The sport of MMA has evolved from disciplines throughout the world and fighters train for years to refine their skills to put them on display at the highest levels. None of those disciplines will be featured in this list. The fights below vaguely resemble Vale Tudo combat in all their various forms with the exception of sanctioning bodies, legitimate referees and any regard for a participant's safety. Essentially, it’s a list of the most brutal, ruthless, and craziest fights to ever take place outside the umbrella of the law. Some of these will make you laugh, some will make you cringe, the rest might even make you hungry for tacos. Whatever your reaction, we insist that you not participate in any unsanctioned MMA competitions. Instead, whenever you feel like you need to get some aggression out, your best bet is just to load up EA Sports MMA and unload digital Ubereem’s fury against Shinya Aoki with Pride rules enabled. Your other option is to buy the first season of The Wire and realize that you missed the greatest drama of the entire decade because you were too busy watching re-runs of the Dog Whisperer in that television time-slot. We hope you learned your lesson and bought a DVR. We also hope you enjoy our list of Top Ten Underground Fight Leagues.
The first spot on our list comes courtesy of our very own Cat Von C. She told us about these tweens from Georgia back in March who would head to their bathrooms in between classes, fight for thirty second at a time, then go straight to their next class as though nothing happened. That’s pretty raw. If only the rest of us were smart enough to think of a bathroom fight league when we were in middle school, we’d probably have spent more time hanging out with all the cool chicks in juvee.
We’re moving onto high school brawlers in this fight organization. Rather than keeping things hidden in bathrooms or basements, these kids fight in their parent’s yards and nobody seems to get in their way. What you’ll see in some of these videos is a bunch of kids who actually look like they train in various MMA disciplines and get together to practice after school. While fighting is still somewhat taboo in society, these kids really break the suburban mold by skipping their high school football tryouts and jumping right on the MMA bandwagon instead. There are other high school fight clubs out there, but this particular one makes the number nine spot on our list because it has a fully-loaded Youtube channel of backyard brawls and they weren’t caught like those Howard Fight Club n00bs. Check out one of the better fights from the Backyard Octagon:
Back in January, I was helping my friend Joe shovel snow off his driveway until he launched a snowball at my head. I dropped my shovel, shot for a double and stuffed his face full of snow. Eventually, his wife yelled at us to cut it out and finish cleaning off the driveway; we obeyed. If we all lived in Russia, Joe would probably get her to shovel the driveway while we invited over some more friends and this is what her front yard would look like:
According to their website: Felony Fights is 'physical combat between convicted criminals who served time in prison for "unusually violent" crimes; brought together in underground locations in an attempt to harm and gain power over their opponent through the use of force with blows or weapons.' Additionally, there are no rules or judges, so pretty much anything goes. While a part of this belongs filed-away somewhere in our WTF section, the other part of it belongs on this list. See what happens when you take ex-convicts who learned to fight in prison and pin them up against one another for no reason besides getting it on film for our entertainment. .
If you watch some of their more gruesome clips like this one or this one, you’ll find all the reasons why you should never fight outside of a controlled environment. Not only do unsanctioned fight have disaster written all over them from the get-go, the outcomes are often life-threatening late stoppages. We can’t reiterate enough that you don’t try this at home.
It would just be irresponsible of any top ten list that utilizes the word “backyard” without paying royalties to Kimbo Slice. Perhaps his MMA career didn’t pan out the way he hoped, he still remains one of the most famous viral video sensations in the world. Dude single-handedly got millions of viewers to start watching professional MMA with his debut in Elite XC. Still to this day, Kimbo is responsible for three of the four most watched MMA events in history, which earns him the number six spot on our list. Regardless of where his career takes him, he’ll always be the toughest guy at any BBQ and the videos below are proof.
Din Thomas should probably have his own top ten list of reasons why he’s the man. After his win over Gabe Lemey, he got on the mic and called out Chris Brown, letting Rhianna know that he’s ready to lay an ass-whooping on the recording artist whenever she says the word. Din also has a 52 volume set of DVDs where he teaches you 1001 submissions. No, we’re no not kidding. He’s already claimed the number eight spot on our top ten list of fighters you should build a shrine to and I feel like I should be handing him a lifetime achievement award. All I can offer him from a journalistic standpoint is moving up the ranks to number five on this list for his work in creating an unsanctioned underground fight club in his gym in Palm Springs, Florida.
