UFC dodges claims by Boston activists that MMA is unfit for eyes of children

UFC President Dana White likely won't be bringing the MMA organization back to Boston anytime soon. Credit: Getty Images
UFC President Dana White likely won’t be bringing the MMA organization back to Boston anytime soon. Credit: Getty Images

It was a case of too little, mostly late for Boston activists hoping to throw a wrench into UFC’s plans for a clean card at Fight Night 26 at TD Garden this Saturday (8 p.m., FOX Sports 1).

Last week a group including UNITE HERE and Mass. NOW (The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women) attempted to remove fighter Chael Sonnen from the main event of the Boston card, citing his money laundering conviction in 2011. Sonnen received two years probation on a single count of money laundering. He has already fought four times since the court case. Despite the Boston groups’ pleas, Sonnen will fight Saturday night.

This past Tuesday, UNITE HERE and other local groups submitted statements before the Boston City Council in support of Councilor Stephen Murphy’s cage fighting resolution which wants to ban persons under the age of 18 from attending live events. Murphy and “Parents Say No to UFC” claim that UFC fighters have, in the past, joked about rape and have used other language that is demeaning to women. They also take issue with UFC having alcoholic beverage companies as its main sponsors despite other professional sports leagues having done the same for decades.

Their main issue with the MMA organization, however, is centered around the level of violence in its matches and how it affects children.

Metro spoke with Diane Levin, a professor of education at Wheelock College who supports Murphy’s ban on persons under 18 attending cage fighting events, regarding her stance.

“There’s no one particular age where it definitely should be allowed, but 18 seems to be appropriate,” Levin said. “Promoters should not be making money off of children in terms of marketing violence as entertainment.

“Children take in pictures at a young age and don’t connect them to their own experiences,” Levin said. “They end up thinking violence is fun and exciting. Children at 8 and 9 years of age don’t put the whole picture together of why certain things are happening. It’s hard for them to comprehend what’s real and what isn’t. Was he really hurt, or wasn’t he? They focus on dramatic things they’ve seen.”

Levin said that she realizes the reality of the situation in that children are already playing violent sports like football by the age of 9 or 10, nevermind having already seen these sports. But the professor hopes there is a gradual shift in culture.


“In the best possible world, children shouldn’t be viewing that level of violence [in football, hockey or MMA] before 9 or 10,” Levin said. “At the very least, if children are exposed they should be having conversations with parents about it.”

As of Wednesday, persons under the age of 18 will be allowed to attend Saturday’s card at the Garden. Though the attempts by UNITE HERE and the City Council to block UFC’s plans were futile this time around, due in large part to the lateness of both petitions, they will likely have lasting effects.

UFC President Dana White, a Boston native, said this week about the city: “It’s a great place to go hang out with my friends and eat, but not a great place to put on fights.”

The last UFC event at TD Garden in 2010 drew a live gate of $2.8 million. Saturday’s event will be the first primetime show on FOX Sports 1, FOX’s new all-sports network designed to challenge ESPN.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Gossip

Ariana Grande addresses Big Sean dating rumors

Now that Ariana Grande and Big Sean were caught on camera holding hands, she has something to say.

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…