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The first rule of Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club.

The second rule of Fight Club is - you DO NOT talk about Fight Club...
Tyler Durden, Fight Club

An abandoned warehouse in a peaceful city is used as a rink for suburbanites to set out their differences (or just blow off some steam) through violence, in illegal matches. Usually has a level of secretiveness added to it, and sometimes, when teenagers are the perpetrators, they'll film it and put it on the internet, "the greatest of all evils".

While fight clubs aren't necessarily bad thing (as long as there are set and agreed-upon rules and all fighters are willing participants), TV tends to demonize it a bit. There must have been some real-life examples based on the fictional ones.

This trope is quite common in Martial Arts movies set in the modern day, as a way to facilitate fight scenes and show off the fighters' moves. Fight clubs in these movies tend to be set up by the bad guys of the movie, and often have their members fighting each other to the death like gladiators in a Roman arena.

Not to be confused with a Club Fight, that is, a Bar Brawl.

Examples of Fight Clubbing include:


Anime and Manga

  • Parodied in Kamichu!, in which stray and domesticated cats gather at an abandoned factory to train in martial arts so that they can protect themselves from humans. Their leader is even named Tyler Nyaaden.

Comic Books

  • Thunderbolts had a bizarre period at the end of its original run when it began a book about an underground fight club for supervillains.

Film

  • Wolverine takes part in one of these at the start of X-Men 1.
  • Hot Shots Part Deux, of course had a hilarious version, parodying the beginning of Rambo III.
  • As noted, this is a very common martial arts movie trope.
  • Never Back Down features underground MMA fights at a party, at a dance club, and underneath school bleachers.
  • In a deleted scene of The Foot Fist Way, Mike is first introduced killing a man at an underground fight club.
  • Real Steel features the Crash Palace, one of many underground joints for robot boxing. It's an abandoned warehouse, with little lighting, and littered with humans and robots milling about. Later on, Atom has his first fight in an abandoned zoo.
  • The 1994 Street Fighter movie has Vega in one of these.

Literature

Live Action TV

  • Suburban Shootout - trope-heavy show...
  • Law and Order - fighting for a girl that was actually thirty, teenage example.
  • The Torchwood episode "Combat" does this with aliens added to the fun.
  • Clark Kent gets involved in one of these during Season 7 of Smallville in order to get rid of one of the Phantom Zone escapees.
  • In The OC, Ryan is so sad about Marissa's death that he has to fight club about it.
  • Angel - except here the fighters are demons.
  • Parodied on Dead Ringers as Brian Perkins' Fight Club:

 The first rule of Brian Perkins' Fight Club is that you don't talk about Brian Perkins' Fight Club.

The second rule of Brian Perkins' Fight Club is that you don't talk about Brian Perkins' Fight Club.

The third rule of Brian Perkins' Fight Club is that you don't talk with your mouth full.

 Liz: Oh god, is this a fight club?!

    • In another episode, when Liz asks Pete how he's getting out his aggression after losing his private time, a cutaway shows Pete fighting in one of these.
  • Blood Ties does it with zombies.
  • In the "Hundred Dollar Baby" episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the gang tries to forge Charlie into an underground pit fighter, believing that he is impossible to injure. His "training" consists almost entirely of getting pummeled by Dennis and Mac. Ultimately Mac takes his place under the name "Clownbaby" and gets beaten up by a much smaller opponent.
  • In an early third season episode of Chuck, the Buy More guys start a fight club after Chuck accidentally flashes on combat skills and kicks Lester in the face.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, it is revealed that Marshall actually brawls with his brothers in a Fight Club scenario.
  • In season 11 of Degrassi, Drew gets beat up by gang members. He deals with the resulting PTSD by joining a fight club.

Music

  • Christina Aguilera's video Dirrty takes place in one of such fighting warehouses.
  • Sick Of It All's video for Take The Night Off also takes place in what appears to be an abandoned building. Slight variation as, like the above example, the combatants are both women.
  • The Apocalyptica track "Repressed" does this with a twist. The video shows different women with rather obvious bruises calling each other up to organise an event. The whole video makes it look like these women are the victims of abuse...up until the end, where it's revealed they got these bruises from beating each other up in a warehouse. The very end shows them leaving the warehouse laughing and giving each other hugs.

