(La Porte, IN) - One La Porte County man is trying to combat gun violence by giving people an outlet for their aggression. An amateur pugilism group is gaining momentum in La Porte County. It’s like Fight Club, except people are talking about it.
FightFlix is the brainchild of La Porte’s BK Gifford. Last April the 22-year-old Gifford started organizing backyard boxing events as a way to combat violence in the streets. His idea was to encourage people to put down their weapons and pick up boxing gloves instead. The FightFlix motto is “Guns Down, Gloves Up.”
Every couple of weeks Gifford gathers a crowd in a field south of La Porte. In a fenced enclosure, under his supervision, fighters face off to settle their differences. Gifford says he referees and keeps the matches under control. “I just pretty much hold everything down on it,” he said. “I know when to stop it. If a fighter says he wants to quit, I’ll end the match right there. If I see something unusual that shouldn’t be going on, I’ll stop it then too. Their safety is number one to us.”
Gifford started FightFlix following the death of his friend Tyler Terusiak, who was hit by a stray bullet in La Porte in 2020. The bouts take place at the property near Kingsbury where Terusiak used to live.
Some fighters just want to test their abilities and work out their aggression. Others want to settle personal scores in a constructive way. Recently a war of words escalated on Facebook between two men from Gary and Chicago. They settled it in the FightFlix cage. "Some people have become friends," according to Gifford, "and some people just leave it alone." Mostly it's men who square off, but Gifford says a few women have gotten involved.
Gifford acknowledges that the approach of fighting violence with violence may be a little controversial, but he says it serves a positive purpose in an increasingly violent culture. “Everyone’s going to fight no matter what,” he said. “They’re going to fight—outside, on the street. I want to open up a door for people to come here to settle it in the ring. Because some people, that’s how it is nowadays. They love to pull a weapon; they love to jump people. And they end up going to jail and ruining lives. So I want to open up a door for those people, so that they don’t have to go through that kind of situation.”
According to Gifford, anywhere between 20 and 70 people will gather at an event, which features as many as 15 matches. People have come from Michigan and from as far away as Texas. He says other people are forming their own FightFlix groups. There’s even one starting in Africa.
The next FightFlix event is scheduled for Saturday, August 27. You can follow FightFlix on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
The group takes a hiatus in the winter months, but Gifford said he would like to open an indoor facility in La Porte where people can pick some gloves when the weather gets cold.