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"In the not too distant future, wars will no longer exist. But there will be Rollerball."
Tagline for Rollerball (1975)

In The Future, life is cheap. Apparently, mankind forgot the whole thing about the sanctity of life somewhere in the past nineteen minutes simply for the sake of mindless entertainment. No better way to show that than with some good old-fashioned violent spectator sports, where fatalities are a very real possibility every single game, if not the major selling point. Essentially, a Blood Sport is a Deadly Game version of a modern spectator sport.

Exactly how the sport is dangerous varies. It could be as simple as something extremely risky, such as racing at supersonic speeds, a more mundane sport with the added bonus that the players are allowed/encouraged to physically attack each other, or flat out Gladiator Games of some kind where the entire goal is for one side to kill or seriously maim the other.

Of course, this trope is not limited to the future; gladiator-style entertainments often pop up in the Backstory of a Barbarian Hero, for instance. This is historical Truth in Television, of course; formalized bloodsports have been around since at least the ancient Greek Olympic Games, while The Roman Empire is the Trope Codifier for these kinds of sports, and informal ones most likely go further back than that.

Usually, the deaths will be of the many young rookie players, but sometimes, a veteran slips up, or a longtime feud will come to a sudden, violent end. Frequently, the players are Condemned Contestants and their violent deaths are part of the attraction.

These sports may form the central part of the story, but in many cases, they're just shown or described as a way of letting the audience know just how messed-up this world has become.

A slightly more optimistic variation is where the Blood Sport has come around as an alternative to actual wars. In many cases, it will often be actual fighting, only more ritualized. Of course, if you thought sports was Serious Business before...

Also common in many martial arts stories, with pit fighting and Kumite-style tournaments where people fight to the death.

In many circumstances, Blood Sports have No OSHA Compliance to begin with, which means most players in these Blood Sports aren't equipped with needed safety requirements before the events start.

See also Vehicular Combat for a type commonly found in videogames. I Know Madden Kombat is the inversion of this trope, kinda sorta; sports skills used as combat arts off the field. Improbable Sports Skills may involve things that look like violence but that is not the intent of that trope. A particularly dangerous Fictional Sport may be an example of this trope.

Not to be confused with Bloodsport, the Jean-Claude van Damme film, though the eponymous tournament definitely is one, or the obscure Superman villain. Neither is "Bloodsport for all" by the band "Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine" this trope (except maybe figuratively).

See also Snuff Film and Immoral Reality Show. Beastly Bloodsports is a subtrope involving animals. Spectator Casualty is when it's dangerous for the onlookers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Battle Angel Alita and spinoff Ashen Victor:
    • Motorball may not be intentionally lethal to participants, but some of the players certainly make it so. Also, a prime example of controlling the underclass by giving them a Blood Sport to keep them occupied.
    • The Scrapyard also has gladiatorial combat between giant cyborgs for entertaining the masses.
    • The Solar System at large has a Government-sponsored Zenit of Things Tournament, where the best martial artists from the whole System fight to the death for the right to be incorporated as a fully sovereign state recognized by all their peers. It is rigged so that the seeded teams from Jupiter and Venus (already superpowers) are always in the finals, though... at least until the heroes join.
  • The Gundam Fight from Mobile Fighter G Gundam is described in-show as "A war based on the principles of sportsmanship", with every country in the world being represented by a Motion-Capture Mecha piloted by a trained fighter. Although the battles are (usually) bloodless, the Mobile Trace system that runs the Humongous Mecha feeds back any damage incurred on them back to the pilot as physical pain. Thus, for example, if your machine has its arm torn off, you will feel as though your own arm just got torn off. The fact that many such injuries are simply shrugged off as an annoyance is one of the many reasons why everybody in the show is a major badass.
  • Space Adventure Cobra has a sort of "no-holds-barred" version of Base-ball called "Rug-ball" where the idea is to reach each base in one piece... Naturally there are a few deaths involved, and Cobra proves himself to be a spectacular player.
  • Freezing: Carnival is a competition for rank fought by genetically modified students. Killing is one way to score points.
  • One episode of Kino's Journey features a pair of cities whose constant warfare has been replaced by regular pogroms of the local villages. The cities compete to see who gets the most kills.
    • Compare Clive Barker's "In the Hills, the Cities."
    • And then there was the city where people constantly fought each other in the arena for status, and any travelers who entered were automatically forced to participate. The winner would become a first-class citizen, and could also make a new law for the city. Kino probably ended up making the place even more bloody than it already was, but also ensured peace in the long term.
  • Similarly, the Zoid Battles featured in Zoids: New Century and Zoids: Fuzors are Humongous Mecha cockfights. Somewhat subverted in that there are multiple rules and restrictions in place to prevent death, though serious injury is a very viable possibility....
  • The anime Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko centers around a game that replaced war in which teams of small, agile spacecraft dogfight each other. Fortunately, highly advanced teleportation technology means that the pilots rarely die.
  • There are two crash race mini-arcs in Future GPX Cyber Formula. One is a crash race that takes place in a ghost town and the other is called the Fireball Race, in which the cars race across Europe and the cars are weaponized (except for Asurada GSX and Proto Jaguar) to crash on other racers' cars.
  • Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!! provides a Lighter and Softer version as they're toying with toys rather than real people. The show starts up with a typical mini 4WD racing competition, but later, there's a Big Bad and his team who introduce battle parts to be used in racing. Kids are encouraged to make their toys mini weapons to crash and destroy opponent's cars. Since the plot has more than one of the heroes' machine trashed by these rules, and since they have a believe that their mini 4WDs have souls. They take it a Serious Business.
  • Wangan Midnight portrays the highway street racing as this, since it's based off the highway street racing phenomenon in Japan, which can be considered dangerous since many car mechanics throw in highly souped-up exotic sports cars onto the expressways at maximum speeds possible. And there's a souped-up Datsun that have become Chronically Crashed Car that took over many drivers' lives, let alone injuring a high-school student in a drive. Being targeted at adult readers, the portrayal can be quite realistic.
  • Air Gear: The Air Treks initially began as a worldwide fad that was supposed to be inline skating taken to the next level. It turned into the Blood Sport it is today right around the time people discovered you could use the skates to make Razor Wind, Thorn Whips, Electrical Spider Webs, Sound Barriers, Shockwave Stomps, Time Manipulation, and Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • While killing is explicitly forbidden in Dragon Ball's World Martial Arts Tournament, considering it's a full-contact fight between serious fighters who often have superhuman powers it's not surprising that severe injury does sometimes occur. It's somewhat telling that there even needs to be an explicit rule about not killing your opponent.
  • Deadman Wonderland is a prison where the prisoners are forced to do insanely dangerous "events" like an obstacle race where you can be cut to ribbons, fall to your death or just fall into a pit of spikes. To make matters worse, the audiences watch and believe it is all "special effects". And then there's the Carnival of Corpses; where prisoners with Branches of Sin powers fight each other and sometimes are cheered to kill their defeated opponents. Oh, and the loser (if they live) gets a randomly selected body part (ranging from hair to eyes to entire organs or limbs) removed while they're awake. If you don't participate and are on "Death Row", then you are killed by poison after 72 hours and can only buy antidote to keep living for another 72 hours with Cast Points; earned by surviving and winning the Blood Sport games.
  • Ratings Games in High School D×D, the arena combat sport used by Devil Kings to settle disputes. Several different formats are seen, but all have significant restrictions in place to prevent actual loss of life — pieces are "taken" rather than killed and retired to a holding area, medical attention is available after the fight, and attacks that could kill the target outright are heavily restricted or forbidden. Interestingly, the only time a no-holds-barred Ratings Game is seen, it was an entirely genuine attempt at good sportsmanship (a Running Gag is the protagonist team being skewed toward overpowered nukes with precious little tactical acumen to go around).

