CSAC head Andy Foster decries youth MMA fights


Youth mixed martial arts matches with no head contact rules are increasing in popularity in California, but as seen in this ABC News Nightline piece, California State Athletic Commissioner Andy Foster is taking steps to prevent the bouts. Children as young as five are taking part in the contests.

"I'm okay with them practicing with their coaches," explains Foster. "But when they step into a competitive area, and they use full contact blows to damage the other person, that's how they win, then it becomes a problem."

Foster is making huge strides in turning around the MMA scene in California, bringing the CSAC back from the brink of collapse, and will undoubtedly bring the events into compliance.


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tags: Regulation   California   Andy Foster   video   

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jfrank site profile image  

6/17/13 12:37 AM by jfrank

This pretty much sums up the CSAC meeting last week!!! 

spartancs site profile image  

6/16/13 5:46 PM by spartancs

Matty, I think the key point is the underlying injury mechanics.  If an 80lb girl gets thrown 8 feet in the air enough times something bad is going to happen whether intentional or not.  Cheerleading is the #1 cause of catastrophic injury in young girls for that reason.  Changes could be made that would eliminate those injury risks. Little League baseball is a sport that uses a hard ball and aluminium bats.  While pitchers may or may not intentionally hit a batter and batters may not intentionally hit an infielder with a line drive off an aluminium bat, both those situations occur with frequent tragic consequences. All youth sports involve injury risks so sensible parents will balance those risks with their childs sports related passions. If you review the rules for FILA Pankration you will note that no strikes are allowed above the collarbone.  Furthermore they do not allow takedowns or slams that cause initial head impact, no head spiking.  The rules are intended to minimize concussive and subconcussive brain injuries by prohibiting contact with the head. So for the parents of kids who love martial arts, enjoy both grappling and striking and want to compete in the sport of Pankration the important assessment to make is what injury risks does the sport present and does it present any unique injury risks.  The kids compete with padded golves and the striking risks are qualitiatively inversly proportional to the age of the competitors.  As the competitors get older and their skill and strength and body weight increase the risk of injuries from strikes go up.  As a parent if you are comfortable with the risks associated with striking to the body you won't have a problem with Pankration.  The  bigger injury risks IMO come from big takedowns and submissions.   Parents who are willing to accept the injury risks presented by wrestling and submission grappling shouldn't have a problem with Pankration. When comparing Pankration to other sports like Hockey and Football injury risks are further mitigated by weight classes.  If you kid is playing football he might get run over by a kid that weighs 100lbs more than him,  in my experience injury risks go way up when there is a large weight difference between athletes in contact sports. MMA, Boxing & Muay Thai may use "damage" to your opponent as a criteria for scoring but Pankration expressly forbids employing techniques intended to injure your opponent.  In Pankration people don't get hurt when things go right.  It's an international sport under FILA and the rules are designed to make it a safe and fun sport for youth athletes.  http://www.fila-official.com/ I would never claim that Pankration is free from injury risk.  However in the 12 years that the league that my kids have competed in has been hosting competition there have been no serious injuries.  In that same time period there have been several deaths in baseball and many cheerleaders have suffered catastrophic spinal and head injuries.

spartancs site profile image  

6/16/13 5:20 PM by spartancs

So Matty, are you just referring to Boxing or are you also referring to the sport of Pankration where strikes above the collarbone are illegal and grounds for disqualification?

MattyECB site profile image  

6/16/13 5:06 PM by MattyECB

Also there is an important distinction with Cheerleading I can't believe so many people miss when they bring it up...In cheerleading, people get hurt when things go wrong.In fighting, people get hurt when things go right. Take that as you will, but it's an important fact. Not to mention the scariest type of damage associated with fighting isn't immediate nor is it visible.

MattyECB site profile image  

6/16/13 4:58 PM by MattyECB

Anyone who lets their 8 year old box is either ignorant -- not an insult, but they're simply ignorant of biology and the scientific community's current understanding of brain trauma and child development -- or they should be shot...I like to think anyone supporting that on the UG falls into the first category -- Unless I'm simply misinformed and there are no blows to the head at all, in which case it's hardly boxing. I practiced Muay Thai for fun and didn't spar until my teens. Realistically, that was probably unhealthy too since you don't really stop development until you're out of adolescence, but I took it easy. To develop a competitive outlook and fighting when you're not even a teenager, I really just can't convey my disgust at that.

jfrank site profile image  

6/15/13 9:51 PM by jfrank

But kids events are OK if you pay CAMO thousands of dollars, only then do they become safe and appropriate. 

spartancs site profile image  

6/15/13 6:05 PM by spartancs

You are 100% correct. The potential for injury when strikes to the head are not allowed is much greater in submission grappling and from hard takedowns or throws than it is from striking.  The younger kids are the lower the risk is from striking.  A 5yr old kid is not going to break another 5yr olds rib with a hook to the body or a round kick but they are absolutely capable of dislocating an elbow, cranking a neck or causing serious injury from joint locks.

Steve4192 site profile image  

6/15/13 5:52 PM by Steve4192

I disagree.Wrestling is FAR more dangerous than any striking sport where strikes to the head are banned. I saw some horrific injuries in youth wrestling when I was a kid. If little kids can get suplexed onto their skull, they should be allowed to get punched in the sternum.

spartancs site profile image  

6/15/13 5:09 PM by spartancs

Exactly, kids also enjoy Karate, TKD and Boxing. Why is it that these sports are fine until you combine them and remove all strikes above the collarbone, introduce injury time if someone gets the wind knocked out of them, prohibt "punishing" or  scoring from striking more than 3 times from the same position?  Now it becomes irresponsible, should be banned??  Is there a logical thought process behind these comments?

Brom Bones site profile image  

6/15/13 4:47 PM by Brom Bones

Pride rules IMO.