Now Ernie rushed out into the street, his gold top in his hand,Two guys have one goal in common: getting the girl. In essence, a Cock Fight is what happens when the vying between the two suitors escalates into open hostility. Often occurs if neither was aware of the existence of the other, or when one has been courting the girl for a while. Typically, the fighters tend to focus on each other with the woman becoming secondary goal or, in a nastier tone, treated as a trophy. This is a staple of romantic films but it can show up in any type of work. Usually, this happens before the girl's heart is clearly settled between her two suitors but, even when her choice is made and spoken out, there is still a chance for the Cock Fight to turn up since Romantic False Leads are not known for giving up easily. If the losing side refuses to acknowledge defeat, the next step can be If I Can't Have You.... When it comes to the competition itself, it is generally about displaying protectiveness, doing nice things for the girl, strength contests and other kinds of symbolic measurements comparisons, preferably in front of her. More often than not, things can get out of hand — sometimes up to physical confrontation — if one of the suitors gets too close to the girl in front of his rival, or worse still, if he openly claims the girl for himself. During such conflicts, the girl can either stay neutral or try to intervene whether or not her choice is made. If she takes the second option, what she does can go from trying to soothe the guys' differences, telling them to shut up and stop fighting over her, or even get the HELL out until they stop being stupid. This is a subtrope of the Love Triangle and related to Triang Relations. Highly probable in a Two Guys and a Girl setting. Often happens after a Green-Eyed Epiphany. Contrast Courtly Love, If I Can't Have You..., and Stalker with a Crush. See also Opposites Attract Revenge for what this might lead to. Not related to Cat Fight, but if two girls have mutual interest over the same dude, they can get into one. It rarely overlaps with a Dogfight. (Ace Pilots are too classy for that.) This trope is named for the rooster as a metaphor for a male animal which fights over a mate, though the double-meaning is not unintended. For literal animal fights, see Beastly Bloodsports and Mon. It has at most metaphorical connection with a fight between two male reproductive organs over access or possession of a female reproductive organ.
He said, "If you wanna marry Susie, you'll fight for her like a man!"
"Oh, why don't we play cards for her?" he sneeringly replied,
"And just to make it interesting we'll have a shilling on the side."
He said, "If you wanna marry Susie, you'll fight for her like a man!"
"Oh, why don't we play cards for her?" he sneeringly replied,
"And just to make it interesting we'll have a shilling on the side."
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Anime & Manga
- InuYasha. InuYasha and Kōga over Kagome (Rumiko Takahashi count: 1).
- Godai and Mitaka over Kyoko in Maison Ikkoku (Rumiko Takahashi count: 2).
- Ranma and Ryōga over Akane in Ranma ˝ (Rumiko Takahashi count: 3). Not that Ranma will ever admit that he likes Akane that way.
- Tristan/Honda vs. Duke/Otogi in Yu-Gi-Oh!, over Serenity/Shizuka.
- An odd and incredibly tragic variation in Berserk. The first time Guts and Griffith fought was not (directly) over Casca, but it did mark a turning point as her affections and loyalty shifted from (defeated) Griffith to (victor) Guts. Neither had openly displayed romantic or sexual feelings toward her up to that point. Later, after Guts and Casca had become a couple, Guts and Griffith "fight" again. It's less a fight and more of a Curb-Stomp Battle (with Griffith having become a demon god) as Griffith forces Guts to watch as he rapes his lover Casca. The implication is that it's far more about hurting and humiliating Guts than about any attraction for Casca herself. The entire time it's happening, Griffith is staring right at Guts.
- Greece and Turkey in Axis Powers Hetalia fight over Japan's affection, though they're easily distracted and not above borrowing a camera and making prints for one another if Japan gets (cute and) angry.
- Narrowly averted in Junjou Romantica. Akihiko was about ready to storm in his brother's room and give him a good punch in every imaginable part of his body when he found out that his brother was 'going to take Misaki from him', had Misaki not held him from going through the door.
