December 21–28, 2000
cover story|what happened next
The story: Greg, a.k.a. Pork Chops, West Philadelphia pit bull trainer and dog fighter, led this tour through the gritty, clandestine underground world of Philly dog fighting. With his champion fighter Rufus, a two-year-old Staffordshire terrier with jaws like a grizzly bear, Pork Chops took readers through the dogmen’s training, jargon and lifestyle. Like the star of some sick Rocky parody, Rufus underwent strength, endurance, speed and bite training, culminating with a "snatch," a vicious sparring session between Rufus and another dogman’s muscular two-year-old female pit bull.
What happened next: Pork Chops was ridiculed and for a while shunned by his fellow dogmen for breaking the unwritten code of silence and telling his story to a newspaper. As word got around, he wasn’t invited to fights for several months, and in his words, "couldn’t even get a snatch." But his colleagues’ anger eventually cooled, and now things are back to normal, if there ever was such a thing in dog fighting. Pork Chops credits Rufus with his redemption.
"I’m still respected, but they acted funny for a while," Pork Chops said recently. "Now, I’m back on top. Rufus is winning fights, and people respect a winner. You can say what you want about me, but I train the best dogs and Rufus is a stone moneymaker. I’m back."
In a world where blood and money and death are the yardstick of respect, Pork Chops once again rules the roost. And even the best efforts of concerned city officials and an outraged citizenry fail to make an appreciable dent in the dogmen’s chosen line of work.