If there are two things people love these days they are MMA and Game of Thrones, so the news that someone has essentially managed to fuse the two is likely to be greeted with glee.
It’s called M-1 Medieval fight and to all intents and purposes it’s a version of MMA where men dress up as knights to beat the living hell out of each other.
First launched by M-1 Global, Russia’s biggest mixed martial arts organisation, as a means of entertainment between official MMA bouts, the fights were an instant hit with fans.
“I liked the fans’ reaction when we did it for the first time in St. Petersburg at M-1 Challenge 50,” M-1 Global President Vadim Finkelchtein explained to mmafighting.com back in March of 2015 when the sport was just taking off.
“They seemed to really like it. They were impressed and supported the knights.”
It’s grown increasingly popular in Russia during the time since, with “knight fight nights” something of a regularity across Eastern Europe.
Not that the concept is an entirely new one in Russia. Young men from the region have been getting involved in Historical Medieval Battles or HMB, since the late 1990s. A sport of sorts, HMB essentially amounts to a competitive form of battle re-enactment using genuine metal arms.
Of course, it’s not complete and utter mayhem. The rules of M-1 Medieval fights state that fighters must remain on their feet and must either block or answer the attack of their opponent.
Also, crucially, stabbing with the sword is forbidden, meaning fans are unlikely to witness any real-life murder or blood-letting, particularly as all of the swords used are blunted.
In almost every other respect, however, it’s the same as MMA. There are three, three-minute rounds with the winner determined by knockout, forfeit or submission. Hits to the groin and throat as well as head-butts are the only other aspect outlawed.
It’s a type of combat that requires a lot of physical as well as mental strength though, which each fight required to lug around a pretty heavy looking armour set which makes things like running or even kicking pretty tough.
Not that MMA or the UFC approves, with both labelling the “sport” as somewhat dangerous. However, given the dim attitude many take when it comes to those two disciplines, this could well be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
In any case, their disdain has done little to prevent the growth of the sport with fresh combatants arriving from the likes of Poland and the US. Once this takes off in America, no one will be safe.