(Two brave athletes battle for the X-FENCE welterweight title, previously vacated by Ash Williams.)
Over the past two decades, Mixed Martial Arts has evolved from a no-holds-barred freak show to a heavily regulated, network television ready enterprise that is accepted by a large slice of the general public. But even with the sport’s modern improvements and safeguards, there are still detractors who contend that MMA is nothing more than low-bred street-fighting operating under the guise of an organized competition.
In honor of the upcoming DVD release of Arena — a truly insane modern-gladiator flick starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kellan Lutz — we thought we’d give the MMA critics some perspective by presenting a list of the most brutal and dangerous combat “sports” ever invented. From shock-fighting to bear-baiting, they defy logic, celebrate gratuitous violence, and remind us just how far the human race has come. Enjoy…
Irish Bare-Knuckle Boxing
(Tip of the day: Don’t ever fight pick a fight with anyone who requires subtitles in their own language.)
Irish/Gypsy/Traveller/pikey bare-knuckle fighting, or whatever you choose to call it, is the missing link between a pub brawl and the Marquess of Queensberry rules. Bare-knuckle fighting is unregulated and implicitly raw. While boxing is often described as “beautifully brutal,” bare-knuckle boxing is just brutal. There is no designated area in which a Gypsy fight occurs. Boxing has a square-ring, MMA has a cage — gypsy boxing simply has an abstract “space” that can include barn-doors, tractors, livestock, and fellow gypsies. And the sound of raw knuckle against skull is something that few people can get used to.
This style of underground street-fighting was most recently popularized by Internet sensation Kimbo Slice. Kevin Ferguson’s version of backyard brawling is a direct descendant of Irish bare-knuckle boxing, and the underlying concept has remained identical, right down to the lack of medical professionals on hand. The only discernible difference is that Kimbo staged some of his throw-downs in a boat-yard, thereby enabling himself to take his buddies out on the water after the ‘bows had been thrown.