Ohio police probing 'Fight Club'-style brawl


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) -- A weekend brawl involving about 100 people and a YouTube video showing fights with an armed referee in the style of the film "Fight Club" is under investigation by police in northeast Ohio.

The brawl occurred Saturday night in a park behind some stores in Boardman Township near Youngstown, and such brawls apparently are held monthly, said Boardman police Chief Jack Nichols. Officers say the YouTube video of the brawl shows people fighting as the crowd watches, with one man appearing to referee and threatening to shoot anyone who interferes.

No serious injuries were reported, but a loaded gun later was found in a nearby stream, The (Youngstown) Vindicator reported.

The crowd ran into surrounding neighborhoods, but the chief said he expects to make arrests.

"If you look at the tape, there's at least one adult or more," Nichols told the newspaper. "The man refereeing it, he was in his 30s, maybe. We'll see if we can get enough evidence to identify them and then the fighters themselves."

The chief said Tuesday various charges could be filed, including trespassing, disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon and possibly contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He said it looked as though most of the people in the crowd were juveniles.

"The thing that has me the most concerned was the guy who found it necessary to bring a loaded gun to referee the fight," he said.

Police also increase their patrols of the area, he said.

The idea of fighting on a regular basis was popularized in the 1996 novel "Fight Club" and its film adaptation. A character in the novel organizes bare-knuckle fighting matches as a form of therapy, with participants prohibited from talking about the club.

A park caretaker spotted the Boardman fight about 6 p.m. Saturday and called police, the park's executive director said.

Park employees will be asked to check remote areas more frequently, executive director Daniel Slagle Jr. said.

The park closes at dusk except for those who have reserved a building or pavilion, and guns aren't permitted on park property except for people who have concealed-carry permits.


Information from: The Vindicator, http://www.vindy.com