Saturday, December 3, 2022

Group Reignites Effort To Have Youth MMA Regulated In Georgia

The Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission is currently assessing the legality of rules and regulations being introduced for youth MMA in the state.

While MMA is known to be a brutal and vicious sport, as was evidenced this past weekend at UFC 281 when Frankie Edgar, Dominick Reyes, and Nicolae Negumereanu were knocked out cold, children as young as eight years old are entering the cage.

Youth MMA does, however, look to prevent injuries and concussions. The non-profit United States Fight League is delegated to oversee the sport at young ages and administer rules. They include the use of protective headgear, even with strikes to the head prohibited, and the use of shin guards.

Although holding children’s MMA competitions is a misdemeanor in some states, others allow it. California is the only state to have official rules, regulations, and bouts for kids. Missouri initially did the same before legislation championed by MMA promoter Jesse Finney as part of HB 1388, a comprehensive bill shifting amateur competition oversight from amateur sanctioning groups to the state athletic commission, banned children’s MMA.

As well as California, the majority of youth competitions in the United States take place in Florida, Texas, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Now, some are looking to add Georgia to the list of possible locations.

Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein recently looked into the pursuit of regulating events in the state, speaking with local fighter Sean Goldsby. The 15-year-old, who’s been competing in youth MMA for two years, pleaded for the sport to be given a chance in Georgia for younger age groups.

“If I’m confident enough to get in there and compete in a cage or ring, I’m confident enough to go ace this test,” Goldsby said. “I’m able to work hard. The feeling afterwards, it hurts. But I know, ‘Hey, I did something today. I improved myself as a person.’ … I would say at least give it a chance.”

Pursuit Of Regulation In Georgia Begins Following Pandemic Stall

A group in Georgia initially brought attention to their desire to have youth competition regulated in the state a few years back, but with the COVID-19 pandemic stalling sport across the globe, the topic had to take a backseat.

Now, however, the question has been pushed back to the forefront, with the Georgia commission considering whether they have the necessary rules in place to oversee children’s MMA competition.

“Our primary concern is, do we have the right rules set in place to regulate any sort of combat sporting event?” said Seth Millican, chair of the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission. “That question has recently come back to the commission and so we’re actually working with the Attorney General’s Office right now to see what our statute, what our rules that allows us to regulate.” (h/t WSB-TV)

Talk of youth MMA recently hit the sport’s mainstream when Raul Rosas Jr. appeared on Dana White‘s Contender Series aged 17, meaning he was still classed as a minor.

While a victory saw him awarded a contract and celebrated as the youngest UFC signing in history, a knockout loss would’ve perhaps arisen some questions surrounding minors competing in MMA, especially against those significantly older.

What do you make of the regulation of youth MMA?