Clandestine fights take the internet public to “street UFC” and shock with violence

Clandestine fights take the internet public to “street UFC” and shock with violence
Clandestine fights take the internet public to “street UFC” and shock with violence
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Squares, gas stations and even the street have been the scene of informal fights, especially in the North Zone of São Paulo. The duels, watched by crowds, also include the participation of teenagers, and are filmed and followed through social media under the name “Street UFC”. The information is from O Globo.

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In the videos, which have great repercussion on the internet, fighters with different weights face each other, which goes against the rules of martial arts competitions.

The clashes still feature “judges”, who are not identified, as they wear shirts to cover their faces. The videos are published on funk dance pages in the North Zone of São Paulo. Comments differ between supporters of the practice and those who are concerned about the conditions and health of participants.

“If you’re good at fighting, I want to see you fight. Come to UFC de Rua, one on one, come face me”, say the lyrics of a funk song, which promotes this type of fight.

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The owner of a business close to a meeting point for these groups says that the fights are something new, and until recently young people only met to drink and show off motorcycles.

— People find out about these fights on social media and WhatsApp. It’s very violent, without any protective equipment. A tragedy could happen. Every now and then the police pass by and disperse people. But as soon as she leaves, everyone returns — says the woman, who did not want to be identified.

GLOBO was there last week. The cousin of one of the “athletes” participating in the fights reported that kicks, elbows or “grabs” are prohibited in fights. There is also a betting system between spectators, with values ​​around R$50.

— It started as a joke between friends. No one hits to hurt, to knock out teeth. It’s friendship, a way to really have fun. On the second day there was a fight here, a crowd showed up to watch. Confrontations last three minutes. If no one gives up, the public itself declares who the winner is — he says.

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The name, “Street UFC”, refers to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world, which produces fighting events in different countries.

Military Police Colonel Azor Lopes da Silva Júnior explains that without aggressive excesses or betting, and maintaining the intention to compete, the practice is not considered a crime.

— There is no law that prevents the practice of martial arts outside of gyms. He also adds that it wouldn’t seem scandalous to us to see children from the outskirts playing football and even getting hurt during the game. What the images show is not illegal conduct, even if it is something that I condemn given the circumstances as they occur. Therefore, there is no police interest in monitoring this type of activity, as long as it does not become a profit-making practice that exploits minors or leads to serious or fatal injuries — he explains.

The São Paulo Public Security Secretariat stated that the Civil Police, through the 28th Police District (DP), seeks to identify the participants in the fights and is available to record the incident. However, the secretariat reinforced that as there is “mutual consent of the parties involved”, the cases do not fall under article 129 of the Penal Code.

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In the same way, children and adolescents have the freedom to practice sports, provided for by the Child and Adolescent Statute. As they are not committing crimes, the dissemination of the videos also does not constitute criminal activity.

— I defend a social approach by the Guardianship Council with public policies that allow local children to practice fighting in a safe environment and with professionals in the field — he recommends.

Four-time Muay Thai world champion Moisés Batista, Gibi also talks about how these practices are a reflection of the lack of public spaces for fighting.

— Martial art can save many people from the streets, from the world of crime. But there is a lack of encouragement from public authorities, there are a lack of martial arts schools on the outskirts. This ends up leading people from these regions to take risks in competitions without the slightest structure, which can even harm the image of the sport.

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However, unsupervised fights in informal environments pose a risk of brain contusions and skull trauma. This is what neurologist Denis Bichuetti, professor at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp), explains.

— In the long term, repetitive head trauma can trigger a neurological degenerative process that manifests itself later, between the ages of 50 and 60. This condition can even quickly evolve into a dementia process — he says.

Cardiologist and sports doctor, Mateus Freitas Teixeira also warns of the risk of injuries to the eardrum and eyes, as well as bruises on the abdomen.

— It’s different from those who fight professionally, who are athletes accompanied by a team. A punch to the abdomen can cause bleeding in the spleen and liver, as well as vascular changes — he warns.

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Death records

Although more frequent in the North Zone of São Paulo, informal fights have been recorded in different parts of the country. In some cases, they had tragic endings, as in October 2023, when young João Vitor Penha, aged 23, died after suffering a knockout.

He was participating in an unofficial boxing tournament on a public court in the municipality of Jijoca de Jericoacoara, in Ceará. The young man was taken to the hospital, and was diagnosed with “brain death” which progressed to respiratory arrest.

In Rio de Janeiro, police officers had to disperse the public watching what was called a “collective UFC” by internet users in November last year. Two men were exchanging kicks and punches on the sand of Leme beach, in Zona Su.

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Clandestine fights internet public street UFC shock violence

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