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I tried to start a GTA Online fight club and ended up forming a shirtless gang called The Friendly Boys

A buff man flexing in GTA Online
(Image credit: Rockstar)

Can you imagine how boring Fight Club would have been if everyone had actually followed the underground boxing cult's first two rules? There's your man Tyler Durden, sat on his arse, drinking warm beer alone in the car park of that seedy bar with the tacky neon signs and burly Hells Angel-looking blokes out front in Delaware. He's got the beginnings of a black eye forming above his cheek bone, a burst nose and bloodied saliva clinging to his teeth. And then no one spoke another word of it forevermore. Roll credits. Yawn. 

"The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club." 

Na, that's not for me. In my latest Grand Theft Auto 5 roleplay exploit, I wanted the world to know all about my violent business. I canvassed San Andreas, from the south port to Paleto Bay, sowing seeds and spreading news of my own backyard boxing bonanza that everyone, save for Los Santos' finest, was invited to join. I talked and talked and talked about my fight club, and, with the help of a mod-supporting RP FiveM server and abstractmode’s Boxing v2, I set up shop on Vespucci Beach.

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Things started off slow. I won some, I lost some, and fights were fair and good fun. I knocked one broad-shouldered chap clean out with a beautiful right-handed haymaker during one bout, which made me feel really manly, like an absolute unit, like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson watching Snatch on a lad's holiday. My testosterone-fuelled triumph was short-lived, though, when the same bloke challenged me to a rematch and kicked my ass with a flurry of body blows and one decisive left-hook cross that left me sparkled and counting sheep on the canvas.

Despite the thrill of being in the ring, watching from side-lines was the real joy of it all, letting me cut a convincing Brad Pitt and Ed Norton impression in the shadows. I watched with glee as the crowds grew at the same pace as the brutality on the other side of the ropes, as fighters upped the ante and pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable by me and, as the wanted stars in the top right-hand corner of the screen informed, the LSPD. 

"The third rule of Fight Club is: If someone yells 'stop', goes limp, taps out, the fight is over."

This rule was generally well observed, even when, against my advice, fighters decided to bring weapons into the ring. 

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Still, it was at this stage I sensed I was losing the crowd. My fight club was always going to get a bit unruly, but I'd envisioned a Pit Fighter mixed with Knockout Kings kind of situation, not the Mortal Kombat dealio that was quickly unfolding before me. And if I wasn't considering throwing in the towel when a topless, broken bottle-wielding Trevor Philips went toe-to-toe with a killer clown armed with a steel blade, things really turned to shit when a knife fight broke out between Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger in the squared circle. 

"Fourth rule: Only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: One fight at a time, fellas."

To be fair, these rules were adhered to for the most part too, even when the five-0 showed up. Even when one brave officer bounced into the ring. And even when that same cop got cracked upside the head with a crowbar. Ah, jeez. That was bang out of order.  

The next few rules of Fight Club suddenly felt redundant when we were all cuffed and charged and sent to prison. 

But were they?   

"Sixth rule: No shirts, no shoes."

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Perhaps the most innocuous rule of Fight Club's eight commandments took on a new meaning when I had yet another of my Bolingbroke Penitentiary epiphanies. Those who've read my previous GTA RP diaries before will know that, more often than not, my best laid plans wind up with me breaking the law, getting flung in jail, and then promising to turn a new leaf… until the next time I get pulled back to black in the city of sin. 

But something about this time felt different. For one, I wasn't alone. I was holed up behind bars with a handful of the lads I'd recruited to my fight club, all of whom felt pretty bad for ganging up on that police officer. We swore to start afresh on a new law-abiding venture. But what would that be? Well, what’s the opposite of a fight club? A friend club? 

"Sounds a bit like a brothel," said one roleplayer.  

A look best avoided, we all agreed. 

"Man friends?"

Still a bit seedy. 

"The Friendly Boys?"

The Friendly Boys? Hmm. The Friendly Boys. The Friendly Boys! 

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As per the default clobber the server assigned us while spending time inside, some simple prerequisites of The Friendly Boys became: a commitment to pacifism, a commitment to wearing orange, and a commitment to sporting no shirts and no shoes, in memory of our underground boxing cult roots. We stayed clear of strict rules, per se, because it felt like strict rules were partly responsible for leading us astray in the first place. One enthusiastic roleplayer even came up an impromptu theme song: 

"Oh-oh, we are the boys, the friendly, friendly, Friendly Boys.

"Oh-oh, we don’t like fighting, but that doesn’t make us any less exciting."

All to the tune of, well, sort of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, but not really and who cares anyway because it was catchy so we went with it. 

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Once our band of merry men had served its time, we met up at Legion Square in downtown Los Santos for a wee party and a sing song. For some of the group, this weirdly involved engaging in rap battles, while for others it meant chanting "NO SHIRTS, NO SHOES" over and over and over again. In a nod to the plot of Chuck Palahniuk’s work, one roleplayer billed our congregation as 'Project Hey Man', in contrast to Project Mayhem, I guess, where Fight Club's band of scary men committed organised acts of vandalism.  

Ironically, I once spent more time than I care to admit trying to force the formation of a Gouranga gang in Grand Theft Auto 5 roleplay—a tribute to the orange robe-donning cliques of the very first, top-down GTA—and failed utterly, highlights of which included getting hit by a bus and hallucinating. But here, I happened upon pretty much exactly what I wanted before, but with a catchier chorus. 

I can’t really explain what happened next. I would love to tell you I’m not proud of what I did, but that would be an absolute lie. The Friendly Boys warmed my heart and I regret absolutely nothing. In roleplay and in real life. 100 percent dedication to the cause. 

No shirts. No shoes.

Huh, now this is interesting. It appears the first rule of The Friendly Boys is in fact pretty clear: You do not talk about The Friendly Boys. 

And so we’ve gone full-circle.

I am Jack’s inability to feel shame.