The Pits                                                                         behind the scenes

Over the past few years a number of news reports informed us about occasional police actions taken to break up cockfighting rings, including arrests, seizures and forfeiture of property, along with some jail sentences.  But, recent events reveal a darker and even more violent side of cockfighting that is becoming more prevalent and almost common place.  

Cockfighting is flourishing and the upswing in violence involving cock fighting is frowned upon by some of the old timers who spoke with me on conditions of anonymity.     Several residents on the Waianae coast, including cockfighters, breeders, gamblers and regular citizens, are now expressing concern about the increase of violence in the "cockfighting" community.  Operators of some of the existing game pits are claiming they have been approached by people representing either themselves or the gang, The Westside Boys.  They told us that they were asked to throw fights, cancel derbies, sell their fighting cocks, or pay them a percentage of each fighting cock they sold.   None of them recall violent acts occurring in the past that would compare to the recent events of shooting or physical assaults on breeders, fighters, or fight promoters. 

One recent incident has led to the filing and issuance of temporary restraining orders against at least four individuals who allegedly were involved, either directly or indirectly, with an incident on NOV 17, 2012.      Tommy Nelson Jr. and Tommy Nelson Sr. recently told us that  eight or more bullets were fired into or at the residence of Tommy Nelson Sr. and his family.

Tommy Nelson Sr. and his wife share their home with their son, Tommy Nelson Jr., along with his wife and children.   They reported they were all present when a  man came on to their property and started asking questions.   The man then began firing a weapon at their home while the Nelson family sat eating dinner. 

Tommy Nelson Sr. shows several bullet holes from shots fired at and into his home on Nov. 17, 2012.   Note the one at head level in the wall.


Tommy Nelson Sr. and Tommy Nelson Jr. petitioned the District Court of the First Circuit Court of Waianae Division, declaring the following:

"I, Tommy J. Nelson Jr. live with my parents, including Tommy J. Nelson Sr. at  87-649 Kaukama Road, Waianae, HI 96792.  I Tommy J. Nelson Jr. am a chicken breeder and trainer and seller.  During the past several months Edward and William Caspino have confronted me and told me that I have to pay them protection money and that I must pay them for every chicken that I own and for each chicken that I sell or that I have trained.  They have been making a move to force chicken breeders/trainers to pay them protection or extortion money so that they do not have any trouble from them.  I was told that if I did not pay them there would be trouble for me.  I have refused to pay them any money for anything.

"On Saturday, November 17, 2012, while at my residence located at 87-649 Kaukama Road, Waianae, HI 96792, with Tommy J. Nelson Sr., Nadleen Nelson, Nicole Nelson and Kingston Nelson, Adam Florence appeared outside the house, along with a man who looked like Ronald Tripp, and they began firing bullets into the house where we were all inside.  About 8 or 9 bullets were fired into the upstairs of the house and about 2 bullets were fired into the downstairs of the house.  We never gave them permission to fire bullets into our residence.  The police were called and during their investigation they found several .45 caliber shell casings outside the house.  The police are conducting a criminal investigations into the shooting.  The police report # is 12-417209.

"On or about  November 18, 2012, I heard that there is a gang known as the Westside Boys, of which the Caspino's are the leaders and are making a move to control all the chicken breeders, sellers and trainers and everything else associated with chickens in the Leeward side of Oahu.

"I am concerned for the safety of my family who resides with me and the fact that the threats have now become actual by the shooting of my home.

"I Tommy Nelson Sr. am aware of the facts above and I agree with them and I have identified Adam Florence as the guy shooting at my house to the police department.  "

We understand other witnesses have come forward and provided information on the shooting incident and multiple arrests are expected



Where chickens live

During The Carroll Cox Show's investigation of the matter,  other breeders and fighters disclosed to Carroll Cox how a cockfight could be thrown.   For example, one cockfighter told me how to take a large rubber band and put it over both wings while being careful to place the rubber band under the cock's feathers to avoid  detection.   This prevents the cock from flying up to attack the other cock he is pitted against.  Unless the rubber band is detected or dislodges itself, the gamblers and other participants in the fight will think the chicken was late in responding to the challenge.

A fighter will occasionally inject his cock with epinephrine.  The epinephrine causes the cock's heart to beat at an accelerated pace, which causes blood to flow to the cock's eyes, rupturing the blood vessels in the eyes and blinding him.   In this state the effected cock's eyes will appear to be normal, but he cannot see his challenger and dies from the opponents knives, successfully "throwing the fight".

Another trick - break or sprain one of the cock's legs, then attach the knives as you normally would.  After you place the cock in the pit with his challenger, where he will assumedly lose and die,  no one will know what trick has taken place.

And finally, a fight can be thrown by the owner of a cock placing ties and dull knives on one of his cocks and allowing it to fight another  cock that has sharp knives.  This will surely end in the death of the cock with dull knives. 

These examples are just a few of the many ways that were shared with me.  To successfully throw a fight, at least one of the owners of the effected birds needs to agree to participate.   

Why, you may ask, would a fighter affix dull knives, inject epinephrine, break the legs, or use rubber bands to cause the cock to lose?  The answer is "follow the money".  A fighter may be approached by friends or another party who offers to pay him the price of his fighting cock, and a percentage of the purse that is won from the side bets that were waged on the fight his was in.   The owner of the losing cock may have his friends, relatives, and others wage bets on the opponent's cock then divide the purse,  even though his fighting cock lost.

Where chickens fight - with up to 1500 people in attendance

This purse is usually separate from the house purse that is divided up from entry fees, parking fees,  and derby fees.   To enter the venue, each person may be charged  $20 to $40 at the gates, plus another $20 to park their car.  If you want to sit next to the ring, you have to pay the house another fee of $50 to $100. 

It is reported the fee to enter and fight a set of cocks in a derby is $4,000.  On some occasions, each cock is charged and the house dictates the number of fighting cocks that can be entered in the derby.  A single derby may have 50 to 100 participants at $4,000 each.  Each year one person may fight 70 - 80 birds, and, in Hawaii, the season runs from Thanksgiving to May or June.    The house will get a percentage from the  winner of  the derby.    In the past the house would bail you out if you were arrested at the fight.

The fight or derby sponsors told us their fights have recently been experiencing a rash of attacks on cockfighters.  They have been physically ruffed up and robbed of their jewelry, money and other valuables.  In the past this was rarely a problem because fight promoters,  or  the "house",   hired security to protect the fight participants.  They believe the recent arrest and prosecution of Lloyd Marshall created a void that previously did not exist because Marshall and his regime relied on a more seasoned security force to protect fights.

The photos you see with this article are from various breeder facilities on the Island of Oahu.  Some are thought to be situated on state property.  Note, it is not illegal to own or posses fighting cocks in Hawaii.  I offer that bit of information to discourage anyone from taking actions, in their own hands, to free or remove any of the game cocks housed at these facilities.  They are the property of others.  If you see game cocks housed at any of the facilities are being inhumanely treated, report them to the authorities.


Before and......

            After the fight