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Bumfights is a video series produced by Indecline Films. The debut release titled Bumfights Vol. 1: A Cause for Concern features primarily high school fights caught on tape and homeless men (most notably Rufus Hannah and Donnie Brennan) in the San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas metropolitan areas attempting amateur stunts in a style similar to the MTV series Jackass, and in one case a fight between two homeless men which resulted in severe injuries. It was produced by Ryen McPherson, Zachary Bubeck, Daniel J. Tanner, and Michael Slyman.

The video series immediately received widespread public criticism. In 2002, two of the homeless men depicted filed a lawsuit against the producers alleging they were paid to hurt themselves and beat each other.[1] In April 2006, the four original filmmakers surrendered rights to produce any more Bumfights videos or distribute videos already made, and were obliged to pay compensation to three of the homeless men depicted in the videos, under a settlement announced shortly before the 2002 lawsuit was due to go to trial.[2]


By June 2002, 250,000 copies of the first volume of the series were reported sold for $22 each, according to Wired magazine.[3] Community complaints led to the police investigating if any laws were broken by producers.[3] Advocacy groups were critical of the video.[4][5]

Production history[edit]

The videos were originally produced in the early 2000s. The videos had gained such popularity that, by 2002, there were large volumes of sales and merchandise. Around that time, the four original founders sold the business to two Las Vegas businessmen, who went by the pseudonyms Ty Beeson and Ray Leticia, for $1.5 million USD. Beeson and Leticia released the three following videos, volumes 2 - 4, including footage that was provided as part of their purchase of the business.[4]

Indecline: Vol. 1—"It's Worse Than You Think"[edit]

Ryen McPherson moved on to produce a similar reality video called Indecline: Vol. 1—It's Worse Than You Think. Though controversial for its fight footage and acts of elaborate graffiti art, legal troubles did not hinder the sales of this video, although the website went offline in June 2008. The Indecline web site went back online in November 2008.[6]

Bumfights videos[edit]

  • Bumfights Vol. 1: A Cause for Concern (2002)
  • Bumfights Vol. 2: Bumlife (2003)
  • Bumfights Vol. 3: The Felony Footage (2004)
  • Bumfights Vol. 4: Return of Ruckus (2006)

Appearance on Dr. Phil[edit]

Phil McGraw, host of the talk show Dr. Phil, invited Beeson on to the show on December 12, 2006.[7] Beeson attended the interview dressed in a Dr. Phil costume, nearly identical to Dr. Phil himself. After playing some snippets from the Bumfights videos to the audience, Dr. Phil stated that he was disgusted and kicked the Bumfights representative off even before the interview started, with security removing Beeson from the stage. While briefly onstage, Beeson critiqued what he perceived as Dr. Phil's hypocrisy; being outraged over their exploitation of the poor while he himself exploited people in distress for entertainment on his show. Dr. Phil revealed in the next segment he himself had been homeless.[8][9][4] McPherson and Slyman later claimed that the man who appeared on the show was not Beeson, but in fact someone impersonating him, organized by the real Beeson and Leticia.[4]


  1. ^ staff (October 3, 2002). "Homeless men sue makers of 'Bumfights'". LJWorld.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 15 December 2023.
  2. ^ "SignOnSanDiego.com: Homeless men in 'Bumfights' get settlements over video". Archived from the original on May 9, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ a b Friess, Steve. "Homeless Fight Club Miffs Critics". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  4. ^ a b c d Stahl, Michael (2018-10-02). "Subversion Gone Wrong: Inside 'Bumfights'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2023-03-22.
  5. ^ "LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: NEWS: Film cashes in on street scenes". 2003-01-05. Archived from the original on 2003-01-05. Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  6. ^ "Ryen McPherson Q&A Part 2 [Bumfights / Indecline / King of the Jews ] - Polly Staffle - Movie & DVD Reviews". Polly Staffle. Archived from the original on 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
  7. ^ "Moral ambiguity - Westlake | Bay Village Observer". www.westlakebayvillageobserver.com. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  8. ^ hvAdmin (2006-12-12). "Dr. Phil "Bumfights"". Homeless Voice. Retrieved 2022-09-27.
  9. ^ December 13, Adam B. Vary Updated; EST, 2006 at 12:00 PM. "The Dr. Phil exploitation spectacular!". EW.com. Retrieved 2022-09-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]