Last year, Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov made his young sons take part in staged MMA fights against other children their age. His sons fought against other 9-, 10-, and 11-year-olds is what resembled a full-on UFC event, which meant small gloves and no protective headgear. He caught heat from Russia’s most famous fighter as well as the rest of the fighting world for the gross spectacle.
Next month, another preteen fighter is set to take part in an MMA event. A fighter identified only as “MoMo” is on the undercard at Japanese event DEEP JEWELS 16 on May 20. As first reported by WMMA Rankings, the 12-year-old will fight Momoko Yamasaki. It will be an amateur fight at 95 pounds and the promoters will not permit the fighters to strike each other on the ground. While there is debate about whether people whose brains are still developing should be taking part in MMA fights at all, they should at least protect their heads. The sliver of good news in this baffling exhibition is that MoMo will be wearing headgear.
The bad news is that her opponent is twice her age. Yamasaki, 24, has fought five times at the amateur level and reportedly has a 2-3 record. According to the DEEP JEWELS website, the fight will be a two-round fight with three minute rounds. MoMo trains at Hakuhinkai Karate, which has produced several Japanese fighters, but training at a respected gym does not exactly mean a preteen should fight someone 12 years older than her and nine pounds heavier.