    Comic Books 
  • Enki Bilal's comics feature chessboxing (boxing first, then chess) which is now a thing, and a version of ice hockey where the points are counted by goals, wounded and dead.
  • Spinball, from the notorious British comic Action!. Played only by Condemned Contestants. Rollerball on ice with giant pinball pins as targets. Really.
  • 2000 AD:
    • Judge Dredd:
      • Supersurf. An (initially) illegal Sky Surfing race through densely-populated streets, weaving between high-speed traffic. Later races included moving obstacles, snipers or dangerously narrow checkpoints.
      • Also used in a ritualized "war" between Megacity One and the Sovs, in which Judges from each side fight to the death in a televised contest.
    • Another example would be Aeroball from Harlem Heroes, which is described as a cross between football, basketball, boxing and Kung Fu. With jetpacks. Its sequel, Inferno, had an even more violent sport to demonstrate that as rough as Aeroball was, it didn't satiate the crowd enough. To a lesser extent, the In Name Only revival had this trope in the form of arena combat at the beginning of "Death Sport". These are supposed to be non lethal affairs, fought with guns loaded with tranquilliser rounds and taser blades, but one of Slice's opponents, sore from the loss, tries to kill him using incendiary rounds after the match.
    • Button Man: The events in "The Game" are essentially gladiatorial combats, usually with firearms in remote areas, and the rules decided by the Voices.
    • Second City Blues had slamboarding, a sport similar to the Aeroball of Harlem Heroes with hoverboards instead of jetpacks and a living organic ball that could react to various stimuli.
    • Mean Team centred around the sport of Death Bowl, a capture the flag like sport set in a replica city, where points were earned from kills.
    • Mean Arena focused on street football, a violent take on association football.
  • In the 1980s, DC released The Outcasts, a Five-Man Band mini-series set in a Northeastern megalopolis of tomorrow. Two heroes of this were Slaughterbowl veterans.
  • Threshold is about "The Hunted", a massively popular intergalactic TV show where targets are hunted down by mercenary teams. The event spans a heavily populated city, so targets' whereabouts are constantly being updated by eagle-eyed fans who see them on the street.
  • In Pocket God, the pygmies like to play squidball. It's like dodgeball, but with a killer squid instead of a ball. Last one alive wins.
  • In All-Star Western #7-9, Jonah Hex gets involved in an underground pit fights in New Orleans where the battles are to the death.
  • Killtopia is the setting of a blood sport wherein soldiers for hire called "Wreckers" enter the titular place (formerly Sector K district) to hunt down Killer Robots called "Mechs".
  • Beast Wars: Uprising is set in a Bad Future where corrupt, aging Autobots and Decepticons fight their Forever War via proxy Blood Sports between Maximals and Predacons, with the competitors picked by lottery. Gladiatorial combat is the most popular, and while the Games are not necessarily to the death, its certainly common. It's revealed early on that many of the Games are rigged to prevent either side from getting too much of an advantage, and the exposure of this fact to the public is what kicks off the titular Uprising. Later on, one of the first big signs that the Resistance is going off the deep end is when they start staging Games if their own with prisoners of war... and any of their own troops who dare to object.
  • In issue #6 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage), the Turtles are forced into an interstellar gladiatorial combat against a team of Triceratons, the whole thing being commentated by two sports announcers like a typical game of American football.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gladiator, and any other film featuring Gladiator Games.
  • The B-Movie Death Race 2000 revolves around a cross-country race where contestants scored points for mowing down pedestrians.
  • Its remake, Death Race, deals with a closed-circuit race on an island prison, where the competitors are death row inmates racing for their freedom. Death Race 2, a prequel, shows how it began as a cage fight and how they brought cars into the formula to increase ratings. Death Race 3 has "Death Race Navigator Wars", where female convicts fight to the death with weapons until only 10, who go on to be navigators in Death Race, survive. It also alters Death Race into a Baja 1000-style desert rally where many of the inmates have huge trucks.
  • The Condemned (2007) is basically The Most Dangerous Game meets Battle Royale with cameras, or Death Race sans racing.
  • The Fast and the Furious franchise generally centers around illegal street racing. The first film is basically Death Race 2000 minus mowing down pedestrians, plus modified cars, police pursuits and more dangerous scenes.
  • Rollerball, adapted from the William Harrison short story The Rollerball Murders. In it, the MegaCorp that runs the world uses the sport (a combination of roller derby, basketball, and a street fight) as a way to both provide Bread and Circuses to the masses and to demonstrate to them the virtue of conformity and self-sacrifice and the folly of individualism. That backfires when the protagonist Jonathan E. emerges as a star player, an individual who excels at the game above and beyond his peers.
  • In Futuresport, the titular game is the world's most popular sport after the NBA was destroyed by scandal (Take That!, soccer fans!), and was originally used as a replacement for gang wars. It is, needless to say, extremely violent and very Serious Business; the movie centers around a game that serves as a proxy war between global superpowers, with territorial rights to Hawaii hanging in the balance
  • Escape from New York: Snake Plissken vs a huge guy. First they fight with baseball bats, then with baseball bats with huge nails.
  • The Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Bloodsport. You know, "Kumite...kumite...kumite!"
  • The eponymous Thunderdome in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome provides this for Bartertown, in addition for solving disputes.
  • Danny the Dog (a.k.a. Unleashed) features an underground pit-fighting circuit involving barbed wire on the walls, axes, spears, and sledgehammers.
  • "Rehabilitation" in Idiocracy is a judicial sentence as well as a televised event. The convict faces armed "corrections" personnel in a gladiator-style match featuring monster trucks, explosions and plenty of phallic imagery.
  • The Blood Of Heroes is about a post-apocalyptic world where the heroes make a living playing a game that involves hitting each other with chains and huge clubs while one person is trying to score a touchdown with a dog's skull. Non-bloody versions have become defictionalized.
    Gar: How many stones did you go when you made your challenge?
    Sallow: Twenty-six.
    Gar: Twenty-six stones?! That's all? Twenty-six stones and you received the attention of the league?note 
    Sallow: We were the only ones who ever lasted that long. Two of us were still standing.
  • The film version of The Running Man involves this, set up by a Corrupt Corporate Executive to deal with condemned criminals. If the contestants are really "criminals" is another story. Contestants are hunted by "stalkers", sadistic strongmen with powerful weapons, and win by evading capture or death long enough. If you win they kill you behind the scenes anyway.
  • In Gamer, a technology that allows people to control others remotely is, among other things, used to play live-action death match games by controlling condemned criminals.
  • Used a couple of times in the Star Wars films: the podrace in The Phantom Menace and the gladiator-style arena execution in Attack of the Clones.
  • Arena is about people fighting for mass entertainment. IN SPACE!
  • The Game Grid in the TRON films. Errant Programs are sent there to fight until brutally de-rezzed for entertainment. In the first film, video games played in the analog world were really life-and-death combat. This Trope was averted in Betrayal with the Games being non-lethal sports under Flynn's administration, but as soon as Flynn's back was turned, Clu re-instated the deadly aspect.
  • Conan the Barbarian (1982): Conan is forced to fight as a gladiator for his owner's amusement and enrichment. Needless to say, he gets really good at it.
  • Boxing in Real Steel. Since robots have replaced humans on the ring, there's nothing to stop the competitors from obliterating their opponents. According to main character Charlie, this is also why robot boxing so completely eclipsed the human version: robots could give a brutal spectacle that would be both unethical and, in many way, physically impossible for human beings to match.
  • In Snatch., unlicensed, bareknuckle boxing matches and dogfighting seem to be Brick Top's two primary sources of income.
  • In the 2011 film Warrior: Although the sport itself is treated pretty realistically, the idea that MMA is a brutal bloodsport where competitors could die at any moment is played up for dramatic effect, particularly with Brendan's wife.
  • The 2009 Thai film Fireball features an underground variant of basketball that is very much a blood sport, with its competitors fighting each other with Muay Thai while trying to score points like regular basketball.
  • The film The Wrestler portrayed Professional Wrestling as this, focusing heavily on the damage to their bodies that many wrestlers endure. At the start of the film, Randy "The Ram" Robinson is suffering a laundry list of health problems dating back to his in-ring career, and we get an up-close depiction of "blading", or slashing someone with a hidden razor in order to draw blood and get the crowd excited. In the film's Ambiguous Ending, Randy's poor health is suggested to ultimately kill him when he steps back into the ring one last time, and suffers a heart attack in the middle of the match.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: The seedy side of East Berlin gets its sick thrills from watching mutants beat each other up to a pulp. Angel warns the skittish Nightcrawler that if he doesn't fight, they'll both be killed.
  • Alita: Battle Angel has Motorball, which is basically Rollerball on steroids, with competitors weaponizing their cyborg bodies to better tear each other apart. The corrupt owner of the games (Vector) turns a blind eye on such things as long as people keep watching for the thrills, only intervening against such practices when it suits him (such as having the previous owner of the Grind Cutters dismembered to give them to Grewishka). Needless to say, death isn't out of the ordinary in this sport.
  • The Northman features a bloody depiction of knattleikr, a nordic ball game where five players use clubs to hit a ball into a goalpost and to beat the opposing team until they can't play anymore. Players get their legs broken, nose bashed in, and by the end of it, only the two biggest players are left standing. Only one of them walks off the pitch alive.

