Mixed martial arts competition for children

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Rules on mixed martial arts competition for children vary. In most U.S. states, there is no central organization in charge of children competing in mixed martial arts also known as Pankration (MMA).[1] In some states it is a misdemeanor to hold these competitions. Missouri and California are the only two states that have official rules, regulations and recognized bouts for children.[2][3] The non-profit United States Fight League[4] is the delegated organization to oversee and administer the rules and regulations for the sport.[5]

To ensure the children's safety in fights, California and Missouri put slight but substantial differences into the rules. At other places, many are discussing that teaching boxing to children[6] can be beneficial for their overall well-being.

Since its inception many media sources have covered the sport to include:

Rule differences[edit]


Children competitors generally wear more padding than adults in an effort to make the sport less brutal and decrease the chances of injuries. In adult MMA the only visible protection is the open-fingered gloves. Children must wear headgear, shin guards, and the open-fingered gloves. In addition to that children are not allowed to strike a downed opponent in the head. The United States Fight League uses a unique point-based scoring system which promotes technique over brutality in youth contests.[19] The rule differences are in place to protect the children and yet still allow them to participate in the same venue as adults.


  1. ^ Gullet, Mike (March 27, 2008). "Even kids getting into mixed martial arts". NBC Sports. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  2. ^ Sherdog News (September 11, 2014). "California becomes first state to adopt Youth Pankration Rules Regulations). C.J. Tuttle
  3. ^ Weekly Reading Corp (May 5, 2008). "Teen Throwdown". Gale Cengage Learning. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  4. ^ "United States Fight League". fightleague.org. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  5. ^ Capradio (August 14, 2015) California Kids Prepare for Steel Cage matches. Bob Mofitt
  6. ^ "Boxing Classes for Kids - Is it a good idea?". smartfitnessexpert.com. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  7. ^ Moffitt, Bob. "California Kids Prepare For Steel Cage Matches". capradio.org. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  8. ^ "Photos Show Controversial World of Kids' Mixed Martial Arts Fighting". nationalgeographic.com. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  9. ^ Sherdog.com. "California Becomes First State to Adopt Youth Pankration Rules, Regulations". sherdog.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  10. ^ Galileo (25 September 2015). "Cage Fighting Kids - Galileo - ProSieben". Retrieved 12 January 2017 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ "Inside the colorful, controversial world of youth MMA". yahoo.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  12. ^ "The Struggle for Legality, Regulation, and Safety in Youth MMA - VICE Sports". vice.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  13. ^ Laurent, Olivier. "Meet America's Young Fight League Kids". time.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  14. ^ AXS TV Fights (30 January 2015). "A Look at the World of Sanctioned Kids Pankration in California". Retrieved 12 January 2017 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ "First state-approved kids MMA fights in U.S. held". usatoday.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Would you let your kids do this?". yahoo.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  17. ^ The Doctors (9 December 2013). "Cage-Fighting Kids? -- The Doctors". Retrieved 12 January 2017 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "Kid fight club: How young is too young?". foxnews.com. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  19. ^ Kabel, Marcus (April 4, 2008). "Missouri Legislators want to ban "cage fighting" for kids". News Tribune. Retrieved November 22, 2009.[dead link]