- Played for Laughs in Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward and Alphonse as children both fought for the right to marry their childhood friend Winry. Alphonse won but Winry rejected them both, saying "[she] couldn't possibly marry anyone shorter than [her]", and she was taller than both at the time. In the actual series, both of them are taller than her and by the end, she is Happily Married to Ed.
- This is a subplot of Hayato and Randoll's rivalry in the latter half of the Future GPX Cyber Formula TV series as they competed for Asuka's love in the Spanish GP, and at one point, Randoll even made a bet with Asuka that if he wins that race, he gets her kiss (that never came to be).
- In Akazukin Chacha, Shiine and Riiya are constantly squabbling over Chacha, who remains blithely oblivious.
- Ai no Kusabi has the two Yanderes Iason and Guy fighting over the latter's former lover which Iason refuses to let go of.
- Tomoe and Mizuki from Kamisama Kiss have a pretty intense rivalry over Nanami's attention and affection. Tomoe also has a even worse rivalry with Kurama over Nanami.
- In Samurai Pizza Cats, Speedy and Guido fight each other over Lucille.
- In the original, Kyatto Ninden Teyandee - Yattaro and Sukashii fight each other over Omitsu.
- In both the original and the dub, this one is eventually resolved by Speedy/Yattaro giving up on Lucille/Omitsu and hooking up with Polly/Pururun instead.
- Half-brothers Kai and Enjouji do this over Ranmaru in Kizuna. Kai eventually backs off and falls for his bodyguard Masa.
- While she is not the sole source of their conflict, Mikono is definitely a major reason that Kagura and Amata keep duking it out in Aquarion Evol.
- Happens between Tamahome and Hotohori in Fushigi Yuugi. In a subversion, it only goes to a direct fight when Tamahome is Brainwashed and Crazy against his companions. Hotohori later backs off.
- And in the Suzaku hi den novel/OAV's, Hotohori again finds himself in a similar predicament when both he and his half-brother Shu show interest in Houki. It ends in tragedy: Houki chooses Hotohori, but Shu ends up dying in the arms of both of them.
- Ash's Oshawott and Dawn's Piplup over Meloetta, during the Dawn arc of Pokémon 'Best Wishes'.
- A Phione tried to challenge Ash's Pikachu to a fight over Dawn's Buneary, only for Buneary herself to defeat the Phione. Pikachu was confused about the whole thing.
- Shinji and Riiya in Akazukin Cha Cha. They even stomp on each others' toes (literally) in the Anime trailer!
- A gender-flipped, downplayed, and ultimately averted example occurs in Rebuild 2.0. Shinji Ikari, for a small portion of the middle of the second act, has both Asuka and possibly Rei gunning for his affections (though Asuka is certain that she is and that she simply doesn't realize it). The battle ground is Shinji's palate. Asuka convinces herself that she's giving her all, but, during the climax of the fight (in a re-do of the original and awkward elevator scene, though far shorter and with much lower stakes) Rei, sporting considerably more cuts on her fingers than Asuka, unintentionally reveals that she is the one who's been working harder to please him. After seeing this, and confirming that Rei does in fact like Shinji, Asuka surrenders. The outcome is averted by 3.0. The Rei of 2.0 is either dead or simply absent, and Asuka all but states that she'd rather die than do it with him.
- The Last: Naruto the Movie's Final Battle is partly this. Ostensibly it's to save the world, but Naruto also took issue with Toneri trying to forcibly marry his Love Interest Hinata, even going as far as to brainwash her.
- A tragic version of this is seen when Elixir and Wither compete over Wallflower. It didn't end well for anyone.
- In the Age of Apocalypse Alternate Timeline, Cyclops and Wolverine's fight over Jean Grey was gruesome, with Cyke losing an eye and Wolvie losing a hand.
- In the main continuity, both still fight and squabble regularly over Jean as well.
- In Excalibur, Nightcrawler got in a very violent fight with Captain Britain over Meggan. Captain Britain thought he was invoking this trope, but in reality, courtesy of grinding stress, a bout of alchoholism, a curse, and exceptionally poor phrasing on Nightcrawler's part, he overreacted and took a swing at his teammate. Nightcrawler, for his part, was strongly tempted by Meggan, but steadfastly refused to act on it in any fashion.
