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« | Home | »

Why Andy Foster & Sacramento politicians freak out over kids pankration

By Zach Arnold | November 7, 2013

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Andy Foster appears on HuffPost Live to talk about kids pankration (click image to view the video from Friday, November 8th, 2013)

Last July, we wrote an article about the brewing battle between the United States Fight League and the California State Athletic Commission. ABC, via their long-standing news program Nightline, grilled Sacramento about the kids pankration events happening throughout the state (and Arizona). The events happen both at traditional gyms and also on tribal land at casinos.

Adding to the political heat Sacramento was facing was the fact that Pilgrim Studios, the producers of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, inked a TV deal with the USFL. This lead to Foster sending USFL a cease-and-desist letter. It infuriated parents involved in kids pankration. This led to CSAC creating a two-person sub-committee to talk to the USFL and try to figure out a way to sanction events. Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla passed AB 1186 in the State House to have CSAC’s tentacles involved in monitoring pankration for future events.

The reason Andy Foster wanted to get ahead of this issue so aggressively is because there is a growing media interest in covering the topic and blasting all parties involved. After the Nightline interview, he decided to put his foot down. The problem is that there are photos and videos available that are being easily framed in a way to push the story as child abuse and bullying.

When the British tabloids get their hands on a story, you know it’s trouble. The Daily Mail in the UK, which often focuses on salacious stories in the States, wrote this picture-filled item online: Inside the outrageous world of child cage fighting: Tiny boys who are trained to attack each other in America’s baby MMA arenas.

The Daily Mail item was a summary of a CNN Photos post featuring Polaris Images showing kids in arm bars, crying, and parents actively involved in kids pankration.

Because CNN and Daily Mail picked up on the story, other media outlets are starting to spend some time on the matter as well. On Wednesday, Fox News’s resident liberal Bob Beckel showed images from Polaris and ripped into the parents who are involved in kids pankration. They pushed the angle that a bunch of 5 and 6 year old kids are breaking bones and showed footage from the Nightline show on the USFL. Beckel said that MMA is the most barbaric sport in existence and that it should be banned on the kid’s pankration, on the amateur level, and on the professional level.

In response to the negative press attention, USFL posted this statement online this past Monday:

Did you know the vast majority of kids who actively compete in Pankration have a B average or higher in school. Should their academic credentials be included with their competition accolades during All Star shows?

So much ignorance in the media but also our own Martail Arts community reagrding the effects of this sport on our youth. We can show documented evidence of the safety but how can we combat the misconception of bullies and bad kids?

Ignoring the naysayers is not an option since they are the ones who go to the media and legislators. We have overwhelming evidence that we are doing a good thing, producing good kids both on the mat and off.

How to we ensure the facts are presented when someone reports on our sport?

Our problem is solely political right now. If we just rely on the facts of our safety and sportsmanship we are golden. Unfortunately we are getting beat up in public relations And it’s all due to ignorance And the media looking for easy ratings. If only we had a good public relations person with us. The kids speak for themself.

We also have kids with learning disabilities who don’t get A’s, B’s and C’s but I’m sure they are doing better because they participate in this Martial Art. As long as we allow cameras in the venues people will film and take photos, some will be exploited so we need all the ammo possible to counter the vast majority who make ignorant statements of street fighting, brain damage and bullies. The majority of our kids are exceptional students, why not celebrate their academic accomplishments while shutting up the critics. This is a necessary evil. The problem with Pankration is solely political. If we do nothing to combat the political / public perception we will continue to be targeted by legislators like Susan Bonilla.

Topics: CSAC, Media, Zach Arnold | 19 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

19 Responses to “Why Andy Foster & Sacramento politicians freak out over kids pankration”

  1. Hard facts cannot be disputed by ignorance. I challenge anyone to show evidence that Youth Pankration results in concussions, injuries, bullies or bad kids. There is a 13 year trail of events so if it existed it should be easy to find!