  • Battle Royale. The novel is set in an Alternate History where Imperial Japan survived World War II, implementing the titular program (in which randomly selected classes of secondary school students must fight to the death until only one survives) in 1947 as a means of social control. The film adaptation changes it to a 20 Minutes into the Future scenario where the Japanese government uses the program to combat an epidemic of youth delinquency.
  • Mary Gentle's novel Grunts! features Orcball, a game strongly resembling American Football and / or Rugby and played with the severed head of a fallen enemy. Or sometimes, when you want a game and there's a paucity of fallen enemies...
    Sgt.Major Guzrak: The good news is, you made the Orcball team! The bad news the ball.
    • Since there's no rules, the halfling team decides this means they can play Orcball mounted on horses with polo mallets. The orcs decide that means they can use mounts too. Harley-Davidsons, specifically.
  • Nerve portrays a game where the Watchers enjoy seeing the Players carry out dares which can get seriously violent.
  • Stephen King's The Running Man. In this version, TV is free and is dominated by bloody gameshows where desperate contestants agree to risk life and limb for the chance at cash prizes. The most popular show, "Running Man" offers the biggest reward, but is almost certain suicide. The contestant is set loose into society, and viewers are asked to keep a watch out for him and provide tips for the show's bounty hunters.
  • Another Stephen King as Richard Bachman: The Long Walk. 100 teenage males are required to walk at no less than four miles per hour, with no breaks. Drop below 4 miles an hour and you draw a warning. Walk for an hour without going below the limit and you lose a warning from your record. You can have up to 3 warnings and continue. Draw a fourth warning, and the army grunts who've been tailing the Walkers the entire time shoot you in the head. Last person left alive wins. The Walk follows the same route every year (the end point varies, naturally), and crowds gather to watch when it passes through their area. News updates when Walkers are eliminated or reach certain significant points on the route are broadcast nationwide, too — characters mention as a matter of course that the Walk is the national pastime.
  • Robert Sheckley's Victim Prime and The Tenth Victim are both set in a world where war has been replaced by "The Hunt". Taking place on a Caribbean island, The Hunt is quite simple: pay your entry fee, then face ten hunts against the same opponent, five as the Hunter and five as the Victim. The Victim is not only allowed, but expected to try to kill the Hunter. Bonus points are awarded for style and ingenuity, points are deducted for unnecessary collateral damage and killing non-victims. The very few who survive all ten hunts are treated as huge celebrities.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, Emperor Jagang brings to the world the game of Ja'La, which is like football without pads and no penalties for unnecessary roughness...or unnecessary murder. Even attempting to have an opposing player assassinated before the game is considered fair play.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The people of Adumar in the X-Wing Series book Starfighters of Adumar seem to love this trope. They are pilot-crazy and refuse simulators and practice weapons as 'dishonorable', to the point where they were forced to make rules about who could fly against whom to keep the population from plummeting. Even so, those who aren't pilots get into blastsword duels. Even if the loser isn't killed in defeat, the winner can turn to someone to signal palm-up or palm-down whether the loser will live or die, and to turn to someone for the signal is a sign that the winner is sweet on someone. Turns out that it's really only one prominent nation that is so obsessed, the middle and lower classes are not nearly as fond of it, and people can be convinced of their error.
    • Razor's Edge: Leia and Metara are forced to participate in a game of Space Pirate leader Viest's own invention, by which she "evaluates" prospective business partners (and punishes disappointing subordinates). Players using hand-and-foot repulsor pads fly around a low-g arena attempting to knock a training remotenote  into one of several ore crushers left over from an Asteroid Mining operation. The crushers' openings are wide and fully capable of swallowing a player, players are not at all discouraged from attempting to knock each other into them (though none of Leia's opponents are that ruthless), and, oh yes, halfway through the game Viest drops an enormous reprogrammed mining droid into the arena, where it attacks players indiscriminately.
  • While not a focus, passing mention is given to Brockian Ultra-Cricket in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's been noted that rules disagreements end up at times starting wars. Which, all things considered, are considered more healthy.
  • The "ritual war game" variety is featured in Ecotopia, where it's used as an outlet for people's aggression and warlike instincts.
  • Blood sports are (naturally) one of the entertainments on offer in China Miéville's Bas-Lag novels, with one of the protagonists in Perdido Street Station being a veteran of the city of New Crobuzon's not-exactly-legal underground arena circuit.
    • And in a very literal example in The Scar, the scabmettler's ritual dueling system.
  • In Dune by Frank Herbert there are at least two blood sports. Notably, these are sponsored by both in the antagonist and protagonist Houses.
    • One is seen in detail: the Harkonnens have classical gladiatorial matches (with the additions of personal shields (read: force fields)) which the na-baronnote  Feyd-Rautha participates in. Frequently.
    • The second is bull fighting. The Atreides, in keeping with the Mediterranean flavor of Caladan culture, apparently took part in this, though only off camera. They may have stopped in recent years leading up to the book because a bull killed the Old Duke, Duke Leto's father and a skilled matador. In the ring. He was fighting it at the time. Actually, at the time he was being gored by it, but you get the point. (Come to think of it, so did he.)
  • These show up in The Riftwar Cycle, where slaves and prisoners of war are made to fight for entertainment in Kelewan.
  • This is common in the Time Scout series. Ancient Rome is a tourist destination. So is Ancient Mongolia. And Late Modern Denver, and Medieval Japan. A lot of these places have dangerous games. Like boxing. And ritual sacrifice, game style.
  • Although not technically a combat game, the Scottish boulder-catching sport of Creaothceann from Quidditch Through the Ages was eventually banned, due to its extremely high player mortality rate (one fictional ballad claims that, out of a group of twelve players, only two survived). Considering that the goal of the game is to catch giant falling rocks with a metal cauldron strapped to your head while flying a hundred feet above the ground on a wooden broom, this is not surprising.
  • The Year of the Flood, parallel novel to Oryx and Crake, has Painball, a highly violent version of paintball played by convicts and televised.
  • Killerbowl, by Gary K. Wolf, is centered around "street football", a version of American football which is played in a 24-square-block area of the host city. The players are armed with knives, bolo clubs, and spears, and every team has one "hidden safety", who has a rifle with one bullet. Oh, and a single match takes a whole day to complete.
  • The Hunger Games in which kids are selected to compete, taken to the city, dolled up for sponsors, trained and set loose in an arena to kill each other. Made worse by the fact the people controlling it can make anything happen from letting loose mutants, to sending out contract killers to creating natural disasters.
  • One of the protagonists in Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds is a former assassin for "Shadowplay", a company that lets people order hits on themselves- usually the clients are people so bored by their extreme longevity that attempting to escape the assassin is one of the few things that they still find exciting.
  • The old game of foot-the-ball in Ankh-Morpork was like this, before Lord Vetinari and the wizards civilised it in Unseen Academicals. One famous rule was put in place when a team scored a goal with what turned out to be an opponent's head ... to say that it still counted.
  • There's a family-friendly version in Idlewild. Clodge ball is an immersive, brutal version of strategy games the students played as children with graphic violence and attacks against the opposing commander encouraged; on the other hand, all the soldiers are virtual and wounds against human commanders are automatically nonlethal.
  • The play in Clocks that Don't Tick. It consists of incredibly bad dialogue and King Charlemagne defeating unnamed 'infidels'. In this case, defeating them means actually killing the actors in the name of realism. Said actors were bribed into participating by false promises of cures for their sick families.
  • Pa Tappan (King of the Hill) from Valhalla functions as a vicious, limb snapping form of recreation for the Valkyries. Even among the toughest of them, attempts at taking the top spot are generally brief and end in severe injury.
  • In the Dred Chronicles, Dred knows that her gang, being mostly brutal convicts, will get restless if there hasn't been any violence for a while. If there isn't much fighting going on with rival gangs, she staves off trouble by letting them stage fights to the death (often to settle disputes among themselves, which saves her having to do it).
  • In Stark's War, one of the military's bright ideas for increasing its budget is to package footage of military action (notably that recorded by soldiers' Powered Armor) as entertainment for civilians back home. They're usually not so stupid as to broadcast live, since that would let the enemy gain useful tactical information from it, but "usually" isn't always. An unintended consequence of the broadcast of war is that there's pressure on military commanders to make sure there's plenty of action to keep ratings up.
  • In The Empress Game, gladiatorial combat is fairly common, and the protagonist is the reigning champion of one particular arena. It's on a backwater planet, but she's good enough to attract attention from people who want her to (secretly and illegally) fight in the titular Empress Game, which has similar rules but isn't for entertainment — rather, it determines who marries the Prince.
  • This is the premise for Tim Marquitz's War God novel, which is a Deconstructive Parody of this genre. The antiheroes intend to rig a tournament about this by upping the violence and murder to make their Fake Ultimate Hero look good so they can clean up when he crashes and burns.
  • In Wang, from the French author Pierre Bordage, Western nations use third world populations to play massive wargames with live subjects. The combat is transmitted on TV. The two players are located above the battleground, can see what their troops see, and direct/order their commander who then relays commands to the rest of the army. Weapons and communications depend on the historical setting.
  • Boxing is a popular (and sometimes illegal) pastime in the world of the Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy, though much more brutal than the modern form, and almost exclusively praticed by women. There seem to be no weight classes. There are no set number of rounds, meaning fights continue round by round until one fighter is knocked out or submits, which can potentially take hours. Gloves are far less padded than our own. In any given match, both boxers can expect to leave the ring with their faces completely bashed up, and even more severe injures like torn ears and ripped-out eyes are not uncommon sights.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel ends up fighting in an arena in the first season of his show.
  • Crossing Lines: The team uncovers a series of serial murders around this type of game. Families were kidnapped and the children threatened if the parents of each family didn't fight the other parents to the death. The families would be from one country, disappear while traveling in another country, and the bodies were disposed of in a 3rd country.
  • Diablero: Isaac (or "el Indio") buys demons from diableros, has them possess Willing Channelers, and then pits them together in cage matches for gambling. It's the diableros' main source of income.
  • Played for laughs in The Goodies episode "2001 and a Bit", with 'rollerball' and its successor 'rolleregg' (which combines rollerball with an egg-and-spoon race). Finally they attempt to combine the ultraviolence of rollerball with cricket.
  • Max Headroom: The episode "Rakers" has the blood sport of Raking, in which teens on motorized skateboards ride around an empty pool and swipe at each other with clawed gloves. The sport was originally just a sort of full-contact half-pipe skateboarding until it was co-opted by mobsters and made into an exploitative spectacle. The mobsters sell the sport to Channel 23, but even the ruthless TV executives are horrified when they realize what they've bought, as they could never air it. Max Headroom exposes the blood sport, which apparently leads to its complete demise.
  • The Zulu-style cricket match in Monty Python's Flying Circus is probably a form of this, as most of the players wind up speared by assegais. The sketch ends with a Long List of players named Pratt having been disqualified for reasons such as "legs off before wicket."
  • The Outer Limits (1995): Used in the episode "Judgement Day", in which convicted murderers are hunted down on national television by the relatives of their victims.
  • Smallville: "Combat" features the "Live or Die Fight Club" an underground metahuman fight club where the fights are broadcast to the internet for an extremely high fee. The viewers can even vote if a fight will be to the death, just like a gladiator game.
  • Korean (and cosmopolitan) children's games are given a deadly twist in Squid Game. You lose in these, you die (though depending on the game the cause of death may vary: either the game itself kills the losers, or armed and masked guards shoot them dead).
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
  • Star Trek: Voyager gives us "Tsunkatse", a Forced Prize Fight which is often to the death.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Bread and Circuses", the Power Trio ends up in Rome crossed with the 1960s, where traditional-style gladiator battles are televised sport events.

