Thanks to a Cold War that lasted for decades, Russia has been the antithesis of everything America has stood for. Capitalism? Screw that, Russia is all about Communism. Apple pie? Forget it. Eat this borscht. Sanctioned mixed martial arts? No way, pal. In Russia, dudes will just fight on the side of the road. So of course when it comes to the new and innovative (and frankly, farcical Arena Combat promotion – which pits pairs of fighters against each other on an obstacle course – Russia has to go ultra-low-tech and simply do gang fights in the snow.
Let’s compare and contrast the two via the videos below, shall we?
Here’s Arena Combat, which is sanctioned in such states as Virginia and Mississippi, and looks polished:
Now here’s Russia:
The first glaring difference are the respective arenas for the combats – namely, that in Russia there is none. How do you sell tickets to something like that? Also, the cold?! At least in America there is something keeping out the elements.
Next up are the safety precautions, including a noticeable rule structure and officials to enforce those rules. Clearly, Arena Combat has people overseeing the event, and contestants are wearing protective gear. In the Russian version of group MMA, however, it looks like your Uncle Sal stepped away from behind the deli counter to cheer you on.
Lastly, there’s the skill-level of the competitors. Sadly, when it comes to fighting, knowing a bunch of techniques often means little when you’re facing someone somewhat skilled but WHO DOESN’T MIND FIGHTING IN THE DAMN SNOW. That’s a kind of human iron that only Russia can produce, so kudos to them on this one.
The verdict: Check your local listing for Arena Combat. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep scouring the Internet for crazy videos of Russians doing the fist-fight boogie.