- Cutter vs. Rayek vying to woo Leetah in the ElfQuest Trial of Head, Hand and Heart arc. Slightly subverted in that whoever wins, Leetah has the final say. Then re-subverted in that she's Recognized Cutter and ultimately can't fight it.
- Putting Donald Duck, Gladstone Gander, and Daisy Duck in the same story is a recipe for disaster... and humor. It's interesting to note that in Daisy's eyes she is "officially" engaged to Donald, and the boys' attempts to impress her romantically either go unnoticed or frustrate her to no end. These stories also tend to play up Donald's bad luck and contrast it with Gladstone's legendary good luck, such that the former is desperately afraid of losing his girl while the latter is desperately trying to win the one thing his luck can't provide. Jealousy, envy, and wacky hijinks all around.
- In the Kung Fu Panda fic The Vow, when Lady Lianne's called back home by her distant father, he immediately foists onto her three suitors and precludes Lord Shen, with whom she has lived for months. However, Shen refuses to be barred without a fight from Lianne after having a Love Epiphany in the previous chapter and proceeds to humiliate his rivals without much effort by scaring the dim-witted ox with his knife-throwing skills, intimidating the nervous owl by displaying his peacock train, and violently threatening the smug monkey who touches Lianne. While Lianne disapproves of Shen's actions, she accepts comfort from him over her troubled situation and has her own Love Epiphany in the next chapter.
Films — Animation
- In The Rescuers Down Under, Bernard competes with Jake over Bianca's affections. Though in this case, Jake isn't openly competing with Bernard, just unaware of his relationship status with Bianca.
- Bambi and Faline's dance of love through the clouds is rudely interrupted by another stag, resulting in a savage fight.
- In the "Baia" segment of The Three Caballeros, several men (including Donald Duck and Jose Carioca) vie for the affections of singer Aurora Miranda (Carmen's sister). At one point, two men stage a stylized dance-fight, with the animation morphing them briefly into roosters.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Green Hornet, Britt Reid and Kato's argument turns violent after Kato implies he's been with Lenore Case (though it's revealed later that he was more concerned with antagonizing Britt). Despite Kato's Crazy Awesome credentials, it's not the fight you'd expect, especially when it ends.
- Lampshaded in the Blake Edwards film Skin Deep:
(two naked men in a pitch-black bedroom are both wearing glow-in-the-dark condoms, and discover they're both trying to have sex with the same woman. All we see are two erect phalluses moving around the room. At first, the two of them are throwing stuff at each other, then, they get interested and start swinging their [glow in the dark] dicks at each other)
Man in Bed Answering phone: Uh, Hello? Yeah? Oh really. Okay, I'll come down and bail you out. (hangs up)
Wife: What happened?
Man: Jack's been arrested.
Wife: What's the charge?
- Cleaver and Darcy's hilarious Wimp Fight at the end of Bridget Jones' Diary.
- Andy and Dwight of The Office (US) "duel" over Angela (That is, Andy pins Dwight to a hedge with his car while his back is turned). In a later episode, when characters are musing over bad past breakups;
Angela: My worst breakup was actually two breakups. Two different men. I was in love with both of them and, when things went bad... they had a duel over me.
Oscar: Yeah, Dwight and Andy, we were here.
Angela: No. This was years ago when I was living in Ohio. John Mark and John David.
Oscar: Angela... you had two sets of different men actually duel over you?
Angela: I guess I have...
- Inverted in The Next Karate Kid. Ned gets jealous of Julie and Eric hanging out and challenges Eric to a fight.
- This Means War! is about two CIA agents and Fire-Forged Friends, Tuck and FDR, using all of the resources at their disposal trying win over Lauren, a woman they both happened to meet on the same night. The fact that there is a very dangerous international terrorist seeking revenge on them for the death of his brother is actually a distant secondary plotline in comparison for most of the movie.
- Discussed for tragic irony in Irreversible; near the end of the film (which, due to the reverse chronology, happens before the other main events,) Alex's boyfriend playfully says that he "stole" her from a friend of his (with whom they both remain on good terms nonetheless) to which she says that he can't "steal" her because it's always the woman's choice and "(she is) not an object". This comes after the audience has watched her being used as exactly that and having her choice violated in the most brutal way possible during the film's notorious eight-minute rape scene.
