Dangerous Teen Trends: Fight Club

Brutal Boxing?

Fight clubs are boxing matches where young men " and sometimes women " duke it out in secret locations.


Seventeen-year-old Alex and his friend, Casanova, 20, posted a video online of the latter pummeling a 16-year-old boy. The fighting video received nearly 1,000 hits on YouTube.

On videotape, Alex and Casanova recount their regimen. "A fight club is just a way to get everything out," Alex explains.

The young men jog and do pull-ups and sit-ups in preparation for battle. "Right now, we're going to show you one of the spots that we used a lot for fighting," Alex says, gesturing to a small, fenced-off room. [AD]

"We get here before anybody else, and we just start warming up ourselves. People start to come. We tell them, ‘Don't make that much noise,'" Casanova adds.

"Everything we do is personal. Nobody is being hurt who hasn't signed up to be hurt," Alex says.

Dr. Phil introduces the young men to Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization (UFC), professional alternate fighter Kenny Florian and former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin.

Dr. Phil addresses Forrest. "What do you think about what these guys are doing?"

[AD]The fighter directs his response to Alex and Casanova. "I appreciate the spirit of it. I understand the rush of it. It's funny, when you're young, you don't realize some day you're going to be old, and the injuries you accrue are going to still be with you," he explains. Referencing Casanova's fight video, he says. "I would never do it on concrete. That's a little silly."

Kenny adds his thoughts. "The thing is, you guys aren't professionals, so you have to be really careful. You don't know. You hit one wrong spot, and a kid could get seriously injured," he says. "It's a dangerous thing that you guys are doing out there."

"In order to be a UFC fighter, these are professional athletes who are highly trained. Dana, talk about two things: Number one, your commitment to safety for these fighters, your safety record and what you think about what these guys are doing," Dr. Phil says.

"The UFC is sanctioned by the Athletic Commission. We're the only sport other than boxing that's actually regulated by the government. When I say that, drug testing, proper medical attention, these guys get CAT scans, EKGs, get full medicals before they fight and after they fight," Dana replies. "In the almost 20-year history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship " my partners and I have owned it for 10 " there's never been a death or serious injury. Boxing, on average, has five to six deaths a year. The reason is we take all the safety measures you need to take." [AD]

"Would you sign them if you found them street fighting?" Dr. Phil asks Dana.

"No. Actually, we do the exact opposite," he replies. "Most of our guys are college educated. Both of these guys [Kenny and Forrest], they've been training in mixed martial arts their whole lives. Fighting in the street is not the way to get into the UFC. We do not condone street fighting, and we're not looking for any guys who are coming off the streets."

Addressing Alex and Casanova, Dr. Phil says, "These are professional athletes, and they're telling you what you're doing is foolhardy. It is ridiculous. You should not be doing it."