5 on 5 team MMA might sound like a crazy idea, but an MMA promotion in Latvia have made it a reality. The promotion is called Team Fighting Championships and their violent spin on Mixed Martial Arts is taking Eastern Europe and Russia by storm.
The rules of TFC are very simple. Fighters are eliminated when they are knocked out or submitted and the team with the last man standing wins. These rules often result in brutal one sided confrontations where fighters can often find themselves trapped and outnumbered.
TFC match ups are made all the more brutal because the promotion has abandoned the modern day unified rules of MMA in favour of Pride style rules where soccer kicks, head stomps and kicks to a grounded opponent are legal. This means that you will often see one fighter pin another on the ground, whilst his team mate will run over and kick their helpless opponent in the head. TFC also do not have any weight classes or time limits, which adds to the brutality of their events.
TFC fights often look more like organised gang-fights than legitimate Mixed Martial Arts contests, but the fighters that compete in this promotion almost always train in some form of hand to hand combat.
The Wiseboys for example are a team of Swedish fighters that train in an MMA gym in Gothenburg. Then there are teams with a more sinister background like LPH, which stands for Lech Poznan Hooligans. LPH are a violent group of Soccer Hooligans from Poznan in Poland who compete in TFC tournaments because they enjoy engaging in acts of violence without the risk of getting into trouble with the Police. Hooligans in Eastern European countries like Poland are very committed to Hooliganism and they often train in hand to hand combat to make them more dangerous when they face rival hooligan gangs at Soccer matches.
The UFC was built on shock value and spectacle, so it’s no surprise that there are still promotions out there that are trying to satisfy the public’s need for violence by pushing the boundaries of one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Some people will be disgusted by what TFC are doing, but it’s almost impossible not to watch their videos, which means they must be doing something right.