Gang attacks, where two or three people attack one person simultaneously, are not only normal out on the street, but are a strategy that cowards use in order to raise the probability of their success. This is why it's critical to know how to deal with multiple people trying to harm you.
The first step when defending yourself against multiple attack-ers is to grab an equalizer. A what, you ask? This is how I define an equalizer to my students: Anything you can pick up to throw at your opponents and/or strike them with. Why is this the first step? Because when dealing with more than one attacker you are already at a disadvantage regardless of how tough you think you are. Picking up a tire iron, fist full of gravel, a bottle, stick, or chair will, at the very least, make the attackers think twice, if not turn them off to attacking you.
The second step is to "zone" around the aggressors (stack them in a line) where you'll put one person in front of the other by constantly moving around. This gives you an opportunity for a short burst of time to take action on just one opponent. The worst thing to do is get caught in the middle of two (or more) people. Leave those situations to be played out on the big screen and treat getting in the middle as a cardinal sin. After you zone properly, I would encourage you to use quick and brutal strikes to the face and throat and incorporate the final step, which is to use continuous footwork to always keep that "one on one stack".
Understand that the second person in line will not wait his turn. Therefore, make your strikes direct and to the point, while continuously zoning to keep one person blocking the other. This is the reason I believe tools such as elbows, jabs and even head butts work so well here.
But because mass attack scenarios have so many different variables, I get many questions from people when teaching about this subject. For instance, one of the questions is, "should I attack first or wait for them to come to me?" After you pick up an equalizer, strike first. Waiting for two or more opponents to close the gap will only put you in a worse position. Another question is, "who do I zone around first? The bigger guy, smaller, stronger, loud mouth?" None of the above. Zone around the closer one first. It is easier and helps you move through the proper game plan faster, rather than chase after your opponent of choice.
Also, many people want to know what happens if one of the people threatening them pulls out a weapon? My advice is to then zone around the one who has a weapon and take care of the ''more dangerous priority'' first. If only one person has a club, zone around (move closer to) that person first. If one has a knife and the other a stick, zone around the knife guy first . My rationalization for this (backed up by hours upon hours of training experience with non-compliant training partners) is that I never want to lose site of the person with the more dangerous weapon.
There is no doubt that fleeing a mass attack situation is the intelligent first choice. However, many times we don't have that luxury. Simply ignoring these scenarios only feeds our weaknesses. But using the three steps of Equalizer, Zone and Footwork will increase your chances of survival, which is our main goal.