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12-year-old vs. 24-year-old in MMA fight

12-year-old fighting a 24-year-old in an MMA fight in Japan has a surprising ending.
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There was intense controversy when 24-year-old female MMA fighter Momoko Yamazaki was matched vs. 12-year-old-girl, Momo Shimizu, who had never competed in MMA before, at DEEP JEWELS 16. It added to the long list of freak show fights in the history of Japanese combat sports.

Obviously, there was a great deal of concern about the age gap and the ethical nature of the contest generally.

Momo's manager Shu Hirata defended the match-up prior to the event, and naturally predicted a win for his client.

“Momo has been training MMA six times a week at least three hours a day ever since when she was in the kindergarten," explained Hirata. "Momo already had 100 amateur fights in BJJ, kickboxing, and karate combined which is far more experience than her upcoming opponent Momoko Yamazaki who actually works at Hostess Bar and barely trains. This is not the first time Jewels put teenagers against an adult. They have done 12 yr old vs adult and 13 yr old adult in the past and in both fights a younger fighter won via submission.

"Fans are used to seeing kids doing kickboxing and beating adults. If anything, there's more of an expectation that she's the next big thing. So her coach [Sadanori Yamaguchi] actually appreciates the concern from the U.S. side, because nobody is too concerned in Japan."

"Of course, there's always a danger as you can never say it's 100 percent safe. But if we're talking about the danger of brain concussion, in that sense, I personally think kids' football, soccer, even playground activities could cause more danger of getting hit to the head."

"I think Momo is going to smash Yamazaki."

Momo herself, who trains at the well-respected but tiny, 600-square-foot Hakuhinkai Karate gym, was not as confident. This is perhaps understandable, as she was only in 7th grade.

"I don't have firm confidence to win this fight," she said. "But I don't think I would definitely lose or anything like that."

As it turned out, the concern was misplaced - Momo managed to score a victory over her older, larger foe by way of rear naked choke, in the very first round.


Are you in favor of these kinds of match ups? What age should people start fighting? Share your thoughts on The UnderGround Forum.

Deep (previously Deep2001) is a Japan-based mixed martial arts promoting and sanctioning organization. It is promoted by Shigeru Saeki who is also the former Public Relations Director of Pride Fighting Championships. Their inaugural event took place in 2001 and featured Paulo Filho and Royler Gracie. On May 17, 2008, Deep announced a partnership with ZST to share fighters, co-promote shows and eventually unify the promotions.[Source: Wiki] 

Author: Nic is a designer and illustrator alongside being a martial arts enthusiast. You can find some of his illustrative work for purchase here.