- In the 2001 crime comedy Bandits, bank robbers Joe and Terry both fall in love with the slight odd but adorable Kate and hilariously fight over her in scenes that involve dancing and plate glass windows. In a rather surprise twist, Kate ends up choosing both of them, and they seem to be more than happy to share her.
Terry: Kate, you should choose. What's it gonna be? Mr. Action Figure Hero Guy? Or brains, and sensitivity, and a lot of other things I could name. So in other words: me or THAT guy?Joe: Yeah. Good looking or ITCHY?
- Back to the Future: Pretending to fight and lose to his potential father over his potential mother is time traveling Marty McFly's plan to make sure his potential parents get together romantically so he and his siblings won't disappear due to never being born. Unfortunately, due to some bad luck the plan goes badly wrong and his potential father gets in a real fight with Biff, a strong and mean spirited bully, while Marty is trapped helplessly in the trunk of a car. Biff loses.
- Happens between Batman and Robin in Batman & Robin thanks to Poison Ivy's pheromones.
Live Action TV
- One episode of Angel had Wes and Gunn get into a physical fight because they were both in love with Fred.
- Angel and Riley essentially do this on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in one ep as well. Buffy threatened to hospitalize them if they kept it up.
- Angel and Spike do this over Buffy, just adding one more aspect to their competitive relationship. In Buffy's "Chosen" they both show their petulant jealous sides, but Buffy is more amused than angry. She eventually tells Spike that one day she's just going to put the two of them in a room and let them wrestle it out. When Spike says that's fine with him, her eyes widen in excitement and she says "There could be oil of some kind involved..."
- That '70s Show: Hyde and Kelso once spent an episode fighting for Jackie's attention. When they get fed up with her jerking them around and tell her to choose, she says she can't. Then she chooses herself.
- How I Met Your Mother: While Robin's dating Don, Barney decides he wants her back, leading Ted to the same revelation. They both get blindingly drunk and beat the crap out of each other, then try to drag Don into a three-way cock fight. He declines, because, unlike them, he's sober. And since she's with Don, they both lose. In the long run, Ted wins.
- In Malcolm in the Middle, Hal and Lois each set their babysitter up with, respectively, Abe and Craig, and she tries to date them both simultaneously until it leads to this. The two guys being who they are, though, it's just a furious slap fight, and she chooses to dump both of them and "concentrate on her career" (despite having managed to lose the baby in all the excitement).
- In The Vampire Diaries, Stefan and Damon over the affections of first Katherine and then Elena.
- Richard Castle and Beckett's ex-boyfriend Will Sorensen. Halfway through the episode, Beckett flat-out suggests they just drop their pants and get it over with.
- Parodied in an episode of The Big Bang Theory; when the gang can't agree who gets to ask out Sheldon's sister Missy, they decide to fight over her "the right way -- the honourable way"... Wii Boxing. Leonard wins, triumphantly walks over to her door and asks her out... and she flatly turns him down. Leonard muses that that was an outcome they hadn't anticipated.
- The Tenacious D series features this between Jack and Kyle, and it swiftly turns into a cartoonish kung-fu battle.
- In Supergirl, Mon-El challenges Mr. Mxyzptlk to a duel (cue Mxyzptlk transporting them to a theater stage dressed as Hamilton and Burr), using an artifact to rob the imp of his power, though Mxyzptlk still has enough Super Strength to put up a good fight. Kara is not amused.
- Edward and Jacob over Bella in Twilight.
- Variation in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: In the book, Ruth's husband fights with Ruth's lesbian lover, Imogen (Idgie), when Ruth says she wants to escape her abusive marriage to live with her.
- Colas Breugnon has the protagonist reminiscencing on his young love, which eventually drove him to fight his friend Pinon for her affections, to the death (but nobody died, though there was a lot of bleeding). Both competitors are even referred to as roosters.
