A CHINESE fight club that legally adopts orphaned children and trains them in mixed martial arts is under investigation.
A documentary released on Pear Video – a popular Chinese alternative to YouTube – has courted much controversy in China, leading to authorities in Chengdu, Sichuan province, to investigate the Enbo MMA Club.
Footage showed boys as young as 12 brawling inside a cage, in front of a paying crowd.
The boys and teenagers were among the 400 children from poverty-stricken parts of China that have been adopted and given training by a former police officer named Enbo, who founded the club in 2001.
Some of the children are orphans and most come from poor regions in China.
Enbo said on the documentary: “Some of these kids were orphans, and some had a family that was too poor to educate them.”
He added that the adoptions were all above board and endorsed by the government.
But the South China Morning Post revealed that local authorities are now investigating the club, after an outcry by Chinese people.
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One of the youngsters, 14-year-old Xiao Wu, said in the documentary that his life at the club was better than life at home.
Wu, who said his parents had both died, did not want to leave the club and return home – his ultimate goal is to follow in the footsteps of Conor McGregor and fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championships.
“There is everything here – food, clothes and a place to live,” he 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.”
A coach later reveals that the children’s proceeds from ticket sales are managed by the club.
One trainer, Dong Zhou, says MMA is better than the few other options the kids have.
“Some people said, ‘I give up, I wanna leave, I’m going back,’” Zhou said.
“What can you do back home? Shepherd cattle or pigs? Or be a beggar? Or be a gangster?”
Teenager Xiao Long, 14, joined almost a year ago his father died and his mother abandoned him in Liangshan prefecture.
His faily routine consisted of: “Wake up and training, then take a shower, then sleep.
“And then wake and training, like that.”
But, according to another report in the South China Morning Post, an education official from Liangshan said underage children will be taken back to the prefecture and provided schooling.
They also said that the Endo MMA Club ” incited and used underage children in commercial fighting and made a huge profit.”
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