As a parent of a child who wants to watch the UFC, it’s understandable to ask what age is suitable for your child to watch the UFC or MMA and should they be watching.
UFC & MMA don’t have viewing ages, meaning any age can watch it on TV. In general, most parents agree a child can watch the UFC as long as they recognize it’s a professional sport (Mixed Martial Arts/ MMA), and they understand that violence outside of sport is NOT okay, and they know the difference.
In this article, you will get an overview of all the things to consider as a parent of a child who wants to watch the UFC or MMA, including 3 common concerns, plus some potential benefits to think about.
Should Your Child Watch UFC or MMA?
One of the main concerns for parents about their children watching the UFC is the violence that they will see.
It’s true, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) can be a very brutal sport, and often there will be cuts, blood, and the occasional broken bone.
However, unfortunately nowadays violence is all around us. In video games, movies, and social media viral videos. This does not mean it makes it okay, far from it, but what it does mean is we can’t expect to shield our children from witnessing it.
So why let our children watch even more violence in the form of MMA? Well, it’s different. It’s different because in MMA and the UFC we are watching two professional athletes and martial artists willingly stepping into the cage to compete with each other and showcase their talents.
It’s a far cry from mindless violence that we see in some movies and video games, and it’s the complete opposite of the violence we see in other forms of sport.
For example, in other sports we see fights break out between two players when they’re angry, neither of which are supposed to be fighting. They are supposed to be playing their sport, showcasing their skill, and representing themselves and their team.
What sort of a message does this send to our children? It says that, if something isn’t going your way, or you aren’t happy with a result, then you should lash out. This is the wrong message to give to our children.
In MMA and the UFC though, as mentioned, we see two athletes at the highest level of their sport agreeing to compete together, with a show of respect and a handshake once the bell rings.
- Violence in MMA is no different to in movies and video games
- In MMA and the UFC, your child is watching two athletes and martial artists compete
- By watching the UFC your child can learn about respect and sportsmanship
“Can you take your child to a live UFC event? Check out my article: Are UFC Events Age Restricted (18+)”
Parent’s 3 Common Concerns About Watching MMA or UFC
Some parent’s reaction to MMA and the UFC can be that it is unnecessarily violent and unsuitable for children to watch. And I can see why, however, it usually comes down to three main shock factors:
- They’re fighting inside a cage
- They continue punching while on the ground
- They use kicks, knees, and elbows
Let’s have a look at each one a little closer to see why each of them exists in MMA.
1. Fighting Inside A Cage
Although this may seem irrelevant to some people, to others it comes as a real shock and makes the sport seem even more brutal by making it known to some as “cage fighting”. Sounds pretty brutal right, but MMA is in a cage for good reason.
MMA is in a cage to prevent the fighters from falling through the ropes and is to protect the fighters from falling onto the hard floor as seen in a traditional Boxing ring. In general, MMA fights are not split up when fighters are against the cage wall, if it were ropes, they would fall through often.
2. Continuing To Punch On The Ground
I’m an MMA fan and have been for years, but I can still remember when I first watched an MMA fight and was shocked to see the fight continuing when one of the athletes was knocked to the ground and most people feel the same.
In MMA, the fight continues until there is a stoppage, either by a submission hold, a knockout, a doctor stoppage, or a technical knockout (TKO).
A TKO is to say, technically, if the fight was left to continue, the athlete who was getting the upper hand was going to win. But to save any unnecessary damage being taken, the referee stops the fight.
It’s the same in Boxing, but in Boxing, it just happens on the feet. A boxer can be knocked to the ground and stood back up multiple times, taking punch after punch to the head, before the referee steps in.
In MMA, it can happen both on the feet or on the ground (known as ground and pound). In general, a fighter gets knocked down and you’ll see the referee running to stop the fight before 2-3 grounded shots are landed.
Why Does MMA Allow Ground & Pound?
So, why do MMA fighters keep punching while on the ground?
MMA fighters continue punching on the ground (known as ground and pound) because it’s the grounded fighter’s job to use their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills to either defend, escape, or submit. This allows the full spectrum of mixed martial arts to be showcased in a fair and balanced matchup.
I was raised (like most of us) with a mutual understanding of the phrase “never hit a man while he’s down”. However, with the rise of MMA’s popularity now reaching the mainstream, we see a whole generation of kids seeing it as a normal thing to do.
I still believe this is the worst thing about MMA, not the ground and pound itself, but the fact that people will see it as fair game outside of the sport. It’s not.
In MMA, the fighter on the bottom has a whole arsenal of weapons (known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – BJJ) to use to defend against the fighter’s strikes from the top. The reason the fight continues on the ground is that it allows the downed fighter to use their BJJ. After all, this is Mixed Martial Arts.
It looks brutal, yes. But it is there for a reason, to showcase the full range of martial arts involved with the sport. But once it’s clear the fighter is unable to defend, the referee steps in and stops the fight.
3. Kicks, Knees & Elbows
In short, the reason MMA uses kicks, knees, and elbows to strike with as well as punches, is because MMA uses an ancient martial art known as Muay Thai.
In Muay Thai, the use of these strikes are allowed, and again, because MMA uses the whole mix of fighting forms, we see the use of these strikes in modern MMA.
The Benefits of Your Child Watching MMA & the UFC
The biggest benefit of your child watching MMA or the UFC is that it may inspire them to learn martial arts for themselves.
As a parent, this should be viewed as a positive outcome because of all the benefits martial arts can give to kids. Don’t worry, your child will not be thrown into a cage to fight for their lives and return home covered in blood, not if you send them to a good martial arts school anyway.
However, what your child will get is social engagement, respect (for others and themselves), fitness, confidence, and of course, self-defense skills.
It’s important to note though, that not all martial arts are good for self-defense, you can get a complete guide to the best martial arts for self-defense and why in my other article.
Yes, MMA can be violent, but if your child is showing an interest in the sport and wants to watch it, then they will find a way, guaranteed. So, wouldn’t you rather sit with them a few times and educate them on what they’re viewing?
By us educating our children about what they’re seeing inside the UFC cage, we’re able to explain that it’s a sport showcasing some of the oldest forms of martial arts. We’re able to explain that violence outside of combat sports or self-defense is not the right response.
Individually, each martial art used in MMA is widely accepted as a mainstream sport, with many of them having national representatives at the Olympic Games.
For example, Wrestling, Taekwondo, Boxing, Judo, and Karate are all Olympic sports, but the perception is that once these are all mixed together and locked in a cage it’s somehow worse.
Hopefully, this article will have helped shed some light on the sport of MMA and the UFC, and helped you make a more informed decision on whether you want your child to be watching or not.
Did You Know
The UFC video game age ratings are as follows:
United States: T (teen) suitable for ages 13 and over
United Kingdom: 16+
Australia: MA15 suitable for ages 15 and over