    CSAC puts a cease and desist on our light contact no head strike sport but allow Kids as young as 5 years old fight full contact in a Muay Thai Kickboxing event on November 9th 2013 in Sacramento. What is going on. http://muaythaiglobal.net/

    Injury Study:

    Limited Contact Pankration
    (Injury Study by the United States Fight League)
    Based on reports from attending medical staff from 2011 to May 2013
    1319 estimated matches during Single Bouts & Double Elimination tournaments
    1,059 estimated athletes consisting of approximately 215 adults and 844 kids
    59 Injuries treated by on scene medical staff. (20 adults and 39 kids)
    48 of the 59 injuries did not require follow up treatment.
    10 were recommended for non-emergency follow up care. (4 adults & 7 kids)
    Injuries included:
    1 Moderate Concussion; 2 Shoulders injuries; 1 Stomach injury; 1 Knee injury; 1 Calf injury; 1 Elbow injury; 1 Foot injury; 1 Chin requiring Stitches and 2 Neck injuries.
    No Severe Concussions occurred and only one Injury required Emergency Medical Transport, an Adult with a Dislocated Elbow

    VS

    Mixed Martial Arts (Actual MMA)
    (Injury Statistics Conducted by John Hopkins University School of Medicine 2002 – 2007)
    635 MMA matches were studied in Nevada
    1,270 adult athletes
    300 documented injuries
    Severe concussion rate was 15.4 per 1,000 athlete exposures.

    Safety Rules:

    Limited Contact Pankration / Class B rules
    Scoring criteria based on proper execution of technique via point scoring system to ensure technique over punishment/ brutality.
    Head Strikes & Knock outs are illegal.
    Fighting with anger, maliciousness and poor sportsmanship is prohibited.
    “Any technique that has a reasonable chance of inflicting injury is illegal. Bouts cannot be won by punishment or brutality. Striking and Grappling is scored by points depending on difficulty in technical execution.”

    VS

    Unified Rules of MMA
    Scoring criteria is based on damage.
    Head Strikes & Knock outs are encouraged and allowed.
    “Heavier strikes that have a visible impact on the opponent will be given more weight than the number of strikes landed. These assessments include causing an opponent to appear stunned from a legal blow, causing the opponent to stagger, appearance of a cut or bruise from a legal strike and causing the opponent to show pain”.

    Andy Foster is an experienced multi-disciplined fighter who has trained in Mixed Martial Arts since 1997. He is trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, Aikido, Judo, Hapkido,Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Sambo, Kickboxing, and Boxing. Foster holds a MMA record of 17 – 2 (8-0 Amateur and 9-2 Professional – Pro- 2 KOs, 7 Submissions, 1 TKO, 1 Decision).[1] He has a 23-3 Amateur Boxing Record; 77-4-2 Sport Grappling Record; and 1-2 Amateur Kickboxing Record.

    This guy has trained in Muay Thai, MMA, Tae Kwon Do, and Kick Boxing but allows Muay Thai kids as young as five years old to strike the head. Also Tae Kwon Do/Karate fighters to kick the head with flying heel kicks and he says this sport is light contact and no need of CSAC regulation.

    He only requires Pro MMA fighters and Pro Boxers to get brain scanned. For there safety.

    Pro Kickboxers are not required to get brain scanned for there safety. They not only punch the head they Kick the head also. Way more damaging to the head.

    Amateur Kickboxers also do not get brain scanned.

    Amateur MMA fighters do not get scanned. They kick, punch, knee, elbow just as hard as a Pro MMA fighter and fight more times a year than a Pro MMA fighter. They also are subject to more knock outs than a Pro MMA fighter.

    He should know this is dangerous to continue.

    The worst thing he has ever done was put a cease and desist on Kids Pankration where no head strikes are allowed and all competitors wear protective gear. This cease and desist has been on Pankration since July 2013. He is allowing Muay Thai kids as young as 5 years old (November 9th in Sacramento) to continue, where they strike the head.

    Watch this video. This is a typical Muay Thai/Kickboxing Knockout and our State does not require a brain scan after the Knockout. This is why a Draka Kickboxer died in California at the Inglewood Forum.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYpDWCa-wtc

    Greed before Safety in California

    This is what happens when you put an ex fighter in charge for the CSAC.

