Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

Police knock out 200-person ‘illegal fight club’ in New York City

The first rule of Fight Club is “You do not talk about Fight Club” — and the first rule of the COVID-19 pandemic is “You wear a mask and remain six feet apart.”

Police say they caught more than 200 people at an illegal (and much-hyped) fight club in New York City late Saturday, where attendees were drinking, smoking and standing shoulder-to-shoulder in spite of coronavirus rules. Photos show most of them were also not wearing masks.

New York City sheriff’s deputies say they busted the event, dubbed “Rumble in the Bronx,” around 11:15 p.m. Authorities recovered two loaded firearms, as well as marijuana, liquor and hookahs.

Rumble in the Bronx CEO Michael Roman, 32, and nine other organizers were arrested at the scene, the New York Times reports.

Police say the organizers face a slew of charges in connection with the event, including unlawful assembly, violation of emergency orders, illegal combat and various alcohol- and firearm-related offences. Each suspect has also been fined $15,000.

The event was hardly a secret, as organizers spent weeks talking about it on social media. Their main Instagram account has since been deleted, but other posts under the hashtag #RumbleIntheBronx show large crowds gathered around a boxing ring.

The bust comes less than a week after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tightened rules around public gatherings in the state, which was hit hard by the pandemic in early 2020. New York cases are surging again amid a second wave of the virus.

Cuomo has restricted private gatherings to no more than 10 people, indoors or outdoors. He also ordered gyms, bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m.

“Bars, restaurants, gyms, house parties, that’s where it’s coming from, primarily,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters at the time.

The fight club wasn’t the only mass gathering to violate those orders on Saturday.

Authorities say they busted two other parties with approximately 200 attendees each that night. One party was in Manhattan and the other was in the Bronx.

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