In the 1985 movie “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” Mel Gibson as the film’s hero is forced to participate in a bloody, to-the-death fight in a large cage from which he is not allowed to exit. The bloody fighting was performed for the blood lust of the applauding audience. This theatrical fight seems now, 25 years later, to have been a precursor to what has become a multi-million dollar entertainment industry known as “cage fighting.”
Cage fighting is also referred to as “mixed martial arts” fighting and “ultimate fighting.” While the organized aspect of the “sport” does not include among its attractions fights to the death, it clearly panders to the extreme violence craved by its large and growing audience in the U.S. and other countries (its modern rendition appears to have originated in Brazil). Single matches staged in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles can net tens of millions of dollars for promoters and participants.
A recent episode in which an off-duty cage fighter murdered his training partner by cutting out his still-beating heart, has drawn attention to the violent and violence-engendering nature of cage fighting. The alleged murderer, Jarrod Wyatt, apparently had ingested hallucinogenic mushroom tea before the grisly murder of his training partner in Klamath, California.
While this “extreme” murder did not occur in the “cage,” the regular televising of no-holds-barred “extreme” fights on cable channels such as Spike, is causing at least some to question whether these activities, reflective of the coarsening of modern culture, are simultaneously themselves fostering ever more violent behavior outside the cage in a broader societal context. Activities such as those transmitted on social websites, in which groups of teens (sometimes boys, other times teenaged girls) savagely beat up one or more victims, come to mind.
With extreme violence of the sort practiced by cage fighting participants becoming increasingly lucrative and widespread, it should hardly be surprising that gang fight incidents such as those seen on social internet sites, or that took place in Klamath, California, are occuring.