Chinese police are currently investigating an underground fighting club which allegedly adopts hundreds of orphans to be trained as mixed martial arts fighters.
Local media exposed the shocking practice wherein young children are pitted against each other in violent physical combat.
A footage of one fight shows two children, believed to be 12-years-olds, duking it out against each other in a brawl as a crowd cheers on in the city of Chengdu. The video caught the attention of the authorities after it went viral on Chinese social media.
According to Daily Mail, the Enbo Fighting club claimed that they adopted the children and were providing them the opportunity to improve their lives by training them to fight.
In an interview with Pear video, the young fighters expressed that they are enjoying their life at the club.
He said he likes martial arts and dreams of becoming a fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the future. He also revealed that he looks up to Conor McGregor as his idol.
Another 14-year-old orphan named Xiao Long explained that he trains hard because he does not want to be sent back home.
“Everyday, I got up early to train, then I shower, then I sleep. Then I train again,” Long was quoted as saying.
In the clip, a trainer can be heard screaming at his students:
“If you want to give up and go back home, what could you do? Would you want to beg or become a gangster?”
The club owner, a former SWAT officer named Enbo, has so far adopted and trained around 400 children who all have no parents.
A coach at the club named Wang Zhou told Pear Video that the children were “more or less” paid to battle during fighting events. He explained that the club manages the fighters’ earnings and would provide money to them once they need the amount.
In a separate interview, however, the club denied that the children were being forced to fight for money.