MMA in the Playground: Are children over-exposed to the sport?

Henry McKean reports after the death of a Portuguese fighter following a Dublin MMA event

MMA in the Playground: Are children over-exposed to the sport?

©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

"It's a good sport, it's entertaining to watch as well. It can be dangerous at times but when fighters go in they know the risks they take to go in." 

That was a 12-year-old, involved in mixed-martial arts, who spoke to Newstalk's Henry McKean on his Moncrieff Show report, which you can listen to in full.

The death of Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho following a Dublin event at the weekend has spurred a debate about the dangers of the sport.

But it has also led to other questions. There have been calls for parents to stop their kids watching mixed martial arts on TV and some have called to ban it.

Henry also spoke to a teachers and parents about the issue among school-age children.

"Unfortunately we do see it at times and it's very dangerous, so it's not tolerated in the school," one teacher told Henry about regarding kids mimicing MMA moves in the playground.

"A lot of pupils would be very interested in the sport, watching the big fights with Conor McGregor. It's having a big effect on their behaviour in some senses as well."

Henry also spoke to Sheena Horgan, co-producer of documentary Is Childhood Shrinking?

She admits that curtailing the exposure of what children can and can't watch on TV and online is a difficult process, but believes that "we have to be incredibly careful about the exposure that children have, the excess of exposure to it, because what happens is with watching a lot of this alongside particular games, it desensitises children to violent behaviour. So watching it on and off has a much lower impact but if our kids today are online and looking at screens as much as they are and exposed to a lot of adult violent behaviour, then that will have an impact".

You can listen to Henry's full report via the podcast player below: