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Live Fights and Music Are Having a Major Moment, and FNT Worldwide Is on Top

For its fifth installment, the New York-born fight night and underground hip-hop party FNT makes its Miami debut at Little Haiti's LMNCTY Event Space.EXPAND
For its fifth installment, the New York-born fight night and underground hip-hop party FNT makes its Miami debut at Little Haiti's LMNCTY Event Space.
Sam Wallander

What's the minimum number of screens in your peripheral at any given moment? When's the last time you watched a movie or read a book without also intermittently scrolling your Instagram feed?

It takes a lot to hold our attention, especially for a postmillennial generation known for partying less and choosing the safety of virtual hangs over potentially sloppy and expensive IRL experiences. These days, a night out must offer a whole lot of promise — for content and for actual fun — to get us out the door.

That's why it's been fascinating to watch the emergence of a novel nightlife trend luring diverse groups of street kids and creatives, and in some cases A-list stars such as A$AP Rocky and Alexander Wang. These events appeal to our baser instincts, the part of us that gets off on the adrenaline and suspense of a physical fight or the spectacle of a well-hewn body.

In Miami, the trend has manifested in recurring alternative nightlife hits such as drag queen Celebrity Deathmatches, Late for Work's Flex parties with female bodybuilders, and even a League of Lady Armwrestlers. One-offs such as Red Bull's recent rap battle pitting homegrown star Denzel Curry against New York's Flatbush Zombies, warmed up by bouts of WWE-style wrestling, have also found success.

Elsewhere, it's a phenomenon that's evolved to reach even greater heights. Born in an undisclosed storefront in New York's SoHo neighborhood, FNT (originally Friday Night Throwdown) began as a series of off-the-cuff, illegal matches fought in a homemade ring with just 60 guests personally invited by founder Bekim Trenova. Now FNT and Trenova have become synonymous with New York’s underground fight scene.

What set Trenova's events apart from other amateur fights was the experience. It's a deliberate collision of unexpected disciplines: combat sports, on-point live music, fashion, and art. Underground rappers and hip-hop DJs set the vibe while fighters from across disciplines — including MMA, Muay Thai, and kickboxing — take to the ring for now-officially sanctioned fights.

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Word spread quickly with the help of Matte Projects, a trendy New York creative team responsible for churning out some of the city's more innovative and experiential live events, like Full Moon Fest. Matte's live productions, often enhanced by light installations and video projections, add another layer to the spectacle.

Now, on the heels of two consecutive sold-out shows in New York and Los Angeles and joining forces with local music powerhouse III Points, the high-octane party arrives in Miami at Little Haiti's Lemon City Studios. Dubbed FNT Vol. V and pitting NYC's brightest amateur fighters against those from the Magic City, the night will present musical headliner Venus X, the legendary DJ responsible for pioneering NYC's "ghetto gothic" parties, supported by lit local talent such as Silent Addy and Sean Bang.

Always keeping the party on its toes, past editions of FNT have included surprise performances by Camron, A-Trak, Flipp Dinero, Maliibu MiitchThutmose, and Jadakiss. How's that for a night out, Miami?

FNT Vol. V. With Venus X, Silent Addy, Sean Band, and others. 8 p.m. Friday, May 3, at LMNCTY Event Space, 295 NE 59th Ter., Miami; lemoncitystudios.co. Tickets cost $20 to $25 via fntworldwide.com.

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