Group Goes Fist-to-Fist With Ultimate Fighting, Seeks Ban On Minors Attending Matches

Backed by City Councilor Stephen Murphy, parents don’t want kids watching the bloody brawls in Boston.


On August 14, Boston will have an “Ultimate Fighting Champion Homecoming,” and celebrate the return of the sport to the city.

But a team of parents, doctors, and city officials are trying to put the chokehold on the “extremely violent form of entertainment” by banning minors from baring witness to the martial-arts matches.

The “UFC Homecoming” event, which will be held at the Barrio Cantina on Boylston Street and hosted by UFC President Dana White, is scheduled to take place just weeks after City Council President Stephen Murphy filed a resolution asking to put an end to anyone under the age of 18—even with a parent or guardian—from attending the fights. “Cage fighters at the amateur and professional levels have competed in public stadiums and on television bearing Neo-Nazi messages in their tattoos or on their clothing,” Murphy said in his filing during a City Council meeting on Wednesday, “and extensive research has associated exposure to media violence with a variety of physical and mental health problems for children and adolescents, including aggressive and violent behavior, bullying, desensitization to violence, fear, and depression.”

According to Murphy, fighters from the UFC, which is the professional level of the mixed-martial arts sport, have joked about rape, used foul and abusive language that’s demeaning to women, and used homophobic slurs, all of which, he said, set a bad example for Boston’s youth. He said the sport uses alcohol sponsors to fund the fights, which adds to the negative image that can be imposed on children.

Murphy’s request to ban underage spectators from viewing the sport in a live setting will have to be discussed by the appropriate committee, and later voted on by officials in the coming months before it can become law in the city.

Diane Levin, a professor of early childhood education at Wheelock College, backed Murphy’s resolution, and “strongly urged” that the City Council pass it.

“Because of how children think, they are especially vulnerable to learning the harmful lessons that directly witnessing entertainment violence can teach—about how people treat each other, about the role of violence in society, that violence is fun and exciting with few consequences, and that grownups glorify and value it,” Levin said. “Everyone who cares about the wellbeing of children and the wider society should call for a ban on children attending Live Cage Fighting events.”

An advocacy group comprised of parents, doctors, and professors are also supporting Murphy’s efforts, and have started a petition and website sponsored by national movements like the National Organization for Women, the Boston Women’s Fund, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment.

The group, known as “Parents Say No to UFC,” supplemented their campaign message and petition page with a video that shows gruesome shots from various professional fights, including bloody contenders punching each other in the head repeatedly.

Following the August 14 event on Boylston Street, the UFC will have its first match at the TD Garden and in the city since 2010. UFC President White said he was excited to be returning to the area after a two-year hiatus. “We look forward to bringing another successful event to Boston during an incredible week for sports fans,” he said in a statement in June.

  • BostonNative

    I disagree. Alcohol sponsor are at every major sporting event – hockey, baseball, football, boxing, soccer and others. Also, with all the nonsense going on in other sports (Hernandez, Cooper), are we going to start banning minors from attending other sporting events? MMA is a major sport that is only gaining momentum and growing at a rapid pace. Many minors these days practice MMA instead of other sports. So we are going to ban them from seeing their role models and athletes they look up to?

  • Boston UFC Fan

    This is nothing more than a Corrupt Boston City Councilor , Stephen Murphy being shady again and working for one of his biggest political donors.

    He is an affiliate of UNITE HERE, who have a ongoing campaign of harassment against the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) and its partners, under the guise of concern about the conduct of some UFC fighters.

    However, Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy and the Culinary Union’s actual agenda has nothing to do with such conduct.

    – See more at:

    • Kanye

      Thank you

  • Guest

    I am a mother on a young boy who trains 7 days a week in the martial arts and loves to watch the events and has his favortie fighters. Even at 7 he understands the difference between fighting in his training and compitions and bullying. This sport and the people involved in it have such a bad reputation. Look at the recent acts in other professional athletes and all of the major sports have alcohol sponsors. This is a cop out of a misunderstood fast growing sport. I have attended local fights with my son and met some amazing people who are also fighters. I hope this doesnt pass cause my son would have to wait 11 years before he could attend these events. This is such a fast growing sport and many kids are leaving typical mainstream sports to train in the many different arts with hopes of getting to this high level.

  • nbafan11

    if he wants to ban violent sports , he needs to start with football its a ton more violent than mma .

  • Chrom1um

    The “Neo Nazi” stuff is borderline libel. It’s certainly ridiculous. When one clothing sponsor for several UFC fighters was shown to have white supremecist ties it was blacklisted from the entire sport, with the UFC acting almost immediately. You only have to look at their 10 world champions (or their entire roster) to see that the sport is a rainbow. They also have two openly gay athletes on the roster, which is more than the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB combined.

  • Troy Hane

    This is absolutely illogical. To refute some of his points:
    – The Neo-nazi symbolism was handled appropriately by the UFC when the tattoos on the fighter were noticed; the fighter was banned and lost his license.
    – All major sports use alcohol as a sponsor. If you believe that alcohol sponsorship is promoting drinking (which as a parent I believe it is my job to present my feelings on drinking to my child), then I believe that all of the prescription medication that is so prevalent on mainstream TV is promoting sex.
    – Lastly, social media is out of control in all sports. Look at the tweets of other sports. I do not see how you can pull out your hypocritical pen and say it is ok for NFL or NBA players to spout off about whatever (look at some of the tweets after the Zimmerman trial), but not for UFC (which as a company with fighters under contract, should develop some form of social media rules of conduct, as all sports should).
    Sports athletes are not role models for our kids in our society unless we as parents permit it – nor are politicians.

  • Nicholas Whalen

    Typical liberal nonsense. Ban everything. Control everyone.
    All the while getting their palms greased green by lobbyists, which they have in common with the lesser of two evils party.
    All democrats AND republicans need to be removed from every office at every level of government.
    When are we going to take action?

  • Bob139

    I hate when people have a perfectly logical viewpoint but then feel like they have to bolster their argument with nonsense. It’s perfectly reasonable to say you don’t think kids should go to UFC because you don’t think kids should go to events where the sole purpose is violence. You don’t have to say society will fall apart, you just say you don’t think it’s healthy for kids to see it. But you throw in beer sponsorships and everything and you just look like a hypocrite for not going after any other sports.

  • Future Android

    It’s not like the kids can’t watch it on Fox for free on NETWORK TV….oh wait. The thought police just telling people how to raise their kids, idiots.

  • destor23

    Well, this is just hysterical lunacy. Next!

  • Mike

    THe person that wrote this artical shown he didnt have all his facts before he wrote it. First its been 3 years since UFC been to Boston and 2nd Show is 17th and not 14th….Learn your shit before you write it!