Yes, you read the headline of this article correctly. According to a report from WMMARankings.com, a 12-year-old Japanese fighter nicknamed “MoMo” is scheduled to make her amateur debut against a grown-up, 24-year-old woman in Momoko Yamasaki. To make matters worse, Yamasaki will enter this contest having carved out a 2-3 record across 5 amateur bouts, while the 12-year-old MoMo, unsurprisingly, has never competed before. This fight will occur at DEEP JEWELS 16 on May 20. It will be contested in the 95-pound minimumweight division.
— Women's MMA Rankings (@WMMARankings) April 23, 2017
While Japanese MMA has always been known for its freak show fights, this seems to be taking things to a new and frankly unsafe level. Because this will be an amateur bout, we can at least take comfort in the fact that both competitors will be wearing head gear, and that ground strikes to the head will be forbidden. Still, the chances that we end up watching an adult beat up a child seem inherently high.
Given the immediate backlash surrounding this fight, you might expect the promoter to cancel it, or MoMo’s far older opponent, Yamasaki, to bow out.
This has not happened yet. Instead, Yamasaki has actually defended her choice to take the fight, and promised to defeat her “fairly strong” 12-year-old foe “without mercy.”
“I will participate in amateur rules,” she said on her Ambelo page. “Because I was missed due to a previous injury, I will be careful not to get hurt this time. When you look for your opponent in your class, LOL, smile becoming a super junior high school student. The size of the body does not change. Career is much longer than mine. I think that it is a fairly strong child, so I will defeat her without mercy. Thank you for your support!”
So, there you have it. This wild bout is not showing any signs of being nixed. What do you make of this MoMo vs. Yamasaki madness? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/25/2017.