- In Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, a rivalry of this nature springs up between upper-class lawyer Eugene Wrayburn and schoolteacher Bradley Headstone, over Lizzie Hexam. Particularly in Headstone's case, it's debatable whether love for Lizzie or hatred for the other man is stronger.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire there was a non-heroic example of this long before the events of the book. Though she eventually married Eddard Stark, as a child Catelyn was betrothed to his older brother Brandon (who died in an unrelated incident) but was loved by a young Petyr Baelish (who would grow up to become the series premiere Magnificent Bastard Littlefinger). This rivalry over Catelyn eventually led Petyr to challenge Brandon to a duel for Catelyn, where he got utterly curb stomped. The resulting effect on his character causes no end of problems for the whole of Westeros.
- Also in the back story is the cock fight to end all cock fights. Robert was rather understandably furious when Rhaegar kidnapped/eloped with Lyanna, his betrothed, which then sparked a war. When Rhaegar and Robert finally met at the end of said war, they had an epic battle that Rhaegar fatally lost. Unfortunately for pretty much everyone, Lyanna died anyway.
- Amelia Peabody finds watching her husband Emerson fight the 'Master Criminal' Sethos for her quite an 'interesting and stimulating sensation.
- Seemingly played straight, but ultimately subverted in the Harry Potter series; Lily Evans had two men who very much cared for her and the two were at each other's throats, James Potter and Severus Snape. What subverts it is that the resentment existed not because of Lily; Snape hated James because of James' charmed life compared to his while being just as skilled in magic as him among other subjects while being popular. James hated Snape because of his ideology (which is comparable to Nazism, especially given the time of Voldemort's rising.) What made it so vitriolic was that Snape was Lily's best friend and her first one and it may have led to the hostilities being open though it seemed it was inevitable. Lily for the most part seemed unaware Snape liked her romantically and she did not like it when they fought. Eventually, her and Snape have a fallout after he calls her a racial slur and she finally can no longer excuse his actions. Meanwhile, once James became more humble and matured, she fell for him, even marrying him when they got out of school (keep in mind the friendship fallout occurred in their 5th year and married after their 7th, so there is heavy implication she was attracted to him, but did not know him.)
- According to Dave Barry, elk do this until the female leaves in boredom, at which point the winning male has taken so much brain damage he mates with the first thing he sees, including shrubbery.
This is the great irony of macho behavior: women never seemed impressed by it.
- Journey to Chaos: Siron of Esrah and Culmus of Stratos fight each over Princess Kasile. They're so intense about it that they are not allowed to joust each other for fear of "accidents". In the aftermath of a Rescue Arc, she has to plead with them not to fight each other and even then there's a close call with Stab the Scorpion. When they make their Declaration of Protection to her, they glance sidelong at each other: "Your Highness is safe with me." This state of affairs is even more depressing for Kasile than the typical version; she confides in Eric, her surrogate big brother that she hoped they would become Bash Brothers.
- What makes two people who are friends and comrades in battle fall apart? Being mutual lovers of the same girl. This is the fate of Akihiko Sanada and Ken Amada in Persona 3 Portable. Granted it's only relevant in Tartarus and is optional but oh, those wars. (And Ken is surprisingly able to hold his own, despite being younger than the standard.)
- Played for aww-ness in the backstory of Kingdom Hearts, Sora and Riku always compete for Kairi's affection (she supports the friendly rivalry, oblivious to the reason). But things don't go that smooth later... at first
- Played for Laughs and briefly at that during the romanced Garrus/female Shepard tango scene of the Citadel DLC of Mass Effect 3. You can potentially use a Renegade interrupt to make Shepard spin away from Garrus and slide intently up to Lt. James Vega, who is watching the scene take place. Vega makes an approving noise, before Garrus aggressively pulls Shepard back to him.
- An ongoing character arc between Gilgamesh Wulfenbach and Tarvek Sturmvoraus in Girl Genius, both vying for the affections of Agatha Heterodyne and neither holding the other's integrity of character in particularly high regard.
- Played with at least a couple of times where Agatha has shown herself to be willing and capable of stepping in and kicking both of their asses just to get them to behave for a while. Despite this, they do surprisingly little fighting over Agatha.
