Cage-Fighting Event for 8-Year-Olds Is O.K. With the Law, Say Police
It's hard to imagine that this would happen in the U.S., land of helicopter parenting, staunch litigiousness, and swiftly delivered Internet justice, but Europe is different. After 8-year-old kids were involved in a cage-fighting match (a sold-out event watched by 250 people, some of whom videotaped it), British police launched an investigation into the September 10 child-on-child fight at the Greenlands Labour Club in Preston, northwest England. While people are outraged, police have determined that organizers will not face any legal action because, in part, the club has a license to hold events.
Obviously, people continue to be outraged, because any event in which partially clothed kids are put in a cage to battle it out seems to draw that sort of sentiment. Jeremy Hunt, the government's sports minister, called the images "very barbaric," and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children strongly discouraged parents from letting their kids do this sort of thing.
In the video, 8- and 9-year-old boys grappled and wrestled without protective gear while "a scantily clad female paraded on stage between rounds." One boy seems to be crying. However, the event organizers claim this is safe, and that kids don't get to punch and kick until they reach a ripe old 14 or 15. The father of one of the boys also distinguishes that this isn't cage fighting, this is grappling -- "cage fighting only comes when they're older." Plus, the dad says, "He likes to do it, he's never forced to do it, he wants to do it, so leave him to do it."
Michelle Anderson, owner of Greenlands Labour Club, told the Telegraph [where there's video as well], "There was nothing wrong with it. The kids were there to fight, they have fought before. The parents were there. Would people rather these kids were out on the streets with guns and knives?"
Are those the only options?