Earlier this week, Chinese outlet Pear Video shot a mini documentary about Enbo MMA Club, a Chengdu-based training center and fight club whose officials claim to train over 400 young fighters. A pair of 14-year-olds, Xiao Long and Xiao Wu, spoke to interviewers and claimed that they came to Enbo every day and trained long hours. Both children said their parents were either dead or out of their lives. The video also shows an outdoor fight between two 12-year-old children, one with spectators, belts, and ring girls that bears striking resemblance to a full-blown MMA fight, other than the fact that both participants are clearly adolescents and both look far too young to be beating the shit out of each other.
Both kids say they want to join the UFC someday, and they also speak about the high pressure of training at Enbo. Xiao Wu said he joined the gym because his only other choice was to live as a farmer or laborer in the countryside.
Club founder En Bo started the club 16 years ago and supposedly feeds the children and pays them a small stipend. He also says he’s officially adopted the hundreds of children who train an Enbo through the Chinese Civil Affairs Bureau. However, the South China Morning Post reported that police are investigating the legality of Enbo and whether or not the “adoptions” are legit. A coach says in the video that the club “manages” the money made from their fights, although he denies that they are exploiting the kids. Given the extreme poverty that the fighters are coming from, that seems improbable.
Either way, spindly 12-year-olds are still probably too small to whale on each other with little restraint.