Video Games

  • This is the entire point of Def Jam: Fight for NY.
  • Final Fight: Streetwise opens with an underground fight involving the main character. Throughout the rest of the game, you can choose to participate in the fights for cash. One of the opponents you can face is Cammy from Street Fighter doing an Intercontinuity Crossover.
    • In the first game, our three heroes fight Sodom in an underground fighting ring and The Andore family (Father, Grandpa, and Uncle) in a steel cage match.
  • You can join a fight club in Fable. One of the strongest members is the mayor of one of the towns.
  • Saints Row 2 has two of these.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 has a fight club in the local Wretched Hive. It's a handy source of extra cash in the early stages of the game. Just about the only rule is no weapons, although you can get away with using a knuckle duster, and if you win too many fights your enemies will start bringing guns into the ring.
  • Luis from Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony is a former club fighter, and is forced back into the ring to pay off his mother's debts.
  • Once per chapter in The Witcher there's a pub with underground brawling in the corner. Butterbean appears as the mid-tier opponent in a game-wide championship.
  • In Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Ezio can fight downstairs in Bartolomeo's Roman barracks. The challenges are generally for the at least 40 year old man to take on up to five mercenarii and win. In less than a minute.

Western Animation

  • Spawn - with added cannibalism.
  • Seen in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) episode "Fallen Angel", where this is one of the hurdles a candidate must pass in order to enter the Purple Dragons gang.
  • Parodied on The Venture Brothers during the origin of Billy Quizboy, where he and Pete White earn money for a cross-country road trip on a circuit of illegal underground cutthroat Quiz Shows. Billy then gets his arm ripped off as a result of White having confused a Mexican dog fighting ring with one of these.
  • Pam from Archer is shown in a flashback to have financed her college tuition through a highly successful and deadly tour of these. Her back is tattooed with over a dozen kill marks from these fights along with Lord Byron's Destruction of Sennacherib.

Web Original

  • One of the major events in the pregame of Survival of the Fittest version three was an underground fighting tournament in the basement of a bar called Shooters. The tournament was a major enough event that it is still referenced in the occasional post during the main game. It is a slight subversion, though, in that tournament organizers Montezzo Valtieri and Lucas Dasai were said to have gone through the proper channels to make sure the tournament was completely legal.
    • Played a bit more literally in version four and its pregame with Garrett Hunter, who created his own Fight Club based on the film and actually sees himself as Tyler Durden.
  • The first rule of Chess Club...

Real Life

  • Toughman contests usually set up in local bars and host a boxing tournament for novices. Butterbean is one famous participant.
  • "Smokers" are private, unsanctioned boxing and Mixed Martial Arts events set up between gyms so that inexperienced fighters can get some ring experience before going into their first sanctioned bout.
  • "Bumfights," an infamous serious of videos in which a group of young men paid bums to fight each other and otherwise degrade themselves for change.
  • Kimbo Slice made a name for himself by brawling local toughs in backyards and parking lots and putting the clips up on youtube.
  • Arguable case; football hooliganism. Despite how they are often displayed the hooligans do not just fight random people, but other hooligans and it is done in an organized manner...well, as organized as a mass row can get.
    • In the Terry Pratchett novel Unseen Academicals the game of football has pretty much degenerated into just the hooligans with little or no actual play at the beginning of the story.
  • The Agreeable Recreation of Fighting, focusing on Ireland in the mid-to-late 19th century, where brawling was entertainment. The article contains several eye-openers: five percent of deaths were from infected bites; a policeman tried to stop an old man fighting, and was set upon by 500 people; another tried to break up a faction fight by firing his gun in the air, whereupon he was mobbed by the combined factions, then taken up against the magistrates for illegally owning a firearm. Drink was often involved, as were sticks and stones, but never malice.
  • The tradition of academic fencing or Mensur is still practiced by some student fraternities in the German-speaking world (and other areas of central Europe). The aim is not so much to defeat your opponent, but to get a cool scar or two in your face. A hundred years ago, such a Schmiss was regarded as a badge of honour among the German upper classes.
  • Fight clubs still happen in cities. And they're illegal. And Now You Know.
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