LEHIGH ACRES, FL -
A Lehigh Acres family was arrested Friday for hosting and promoting unlicensed Mixed Martial Arts matches at their home on Hightower Avenue South.
Deputies got a tip about a number of juveniles gathering for the event in November. They had heard similar allegations before but this time they had evidence.
"This one was different because of the fact that not only did we have the allegations, but we also had physical evidence," said Sergeant Stephanie Eller of the Lee County Sheriff's Office.
Detectives looked through Facebook accounts that posted video of juveniles and young men engaged in full head-contact fighting.
With the help of school resource officers, deputies were able to identify and speak with some of the people seen in the videos.
Deputies say their investigation revealed that Gauge Ford, 17, began recruiting fellow students at East Lee County High School for the fights about two months before the event.
On the days of the events, each fighter was paired with an opponent, according to deputies. The fighters would wear padded gloves and engage in full-contact fighting.
The matches would go until one person was too injured to continue.
Friday, deputies arrested 36-year-old Angela Harrison, 27-year-old Brandon Harrison and Ford on charges of Promoting of Sponsoring an Unlicensed Boxing Match. The charge is a Third Degree Felony.
"If they want to participate in this sport, that's fine. This is a sport and a lot of people recognize it, a lot of people enjoy it. But we need to make sure it's done safely," said Eller.
Unlike licensed providers, the sheriff's office says the Harrisons did not have proper equipment or medical devices in case anyone was hurt.