After being arrested the charges were eventually dropped once the judge saw that all his fighters were actually students trying to gain experience and the entrance fee went towards a raffle instead of illegally paying fighters for unsanctioned bouts. Din Thomas had all his basis covered, and thankfully, he didn’t have to spend five years in jail where his awesomeness would go to waste. While we don’t have video of this particular underground fight club, it still gets a spot on the list. If you don’t like it, Din will exile you to a fruit stand in Nicaragua where you’ll wear straw hats, smoke cigarettes, and sell bananas until you’re old and frail.
You start with a two fighters in a ring, and that’s where the similarities between Shockfights and any other combat sports end. There are no judges, skill levels, weight classes, or rules; it’s just you, an opponent, and 3,000,000 volt tasers strapped to each hand. That’s not a typo. I proofread it. The only way to win is via submission or "shock out". While their website was taken down and the organization seems to have disappeared for good, Shockfights used to boast disclaimers such as 'too dangerous for those “ultimate” fighters…' and we still have old screenshots of what their attempts at marketing used to look like. Below is the only known footage of Shockfights actually taking place. Let’s all be collectively be thankful as a human race that this loony hybrid of MMA disappeared forever.
DaDa 5000 is a legend in Florida. While he didn’t invent backyard brawling, he did gave it a face-lift and a classy pair of clear stilettos. Dude has everything from a food court to VIP seating for backyard MMA enthusiasts. The guy he hired to man his BBQ grill looks just like Melvin Manhoef and that right there is worth the price of admission alone. Everything about DaDa's showa looks legit, except the actual ring made out of caution tape and a somewhat pooly-maintained lawn. Even Ultimate Fighter contestant Bruce Leroy was spotted honing his skills before he got the call from Spike TV. I could go on about DaDa 5000 for days, but let him tell you all about it instead.
Of all the wild happenings in New York City, somehow MMA is still publicly frowned upon (and illegal). In a city with nearly 5,000 bars and just about 5,000 bar-fights every night, it would seem that New York has a moral dilemma with sanctioning MMA. Besides collecting tax revenue to help alleviate that $54,500,000,000 in state debt, people like NY Assemblyman Bob Reilly continue to lobby against the sport insisting it’s no different than cockfighting.
New Yorkers are generally pretty creative people, and they often find ways to get around stupid legislative interferences like this one. The folks over at No Mas have been long-time supporters of underground boxing culture and it’s subsequent influence on society. They’ve been slowly turning their focus towards MMA in recent days; particularly the depths to which local fighters go to participate in a sport their state won’t allow them to. Check out this short video they created showcasing NYC’s Underground Combat League.
Some of these fighters have been participating in underground fights like these for the past decade for no prize money or recognition. They do it merely for the love of the sport. This community is relatively close knit and it’s been kept behind closed doors until now. If this video proves one thing, it’s that MMA brings people together like Thanksgiving, except instead of eating turkey and wearing corny sweaters, they beat each other up because it’s the only thing they want to do in their free time. The longer the folks in Albany keep alienating MMA as ‘unfit for society’, the longer that enthusiasts will continue to participate in underground events like these. Although underground MMA is rawesome, legalizing the sport can get these fighters paid and keep them safer while they compete.
There’s a cult following behind our pick for the number one underground fight league. If you’ve never heard of Rio Heroes, you probably still think the tooth fairy exists. This underground fight league took the internet by storm and capitalized on the fans that weren’t quite ready to give up soccer kicks and bare-knuckle brawling under the rest of the world’s unified rules. Heaps of Brazilians got their first taste of MMA through Rio Heroes, and even more fighters throughout the world followed in the organization’s footsteps of underground fighting. This was the closest thing you’d ever find to Fight Club Fighters like Flavio Alvaro (27-8) and Pedro Santos (24-7) were Rio Heroes Champions before they were ever recognized in bigger promotions. These guys were like the Kimbo Slice and DaDa 5000’s of the Brazil, except their skills translated seamlessly into successful pro careers.
Between DVD sales and web-streamed PPVs events, they actually made some decent money which translated into average prize purses of around $2,000 (USD) for each participant. While it doesn’t sound like much, it’s about $2,000 more than most fighters earn at any other underground event. Taking into account how far that kind of money can take you in Brazil, and you’ll find that these promoters did more for the combatants than what some ‘legitimate’ organizations do for their fighters today. You could spend weeks going through all their underground fights on Youtube, pinning grapplers against strikers and men against women. Eventually Rio Heroes was raided by the police and the people responsible for promoting it were slapped with minor charges of aiding illegal gambling. Along with a small fine, they basically got away with running the most famous underground fight organization ever. Well worthy of the number one spot on our list.