  2. Jon Frank says:

    The USFL is sympathetic to the athletic commission’s position. Our transparency has led to our exploitation by the media which depicts Child MMA fighting, something that should not and cannot be tolerated unless regulated in a safe manner.

    The finer details of what Youth Pankration actually is has eluded the media, probably because it would create less sensationalism.

    If we are unable to receive the support of our own MMA community, how can we expect the mainstream media and the general public to support this sport.

    The USFL is an organization of unpaid volunteers and we desperately need professional public relations help. We do have a 13 year history with the sport of Pankration and have been able to refine the rules to provide a standard of safety that exceeds youth soccer.

    Any detailed study or audit concerning the positive benefits of this sport for kids will heavily weigh in our favor. The question is how to get that included within these sensational stories drafted by the media and how to win support by the major MMA promotions who can spread the truth to the community.

    Here is why we are so confident and transparent to share our sport.

    1. The majority of the kids who compete are head and shoulders above their peers in academics, discipline, citizenship and health. We have a 13 year history with youth athletes and most of these young adults who we were able to track are successful people.

    2. Safety Rules have evolved during a 13 year period and work because matches are not conducted as MMA matches:

    -Scoring criteria based on proper execution of technique via point scoring system to ensure technique over punishment/ brutality.

    -Head Strikes & Knock outs are illegal.

    -Fighting with anger, maliciousness and poor sportsmanship is prohibited.

    -“Any technique that has a reasonable chance of inflicting injury is illegal. Bouts cannot be won by punishment or brutality. Striking and Grappling is scored by points depending on difficulty in technical execution.”

    3. On our own we conducted a injury study and continue to do so in a constant attempt to refine the safety of this sport.

    Limited Contact Pankration Study by the United States Fight League (Based on reports from attending medical staff from 2011 to May 2013)

    1319 estimated matches during Single Bouts & Double Elimination tournaments

    1,059 estimated athletes consisting of approximately 215 adults and 844 kids

    59 Injuries treated by on scene medical staff. (20 adults and 39 kids)

    48 of the 59 injuries did not require follow up treatment.

    10 were recommended for non-emergency follow up care. (4 adults & 7 kids)

    Injuries included:
    1 Moderate Concussion; 2 Shoulders injuries; 1 Stomach injury; 1 Knee injury; 1 Calf injury; 1 Elbow injury; 1 Foot injury; 1 Chin requiring Stitches and 2 Neck injuries.

    No Severe Concussions occurred and only one Injury required Emergency Medical Transport, an Adult with a Dislocated Elbow.

    These parents are smart and care about the children. The fact that they trust us with the safety of their kids while promoters care enought to seek USFL sanctioing for their events when they can save money and do it on their own should spark some curiosity in why this system is working. If we can work with and report to the athletic commission in keeping this sport safe and accesable without burden on the commission we have a win / win situation. Otherwise a slew of dangerous underground events will evolve because there is still motoivation for youth to partcipate in these events.

    I remember how bad public realtions were for the UFC when they started out. Now its our turn, would be nice to get some PR help from the big leagues……

    • The CSAC does not care about safety. They are allowing this weekend and underground kids Muay Thai Smoker where kids as young as 5 years old will be allowed to strike the head. This is so underground the CSAC has not listed it on there events page. They allow smokers in california. You can not be sympathetic to this out of control CSAC. Look how bad this Andy Foster is. No care for safety at all.

      Andy Foster is an experienced multi-disciplined fighter who has trained in Mixed Martial Arts since 1997. He is trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Taekwondo, Aikido, Judo, Hapkido,Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Sambo, Kickboxing, and Boxing. Foster holds a MMA record of 17 – 2 (8-0 Amateur and 9-2 Professional – Pro- 2 KOs, 7 Submissions, 1 TKO, 1 Decision).[1] He has a 23-3 Amateur Boxing Record; 77-4-2 Sport Grappling Record; and 1-2 Amateur Kickboxing Record.

      This guy has trained in Muay Thai, MMA, Tae Kwon Do, and Kick Boxing but allows Muay Thai kids as young as five years old to strike the head. Also Tae Kwon Do/Karate fighters to kick the head with flying heel kicks and he says this sport is light contact and no need of CSAC regulation.

