Russian mixed martial arts organization M-1 Global is going old school with a new venture called M-1 Medieval. According to mmafighting, M-1 started running full-contact jousting matches with knights as filler during MMA events in August. The response to the contests was so positive that M-1 will feature more “knight fights” with the possibility of an entire series of events filled with knight bouts in the future.
M-1 president Vadim Finkelchtein told MMAFighting.com,
“I liked the fans’ reaction when we did it for the first time in St. Petersburg at M-1 Challenge 50,”
“They seemed to really like it. They were impressed and supported the knights. So, I thought it was worth continuing. At that time, the knight fight was to fill the pause between the undercard and main card fights. If we find enough fighters to make enough fights, we will have a separate medieval show with its own weight categories, title fights and champions.”
“I think it is similar to MMA,” he said. “The rules are similar: you can punch, strike and wrestle. The fighters have swords and shields, wear special clothing, and all that looks really impressive and exciting.”
The full rules of the contests are still be worked out but so far, the organization has concluded:
-Swords that the knights carry must be blunt
-Headbutts and submission holds are not allowed
-Strikes to the back of the neck, spine and ankles are prohibited
-If a knight is knocked down, his opponent can only finish him with with three strikes.
“There were a lot of knightly orders and it has a big cultural heritage,” Finkelchtein said. “And now we see a lot of schools where people can experience these traditions, the way knights lived. They can study how to fight using swords and learn a lot about Medieval times. And that makes me think the M-1 Medieval idea will have a good future in Europe.”
The next M-1 Medieval bout takes place at M-1 Challenge 56 on April 10th in Moscow with more to likely follow. Watch some past M-1 Medieval bouts on youtube.com.