Citing the effect of violence on children, Boston City Council members on Wednesday passed a resolution that bans kids under the age of 16 from attending amateur and professional cage fighting matches unless accompanied by an adult.
The amended resolution is a watered down version of one introduced weeks ago that aimed to ban anyone under 18 from attending the fights. The revised resolution reflects a state law already on the books that prohibits kids 16 and under from attending matches without an adult.
The new version deemed cage fighting, also known as “ultimate fighting” or “mixed martial arts”, as an "extremely violent form of entertainment" performed by amateur and professional fighters bearing "Neo-Nazi messages in their tattoos or on their clothing."
The vote came just days after Fight Night 26 at the TD Garden Saturday drew an audience of 12,539 for gate receipts totaling $1.53 million, according to UFC president Dana White. The UFC has not announced any current plans to return to Boston.
A spokeswoman for City Council President Stephen Murphy, who introduced the resolutions, said the action is meant to enforce the existing state law, and get cage fighting organizations and fight venues to "take note" of residents' concerns.
The resolution pointed to research associated exposure to media violence with a variety of physical and mental health problems for children and adolescents, including aggressive and violent behavior, bullying, desensitization to violence, fear, and depression.
"UFC fighters have joked about rape or used foul and abusive language that is particularly demeaning to women; and UFC fighters and company representatives have used homophobic slurs and other insults that are hurtful and offensive to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," the resolution said.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is the leading promoter of professional cage fighting events worldwide, said yesterday that the organization is "extremely disappointed" with what it considers to be Murphy's false description of the sport.
"The non-binding resolution merely concludes that the city of Boston should follow existing state law. However, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is extremely disappointed that [the] resolution is filled with blatant inaccuracies and falsehoods. The UFC organization finds it shocking that Councilor Murphy would present such a misleading document for consideration to the City Council," the organization said in a statement.
"UFC is proud of the recent event it put on at the TD Garden, which was televised around the world. By all measures, the event was a resounding success, generating millions of dollars in economic benefit for the community and cast the great city of Boston in a positive light."
The organization went on to say that the resolution shows a lack of understanding about mixed martial arts.
"There is clearly a reason why MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Consequently, it is unfortunate that Councilor Murphy’s actions caused the Boston City Council to be manipulated by a union based in Las Vegas, Nevada. We would hope that the City Council, once it learns the truth about MMA and all of the positive aspects of the sport, would consider revoking this non-binding resolution."