- Bouts take place in secret so they can’t be shut down by the police, it is claimed
Illegal ‘no rules’ fight clubs are flourishing across Britain – with the violent events fuelled by millions of sadistic viewers on TikTok.
The brutal bouts take place in secret locations with details shared before the starting bell so they can’t be shut down by police, a new Channel 4 documentary has found.
Fighters – who are not paid so take part out of a sickening desire for violence – are made to sign waivers before they enter the ring as life-changing injuries and even deaths have been reported.
The documentary reveals that an average of three underground fight clubs take place in disused warehouses, car yards and motorway underpasses across the UK each week.
The illegal fixtures attract millions of views on YouTube and TikTok with the three most popular fight clubs garnering 51 million views on their latest fixtures – a 52 per cent increase since last year.
One such fight club is a ‘no rules’ club in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, where competitors are allowed to immobilise their opponent by any means necessary.
Its organiser, who gives his name only as Lee, tells the documentary: ‘It’s an underground, no rules fight. They can do whatever they want, even bite and eye gouge.
‘It’s full on, vicious, pure violence. Some people baulk at MMA [mixed martial arts] but this is ten times more brutal.’
Lee claims that, despite his fights typically attracting over 10 million views, he doesn’t do it for the money but for the thrill of watching armed combat.
One of those taking part is Leyton, a motorway safety foreman, who said that ahead of the fight his partner kicked him out of their home after giving him an ultimatum.
‘She said it’s either me or this fighting,’ he told the documentary. ‘So obviously I said it’s fighting.’
Ahead of the bout he trains with a seasoned no rules fighter, Alex Etherington, who had part of his ear bitten off during a fight and now carries the gnawed off piece of ear preserved in a jar.
Mr Etherington tells Leighton: ‘You need to go in there thinking ‘I could die here’ so I’m either going to get ready to die or ready to kill someone.
‘I know combat sports aren’t safe but compared to this they’re like a f***ing tea party.’
Another clandestine fight club that features in the documentary is King of the Ring, which holds monthly fights in secret locations around Manchester, with postcodes sent out by text a few days before the contest.
Fighters, who put themselves forward via social media, are matched by age, size, and experience and are made to sign waivers before they can enter the ring. There are multiple fights at each event and each contest comprises three one-minute rounds.
The events are put on by a man who gives his name only as ‘Remdizz’, who runs fights that follow regular gloved boxing rules but take place without any oversight from boxing authorities.
Remdizz claims that, rather than encouraging violence, the fights are a solution to gang wars and criminal aggression. He said: ‘It’s in our human nature, we’re barbaric. Men used to fight to settle stuff… so it’s just in our DNA, it’s within us.’
One of the fighters, a 21-year-old plasterer called Brandon who says he has nine wins in underground fight club bouts, tells the documentary he has been left temporarily blind in one eye after a previous fight.
Despite this, he doesn’t worry about long-term consequences including brain injuries and dementia, adding: ‘I’m not bothered about all that.’
The Secret World of Fight Clubs: UNTOLD is available to stream on Channel 4 from Monday.