  • Subverted by Gottlieb's Victory; marketing materials indirectly suggest that the game set in a Vehicular Combat arena, and the artwork shows cars loaded with assorted spikes and weapons. However, the actual game rules make no reference to any of this, and it's easy to treat the game as a conventional, non-violent auto race.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • If there was ever a promotion that deserved the label, it was Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling. Every dangerous stipulation used before? Tables, ladders, chairs, scaffolds, cages, thumbtacks, barbed wire, glass, motor vehicles, fire? About everything but a bear. Otherwise if Atsushi Onita got wind of it, he wanted it. He and Tarzan Goto tried things no one had heard of like electrified cables, landmines and C4.
  • "Catch Fetiche", the wrestling style pioneered by Edingwe Moto in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has this reputation among observers from other countries. While most of the wrestlers, including Moto himself, practice traditional grappling styles, locally developed or otherwise, and adopt tactics from other grounded combat sports, the men who get the most international attention are known for openly using potions(drugs) developed by doctors to make themselves fight better. They are known for using boa constrictors, goats, live chickens lit on fire, sledge hammers and "magic"(more drugs in powered, liquid or vapor form used to disorient or sedate opponents) as weapons in matches that can get very bloody very quickly. Also, in a region known for frequent conflict up to and including several wars, belligerent factions have called one day truces to allow certain promotions such as World Wrestling Congo to run shows. The only other sport that can do that is Association Football.
  • IWA Japan, an offshoot of an offshoot from W*ING, which was from FMW's inspirations in WWC. The roster divided its time mainly by using what it already knew and copying the new things FMW brought, but did have the crazy idea to have matches in pools being heated to a boil, to see who could stay in the longest.
  • Big Japan Pro Wrestling, longest lasting successor to FMW(turned competitor when FMW was revived), had such innovations as "heat stones"(space heaters wrapped in barbed wire), piranhas tanks, scorpions and buzz saws.
  • CZW, while not quite to the level as most of the previously mentioned promotions that came before, still might be the single most violent wrestling promotion in the history of USA. Imagine ECW but with the violence and sadism factor pushed to the roof, sometimes literally. That's CZW in a nutshell. At the very least, it managed to get electric powered weed whackers banned from all sporting events in the nation, and it's "Cage Of Death" was good enough for Big Japan to copy(but of course, make even more dangerous).
  • IWA Mid-South was already more of an ECW ripoff than a promotion in the style of the old Mid-South territory, as the name would imply, and when CZW started gaining ground it eagerly competed with it for the illustrious honor of being the USA's most violent fed. Eventually the wrestlers working for IWA Mid-South bled so much the promotion was banned from the state of Kentucky. After that, they decided to tone things down.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech:
    • The Clans are the latter version of this trope — rules of warfare and codes of honour shared among the clans are carefully designed to minimize interplanetary collateral damage, discourage brawling, and avoid hard feelings — at least the dirty personal conflicts-kind.
    • The planet of Solaris VII is known across the galaxy for commercial BattleMech fights. However, deaths in Solaris matches are relatively rare due to the ubiquitous ejection system in virtually every mech (Except the Spider) — deaths in the arena are generally only caused by sympathetic ammunition explosions, cockpit destruction, or ejection system failure. Gladiatorial combat in the Periphery worlds or in the unrestricted and unregulated "blood pits" of Solaris (which is to Solaris fights proper what backyard brawling is to sanctioned MMA) is much more violent.
  • Games Workshop's Blood Bowl is a Warhammer-themed version of American football and rugby re-imagined as a bloodsport that has replaced warfare in its alternate universe. Orcs, skaven and even undead field teams and are expected to try and maim their opponents to get ahead. Even sneaking a chainsaw onto the field isn't grounds for stopping the game (though it is a penalty =- players are supposed to kill their opponents with their bodies, spiked/bladed armor, or the ball, not weapons — unless the player in question paid a gratuity to the refs at the start of the game to turn a blind eye).
  • Car Wars, from Steve Jackson Games: Not only is the favorite sport "autoduelling" (Vehicular Combat with armed stock cars), but its primary competitor is "combat football".
  • After the West Coast cracked off and sank into the Elatic Ocean in the Damnation Decade setting, former baseball mogul Maurice T. Muswife devised a new sport: Omegaball. Omegaball is essentially Rollerball by way of lacrosse, played with a dense iron sphere and no penalties for Unnecessary Roughness, and rapidly caught on as the new national pastime in Americo. Omegaball athletes tend to have very short careers, yet the sport has made it onto the slate for the 1976 Ekumen Games.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • X-Crawl takes the traditional D&D dungeon crawl, transplants it into a Dungeon Punk Alternate Universe based on the real world, and turns it into an extreme sport, complete with sponsorships and television coverage.
    • In the Mystara setting, "court ball" is a blood sport favored by several Aztec-based cultures. In the Hollow World, athletic Blacklore elves engage in dangerous aerial duels on hoverboards, attacking one another with flame-cutters, though it's not really a sport; they're just bored out of their minds.
  • Exalted has blood sports popular in Creation and even more so in Malfeas, but the most notable is the tournaments thrown by the Third Circle Demon Kashta. Anytime she decides to host one, anyone nearby gets sucked into a coliseum she creates, with the strongest appearing on the field for a fight to the death. The last survivor has a chance to either fight her or have sex with her, but sleeping with her risks either getting her pregnant with a behemoth, or becoming a behemoth.
  • Godforsaken: The Club of Gore is a forlorren secret society that appreciates dark entertainments of bloody fights and gruesome displays of violence. They kidnap other forlorren and pit them against monsters, other forlorren and more.
  • Rifts: Aside from the good old-fashioned gladiator arenas found in many places, the setting includes a whole list of "Juicer" sports, played mostly by juicers (drug-induced supermen), and by those few who can keep up. This includes Deadball (a form of handball where the ball in question randomly extrudes spikes), the Murderthon (was once won by a Mighty Glacier juicer who flattened everyone else as they passed), and Juicer Football. Juicer characters can actually take "deadball" as a weapon skill, and buy exploding deadballs for weapons.
  • Res Arcana: Implied. The Duelist can generate a Gold essence if you pay 1 Death essence. In other words, they kill their opponent and make money on it.
  • Shadowrun has both "Urban Brawl" (essentially paintball or airsoft sans paint and soft) and "Combat Biker" (motorcycle polo with guns). American football is also implied to be a good deal bloodier, as players are all cyber-enhanced for increased performance.
    • In Germany there's even combat football (or soccer, if you like). Jamming an opposing player's head into a camera is a great way of neutralizing obstacles on your way to the goal. Note that all three, while still incredibly violent, are still not prone to fatalities thanks to the use of durability enhancing cybernetics and advances in medical procedures. The players, after all, are worth a lot of money to the games' sponsors and nobody wants to see a profitable investment suddenly get killed (or sidelined for half a season). Though things might always go wrong.
    • And then there's Desert Wars, where the various megacorps field armies and have a war. In a desert. They use the event for advertising and to field-test their latest military hardware, same as Real Life auto races test new vehicle technology.
    • Even bloodier sports are practiced in Aztlan, including modern-day Aztec Court Ball matches and deadly last-man-standing game shows like Suerte y Muerte (Spanish for "Fortune and Death").
  • Spectrum-Games released a tabletop miniature game called "Urban Manhunt". It's meant to emulate dark future movies from the 80s, the biggest influences being Escape from New York (several major cities being turned into prisons) and The Running Man (players control larger than life "Hunters", often with their own gimmicks). The goal is to earn points by killing criminals in walled off sections of the prison cities.

