


The teaser oozes:

“Boozing, baying fight fans pay £25 a ticket to watch two boys just 8 & 9 slug it out”

Well. It’s true. Sort of.

Our review of the story is hereunder. But before it, let’s look at the version of the event that has hit the news cycle:

The Mirror:

Sick! Cage fighting for kids is slammed by experts as “barbaric”

Steve White is in poetic mood:

HE is fighting under the name of Lucas The Bone Breaker. But at just 4ft 2in, the ashen-faced eight-year-old hardly seems to measure up to his fearsome title. Suddenly his bottom lip begins to quiver and he bursts out crying after slumping to the canvas with a leg injury.

White is just getting into his stride:

Terrified youngsters are paraded in front of hundreds of screaming adults who pay up to £25 a head to watch them beat hell out of each other.

Well, no. This is a sport. And the boys were not the only fight on the card.

Child psychologist, Emma Citron, described it as “the modern-day equivalent of bear baiting. The violence could cause long-term psychological damage. And it can only encourage anti-social behaviour.”

Controlled fighting can only encourage anti-social behaviour? Surely the opposite is true.

The tin lid on this bilge is presented by Alison Phillips, Associate Editor, Daily Mirror, who puts words in the mouths of the youngster, and defames everyone in the room:

STARE at the face of little Lucas and behind the blinked back tears you see a look of total confusion.

“What am I doing here?” he appears to be thinking, “with a group of fat idiots yelling at me to fight when my whole body hurts and I want my mum.”

Surrounded by boozing blokes and trashy looking girls in suspenders, Lucas’s fight takes place in a pit where losers compensate for their inadequacies by urging youngsters to fight. Aren’t we supposed to teach kids fighting isn’t the answer? Yet here we have adults goading the children on between swigs of lager.

I have a son the same age as Lucas. Like most boys he tries to pretend he’s tough. But beneath the bravado they are still little kids who must be nurtured to develop into well-balanced adults. Doesn’t putting a child in a situation where they are being abused amount to child abuse?

Everyone involved should be ashamed of the part they played in treating two little boys so badly.

The only comment worthy of note comes from a spokesman for the British Association of Martial Arts, who is, oddly, unnamed:

“If they have been trained properly and are fully supervised there could be a reason for it, but I can’t see it. At the very least they should be wearing head guards, groin guards, hand mits, and shin and instep protectors.”

The Times declares:

Boys, 8, filmed in cage fighting bouts

The video shows Kian MacKinson and the younger boy, neither of whom were wearing head protection, grappling inside the cage. At one point the younger boy appears to be crying. Medical staff are seen going in to assess his condition.

At no point does the Times say why the boy was crying. You can find out why in our version of the same story below.

The Daily Mail laps it up:

As the crowd roars, cage fighters aged 8 and 9 do battle… even after one breaks down in tears

Jaya Narin adds:

Unlike adult contestants, they are not, in theory, allowed to punch, kick, knee or elbow each other during the competitions, but the rules are inevitably broken

And then the fighter gets docked points. It is sport. Sport is all about the rules. It’s not theory. It’s fact.

The boy of eight was left in tears in the middle of one of the terrifying ten-minute bouts before he was attended to by medics to check he could continue.

An expert who knows nothing about the sport offers:

Rosie Carter, from the Safechild children’s charity, said: ‘This is sick, absolutely disgraceful and I would call on social services to step in. ‘I can’t believe the parents are allowing their young children to participate in this barbarity.’

All utter nonsense. As we reported yesterday:

IT’S fight night at the Greenlands Labour Club, in Chatburn Road, Preston, Lancashire. The Lancashire Evening Telegraph reports on children as young as eight cage fighting before a crowd. It sees “a scantily clad ring girl parading between rounds” (that youMaddy Jackson?)

This is the same Greenland’s Pub the LEP named as its “Pub of The Year’?

At one point, one of the youngsters appeared to be crying, and qualified medical staff were brought into the ring to assess the youngsters, who were not wearing head gear or padding.

The paper is looking to foment outrage. But a child crying can be indicative of many things. Have any readers seen a child cry at the school nativity play or at a ballet show? And don’t youngster do lots of judo and karate in their spare time? Indeed, cage fighting is also known as Mixed Martial Arts.

Event organiser Steven Nightingale claimed it was an ‘extremely good event’ and the club’s owner defended the spectacle. But medical experts at the British Medical Association today branded the bout “disturbing”.

But, presumably, not the same medical experts who were on hand to help the fighters?

Today Timothy Lipscomb, the Vicar of Preston, says:

“It is not the way we want children to be brought up. Up to a certain age they need protection, they do not need to see the senior side of life. It should not be a public spectacle to see them bashing the living daylight out of each other. Do you not think it encourages bullying and trying to use force to get your own way?”

No. When well taught, fighting is about controlling your aggression. Anorak would argue that bringing marital arts and other fighting sports teaches discipline and instills a sense of confidence in the individual. It allow the youth of burn off energy and aggression off the street. The problem her seems to be that cage fighting is a new sport. Boxing was once called prize fighting. It was given rules and became an Olympic sport.

A spokesman for the British Medical Association, offers:

“The BMA is opposed to boxing and cage fighting. This example of cage fighting among young children is particularly disturbing, especially as they are not even wearing head guards. Boxing and cage fighting are sometimes defended on the grounds that children learn to work through their aggression with discipline and control. The BMA believes there are many other sports, such as athletics, swimming, judo and football, which require discipline but do not pose the same threat of brain injury.”

What about rugby? In 2010 Professor Allyson Pollock, director of Edinburgh University’s Centre for International Public Health Policy, called for scums and high tackles to be banned:

“Concussion is under-reported because it’s not being monitored properly. Repeated concussions may have severe long-term consequences,” the professor added, warning that teachers and coaches have a duty of care towards children. If youngsters were coming back from school trips with these rates of injuries it would be enough to trigger a major inquiry.”

In the 193 matches played by 470 children in Scotland between January to April last year, the injury incidence during the match play was 10.8 injuries per 1,000 player hours.

It does seem does seem foolish that the young cage fighters are not wearing protective head gear but to single out this sport form many others is selective reporting. Maybe all children should wear had guards whatever sport they are playing, whether it be heading a football, scrummaging or playing squash.

Steven Nightingale, 28, a professional cage fighter who runs the Reps MMA gym, off Longridge Road, Preston, said the sport is safe and growing in popularity. He said: “…The kids are not getting hit or anything at all when they are under age. We do not let them strike – punch and kick – until the age of 14 or 15.”

Yep. These children are engaging in a non-contact sport.

Asked about the crying child during one bout, he said: “The kid has never been beaten before, he is the one who wins the gold medals. When they get beaten, they are going to get emotional, also the referee and corner man said you do not have to carry on. He (the youngster crying) had come from the far side of Manchester, he came with his coach, and it is something he had trained for.”

The paper then speaks with Michelle Anderson, owner of Greenlands Labour Club:

“Would people rather these kids were out on the streets with guns and knives?”

That’s not much a of a choice is it. Suggesting that without cage fighting the protagonists would be on the streets carrying knives and guns is alarmist nonsense that undermines the fighters’ parents and adds grist to the mill that the children are inherently violent and not participating in a sport…

Spotter: Karen

Posted: 22nd, September 2011 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comments (11) | TrackBack | Permalink