Russia has an MMA-style medieval fighting league

medieval sport
Photo credit: M1 Medieval via YouTube

Fighting for sport and entertainment has been embedded in our culture for quite some time. Think back to gladiators in the colosseum, recent history of boxing, exhibition wrestling, and mixed martial arts. Medieval fighting was historically a necessity to protect land, family, and honor. It was only a matter of time with the popularity of the fantasy genre in TV and movies such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones that this real-life style of fighting would emerge again into the mainstream.

Called ‘Knight Fights’, the Russian MMA promoter M-1 added this new league to its roster sometime last year. Fighters dressed in full medieval garb with real armor and dulled blades step into the ring and go to battle. Just because there is no stabbing or slicing allowed, doesn’t mean these fights aren’t absolutely brutal. It sure seems nice to have a helmet on while being bashed in the face with a shield, but the referee can’t even seem to tell if you’re knocked out! The popularity of the knight fights held prior to other MMA matches earned their own division. M-1 Medieval now has 50 fighters spread amongst the typical weight classes.

The sport of medieval fighting has grown worldwide to the Battle of the Nations. Fighters from countries around the globe (men and women) meet annually to prove themselves as the best. Unlike the MMA format, Battle of Nations can be waged with multiple fighters as 3 vs. 3, 5 vs. 5, or even 150 vs.150 which was held in 2012 in Austria among members from the Czech Republic team.

M-1 Medieval and its ability to televise the fights and keep footage current online brings the Knight Fights to a new global audience. It’s pretty hilarious to watch but I may stick to my GoT to get my medieval battle fix. For real-life excitement in fantasy sport, muggle quidditch tournaments are also a favorite of mine. What say you?

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