    Video Games 
  • Apex Legends is centered around the Apex Games, a blood sport that drops its contestants into massive, sprawling arenas to search for guns and eliminate their opponents.
  • Battle Cars is another game about dueling cars.
  • The computer game inspired by the movie Death Race 2000, Carmageddon, was even more so - and duly immediately ran afoul of Moral Guardians.
  • Destiny: The Guardians have Resurrective Immortality, meaning they enjoy blood sports. Iron Banner started out as a means of settling disputes before they evolved into vendettas, but nowadays Guardians go there to use their legendaries to murder each other while the Last City streams the whole thing. Crucible is more... consequential, as it involves murdering enemies that don't come back so the Guardians can beat each other in a competitive race - and occasionally sabotage each other with some classic assassinations.
  • Most racing games that involve illegal street racing, like Need for Speed series, Test Drive series and Midnight Club series, are of this trope in entirety, since you put yourselves on a bunch of highly-expensive (sometimes souped-out) exotic sports cars with No OSHA Compliance to obey, driving on open highways at maximum speeds while risking yourselves to different hazards, sometimes including Hot Pursuit around your drive.
    • In some countries they got around censors by making the pedestrians into zombies, but in the third game specifically titled Carmageddon TDR 2000, they headed it off by making zombie peds in the first place. Though cars get destroyed, no one is seen to die, and the way your own character survives auto-destruction implies your rivals may not be killed either, so it's no longer a Blood Sport.
  • The Splatoon series is centered around a sport known as Turf Wars, in which two teams of four squid/octopus-humanoids fight one another using various ink-based weapons and attempt to cover as much of the arena in their color. It's been practiced since ancient times and remains popular in the modern day, with how Death Is Cheap in-universe.
  • Puck OFF combines ice hockey and fighting in a way most suitable for a bloody sport. You don't have to score a single goal to win a game. It's enough if you beat others senseless.
  • Speaking of cockfighting accusations, there's Pokémon, which is (somewhat paradoxically) Lighter and Softer, but with far more powerful animals in question. Don't bother bringing a chicken unless it can kick though a brick wall.
    • The aforementioned chicken can jump buildings and control fire. It is considered so-so at best, unless it can limber up as it fights. Then it's just as awesome as advertised.
    • The Pokemon canon does not portray Pokemon battling as especially risky; while by any human standards they would seem highly dangerous, the worst that happens is that they "faint", they can always be brought back to full health, and the subject of Pokemon death is in the anime usually never associated directly with battling, or at most only with trying to battle rampaging legendary creatures, while in the games it's implied most Pokemon deaths occur in the wild, with the villain teams being the only ones to intentionally kill monsters. A lot of Pokemon Fan Fiction, on the other hand, loves to take a somewhat more cynical approach to the battling aspect.
  • One of the tamer uses of this trope, being from Nintendo: F-Zero, a supersonic anti-gravity racing game where one false move can send you hurtling off a track suspended several kilometers above the ground. It looks like the real life Formula 1... however, Formula 1 has many safety features in its regulations — such as chicanes in the tracks, tyre walls at every corner, and engine size limits, all of them aimed at keeping active (driver skills) and passive (crumple zones) safety caught up with the vehicles' speeds - while the F-Zero is technically anything goes.
    • As dangerous as the F-Zero races are, the F-Max Grand Prix that took place two centuries earlier are said to be even WORSE.
    • F-Zero X and onwards makes mentions to various safety features added after a Great Accident. It is unclear what these are, and strangely, at the same time, the player now gets rewarded for making other races crash (with extra continues) as opposed to merely having less competition.
  • WipEout is another anti-gravity racing series that adds weapons, and the level of lethality depends on how much of a Crapsack World the installment is. More recent titles are considered to have emergency teleportation, and Fusion had some sort of safety monocoque containing the pilot that would survive when the rest of the ship blew up. On the other hand, in Wipeout 64, pilot deaths were considered to draw more viewers.
  • The Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC game Skate Ball was one-third handball, one-third roller-hockey, and one-third barroom brawl, played on a field full of deadly traps. On ice.
  • Midway's The Grid was about an Unreal Tournament style game show taking place in semi-virtual reality, in which contestants kill each other in virtual arenas to get money, and ultimately, an insanely large grand prize. While most of the killing is by virtual arenas, it seems that the weapons and projectiles are quite real, and contestants can kill members of the audience, although not without consequences, as if you kill audience members, you will be executed on spot by one of the weapons by the host after the round.
  • The Unreal Tournament series features full-on gladiatorial combat with BFGs.
    • Well, until Unreal Tournament III, whose central conceit is that the Respawner technology used in these tournaments has been back-adapted to conventional warfare... with limitations and operation that are inexplicably similar to the contests of more traditional Unreal Tournament games. It doesn't make sense, but it's an interesting idea and is an excuse to include a plotline not revolving around the tournaments, so it works anyway.
  • On the far end of the spectrum, however, we have Mutant League Football. Players included trolls, skeletons, aliens, and robots, fields were littered with landmines, pits, and other booby traps, each team had a number of "audibles" representing tricks and gadgets that could be used once per half (like giving a player a Jet Pack, hand grenades, or lethal flatulence, or rigging the ball to explode and then fumbling it), players would occasionally be killed from taking too much abuse on the field (and losing too many players could cause a team to forfeit), and you could occasionally bribe the ref to call bogus penalties on your opponent for things like "whining" or "nose-picking". Of course, your opponent could then kill the ref and only take a five-yard penalty. There was also Mutant League Hockey, which was the same thing with a different sport.
    • The franchise reboot Mutant Football League features the same Bribe and Kill Ref audibles, along with many new "Dirty Trick" plays that are just as comically lethal as the old set. From offensive and defensive versions of the exploding ball, drug-laced Haterade, and sudden-onset steroidal gigantism to the more subtle carnage of buzzsaws and shotguns. It speaks volumes about the spirit of the MFL that there are absolutely no penalties for bringing weaponry onto the pitch, so long as you don't intentionally hit the ref with it. About the only mitigating factor in the bloodshed is that killing someone after a tackle is made is technically a foul.
  • In Monday Night Combat, the entire game is one big blood sport in which all the human players are clones. You get extra points for certain types of kills, from a sniper rifle headshot to attaching an airstrike beacon to the opponent's head.
  • The titular game show from Nitro Ball, where you strap on rugby gear, gets a gun, and enters a giant pinball machine and survive onslaughts from rolling pinballs to bullets fired from other contestants until you're the last participant alive.
  • Saints Row: The Third features Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax as well as the Genkibowl VII DLC, which mixes this with a wacky Japanese game show like Takeshi's Castle. It seems to mostly consist of players fighting their way through booby-trapped mazes and fursuited enemies for cash and prizes; Genkibowl expands on this to include such bizarre events as rolling around a giant ball of yarn through Steelport to cause massive damage. Professor Genki himself is implied to be a Dark Messiah of some kind.
  • Subverted in Final Fantasy XI, where the former blood sports of Ballista and Brenner were banned years ago due to "accidents", then reintroduced softened into completely nonlethal combat in modern times. It's still got 100% of the violence, you just can't actually die.
  • Smash TV. Blow away enough mindless, bloodthirsty drones (and there are hundreds of those - per level), and you could win a new car and enough 20-inch TV sets to fill an entire wall of your house. One of the oldest and best-remembered examples in video games.
  • Speedball was based on a futuristic cross between football, basketball, and soccer, but the original game wasn't exceptionally violent aside from lots of tackles and a generic Darker and Edgier atmosphere. However, Speedball II: Brutal Deluxe truly embraced the violent aspect, with teams scoring as many points for goals as they do for laying the opposition out on stretchers.
  • The old NES game Base Wars had robots playing a violent version of baseball - a bloodless Blood Sport. Whenever a tag out occurred, the tagee got the chance to escape it by beating the mechanical stuffing out of the tagger. Deal enough damage to a player and he explodes; take out enough players and the opposing team forfeits due to lack of players.
  • The Atari Arcade Game Cyberball (and the Mission-Pack Sequel Tournament Cyberball) featured American football played with robots. The ball itself becomes critical and tends to explode as each down progresses; destroyed robots must be replaced by money earned by the player.
  • Bet on Soldier: Blood Sport. B.O.S. is the name of the show, in which contestants and viewers bet on the outcome of one-on-one mercenary battles. Which also decide the tide of wars. In game, these function as boss battles.
  • The Mortal Kombat games, for the most part, focus on a grand martial arts tournament whose combatants fight to the death in order to ensure the survival of their home realm and their souls.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The very first game in the series, Arena, is named as such because it was originally intended to be a game about teams of gladiators battling it out. This would be dropped during development in favor of adapting Tamriel, the developers' home-brew D&D setting, into a video game. As promotional material had already been created, Arena stuck as the title.
    • In Morrowind, you'll need to fight a number of battles in the Vivec Arena in order to advance through several factions. In particular, you'll need to do this to achieve guild leader status in the Imperial Legion, House Redoran, and the Mages' Guild.note  You'll need to battle Dram Bero's champion in order to gain his support in House Hlaalu as well, though this fight doesn't need to be to the death.
    • Oblivion:
      • The Arena in is also an optional version. Your armor is limited to the one provided. You can however use your choice of helmet, shield and weapons. The Arena was founded by the legendary Redguard hero Gaiden Shinji, who also served as its first Blademaster (which wasn't just a cosmetic title for him).
      • Inverted in the Shivering Isles expansion. Some notes found in a ruined Arena show that slaves were abducted to engage in sex for the spectators. The captives instead assumed they were being prepared to fight to the death, and instead murdered each other on the arena floor, to the disappointment of their captors.
    • Skyrim actually doesn't have any kind of violent arena combat, though that is primarily because simply stepping out your front door puts you in a horribly lethal environment where everything that doesn't want to kill you for your pocket change just wants to eat you or turn you into a zombie.
  • The Hole in Fallout 3's The Pitt DLC is a main story example.
  • The Thorn in Fallout: New Vegas is another bloodsport arena where you can watch as different dangerous Mojave critters fight. It's possible to bet on the outcomes or even go up against them yourself if you so desire. Red Lucy, the woman who runs the place, is also an Optional Sexual Encounter once you complete her sidequest.
  • Fallout 4 allows you to build arenas and pit teams of NPCs against each other yourself once you have the Wasteland Workshop DLC installed.
  • A bloodless Blood Sport, strange as it sounds: the primary export of the planet Solaris VII from MechWarrior seems to be Mech-on-Mech arena fights. All the battles are live-fire; ejection seats are mandatory equipment for obvious reasons. In MW4: Mercenaries, you can choose to become a Solaris pilot, meeting - and fighting - plenty of fellow contenders along the way.
  • MadWorld centers around a gory deathmatch game show, fittingly called Deathwatch, where the goal is to kill each other senseless to the last man standing. And boy howdy, it certainly puts the "blood" in this trope.
    • Its Spiritual Successor Anarchy Reigns features the Deathball multiplayer game mode, where two teams essentially play no-holds-barred arena football. The object is to get the ball in the endzone; a great way to do that is to make sure nobody on the other team is alive to stop you.
      • And all LIVE on Shock TV.
  • In the Dreamcast game Headhunter we learn that criminals imprisoned in the undersea-dome (so you could say it's sort of a waterdome) get to fight each other to the death which then gets broadcast live on TV, the winner gets a shorter sentence and the loser gets to generously donate their organs. Maybe they just didn't like Wade but some criminals got much better weapons than others.
  • Whacked! was called a gameshow, but there weren't any questions. It was a hyperviolent bloodsport where you used egg guns, pitchforks, axes, and cacti among other things to slaughter your opponents. The contestants consist of manifestations of the seven deadly sins and the host, a demon in disguise.
  • Deathrow for the original Xbox is a sports game which is a mix of frisbee, basketball, and a gladiatorial arena. Two teams of four play, one team wins when they either knock the entire other team out or have more points when time runs out. Most players go for the fighting option.
  • Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball. Mmmyep.
  • Quake III: Arena is basically an interdimensional game of "Kill everything with guns". Luckily the Vadrigar that own the arena make sure that it's impossible to stay dead.
  • The Club's premise is based on this trope. Convicts, adrenaline junkies, and psychos fight for survival, and people bet their money on whether they survive or not.
  • Combat Racing in Jak X.
  • Twisted Metal is a demolition derby game with armed cars.
  • MegaRace is a gameshow of some sort involves racing with Jerk Jock racing gangs. What you do? Blast them away with guns attached to your car, or take their positions and put them into tension so that they can't keep up and go kaboom on their own.
  • Bloody cute as it is, Fat Princess features a few sport minigames such as soccer where people are literally killing each other on the field.
  • Dead Ball Zone for the PlayStation. Just get this weapon and put that damn ball in the net.
  • The Xbox game Toxic Grind, a game show meant to deal with outlaw offenders who break the "no extreme sports" law by putting them on a BMX, pumping them with a deadly toxin only counteracted by adrenaline and setting them loose on a death course (yes it's as silly as it sounds).
  • The Half-Life 2 mod Smashball is a combination of American and association football, with the addition of grappling hooks, booster jets, and guns. The jets are mostly there to make big hits as deadly as possible.
  • Bulletrun, formerly known as Hedone, features average joes competing against each other in armed combat — with international stardom as the ultimate prize.
  • Borderlands
    • Has three different gladiator arenas in which different types of enemies are faced, as well as Mad Moxxi's Underdome, where the player(s) are pitted against wave after wave of bad guys and bosses for the entertainment of the masses.
    • The Slaughter Arenas return in Borderlands 2, controlled by the slimy rat Fink, Moxxi's hacked Innuendobot, and Hyperion soldier Captain Cabrera. Mr. Torgue runs a "Badass Tournament" where the only way to rise in the rankings is either via Underdome-style free-for-all or by killing the badass ranked immediately ahead of you. It's all broadcast on interplanetary TV, too. Loggins the Buzzard pilot mentions that his old friends from the Buzzard academy like to play volleyball — with a Psycho's head as the ball.
  • In Myst V: End of Ages, ruins on Laki'ahn reveal that the D'ni used to go there to watch the native Kresh fight in an arena against ferocious beasts called laki.
  • Battle Realms the Wolf Clans culture is based around a brutal sport called wolf ball. The sport involves the competitors throwing rocks at each other, no one outside the clan could survive the first round of it.
  • Pigskin: 621 AD features the alleged seventh-century Low Fantasy ancestor to football and rugby. Most of the strategy in this game involves beating up the other team a lot, players may pick up and carry concealed weapons, and brutal trolls can substitute players as a Comeback Mechanic when one team gets too far behind.The End-Game Results Screen displays "Injuries Inflicted" under "Goals Scored" for each team.
  • Atari tried this with Basketbrawl, a combination of 2-on-2 street basketball and gang warfare for the Atari 7800 and Atari Lynx. Traditional basketball scoring is used, but the lack of referees and the addition of weapons meant players would simply attack each other and then scored baskets while their opponents were down.
  • Bloodbowl, based on the tabletop game of the same name.
  • Smashmuck Champions is a very lighthearted, comedic, and bizarre example.
  • The Activision game HyperBlade was some kind of bizarre cross between hockey, jai alai, and exhibition stunt-skating. You skated back and forth to score goals (Hockey) by flinging the "rok" from the blade attached to your arm (Jai alai) inside of a curved arena where power-ups were often spawned at the mid-court and behind the goals where you had to essentially pull a flip or something off the top (stunt skating). The twist was that the blade, instead of being a scoop, was an ACTUAL blade, you weren't just allowed but encouraged to beat the other team into submission, and if you killed someone via decapitation, their head became magnetized instead of the rok. And of course you could score with it. The icing on the cake was the Black Comedy of the various sponsors of the games, their banner-advertisements, and the themes of the trophies given out for spectacular playing.
  • From what little we know about Thrashball from the Gears of War series, it seems to be somewhat like American football, except more violent. For example, the league has a record for "highest number of injuries received during one play". By Gears of War 4, former star player Augustus "The Cole Train" Cole (who holds the aforementioned record as well as many others) has reimagined the sport to be played by robots instead of people.
    • In Gears of War 3, there is a small Easter Egg where you can peek in through a window and see a group of Locust huddled around a cockfighting ring watching two Tickers duke it out.
  • In Super Dodge Ball, the object of play is to eliminate opposing players on the inner court by killing them.
    • A lot of Kunio's sports games are like this, to varying degrees. Particularly notable are events in the track-and-field competitions where the whole goal is the beat up the competition, as well as the footrace events, where weapons (up to and including bombs) are scattered all over the track and it is not unusual for someone to stop to pummel an opponent into submission. And then there's Hockey and Soccer games where the best way to score is to send a powerful enough shot right at (and right through) the goalie.
  • Battlezone2006: Of the "Competition that has replaced war" variety.
  • The mobile sports/card game hybrid Soccer Spirits features a variation of soccer where violent clashes on the pitch are an explicit part of the game. Tackles and counter-tackles often end with either the attacker or defender laid out on the ground (and rendered unable to act for several in-game minutes), and goals are scored not by taking a shot at the goal, but by blasting the ball directly through the goalkeeper. In practice it's more like strategy RPG card fighting instead of anything resembling soccer in gameplay.
  • Fatal Racing. The announcers openly encourage the player to engage other drivers in lethal Car Fu, yet it's still all supposed to be a competition with major manufacturer sponsorship.
  • Burnout is also another racing game that encourages Car Fu. Many vehicles are spectacularly destroyed throughout the later installment's crash mechanics.
  • Rage (2011): Half the racing is Twisted Metal on Post-Apocalypse. All of the reality TV contestant shows are you versus mutants in clown outfits.
  • Rollerdrome is a popular megacorp-sponsored sport about dual-pistol roller-skaters shooting hordes of soldiers while performing skating tricks to earn more ammo.
  • As noted in "Web Animation", Halo games from Halo 3 onward have Grifball, which is basically like rugby, but with hammers and swords.
  • While there aren't exactly any arena sports the player can participate in in Fallout 4, the character Moe Cronin who sells baseball bats and baseball accessories is under the impression that the game was a violent and deadly competition before the Great War. You can agree with him, attempt to set him straight, or tell him that it was even more violent and deadly than he thinks. The Wasteland Workshop DLC lets you set up your own arenas where you can pit captured wasteland critters, captured raiders, and settlers against each other individually or in teams. Sending Marcy Long out with nothing but a stick to fight Deathclaws or killer robots was a popular use for it.
  • Let It Die: The final boss is a former Sumo-Wrestler-turned-cannibal who created a blood sport league called Muscle International League Killer (MILK) where athletes fought each other with weaponized sport equipment and ate anyone who accidentally died. To fight the boss, you must relinquish all your equipment, then fight a naked Hater, then fight a naked Hater using your weapons, then fight a melee Hater using your armor, then fight a miniboss Coen holding the rest of your equipment, all on a sumo ring that punishes ring-outs with fifty pounds of stone force followed by artillery strikes from the Don's head-mounted cannon.
  • Warframe has two examples, one for the Grineer and one for the Corpus.
    • The Grineer have Rathuum. Originally an arena for public executions, it was converted by Kela de Thaym into a gladitorial sport to satisfy her own ego, siccing her executioners on convicted Grineer as well as captured foes, even those who aren't any threat.
    • The Index is the Corpus' favorite pastime when they aren't accumulating money. Instead of just killing, the Tenno take on an endlessly respawning group of "brokers" to kill them and acquire Index Points that must be carried back to their team's base. The more Index Points one is holding, the more vulnerable they are as their shields, health, and energy dwindle away.
  • Dead Rising 2: After the Willamette Incident, a controversial game show known as Terror is Reality has emerged and become quite popular. Hosted by Tyrone "TK" King and twins Crystal and Amber Bailey, contestants compete in various events, from Ramsterballs to Slicecycles, with the goal of killing more zombies than their opponents. Winners receive massive cash prizes, which Chuck Greene hopes to use to buy Zombrex for his infected daughter Katie. It's during the broadcast in Fortune City that someone releases the captive zombies and they quickly overrun the city, setting the events of the game in motion.
  • Mutant Football League combines American Football with plenty of ultraviolence. The fields are laced with environmental hazards that can injure or outright kill players. Players are violent thugs who will snap their opponent's neck or give them a tombstone piledriver in order to stop progress of the ball. There are dirty tricks on both offense and defense that can easily result in death, and the fans are always bloodthirsty. Winning by forfeit is a valid tactic if you kill all 5 of the opposing team's quarterbacks (or at least injure the last two and force the game to recognize that neither of them can actually play.)
  • The Outer Worlds: Tossball, in addition of being the bastard child of lacrosse, cricket and who knows what, frequently has players wounded or killed on the field, with "excessively sportsmanlike conduct" being considered foul play. While the player can't play it, tossball racquets and sticks can be used as weapons and are just as good as if not better than a sword or two-handed hammer. They don't even count as Improvised Weapons for the related perk, since they're good enough to be considered actual weapons.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Starting with Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, there tended to be two such arenas in each game. Each one would let you fight in a variety of matches against waves of enemies or bonus bosses and most fights featured some form of gimmick like traps, restricted weapons or ammo, or the battlefield periodically flooding with lava. These include Maktar Resort and Megacorp Games from Going Commando, Annihilation Nation, the Dreadzone, the Imperial Fight Festival, the Agorian Battleplex, the Thugs-4-Less Destructapalooza and Zurkie's Gastropub and Battleplex.
  • An optional conversation with Arrow in Soul Hackers 2 establishes the existence of underground sports arenas where wealthy people bet on the outcome of sports games between teams of Devil Summoners where the use of demons and violence are allowed, with additional bets being made on whether or not there will be any player deaths.
  • The Finals is a blood sport without any of the blood. The titular game show has its contestants fight each other like soldiers on a battlefield while competing to bank enough money to reach a cash goal, but all of the action is set within the confines of virtual reality, with the blood and corpses replaced with coins and eliminated contestants allowed to eventually respawn and rejoin the battle.
  • No More Heroes is about assassins participating in the UAA, a blood sport association where the only rule is that the guy who pays more wins by default if their opponent 'accidentally' dies. The first game was about an otaku with a lightsaber who signed up to get laid, only to discover that his agent was a con-woman who ran off with his entry fees and winnings. The second game was about stopping the competition when it was seized by an insane pizza franchise mogul. The third game is about a narcissistic alien prince co-opting his Corrupt Corporate Executive ally's corporate empire to conquer Earth, and betting the fate of the world on the competition because he was bored.
  • Fallen London: In a World… where some of the dead come back to life, murder is rampant, Jack The Ripper is considered a street anarchist rather than a monster, and the rulers of London delight themselves by experimenting with new ways to murder people.
    • Knife-And-Candle was a stereotypical murder-fest where opponents would 'mail' themselves to one another, using opposing fighting styles in a rock-paper-scissors manner. It has been replaced by something far wackier.
    • Hearts' Game is about finding increasingly wacky ways to poison your target before they can identify you or develop an immunity to poison. You can't assault them directly, so you have to work with your team to invent slapstick scenarios that poison your target, with equally funny blunders when you fail. Tellingly, you're not getting paid to kill someone by trick shooting their gelato with a melting bullet, you're getting paid by the newspapers to brag about it.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: The Mutual Killing Game, which has 16 high school students being forced to kill each other (and the killer gets brutally executed if they get caught), is an Immoral Reality Show, which has been going for 53 seasons. And people love it. So much that a lot of people are willing to participate, as Shuichi, Kaede and Kaito's audition tapes show. At some point, a scene shows a boy named Makoto (the fact that Danganronpa's All-Loving Hero is also named Makoto makes it somewhat jarring) look at his phone with a smile and say that something's his only reason to live. It's heavily implied he's watching the Killing Game, and seeing as the scene ends with him saying "One day, I'll also-", he wants to join it.

