Quarantine Fight Club promoter defends breaking Covid-19 rules during West Yorkshire event

A fighter and promoter has defended breaking Covid-19 rules after hosting an event called Quarantine Fight Club (QFC) attended by more than 30 people.

Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 2:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th October 2020, 2:34 pm

Organiser Darren Moffitt has admitted he has done wrong, but said his events have boosted men's mental health during lockdown and raised money for charity.

Police raided Hard Knocks Gym in Halifax Road, Buttershaw, Bradford on Saturday afternoon as the event was being streamed live on the internet.

Video footage from the event shows crowds of people packed into the gym, with few wearing face coverings.

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Organiser Darren Moffitt held the event at a gym in Buttershaw, Bradford.

While some people left after police arrived, others tried to force their way out and others aggravated officers.

Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, but a spokesperson said no one was injured.

The QFC was the 25th held since the beginning of lockdown.

Mr Moffitt said police had been aware of the events through seeing them online, but chose to take action after seeing how many people were inside the latest event.

Darren Moffitt, second from right.

He said: "I accept it, I hold my hands up - I broke the rules because of the amount of people there.

"It was busy, it was rowdy, but there was no trouble in there - the fans have always respected me and the venue."

The promoter said he was trying to get as many people through the door as the event was raising money for a girl with cancer.

"We've been raising money for four different charities," he added.

"It's not going in anyone's back pockets. Over the last six months I've actually lost money.

"I do it for the love of the sport - I'm a fighter myself."

Mr Mofffit said QFC started out as him filming a Facebook Live with two men fighting in a field, but its popularity spiralled and the video streams now attract up to 300,000 viewers.

He added: "When I started it was just a bit of a laugh, but it's turned into something that is helping people with mental health issues and depression."

He also claimed he was helping keep men - some with criminal pasts - occupied during lockdown restrictions.

"I can't stop something I believe in,"he added. "I'd like the Government to tell me how to do it properly.

"I'm going to meet with the council - tell me what to do and I'll do it."

Mr Moffitt said he would accept any fine coming his way, but is confident fans will meet the cost through an online fundraiser.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Police attended at a gym on Halifax Road, Bradford at about 4.35m on Saturday October 24 to a report of a large event taking place in breach of Coronavirus restrictions.

"Officers attended and located an unlicensed sporting event attended by a large crowd of more than 30 people with no social distancing taking place.

"A number of people attempted to force their way out of the venue on police arrival and officers deployed PAVA spray.

"No injuries were reported.

"The organiser of the event was handed the maximum £10,000 fine as a result of the breach of Coronavirus restrictions."

A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “The Police were absolutely right to act and have our full support in doing so.

"Gathering together in this way, at the very time when we are all, as a district, trying to pull together to reduce infection rates, is letting us all down.

"We will not hesitate to take action against those breaking COVID-19 legislation.

"In breaking the rules, it puts all of us at risk.

"The Tier 2 rules are clear that members of different households should not be meeting inside socially under any circumstances.”