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Controversy over footage of children cage-fighting

By Gemma Fox     Sep 22, 2011 in World
Preston - Footage of children as young as 8 being shown as cage fighting has caused a storm of mixed opinions as police say the event is legal.
The footage of two young boys scrapping inside a cage has drawn criticism from the British Cage Fighting Association themselves who called parents who allowed children to take part in this event as "morons".
In the footage two boys, one who was named as 9-year old Kian MacKinson, are seen to grapple inside a cage while watched by paying adults. The boys wear no protection either to their heads nor any other part of their body. In the footage one boy can been seen breaking down in tears and being attended by a paramedic before carrying.
The caged event took place at Greenlands New Labour Social Club in Preston, in the north west of England. Local police said that although the event was not illegal they would investigate to see whether any children had been put at risk.
The British Medical Association (BMA) and the NSPCC both condemned the event with the NSPCC voicing concerned about the effect the fights had on the developing bodies of young children. The BMA said, "Boxing and cage fighting are sometimes defended on the grounds that children learn to work through their aggression with discipline and control.
"The BMA believes there are many other sports, such as athletics, swimming, judo and football, which require discipline but do not pose the same threat of brain injury."
The father of Kian MacKinson, Nick Hartley, said that his son was happy doing this, wanted to do and should be allowed to carry on. He also said, "There is no harm in cage fighting at all.
"If he wasn’t cage fighting, he would probably be chucking stones at buses and giving people grief. But now he has learned some respect and he would rather go training than play out."
There were mixed reactions to this news on social networking site Twitter this morning. Some said that it was similar to judo or karate and children did that. Others said that it was nothing short of child exploitation.
The owner of the club, Michelle Anderson, defended the club and the sport, she said, "The children were grappling. The cage fighting only comes when they get older.
"We hold boxing events here and kids fight then and nobody's complained about that.
"It's just the name cage fighting that people are getting annoyed at or they criticise it because they know nothing about it."
The club fully intend to host similar events in the future.
Footage from Sky News can be seen here.
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