Kids these days, they just want to pummel each other for the adoration of their peers and a few extra Facebook “likes.” Ever since Edward Norton took to punching Meatloaf’s man boobs in the film version of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, secretive real-world fight clubs have become an underground phenomenon. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise, people have been beating the crap out of each other forever, only now they’re just doing it in suburban garages and high school gymnasiums for fun.
With the announcement of Palahniuk’s sequel to Fight Club, it feels like a good time to revisit the weirdest real-world fight clubs that have sprung up over the last fifteen years. Here are five of the more bizarre — actually, downright shameful — instances of people starting fight clubs. Time to break that first rule…
1. Toddlers throw down in organized preschool fight club.
Parents today should inquire about two things when selecting a preschool: What kind of snacks are given to the children and will the children have to battle one another in romper room cage matches? This is the world we’re living in, folks. In 2012, during an unrelated investigation, Dover, Delaware police discovered video of an organized gambling ring that pitted preschoolers against each other in fights. Three dirt-bag teachers were busted at the Hands of Our Future preschool and were officially charged with child endangerment. They were also unofficially charged with being terrible pieces of human excrement.
2. The gentleman’s fight club of Silicon Valley.
On the scale of fight club brutality you’ve got your secretive prison matches at the top and much, much lower you have your web coders fight clubs. Known as the “gentleman’s fight club” – because “computer nerd slap fight” isn’t as catchy – this Silicon Valley fight ring was exposed in 2012 after going on for over a decade. The club hasn’t been shut down because it takes place in a garage on private property, and has one rule: don’t cripple your friend. Members wear face masks and battle each other in 60 second brawls that sometimes involve participants belting each other with brooms, folding chairs, and the occasional computer keyboard.
3. The Philly cop who was busted for encouraging neighborhood brawls.
Tamika Gross will probably not be a candidate for Philadelphia Cop of the Year: 2014. Just last month, the Philadelphia police officer was arrested for allegedly encouraging teenagers in her neighborhood to throw down and brawl with each other. Between 2012 and 2014, it’s believed that Gross encouraged both her son and daughter to settle neighborhood disputes with other teens through fighting, even joining in on one occasion and punching a 16-year-old girl in the eye. The incidents didn’t come to light until a near riot broke out in the street and neighbors called 911 with police showing up to question Gross about the fights. Awwwkward.
4. The “no boys allowed” girls fight club.
Fight clubs aren’t just for toddlers, computer nerds or death row prisoners; they’re also popular among middle school girls. Police in La Vergne, Tennessee investigated a rumored 6th grade girls’ fight club in 2011 after a video surfaced on Facebook of two 12 year-old girls beating the crap out of each other. La Vergne Police chief Mike Walker, said the video began with one girl punching the other in the face at a public park while other girls stood around cheering and watching. “It’s like a fight club. They think it is for fun, but what happens when someone hits the concrete and is seriously injured for life?,” said Walker. Three of the girls were eventually charged with assault and police investigated the possibility of adult involvement, but no adults were ever arrested.
5. Dallas high school’s steel cage matches.
High school is generally a crappy experience for most people, but it’s even worse if your school’s extracurricular activities involve steel cage bare knuckle brawls. Dallas’ South Oak Cliff high school sounds more like a high school version of HBO’s Oz with the school’s principal and other administrators knowingly allowing a boys fight club to exist in the school’s equipment locker room and using it as a disciplinary tool. The fight club was believed to have taken place during the 2003 school year and eventually came to light after a parent reported that her son had told her he was forced to fight another student for 10 minutes while the football coach watched. The school’s principal denied any knowledge of the fights, but when questioned by police a teacher told investigators that she had seen the principal tell security personnel to place two fighting students in the cage and they could “duke it out.” Via NY Daily News:
The report said a hall monitor, Gary King, told investigators he witnessed the head of campus security and an assistant basketball coach place two students in the cage to fight.
Another hall monitor, Reno Savala, told investigators he came upon two students fighting in the cage “bare-fisted with no head or eye protection.” Savala said the assistant coach was watching the fight and broke it up when Savala told him to.
“It was gladiator-style entertainment for the staff,” Frank Hammond, a fired counselor who has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the district, told the newspaper. “They were taking these boys downstairs to fight. And it was sanctioned by the principal and security.”