      He only requires Pro MMA fighters and Pro Boxers to get brain scanned. For there safety.

      Pro Kickboxers are not required to get brain scanned for there safety. They not only punch the head they Kick the head also. Way more damaging to the head.

      Amateur Kickboxers also do not get brain scanned.

      Amateur MMA fighters do not get scanned. They kick, punch, knee, elbow just as hard as a Pro MMA fighter and fight more times a year than a Pro MMA fighter. They also are subject to more knock outs than a Pro MMA fighter.

      He should know this is dangerous to continue.

      The worst thing he has ever done was put a cease and desist on Kids Pankration where no head strikes are allowed and all competitors wear protective gear. This cease and desist has been on Pankration since July 2013. He is allowing Muay Thai kids as young as 5 years old (November 9th in Sacramento) to continue, where they strike the head.

      Watch this video. This is a typical Muay Thai/Kickboxing Knockout and our State does not require a brain scan after the Knockout. This is why a Draka Kickboxer died in California at the Inglewood Forum.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYpDWCa-wtc

      Greed before Safety in California

      This is what happens when you put an ex fighter in charge for the CSAC.

      • rst says:

        Are you implying that a 5 year old is going to kick the head off of another 5 year old?

        (That would almost be worth seeing.)

        As long as its controlled, I’d definitely use headgear, then it encourages physical fitness and the skill to defend your own body in a violent lib dystopia.

        (Libs dont want that!)

  3. rst says:

    As long as its light sparring I dont have a problem with it.

    But of course the lib political structure doesn’t care for things that 1. They aren’t good at.
    And 2. Promotes self sufficiency and responsibility for ones own health and well being that contradicts and undermines their own effete elitist worldview.

    • This CSAC Kids Muay Thai Kickboxing event is so underground the CSAC has not listed it in there events page.

      http://www.dca.ca.gov/csac/forms_pubs/events.pdf

      This is being allowed even after the CSAC has put a cease and desist on a Martial Art that is light contact and no head strikes are allowed.

      http://www.dca.ca.gov/csac/about_us/youth_pankration.pdf

      The CSAC Approved a underground Kids Muay Thai Kickboxing event where kids as young as 5 years old compete. Muay Thai Kickboxing they allow head strikes as well as full body strikes.

      http://muaythaiglobal.net/

      The Rules:

      http://muaythaiglobal.net/?page_id=34

      LEGAL STRIKES

      Punching Strikes

      All punches of boxing are allowed to the body and to the head. This would include the
      jab, cross, hook, uppercut, overhand, and spinning back fist. NO punches to the back of
      the head!

      Elbow Strikes
      Amateur- Elbows to the body and head with elbow pads (optional) agreed by both
      corners.

      Professional–Elbows to both the body and the head are allowed. This includes spiking
      elbows and spinning elbows. No elbows to the back of the head or the spine.

      Knee Strikes
      Amateur–Knees are allowed to the body and legs. No knees to the head.

      Professional–Knees are allowed to the legs, body, and head.

      Kicking Strikes
      Amateur–All types of kicks are allowed to the head and body.

      Professional–All types of kicks are allowed to the head and body.

      • rst says:

        You failed to mention being chained to the giant grind wheel and thrown into the pit verses the guy with leather wear and filed teeth.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And yet taking a shot to the head is not promoting health. It is a huge health risk.

    • rst says:

      Well I certainly hope they’ve got a gubment facility in charge of grade school PE, somebody needs to get sued if a kid gets kicked in the face with the kickball.

      Oh no! Those punching strikes! Call the police! (Wait a minute! I’ll be toast by the time the police show up!)

      What is your GPA?! How do we know that your good!

  4. Chuck says:

    ” Did you know the vast majority of kids who actively compete in Pankration have a B average or higher in school. Should their academic credentials be included with their competition accolades during All Star shows?”

    Well, if they keep getting kicked in the head then their grades will probably dip to the C’s and D’s…

    “We also have kids with learning disabilities who don’t get A’s, B’s and C’s but I’m sure they are doing better because they participate in this Martial Art.”

