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Tag: gladiators

‘Modern Warriors’: The MMA/Gladiator Connection

gladiators gladiator roman ancient art painting drawing mma
(Well, that’s what you get for leaving it in the hands of the judges.)

Friends, Romans, CagePotatoans, lend me your ears. We’re all familiar with the UFC’s famous gladiator introduction. And if you’re familiar with it, you probably want them to change it. Guess what? It ain’t happening. Dana White (along with most Americans) is fascinated by that era of Roman history and its various dramatic representations, be it in the movie Spartacus, HBO’s Rome or the upcoming movie The Eagle. One can’t help but be infatuated with their tales of valor, violence, and debauchery. We can all go peruse Wikipedia and learn about the roots of MMA in pankration, so there’s no need for us to delve into its lineage and bore you.

Let’s take a quick look at gladiators. Many of them were slaves or prisoners condemned to fight, though there are some who volunteered for the job. While most gladiators’ non-fighting lives were rife with pain and sorrow — I mean, they were slaves after all — stepping into the arena was seen as a blessing, a chance to showcase their skills, a place to hear the cheers of the crowd and the love of the people. Some gladiators were as popular in the arena as the Senators themselves. While outsiders saw combat as barbaric and violent, it was a necessary evil to the combatants in order to attain glory.

For the gladiator, it wasn’t always about winning or losing, though losing could prove to be fatal; it was also about getting the crowd behind you. Most people aren’t aware that many gladiatorial contests were worked (like wrasslin’) in order to garner fan support. Look at it like Chris Lytle making a deal to try and win Fight of the Night. If you fought valiantly, the crowd cheered — unless you kept losing. We’ve all seen that “thumbs up or thumbs down” scene in Gladiator; well that wasn’t exactly accurate, but it wasn’t too far off from the truth. Your life was potentially in the hands of the official over the games and if they weren’t entertained, you died.

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Videos: Jake Shields Beats Down a Bully, Chuck Liddell Bullies a Bag

On this Sunday’s episode of Bully Beatdown (MTV, 9:30pm ET/PT) Jake Shields stops by to kick the garbage out of a roller-skating doofus named Jonathan, who is an absolute animal on the heavy bag. This is probably the most predictable installment of BB yet, but you should still tune in on Sunday to see if Jonathan changes his ways after his beating and starts wearing big-boy shoes without wheels on the bottom.

Below: The season premiere of Spike TV’s surprisingly entertaining new series Deadliest Warrior aired Tuesday night, and answered the question that has baffled historians for years — who would win in a fight between an ancient Roman gladiator and an Apache warrior? To gather evidence, a dude named "Snake Blocker" smashes the fake-brains out of a model head, and Chuck Liddell shows up to beat a bag with spiked gloves. It’s kind of like Sport Science, but way more badass. Segment one is below; if you dig it, go here to watch the rest.


(Props: Fightlinker)

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