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Behind Nairobi's Illegal Fight Club

Travelers Today       By    Glory Moralidad

Updated: Apr 03, 2017 06:58 AM EDT

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After documenting "hip hop grandpas," famed photographer Osborne Macharia has now captured an illegal fight club in Nairobi called Mengo, in an old warehouse, where fighters of short stature come to battle every month for a sense of glory.

"The first rule of any fight club is, you don't talk about the fight club. It doesn't say anything about taking photos," said Macharia on his Behance post. Clearly, he got an invitation, but he won't be fighting at the site, but rather fidget with the camera he is holding. The photographer says that no one knows how the club was born or formed, except it is being run by wealthy fighters that manage the ring.

There were four fighters he took with a snap, and one of them is Mangalitos. The man has a chain tied to his leg that uses a combo for kicking and whipping. Mangalitos live the longest in the Mengo ring and have garnered all the titles in the fighting match through these years.

Machario also snapped a photo of Dudus, the reigning champion of the ring. The woman has been introduced to the Mengo world at the age of ten years old. The photographer has noted of Dudus' fast movements and focused fighting abilities that made her queen of the ring. Mrefu was one man who has been in the ring since he was five years old. He was the former champion of Mengo.

The last photo shows us of Sonko, another fighter who mysteriously showed up in Mengo all those years ago and demanded a challenger in the ring. He has three titles in his heyday, giving opponents a head butt that they lose consciousness.

However, Macharia's photos proved to be more than just that. He told CNN News that Dwarfism is stigmatized in Kenya. Families who have the condition even forbade their children to school due to fear of being ridiculed. With the portraits, he wants to display strong, vibrant personalities of short-statured people in the community.

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Osborne Macharia, fight club, nairobi, Nairobi travel, Nairobi news, Mengo
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