For many generations, parents have directed at-risk youth to participate in traditional organized sports such as basketball and football. But future children might be schooled in the ways another sports obsession: Mixed martial arts.
Toronto is considering an initiative titled "UFC Community Works," a program backed by the mixed martial arts organization. The Toronto Star reports a brochure for the program describes it as promoting "the development of discipline, respect, teamwork, honesty, time management and physical fitness" through mixed martial arts training and meetings with UFC fighters.
Naturally, the initiative is not without some controversy.
The UFC program was described to The Star as a "terrible idea" by Pamela Gough, an educational trustee. "Schools are all about peacemaking right now," she said. "We don't want to promote violence; we don't want to promote fighting." Critics have condemned the violence in mixed martial arts, as some cities in the U.S. and Canada continue to ban the UFC from holding events.
From a business standpoint, the move is smart. Should the UFC get young people participating, a large percentage will grow up to become pay-per-view buying supporters as adults.
Yet another school trustee named Chris Glover said that's another problem with the proposal. "We don't send (children) to school to sell them advertising," Glover told The Star. "I don't think parents would be very happy if we were promoting the UFC in our schools and using our schools as an advertising venue for them."
To its credit, the UFC has charitably branched into the Canadian community already. In April, the UFC launched a $129,000 community initiative aimed at helping at-risk communities across Canada.
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