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Saturday, May 07, 2005
 
Hawaii Passes 18-Year Old Age Floor for Ultimate Fighting

Motivated by an increasing popularity of ultimate fighting, which involves a mixture of boxing and martial arts and which is presently unregulated in Hawaii, the Hawaiian Legislature has passed Senate Bill 768. This bill requires that contestants must be medically fit adults who have not been disqualified in another jurisdiction and that an experienced referee and licensed physician are present at the ring. It also levies a fine up to $10,000 for infractions. Governor Linda Lingle has until July 12 to sign it. (Gonser, "Bill Sets Rules for Hybrid Fight Style," Honolulu Advertiser, 5/7/05).

This bill was also motivated by a related incident last month. Apparently, a coach for a 14-year old boxer arranged for him to fight against 32-year old marital arts expert in an ultimate fighting bout. Hence, the bill contains a provision that the ultimate fighter be an adult. But the bill does not outlaw 14-year olds from boxing.

And that begs a question: Why should we be concerned about 18 year-olds playing in the NBA, or 20-year olds playing in the NFL, when it is okay that 14-year olds are boxing, even as amateurs? Plus, one can become a professional boxer and now a professional ultimate fighter at age 18 in Hawaii -- just like in most walks of life, once a boxer becomes an adult, he can test the market and see what he's worth.

It's strange that there doesn't appear to be the same outrage for 18-year olds repeatedly punching each other in the head as there is 18-year olds taking 18-foot jumpers or catching passes out of the backfield.





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