NSW Premier Chris Minns says it’s a GOOD thing for kids to learn to fight like UFC stars
- Minns attended UFC 293 in Sydney on Sunday
- Premier defended violent sport’s safety record
- Compared cage fighting favourably to boxing
Self-confessed UFC fan Chris Minns has promoted the safety record of the violent cage-fighting competition as he revealed he’s all for children learning how to brawl like the stars of the octagon.
The NSW Premier promised to bring blockbuster UFC bouts back to Sydney as part of his election platform in January and was front and centre when Israel Adesanya lost his middleweight title to Sean Strickland in the harbour city on Sunday.
Minns said the sport would bring ‘entertainment, jobs, tourism dollars’ and ‘enhance Sydney’s sporting reputation and showcase our state to the world’ when he was selling cage fighting to the people of NSW – and on Monday he praised it for another reason.
Chris Minns (pictured leaving UFC 293 on Sunday) is a self-confessed mixed martial arts fan
The NSW Premier saw Sean Strickland (right) defeat Israel Adesanya (left) in a huge upset – and later admitted his wife wouldn’t let him bring their children to see the fight card
Appearing on 2GB host Ben Fordham’s program, the premier was asked if he brought his kids to the fights at Qudos Bank Arena the day before.
‘No, I didn’t, my wife wouldn’t let me do that,’ he replied.
Fordham then said, ‘If your son said he wanted to be a UFC fighter, what would you say?’
Minns’ answer was illuminating.
‘I’ve got to be honest with you, I think it gets a bad rap, particularly in relation to boxing when you’ve got jiu-jitsu and wrestling, which is the foundation of the sport,’ he said.
‘In many cases it’s not as dangerous as the knocks to the head that routinely occur, particularly in professional boxing, and as a result a lot of parents are enrolling their children for example in grappling, jiu-jitsu, in wrestling.
The UFC is known for its spectacular striking and grappling, with huge punches like this one landed by Felipe dos Santos in Sydney on Saturday a regular occurrence
Tai Tuivasa is pictured being smashed by Alexander Volkov at UFC 293 in a scene that’s repeated during most cage fighting tournaments. Despite the obvious risks of the sport, Minns has praised it for being safer than professional boxing
‘I think it’s probably a good thing.’
Minns’ comments are likely to get anti-violence and child safety campaigners offside.
The UFC has come in for strong criticism over injuries to fighters, especially as repeated concussions have been proven to cause the deadly and incurable brain disease chronic traumatic encephalophathy (CTE) in athletes.
Western Australia even outlawed cage fighting in 2013 before lifting the ban in 2017.
When he made his campaign pledge about the UFC Minns was slammed by the women’s counselling service Full Stop, who accused him of helping promote violence by spending $16million to bring the events to NSW.
‘We would prefer not to see taxpayer funds used on events such as this that glorify violence,’ Full Stop chief executive Hayley Foster said.
Professional boxers wear gloves with far more padding than those used by UFC stars like Justin Tafa (pictured knocking out Austen Lane in Sydney)
‘We have very problematic messaging that we’re sending to men or boys in our communities around what it means to be a real man.’
Last week Minns defended bringing the UFC tournament to Sydney in light of the controversial behaviour of headline fighter Strickland.
The American confessed to punching a fight fan at Bondi Beach and made the following post on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘I’m in Sydney and I thought I’m going to be surrounded by dirty liberalS [sic]. Gay and trans flags everywhere … Literally zero .. maybe America is the problem lmao!’
Strickland beat Adesanya by unanimous decision to take the world title in what many fans and experts view as one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history.