Sheriff’s deputies in New York City broke up an unlicensed fight club, known as “Rumble in the Bronx,” on Saturday night. Many of those crowding inside were drinking, smoking hookah and not wearing masks, the authorities said.
More than 200 people had stood shoulder to shoulder shouting as two men sparred at the center of a Bronx warehouse. Some people hung over the barricades, social media showed, craning their necks for a better view. When one man knocked out the other, the crowd erupted in a thunderous roar.
The amateur fight would have been illegal before the pandemic, but with coronavirus cases spiking in the city, it risked being a dangerous underground event.
The leader of the club, Michael J. Roman, 32, and nine others were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, health and alcohol code violations and participating in a prohibited combative sport. They were also each fined $15,000.
Just days earlier, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York had tightened restrictions in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Private indoor and outdoor gatherings statewide are now limited to 10 people, and gyms, bars and restaurants must close at 10 p.m.
“Bars, restaurants, gyms, house parties, that’s where it’s coming from, primarily,” Mr. Cuomo said last week.
Hours before breaking up the fight club, sheriff’s deputies had also disbanded a party in Brooklyn with nearly 200 guests and another in Manhattan with over 200 people.
Since July, Sheriff Joseph Fucito’s office has shut down at least one large illegal event each weekend.
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