UFC: Should MMA Become a High School Sport?

Matt Saccaro@@mattsaccaroContributor IIIMarch 27, 2012

The MMA class from Minden High School. (Photo courtesy clydestanleyskarate.com)
The MMA class from Minden High School. (Photo courtesy clydestanleyskarate.com)

There is no problem with MMA becoming a high school sport in the United States. In fact, it should be a mandatory part of the curriculum. 

This notion might sound absurd at first, but it's not. Bringing MMA into high schools (and it's already in one high school's curriculum and in another in club form) would strengthen the youth of a nation who is currently too afraid to have their children play dodge ball.

It would also help solve two other serious problems in the United States: bullying and the obesity epidemic. 

Nearly a third of all students are bullied at one point in their education according to the National Center for Education Statistics. At first, it seems like arming kids with the "destructive" knowledge of MMA seems like it'd encourage bullying, but it may well curb it. 

Why would one kid bully another when he knows that kid knows how to fight? And it's possible that the more timid kids who would've otherwise been bullied might actually be good fighters! It certainly couldn't make bullying any more of a problem.

Regarding obesity, approximately 17 percent (12.5 million) of children/adolescents are obese according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

These obese children will eventually grow to become obese adults (and some "thin" children might even become obese as they grow older), bringing the estimated percentage of obese adults to over 35 percent.

This is a crisis, a crisis that can be solved—although not immediately—by mandatory MMA in high schools (and perhaps even in middle and elementary schools). 

Obese children will undergo the strenuous workouts that are part of MMA and will lose weight as well as develop the tenacity and mental strength to keep the pounds off and become more fit in the future. 

More fit children/teens would lead to more fit adults—adults who would raise their children with the lessons learned from MMA training. This would, over time, stem the tide of obesity. Americans would replace Dunkin Donuts with the Dolce Diet and a brighter tomorrow would ensue.

MMA has saved lives before in direct ways (through fighters stopping criminals or through a kid choking out a dog), but it also has the power to save lives in indirect ways through stopping or severely limiting the growth of bullying and obesity.

Lastly, and comparatively least important, from an entertainment perspective high school MMA would increase the size of the talent pool and therefore raise the baseline skill in MMA as a whole.

Fighters would be better on average as a result and would able to pull off more impressive maneuvers or just fight with more technique in general. The fighters who manged to make it to the UFC would be better for it since they would've had to best a stronger local circuit. 

Thus, MMA should become a high school sport—America can't afford for it not to.