Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Westbrook police say the organizers of a fight club that was being promoted online have agreed to shut down the website and stop arranging the contests.
Police cracked down after they discovered young men fighting on Cumberland Street on Nov. 8, surrounded by cars with their headlights shining on the combatants.
Police discovered the Facebook page that was being used to promote the fights, which involved a form of fighting called mixed martial arts.
The young men apparently were arranging fights in search of status among their peers, police said.
"The good news is, several of the architects of the fight club and websites came to us voluntarily as a result of the media attention and volunteered to take the websites down," Westbrook Police Chief William Baker said. "They have agreed to discontinue the practice and get the word out that the game is up."
On Nov. 8, police charged Christopher Randall of South Portland and Christian Adams of Portland, both 18, with unlawful prizefighting, a misdemeanor. The law prohibits engaging in or arranging premeditated fighting.
Police interrupted another fight Tuesday on an athletic field off Stevens Avenue in Westbrook. Two 16-year-olds were charged with disorderly conduct. That fight was arranged on Facebook but did not appear to be part of a fight club, police said.
Baker said some participants may have been unaware that they were doing something illegal, but he said the people who created the fight club knew it was wrong.
"To think it would be lawful or rational to engage in fisticuffs in the middle of a public street or parking lot, surrounded by 10 cars with headlights on nobody said with a straight face they thought that was legal and appropriate," Baker said.
Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: