I was quoted in Mike Chiappetta‘s article at Bleacher Report on a 12 year-old MMA fighter in Japan. The intriguing aspect of this story is the 12 year-old is making her debut against a 24 year-old fighter in an amateur bout on May 20.
Here’s my bit:
Dr. Shawn Klein, a lecturer of philosophy and a sports ethicist at Arizona State University, said the pivotal issue is not Momo’s age but her ability to offer consent. At 12, children are still developing emotionally, cognitively and physically, and they don’t fully understand the future consequences of their actions.
“I would think on average, it would be wrong for a 12-year-old to do this, but I think there can be exceptions if you have a 12-year-old who is exceptional across the board,” Klein said.
“If you have a young person who is capable of great maturity and forethought and advanced physical abilities in the ring, it seems like you would want to allow her to engage those capacities while making sure it’s safe.”
For the fight to take place, Momo’s coach, parents and schoolteachers all had to give their full approval.
“That does help assuage some concern that we might have about whether she’s being taking advantage of, being exploited, that it’s not some sort of circus spectacle that is going to do some long-term damage to her development both as a fighter but more importantly as a person,” Klein said.
“So if she has good support around her and folks who are concerned with long-term interest as well, that’s helpful. That’s the biggest thing about 12-year-olds. Certainly, they can think through a lot of things. They can be bright and precocious, but that long-term vision of life is not there.”
More of my media mentions.