How has MMA grown as a sport? When it started, the sport was a mix of unorganized fighters from different backgrounds. Now, MMA has evolved, and fighters have started their own gyms and teach "MMA" itself. Children learning "MMA" from a young age has become an ordinary thing in this generation.
But, is that the best way to start an MMA career? I don't think your IQ is the most important part of MMA, but I do think it's beneficial for fighters to at least dedicate themselves to high school.
As a child or a teenager, the body is a lot weaker than an adult male, so trainers have to take care of the health of their younger pupils. There are chances for more serious injury, or even death, if you're training when you're young. That's true even with stick-and-ball sports, and we all know there are greater risks associating with fightsport.
So, it's not a surprise that martial arts has tried to resolve these issues long before MMA. That's why judo teaches ukemi first, and why judo and jiu-jitsu both teach students to tap out.
Some evaluate gyms and dojos by how effectively they instil discipline in children. That's not wrong, but self-defense is important for education. Education isn't discussed a lot, but it's necessary. Athletes need to find stable ways to grow up as fighters, and mature as people. Gyms need to learn to cope with this, as the development of their young students is directly connected to that gym's reputation.
Gyms and dojos aren't regulated by government or commissions, only by the owners and trainers. However, giving MMA strong, rich diversity is dependent on having trainers who, from a young age, can mold adolescents into well-rounded, mature adult athletes. Even if it's not a flashy topic, this kind of knowledge and relationship with trainers is crucial.
Big thanks to Jordan Breen (from Sherdog) for English and editing.