The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club, but that didn’t stop the people behind The Brooklyn Girls Fight Club in Brownsville from making a documentary about theirs. Or news outlet PIX11 from doing a story on it. “No scratching, eye gouging, or hair pulling. This is not the MMA,” it starts.
Underground fight clubs are nothing new in New York. A crazy loophole in New York law technically allows amateur MMA to go down completely unregulated in the state, and there have been promoters taking advantage of that across New York City for years. Here’s promoter and documentary maker Samson Styles talking about how The Brooklyn Girls Fight Club started:
“It’s just a fighting community, sorry to say. And these women fight. So I ask how can I channel that to make it constructive? So I stared the fight club. And we got these known females that cause havok in the community and fight and say why don’t you do this for money? We weren’t exploiting these women. This is their lives. We’re just telling their story. ”
“If you’ve paid to see a Floyd Mayweather fight, whats the difference? It helps their esteem. It helps them control their anger. Because they might have gotten angry and just lashed out before, but now they say ‘Hold up, I gotta train. I’ll see you in the ring in two weeks.'”
According to the news piece, several of the women involved in the Fight Club used the money they won to stabilize and improve their lives. One even made a down payment on a house with her winnings. The club is now closed but as we mentioned at the start of this article, there are numerous other underground fight promotions across the boroughs of New York, and the police are helpless to stop it until Albany fixes its mixed martial arts laws.
For more on all that, you can read Jim Genia’s article on the loophole at Deadspin or his book Raw Combat, which details his years investigating fight clubs in NYC. As for The Brooklyn Girls Fight Club, you can see a documentary on the years it existed on VUDU.