    Web Animation 
  • Sarge from Red vs. Blue invented GrifBall, where the object is to score points... and kill Grif. It became an actual multiplayer game type for Halo 3 and subsequent installments in the series.
  • This video shows Norway's 2097 football cup where death row inmates are sent to play. Some notable differences compared to the current version are that landmines are placed on the field, the ball is loaded with unstable explosives and any foul play is met with execution.

    Web Comics 
  • Last Res0rt is based almost wholly around this concept, featuring a number of sporting challenges within the Deadly Game Reality Show. That said, only two players have died so far...
  • The city of Templar Arizona has a sport that is some kind of illegal street hockey called diesel. it is classified as a misdemeanor assault.
  • "Cutthroat combat croquet" from Strange Candy. A running gag is that the characters treat it no differently than any other rough varsity sport, even though every match seen - including a practice match - ends with at least one player (often an entire team) dead.
  • The Great Outdoor Fight from Achewood: three days, three thousand men, one victor.
  • Mentioned briefly in Schlock Mercenary, although medical technology seems to play a role here as a player is blown to smithrines but will be back for the game next week. Rugby on the other hand...
  • "FLARPing" in Homestuck, a roleplaying game on Alternia in which the goal is to lure your opponents into very real death traps, including "trials" that almost always ends in the execution of the "defendant" (and often the "prosecutor") and a "plank" over the mouth of a man-eating Giant Spider.
  • In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things Jared and his Gyarados Mr. Fish were kicked out of the Pokémon League because he assumed Pokemon battling was a Blood Sport and let Mr. Fish eat his opponents.
  • The Order of the Stick has an arena for gladiatorial combat. Many contestants end up crushed and/or eaten by an Allosaurus.
  • Neon Ice Cream Headache involves a drug that zaps its user into a TV show. When Jose, who has been force-fed that drug, comes out of the TV World, he finds that several television sets were set to the same frequency, and a clone of him comes out of each TV. These clones were meant to fight, but they instead attack the audience.
  • Hybridor: Gravicore is supposed to be rough-house any-vehicle racing, but since immortality was discovered, some players intentionally try to murder the other contestants in public, knowing that they'll just awaken in a cybernetic body.

    Web Original 
  • Associated Space has the planet of New Tau Ceti, where a religious cult believes that only humans can sin, so the members put on pelts and pretend to be sheep. Of course, they still sin from time to time, so who to blame? The Shepherd, of course. So passing travelers are abducted, given shepherd's crooks, told they are shepherds...and forced to fight a genetically-engineered super-wolf in an arena. If they fight well enough, they have defeated sin, and may depart in peace. If not, well, they are a blood sacrifice to atone for sin.
  • SCP Foundation has SCP-2206, a series of radio broadcasts of baseball games from an alternate universe, one where violent fights between players are both common and expected, assassination attempts have been made on entire teams, players include ghosts, cyborgs and genetically-altered humans, and one team plays home games in the caldera of an active volcano.
    • SCP-2132 is an obstacle course run by Marshall, Carter, and Dark Lt.
  • Deviant: In a flashback, one character (Berzerk) is revealed to have been part of an underground fighting ring, where death was commonplace - one death caused onscreen by Berzerk himself.
  • Pretending to Be People has the Glass Syndicate, which gives us two:
  • What If?: The post "Alternate Universe", among other Noodle Incidents, reveals that, in that universe, every major sport is a blood sport; while historically the deadliest one was hockey, the deadliest modern sport, with an average of more than ten deaths per game, is somehow beach volleyball.

    Western Animation 
  • In ThunderCats Thundera had Gladiator Games in their Thunderdome: A racing Chase Fight between two Cat competitors climbing, swinging, jumping and running up a giant tree to to ring a bell at its top, where violent kicking and punching in order to knock a competitor out of the tree are entirely acceptable methods of getting ahead. Losers fell into a large pool of water at the base of the tree.
  • Samurai Jack winds up in two of these during the show's run. First was a Thunderdome-style gladiator arena after being captured and forced to compete, which he single-handedly manages to shut down after the arena's warriors prove no match for him; and an underground creature fighting ring, while he was temporarily turned into a chicken and captured by a greedy Italian man.
  • BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn, is very heavy with this. The glatorians fight in the various arenas to solve disputes instead of out and out war. But it ends up being more of an aversion, as matches are heavily regulated to avoid serious injury.
  • Futurama: The Butterfly Derby is an all-female sport popular on the Moon involving two teams of two fighting while wearing butterfly wingsuits. It is implied that crippling injuries are common and the championship match takes place over a lava pit.
    • Deathrolling, described as "skateboarding, except half the time somebody dies", is popular among the lawless pre-teen bandit tribes of Los Angeles. Fry thinks it sounds a little safer than skateboarding, though.
  • Wacky Races is ordinarily a mild variant, if it weren't for Dick Dastardly repeatedly trying to kill all of the other racers.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Professional Bending, in which two teams of three (a Firebender, an Earthbender, and a Waterbender) use their abilities to knock the other team off a platform (or at least push them back the farthest). It is still much less brutal than one would expect from a sport derived from martial arts with built-in flamethrowers.
    • Book Four has Korra hiding from her friends and family while going to an underground pit fight for six months... a fight pit with Earthbending.
  • The entire plot of Celebrity Deathmatch (with heavy doses of the Deadly Game Trope).
  • In Wakfu, Gobbowl is already Serious Business for most of the world, but in Brackmar, you are required by law to pay a non-refundable funeral expenses fee given how brutal it gets.
  • The Owl House has Grudgby, which is kind of like rugby if the field was covered with deadly traps and the players could use magic. There's also a Golden Snitch equivalent that grants automatic victory and renders the rest of the game entirely pointless.

