WESTBROOK, Maine — Police in the Maine city of Westbrook say they have discovered a “fight club” that uses social networking sites to promote mixed martial arts style fighting.
Police say two 18-year-old men are facing charges of unlawful prize fighting as the result of their involvement in an organized street fight on the night of Nov. 8.
Westbrook Police Lt. Mike Nugent says officers found a large group of spectators whose cars formed a circle around the combatants. Headlights were used to illuminate the fight.
Nugent tells the Portland Press Herald police will not tolerate illegal fight clubs. He says there are clubs where people can do it legally.
Charged with unlawful prize fighting, a class E misdemeanor, were Christopher Randall of South Portland and Christian Adams of Portland. According to Maine law, a person who engages in, encourages, or does any act to further a premeditated fight is guilty of unlawful prize fighting.
Nugent said there is no betting on the fights, adding that “they do it for status.” At least one spectator video taped the fighting, he said.
The fight’s organizers, Westbrook MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), posted this message on their Facebook wall: “We started this MMA in Westbrook and put it on the radar, now we got other people setting up fights in Westbrook, and I am proud of that because we put this on the map in the dirty brook. I’ll keep you posted on MMA fights that are going on in this area.”
The Facebook page has attracted 249 followers and features images of fighters.
On Tuesday night police interrupted another fight on an athletic field off Stevens Avenue. Two 16-year-olds were charged with disorderly conduct.
Nugent said the boys arranged that fight on Facebook, though it doesn’t appear they were part of a fight club.
“Our problem is that one of these kids is going to get seriously hurt. They are not taking any type of safety precautions,” he said.
Mixed martial arts fighting is shown on television. The United States-based Ultimate Fighting Championship is shown on pay-per-view television in the United States and several other countries.
Fighters use kicks, boxing skills and wrestling moves to overpower their opponents.
Hollywood drew attention to street fighting in “Fight Club,” a 1999 film featuring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. “These kids are definitely getting ideas from the media. You can even go back as far as the movie Fight Club,” said Dan Panici, a professor of communications and media studies at the University of Southern Maine.