- Furthermore, the character bit is justified by the revelation they were best friends as schoolboys. While they did get on each other's nerves back then, they were one another's first true friend and the circumstances that caused the fallout left emotional scars on them. When they are not fighting however, they get along very well and amicably.
- In addition, Gil and Tarvek are competing heirs between their bloodlines for control over Europa (with Tarvek being the prime successor for the old royal throne, that of the Storm King, who sees Gil's family as usurpers. Not fully wrong, since the Wulfenbach family was a minor noble family before Gil's father, Emperor Scientist Klaus Wulfenbach conquered Europa singlehandedly to restore order after the disappearance of the Heterodyne Boys and return of the Other. Klaus defied and flaunted the rules of the nobility and thus the others, especially the Storm King descendants see this as an insult.
- As of now, they've ceased most fighting (outside an occasional jab) to deal with bigger issues. Furthermore, they do still care a good bit about one another and hurting one is a good way to get the other to become quite hostile.
- Amusingly subverted/lampshaded in Errant Story, as Jon interrupts a Cat Fight between his sister and Sarine.
Sarine: Oh, hello, Jon. We were just having a little girl talk. Sweaty, violent, mostly one-sided girl talk with lots of sword fighting.
Jon: ... Ah. Now see, guys don't have those kinds of talks. We just whip it out and see whose is longer.
- In The Dreamer, Alan Warren and Alexander Hamilton often get into snippy fights around each other, often involving Beatrice as the subject.
- Homestuck had a bizarre instance of this resulting from culture clash. In short: Karkat thinks Dave is dating Terezi, which Dave denies. Karkat also wants to date Terezi, and suggests an unnecessarily complicated form of polyamory as a solution. Dave is mortified that they're even having this conversation. Fisticuffs ensue when Karkat tries to draw a diagram of his plan, the boys spend several pages squabbling over a pen, Dave forces Karkat to draw several penises with said pen, and Karkat tells Dave to stop flirting with him.
- This is the premise of nearly every Popeye cartoon ever made, ever.
- In Tom and Jerry, Tom and Butch are often in competition over the affection of an attractive female cat.
- Ulrich and William over Yumi in Code Lyoko. Actually came to blows in "A Bad Turn"... and that's just the beginning!
- In Batman: The Animated Series, The Joker gets into a brief argument with the Creeper over ownership of Harley Quinn. Subverted in that it's more about "There Can Only Be One batshit-insane creep in Gotham City", rather than who is Harley's man.
- Also, Harley only loves the Joker, who's not interested as usual. And it was not until later that the Creeper becomes smitten with her.
- Purposely invoked by Smurfette in The Smurfs episode "Romeo And Smurfette" when she fell under the influence of Gargamel's hypnotic flower, and she chose Hefty and Handy as her primary suitors, which led them and the whole village into a Ship-to-Ship Combat.
- Played with in The Amazing World of Gumball when Tobias challenges Gumball to a duel for Penny's affections. Gumball initially refuses and only accepts because Tobias would not stop bothering them otherwise. After it starts, Penny flat-out tells Tobias that she won't like him even if he wins and Gumball asks if he'd given any thought to what Penny would think, all of which Tobias is too delusional to pay any mind.
- In the Disney cartoon "Pluto's Heart Throb", Pluto and Butch vie for the affection of a female dachshund named Dinah.
- This is the premise of the South Park episode Bebe's Boobs Destroy Society, with the entire 4th grade class becoming rivals with each other over Bebe, to the point where they degenerate into cavemen, and physically fight each other in a massive brawl. In the commentators track for the episode, Parker and Stone mention an incident they witnessed at a party where two drunk guys almost got into an altercation over a girl, but both of them were so drunk that the discourse was done entirely in grunts and shoving.
- In Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode, Tom and Marco get into one about Star and her surprise birthday party, especially since Tom's dating her again. Pony Head even lampshades the whole conflict:
"Well happy birthday, Star, you got every girl's dream! Two guys are fighting over you."
- It's often seen during the mating season, between most animals. And yes, that definitely includes humans, for whom every season is mating season.