    Real Life 
  • Many types of artificially instigated fights between animals, such as cockfighting and bear baiting, have been and remain popular throughout human history.
  • Bullfighting, which pits man against animal in a fight to the death.
  • Rodeos. While the participants don't try to kill the animals, they are essentially "fighting" the animals to do something against their will. Given the size and ferocity of the animals, it's more hazardous for the humans, though the danger is part of the appeal.
  • The gladiator fights in ancient Rome. However, the number of gladiators who were actually killed in such fights was much, much lower in reality than in fiction. Though the grand majority of gladiators did die in the ring eventually, they were expected to have fought over a dozen times beforehand, even if they lost every time. There could be months of recuperation periods between the matches, as well.
  • Roman/Byzantine chariot racing was also this to a degree. It was easy for chariot drivers to fall out if they lost their grips, their animals to get spooked, or violent crashes to happen in the hair pin turns.
  • Naumachiae were gladiatorial naval combat, large-scale events, often using prisoners of war. And yes, people died either from wounds or by drowning. These were significantly less frequent than regular gladiatorial combat due to the massive financial and people costs involved, not to mention the logistics of having a large water-filled arena.
  • Various hand-to-hand striking sports, including all the various forms of boxing, kickboxing and traditional martial art sparring are basically fist fights with rules.
  • During its early years, Mixed Martial Arts was compared to "human cockfighting", and the sensationalistic word "bloodsport" is still commonly used in mainstream media to describe it. Old school boxing purists will stand beside their framed pictures of Muhammad Ali looming with fist cocked over an unconscious Sonny Liston and complain about how "brutal" the emerging sport is. Suffice it to say, modern MMA is no more dangerous or brutal than boxing, and arguably less so.
  • Similarly, the ancient Greek sport of pankration (something of a spiritual ancestor of MMA, in which the only rules were prohibitions against biting and eye gouging, and the competitors fought until one submitted) has a reputation as a blood sport. It certainly was more brutal than modern MMA (in addition to fewer rules, there were no "rounds" like in modern combat sports to provide rest breaks) and deaths were not uncommon. But it was actually regarded by the Greek fighters as less dangerous than boxing.note 
  • Underground fighting rings have sprung up throughout the world, usually run by various international crime organizations with No OSHA Compliance. Most of the fighters are young men and teenage boys either coerced into it or kidnapped for the purpose of fighting. Since it's obviously not regulated and brutality attracts customers, deaths in the ring are a very common occurrence.
  • While amateur wrestling is not based on striking, it is still essentially a fight turned into a sport. Cheating maneuvers, such as gouging, are also not unheard of.
  • In its early years, American Football (then primarily played at the collegiate level) was an incredibly violent sport, with it being a regular occurrence for players to die as a result of injuries sustained on the field. It got to the point that President Theodore Roosevelt (himself a boxer and bloodsport enthusiast) threatened to push for football to be outlawed, leading to the creation of the Intercollegiate Athletic Associationnote  in 1906 to regulate the game. Even today, football is one of the most dangerous impact sports still being played; especially since the revelation that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy doesn't require a severe Tap on the Heada large number of small impacts is every bit as debilitating as a concussion.
  • This trope may explain some of the appeal of Australian Rules Football. And, by extension, the International Rules series.
  • Rugby. Both codes are bloody, and both hurt. There are even rules to remove players who are bleeding, and some players have played to the point of suffering bloody injuries, stopping and carrying on after being patched up. Rugby fans and even players embrace the reputation of it being a blood sport, just to scare others.
  • The Mesoamerican Ballgame: can't forget the Aztecs' old favorite of court ball and the similar game played by the Mayans, both of which could get quite bloody even before the losing (or perhaps winning, nobody's quite sure, all we know is that someone was getting their head cut off) teams in championship matches were sacrificed. Even without the beheadings, injuries result from a ten-pound rubber ball flying around.
  • Medieval "mob" football could often result in severe injury and sometimes death, and there are many records of the King or Lord banning it as a result, and nobody paying any attention.
  • Various other impact sports include lacrosse, hockey and water polo. While the intent of the game is not fighting, players impact and injure each other through the natural process of playing the game. In many instances, actual fighting between players is an unofficial facet of the sport. The name for Lacrosse in some Native American languages translates as "younger brother of war."
  • Hockey in particular is notable for one trait. The padding more closely resembles medieval plate armor than safety equipment, and for good reason. A hockey puck is a rock (or more accurately, ice)-hard piece of frozen vulcanized rubber often hurtling around at 90 miles per hour or more. Players are moving at what foot sports would consider sprinting speeds nearly constantly, and can put on even faster bursts when necessary, resulting in players flying after a particularly brutal check. There's also the occasional gruesome reminder that the players who are moving this fast have rather sharp blades attached to their footwear. The rink is ice, never a soft substance, and the boards are plexiglass... again very hard substance with little give. Hockey is quite literally harder and faster than any other team sport. And this is before the fistfights begin.
  • While Professional Wrestling is not a real competitive sport, anymore, it can still be viewed as a blood sport spectacle, as the participants suffer significant injuries even when faking greater injuries during their performance. "Hardcore" matches in particular are focused on the participants dealing grisly and very real damage to themselves. This is why the WWE had to put Don't Try This at Home messages on all their DVDs, as during the Attitude Era, pro wrestling ran into controversy over fans imitating what they saw on television (without the training that the pros had) in the form of Backyard Wrestling, typically getting themselves grievously injured in the process.
  • Jousting is a war game that turns charging into battle on horseback into a spectator sport. It claimed the lives of its fair share of knights and even kings during its heyday.
  • The original sport fencing was really just swordfighting with a few rules agreed upon beforehand. Over the centuries, its evolved into an essentially bloodless form of tag with metal sticks.
  • In ancient China, Dragon boats were a lot more brutal than they are today. The opposing boats would fight each other in the race, and when some fell off the boat, no one would try to save them, if they drowned then they are considered as sacrificed to the Dragon Deity.
  • Roller derby can be extremely dangerous, as can only be expected when players moving at high speed with heavy skates are expected to slam into one another.
  • Calcio Storico a sport played exclusively in Florence Italy, between 4 teams based on district of the cities in one tournament each year, is a basically MMA the ball game. 27 men for each team enter, and play for 50 minutes non-stop. There are very few rules limiting engagement, and the first half of each game is usually just a bunch of sparing, as the fighters on each side try to gain an advantage. Eventually the team with the ball (which would probably have had it for this entire time, just looking for an opening), will make a go of it. Scores tend to be very low, 2 points is a winning score. Brutal, it was started in the 16th century to demonstrate to besiegers that the men of Florence are not afraid. BTW: None of the participants are paid, and the winning's team prize: A trophy, and a free steak dinner.
  • The popular aquarium fish Siamese Fighting Fish got its name from the popular sport in Thailand (and other Southeast Asian Nations) of placing two males in one bowl and watching them battle.
  • Motorsports had a reputation of being this up until relatively recently.
    • Until the late '70s, it was expected that up to 20% of the drivers in Formula One would either die or get horribly injured before the end of the season. The deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in separate accidents at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix (Ratzenberger during the qualifier, Senna during the actual race, both of them at the same turn; this did not count unrelated incidents in which eight spectators, a police officer, and four mechanics were injured) led to a slew of safety reforms.
    • NASCAR and Indy Car aren't averse to it either. To this day, a common joke about NASCAR is that a lot of fans are really there for the spectacle of "the Big One", the kind of multi-car pileup that can only happen on a long oval circuit in a tightly-packed field of cars going over 150 miles per hour. Such high-speed crashes can easily turn fatal, as Dale Earnhardt learned the hard way at the 2001 Daytona 500. Again, modern safety features, most notably the HANS Device implemented in the wake of Earnhardt's death have lessened the risk. But sadly there have still been several deaths, the highest profile being two time Indy 500 Winner Dan Wheldon and Justin Wilson both with Indy Car.
    • Group B rally racing became notorious for this in The '80s. Rally racing has always been dangerous, held as it is on public roads (and often dirt roads with little grip) where the fans were often gathered right on the sidelines with little separating them from the track, but the low speeds compared to other motorsports limited the potential for disaster. With the creation of Group B in 1982, however, high-performance sports cars with over 400 horsepower were brought into use for rallying, and given the high number of crashes, the only miracle was that it took as long as it did for fatal accidents to occur. Group B was brought to a quick end soon after.
    • One example that has maintained that risk is the Isle of Man TT, as this ever-growing list of fatalities demonstrates. It is generally expected by now that at least one name is added every year.
    • Illegal street racing tends to be this, as showcased in certain works above. Most drivers who participated in unsanctioned street racing events have No OSHA Compliance, such as not wearing safety equipments, and driving recklessly on the public roads. Some notorious underground organizations like Mid Night Club in Japan attempt to lower the risks of this trope by setting up some stringent rules, but these kinds were extremely scarce, or were ended up disbanded due to certain tragic accidents.
  • Skydiving used to be this in the early days. Veteran skydivers speak of "bad old days" from the 1940s to late 1960s, when people jumped with Army surplus gear, various techniques and procedures were still in infancy and safety culture was nonexistent. It was assumed if a novice skydiver survived his first 16 jumps alive, he would survive anything. (Which wasn't the case: accidents, even fatal, were commonplace even to seasoned jumpers). The salute blue skies, black death comes from the bad old days. In the 1970s and 1980s the culture changed radically, and improved gear, square ram-air parachutes and improved safety culture has made skydiving relatively safe sport.
    • BASE jumping (parachuting from fixed platform) is still extremely dangerous: one BASE jump in 250 will end up in serious injury, and one in 2000 in death. Notably, the inventor of the sport died in a failed BASE jump after tripping and getting tangled in his own chute.
  • Most E-Sports are sort of a safe blood sport. The audience is watching players trying to kill each other in what would otherwise be straight examples of this trope, but in the digital world rather than in the real one, so the majority of the real risks associated with the sport is stress and carpal tunnel syndrome.


Video Example(s):


Galactic Gladiators

Galactic Gladiators is an excessively violent show hosted by Mega-Corp where contestants compete for money and other fabulous prizes by blowing each other up with their weaponry.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / BloodSport

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