Extreme fighting is an underground phenomenon almost ten years in the making. Having grown from a handful of small, locally sponsored toughman contests to a well-organized network of huge events in arenas replete with lights and pyrotechnics, the art of ass-kicking has come a long way in a short time. This weekend's Cowtown Rumble brings locals a kind of fight that harks back to now-extinct traditions.
In the Rumble, fighters are matched by size and let loose in a ring with nothing but padded gloves and a mouthguard to protect them. Concentrating on kickboxing (boxing with kicking), Muay Thai (kickboxing with elbows and knees) and extreme fighting (anything goes, but no eye gouging or finger bending), the matches are tailor-made for observers who have grown tired of the prime-time wrestling soap opera.
Rumble fights can end in a few different ways -- a fighter gets knocked out, a contestant gives up, or the ref mercifully decides someone has taken enough punishment. Fighters are allowed to hit an opponent who's down, put a knee to his groin and straddle him while pounding away on his face. Judging by crowd response, these moves aren't just allowed -- they're encouraged. As with other spectator fighting matches, blood lust is the norm -- and you're more likely to be satisfied by extreme fighting.
If you feel the need to look away, you can always let your eyes drift to the crowd, where Hooters will have women in tight T-shirts cheering on the carnage.