NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Cutthroat Kids

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An estimated 3.2 million kids, ages 5-12, take mixed-martial arts classes, training to administer beatdowns modeled after the adults' Ultimate Fighting Championships, according to a January item in ESPN magazine, which profiled the swaggering, Mohawked Derek "Crazy" Rayfield, 11, and the meek, doll-clutching fighting machine, Regina "The Black Widow" Awana, 7. Kids younger than 12 fight each other without regard to gender, and blows above the collarbone are always prohibited (as well as attacks on the groin, kidneys and back). "Crazy" was described delivering merciless forearm chest smashes to a foe before a referee intervened, and The Black Widow won her match in less than a minute via arm-bar submission. Two types of parental involvement have emerged: fear of their child being hurt or encouragement to be meaner.

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