M-1 Global is a pretty mainstream MMA organization, with a long history in the sport dating back to the late 1990’s. They’re noted for their old relationship with heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko, and co-promoted with events like Strikeforce in the past. Their website boasts, “M-1 Global is the #1 European MMA promotion, and one of the oldest MMA promotions in the world.”

So, imagine the surprise that viewers had, tuning in to the undercard of today’s M-1 Challenge 50 event in Russia, which was live-streamed worldwide, when armored knights entered the ring to do battle.


Video of the bout, hosted by our friends at Deadspin, includes a pretty fair takedown from a one-handed neck vice.

Per some of the comments that Tim Marchman‘s article has generated, apparently the “fight” was under the rule set of Battle of the Nations, where strikes, disarms, and knockdowns are scored by a panel of marshals — or, something like referees and ringside judges.

Generally these events aren’t actually held in rings, but in Renaissance fairs and the like.

It’s… certainly a novel approach! Reaction from MMA fans on Twitter was memorable:

So, what do you think? Is this the next big thing in combat sports?