Tindr + ‘Fight Club’: Brawl app stunt takes web by storm

© Bobby Yip
A new Fight Club-inspired application promised to take bare-knuckle brawls to the streets. And many got inspired by the idea.

UPDATE: ‘Rumblr’ turned out to be an ad campaign for the launch of von Hughes, a creative consulting agency.

Upon registering, would-be users would face three potential ‘brawlers’. After choosing the third, named ‘dudecati’, the users would be given no choice but to respond to a scripted chat exchange, during which the faux brawler would make a “confession” that the users were wasting their time – right before redirecting them to the agency’s landing page.

“We understand that some of you were genuinely looking forward to using an app like Rumblr, and we’re sorry to disappoint,” wrote the agency’s founders, Jack, Matt and Andrew. “However, if you still are truly wishing to release some built-up angst, consider fighting more pressing issues such as gang violence, domestic abuse, and at-risk youth culture.“

Thousands of people bought the idea of Rumblr - including comedian Paul F. Tompkins and civil rights activist DeRay McKesson.

...and so did we. Below is our original story.

Tinder + ‘Fight Club’: New York fighters start new match-and-brawl app

The beta version of Rumblr launched at 5:00 pm EST (10:00 GMT). For now it is a website, but after its official release – yet to be determined – the app will be available on smartphones, too. Its developers, two recreational fighters from New York, say it’s an “app for recreational fighters to find, look and fight other brawl enthusiasts.”

Rumblr has been compared to the Tinder, a popular dating app for men and women looking for a match, and has been dubbed, “Tinder for fighting.”

On its official Twitter page, Rumblr is introduced as a “Fight Club.”

This is most likely a reference to the 1999 David Fincher movie starring Brad Pitt, about men who get together to fight each other at an underground location.

With Rumblr, brawlers looking to fight can pick out opponents based on their height and weight, their fighting features, or their history of wins and losses.

If there is a good match, the fighters can chat and arrange a time and place for their “single combat.”

Rumblr also gives users a variety of fights to choose from. For example, there is classic Rumblr, which is, presumably, just a typical brawl, RumblrHER, apparently for girl-on-girl fans, or RumblrGROUP for mass brawls.

Not into fighting yourself? There is also Rumblr Explore, which would bring up ongoing fights onto the screen of your smartphone so you could head towards them. Brawls nearby would be mapped out and marked with little red fists.

Even before its launch, this “match and fight” app raised controversy online. On its Twitter account, Rumblr followers – it is followed by almost 1,200 accounts – seem to be quite excited about it. However, in the media the app has not been taken seriously and is suspected to be a joke by “a couple of kids.”

The New York Daily News decided to check on that and contacted Rumblr to see whether it’s real or indeed a prank. The developers said that not only is it genuine, but also that it has gotten some support from investors.

"We have raised relatively substantial funding from private American investors and the app is fully developed," a member of the team told the newspaper. "It's 100 percent serious."

Whether that’s actually a good thing remains to be seen, since participating in Rumblr could bring serious consequences for those involved.

Street fights, for example, are prohibited by law in New York, where “Rumblr Inc.” is headquartered. At the very least, brawling in city streets can be considered disorderly conduct. In many states, such fights may lead to a “short” term in jail – up to a year behind bars. In the worst case scenario, if someone is hurt or lethally injured in a street fight, charges would vary from misdemeanor assault to homicide.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons why the software, hoping to make it onto Apple’s App Store, has been rejected.

“We were actually rejected by Apple's App Store so we have decided to transition Rumblr into a public, globally accessible web application,” the developers told the Daily Mail.

The app is currently available on a subscription basis. Starting on November 9, the first 2,000 people are promised access to Rumblr’s beta version.