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
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…