SAN DIEGO (REUTERS) — Two men who allegedly paid street people to fight each other as part of the Internet video sensation “Bumfights” have been arrested in San Diego, police say.
The arrests of Las Vegas residents Zachary Bubeck, 24, and Ryan Edward McPherson, 19, followed a three-month probe by the La Mesa Police Department into the “Bumfights” tapes, Lt. Raul Garcia said. La Mesa is a suburb of San Diego.
Bubeck surrendered Monday, and detectives arrested McPherson in La Mesa two weeks ago, Garcia said Tuesday.
Police said they were still looking for two other Las Vegas residents, as well as others who may have been involved in the production of “Bumfights.”
Producers claim to have sold more than 300,000 copies of “Bumfights” over the Internet for $19.99 each.
“Bumfights, Vol 1” — touted by its producers as “the fastest-selling independent video” featuring “drunks” and “crack-heads” — shows bedraggled men engaging in fistfights and acts of self-abuse, such as running headlong into steel doors and leaping off bridges.
Police say the “Bumfights” producers persuaded street people to fight for the camera in exchange for cash payments, food, liquor and hotel rooms but warned the participants not to tell authorities about the remuneration.
One person broke his leg during a taping session in La Mesa, and producers threatened another witness in the case, police said.
Bubeck and McPherson were charged with conspiracy, solicitation of a felony crime and illegally paying people to fight.
They are due in court Oct. 10 for a preliminary hearing.