    Well, then the kids’ pankration GPA isn’t a B, now is it? That would be moving the goal posts if I ever saw it. He’s “sure” that the kids are doing better because they are doing martial arts, but how sure is he? Anyone can say the same thing about kids getting into football, basketball, soccer, judo, etc. Doesn’t mean they will turn into good kids. Doesn’t mean they will be bad kids either. But to sound so sure of himself is awfully pretentious of him, right?

    • Laura West says:

      Chuck, did you pay any attention to what you were reading?
      1) the kids competing in pankration aren’t getting kicked in the head.
      2) there’s no “moving goal posts” with respect to the kids’ GPAs. He said the vast majority have a B average or better. There are some (outside the vast majority) who have learning disabilities who may have less than a B average. No contradiction, no change of position.

      • Chuck says:

        There was nothing about head kicks or no head kicks in the original post. Only Greg Patschull mentioned about the CSAC giving his organization a cease and desist on head kicks for kids. Oh, and there is the key phrase. They only banned the head kicks for kids after the CSAC sent them a cease and desist. Of course I am only going by what I am reading here. Oh, and if you read what I was saying, IT WAS A JOKE YOU DOLT!!!

        When it comes to the kids with learning disabilities…..there is a moving of the goal posts with that statement. Not about them having less than a B GPA, but saying that they are probably better off doing that martial art. Making the assumption that maybe their GPA will go up doing pankration. How pretentious can you get?

        • What are you talking about. The CSAC gave a cease and desist on Pankration a martial art that does not strike the head in competition. It is a light contact sport. Pankration tournaments do not strike the head. Not by punching or kicking. The CSAC allows all other Martial arts in California to continue especially the ones that strike the head. And the ones that don’t wear protective gear such as kyoushinkai Karate. The only reason they stopped Pankration is because this style is more entertaining and they got a TV deal. They want a piece of the pie.

        • Chuck says:

          No strikes to the head allowed? At all? Even before the cease and desist? All right then. Great I suppose. But to correct you on KK Karate…..they don’t allow punches to the head at all either. Only kicks.

    • Jon frank says:

      Chuck, just to be clear the statement regarding kids academics as quoted in this article was not a public statement from the United States Fight League. It was taken from our Kids MMA Facebook group discussing wheather our kids grades should be included with their Pankration accolades during shows. This is a private discussion group and not ment to be used as a press release by any means.

      We are currently working hard not only to combat the exploitive media but also working on a proposal to help regulate youth pankration under guidelines that can assure CSAC the sport will be regulated in a safe, effective and affordable manner .

  5. What a joke and Hyprocrite Andy Foster is. He is not going to allow Pankration Kids that don’t strike the head at 5 years old compete but he allows 5 year olds compete this weekend in a Muay Thai Kickboxing event in Sacramento http://muaythaiglobal.net/ where they can strike the head. And allows 5 year olds to compete in Karate/Kung Fu/Judo/Jiu Jitsu/Boxing/etc etc.
    Rules:
    http://muaythaiglobal.net/?page_id=34

    A CSAC underground Kids Muay Thai event so undergound they did not include it in there events page.

    http://www.dca.ca.gov/csac/forms_pubs/events.pdf

    THE INTERVIEW WITH ANDY (PUNCH DRUNK) FOSTER

    Pankration has a cease and desist. A Martial Art that is safer than all because no head strikes and protective gear is worn.
    http://www.dca.ca.gov/csac/about_us/youth_pankration.pdf

    But our CSAC will allow a Kids Muay Thai Kickboxing event this Saturday in there back yard continue where the kids are allowed to strike the head and more forced strikes to the body. Especially knees. Also all the other Martial arts that kick the head are still allowed with no CSAC regulation. This guy Andy Foster is clueless. This is what happens when you put a punch drunk fighter incharge of the CSAC.
    http://www.fightopinion.com/2013/11/07/csac-andy-foster-sacramento-kids-pankration/
    Need to read these comments about punch drunk CSAC EO Andy Foster

  6. Chuck,

    I never said KK punch the head. KyuoshinKai does not wear any protective gear and they only allow kicks to the head.

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