Chinese MMA Club Under Police Investigation for Adopting Orphans and Training Them in MMA (Video)
Police in China’s Sichuan Province are investigating a local MMA club after a video of young boys cage-fighting went viral.
The video, a short documentary by Chinese media outlet Pear Video, profiles the Enbo MMA Club, located in the city of Chengdu. In it club founder En Bo, a former member of the People’s Armed Police, makes the shocking revelation that he has legally adopted over 400 children from poverty-stricken areas of the province and brought them to his club to train in MMA.
Though the founder says his goal is to keep the children off the streets and avoid a life of poverty and crime, the documentary raises a lot of red flags.
The six-minute video, posted on July 23, shows dozens of pre-teen children training under gym-manager Dong Zhou before highlighting a pair of 14-year-old fighters named Xiao Long and Xiao Wu. Long says he came to Enbo after his father died and his mother ran away. Wu says both his parents are dead, and his grandmother sent him to the MMA club because he had a fondness for martial arts.
In the video Dong Zhou admits that, for some children, the training regimen at the club is too much and they want to quit.
“I ask them: ‘What can you do if you return to your hometown? Herd cattle or raise pigs? Beg for food on the street, or be a delinquent?”
Xiao Wu says he stays at the club because it’s better than the alternative.
“There is everything here – food, clothes and a place to live,” Xiao Wu said. “The food here is much better than at home. There is beef and eggs here, but at home I can only eat potatoes. [If i go back home] I will have to take up labouring jobs.”
The video has sparked outrage in China. Apparently a lot of people think it’s wrong to make children choose between living on the streets or beating the shit out of each other.
There’s also a question of money. The documentary shows a couple of children who look to be no older than 12 taking part in commercial MMA fights. When asked if the children are paid to fight, Wang Zhou, one of the coaches, says “more or less.” The club “manages” the money the children earn, Wang says, and provides them with a stipend.
If that sounds shady, that’s because it totally is. Hence the police investigation.
Watch the documentary for yourself below: