A video of a Chinese fight club for children sparked an investigation by Chinese authorities, reports The Washington Post.
The six-minute documentary by Pear Video, a China-based video company, showcases the Endu MMA Club in Chendgu, located in southwestern China.
The club has had over 400 orphans and abandoned children, some as young as 12, come through it in the past 16 years. Its children are provided everything they need to live including food, shelter, and clothing.
The founder of the club said the Civil Affairs Bureau sends him orphaned and “left-behind” children. Those not meeting the club’s high standards are returned to the care of the state.
It’s estimated that there are 61 million children “left behind” in China: children from rural areas whose parents have left to find work in the city.
Zhu Guanghui, the club supervisor, said the club is being investigated by police, and that it’s cooperating with the investigation, which is focusing on the legality of the adoptions. Guanghui said he’s “gone through the necessary procedures to adopt the children” and has “sent the papers to police for investigation.”
The video mainly centers around two 14-year-old boys, Little Long and Little Wu. Little Long said his father is dead and his mother is “gone.” Little Wu was brought to the club by his grandmother after both his parents died.
The boys are training to one day fight in the UFC. Little Wu says he looks up to those fighters, and that he would have nothing if it weren’t for the club.
“My idol is Conor McGregor, from UFC…Here you have everything. Food, accommodation and clothes… If I went home, I would probably be doing some labour work, and then working a part-time job.”
When asked if the children are paid for the fighting, one coach said confirmed that they were.
The video has racked up over 12 million views on China’s popular video-hosting service Miaopai. The thousands of comments range from supportive to appalled.
One comment, which has received over 2,000 likes, says the club is a positive thing for the children.
“Learning to fight from a young age offers a way out for the future, I don’t think there’s anything majorly wrong.”
Another disagrees, saying the children should be in school.
“They should be at school, and yet have entered into the profit-driven world. What’s being implanted into them is that the rules of survival means that the winner takes all. This is deplorable; where are the authorities in all this?”
[Feature Photo: Pear Video/Screenshot]