News of the Weird: Kid fighters enter the arena

  • Article by: CHUCK SHEPHERD
  • Wire services
  • February 22, 2013 - 1:04 PM

An estimated 3.2 million kids ages 5 to 12 take mixed-martial arts classes, and some are training to administer beatdowns modeled after the adults’ Ultimate Fighting Championships, according to a January report in ESPN magazine. The magazine profiled the swaggering, mohawked Derek “Crazy” Rayfield, 11, and the meek, doll-clutching fighting machine, Regina “The Black Widow” Awana, 7.

Kids under 12 fight each other without regard to gender. Blows above the collarbone are prohibited, along with attacks on the groin, kidneys and back. “Crazy” was described delivering merciless forearm chest smashes to a foe before the referee intervened, and the Black Widow won her match in less than a minute via arm-bar submission. Parental involvement appears to be of two types: either fear of their child’s getting hurt or encouragement to be meaner.

Dogs who drive

Dog trainer Mark Vette showed off his best work in Auckland, New Zealand, in December: dogs driving a Mini Cooper on a closed course. Using knobs fitted to the dogs’ reach, Vette taught mixed-breed rescue dogs Monty and Porter 10 discrete actions, including handling the starter, steering wheel, gearshift, and brake and gas pedals, and then put them behind the wheel on live television. Monty handled the straightaway flawlessly, but Porter, assigned to steer around a bend, ran off the road.

Newest in stress relief

(1) In November, students at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, ordered three therapy dogs and set up a room for “super stressed” final-exam studiers. (2) In December, Cornell University staff installed a patch of grass inside the Olin Library (trucked in from the Adirondack Mountains) because, said an employee, the sight of it has a “cognitive relaxing effect.”

The price of oil

Jorge Sanchez, 35, was arrested in Burbank, Calif., in February after walking into a Costco store, brazenly stuffing 24 quart cans of motor oil under his clothing (some affixed with bungee cords), and heading for the exit. A security guard noticed him, but Sanchez outran the guard — although some of his cargo came loose. Still carrying 15 cans, he made it eight blocks before police overtook him. Sanchez said he services cars part-time and that motor oil prices were just too high.

Not so congenial?

Sophie Laboissonniere pleaded guilty in January to participating in the 2011 street riot in Vancouver, British Columbia, as part of a crowd that broke into a drugstore after the hometown Canucks’ loss in the Stanley Cup Finals. Months before the riot, in the Miss Coastal Vancouver beauty pageant, she had been voted Miss Congeniality.

Great kitty feat

On Nov. 4, Holly — Jacob and Bonnie Richter’s 4-year-old cat — fled the couple’s motor home at the Daytona International Speedway, frightened off by fireworks. After searching in futile, the Richters drove home to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., about 190 miles away. Two weeks later, Holly appeared, disheveled with paws rubbed raw, about a mile from the Richters’ home. The finder returned her to the Richters based on Holly’s microchip ID.

First day on the job

Tyrone Harris, 26, reported for his first shift at Dunkin’ Donuts in Morristown, N.J., in January and received his name tag. Seven minutes later, according to police, he was on his way out the door with $2,100 from his supervisor’s desk. Police say Harris got a glimpse of the cash when the supervisor opened the drawer to get the name tag.

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