BANGKOK — Organizers of underground street fights said they won’t end their pugilistic bouts despite threats from the chief of Bangkok’s police force.
Those behind “Fight Club Thailand,” which like the eponymous 1999 cult film involves strangers punching each other in spontaneous matches, said what they do breaks no laws.
“What have we done wrong?” wrote Facebook user Joe Madcow KS, an admin of the group’s Facebook page, where matches are organized. “We are a sport like other sports. How are we different from takraw, futsal, basketball? What are you going to arrest us for?”
The group made headlines and attracted police attention after it posted videos online of boxing matches among members said to come people from all walks of life looking for a good fight.
Bangkok Metropolitan Police commander Sanit Mahatavorn said such fights are violation of a 1999 law on boxing because they were not sanctioned by state regulators.
“Let me ask you, what’s in the videos, is that boxing?” Lt. Gen. Sanit said at Tuesday’s news conference. “Everyone who’s seen it knows whether it’s boxing or not. If they want to dispute that, they can contest their cases in court.”
He said he’s instructed police to investigate the group and prosecute those found violating the law.
Joe said the law don’t pertain to their brawls but only boxing bouts that involve competition and rankings, while his group has nothing so fancy as tournaments or prizes.
Another organizer, 32-year-old Chakkrapong Pirom, said in a television interview Tuesday that they make sure that the fights are safe.
“We only have one round, which lasts for three minutes,” Chakkrapong said on Amarin TV. “As for medical aid, if there were injuries during the boxing, we would give them first aid, but if they were serious, we would send them to hospital right away.”
The last match set up by Fight Club Thailand appeared to be on Monday somewhere under a Bangkok bridge. Their Facebook group does not mention any future dates at this time. There’s no mention of Project Mayhem being planned either.
Comments on their online videos vary from supportive to concerned.
“I agree with this. It’s a stage for people to test their might, especially those who like to chase and brawl with each other in the streets,” wrote YouTube user Noom Teerarbsoong, referring to street gangs that often clash in Bangkok. “But they should improve the stage to be safe, and the boxing gloves should be adjusted for safety.”
At least one comment pointed out the very obvious.
“Y’all broke the first rule of Fight Club,” wrote Agent2724 2724.