Sometimes, fights have rules. These rules can be manipulated through things like the use of preposterous technical clauses. Other times, however formal things may be, the fighting doesn't actually have any rules at all. Last one standing wins. Use anything you can think of to make it happen. It may or may not result in a No Holds Barred Beat Down.
- Milly in Code Geass loves organizing highly elaborate contests like this with absurd high-stakes prizes. Once, it ends up going a little too far when one character attempts to use a mecha to win one.
- Played with for comedy in an episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu when the Karate Club's idea of "no holds barred" combat comes into violent conflict with Sousuke's. Hint: the Karate Club's definition doesn't include guns, tear gas, or hand grenades.
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch: No, no. Not yet. Not until me and Harvey get the rules straightened out.Harvey: Rules in a knife fight? No rules!Butch: (kicks Harvey in the 'nads) If there ain't no rules, let's get started. Someone count 1, 2, 3, go.Sundance: 1, 2, 3, go!Butch: (knocks Harvey out with a two-handed punch)
- Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. There is only one rule of Thunderdome. When two men enter, one man leaves.
- No Holds Barred (Imagine that)
- X-Men has an example in the cage fight that introduces Wolverine, again toyed with a little: "Don't kick him in the balls." "I thought you said anything goes." "Anything goes, but he'll take it personal."
- In the 1975 version of Rollerball, the championship match basically boils down to this.
- Serenity, the final fight between Mal and the Operative.
- Best Of The Best 2 movie indulged in this and had one member of the martial arts team killed in such a match, pulling his friends into it too.
- On NewsRadio, Joe and Matthew compete in an Ultimate Fighting match for charity. Matthew's strategy: tickling.
- The name "No Holds Barred" comes from Catch Wrestling, the old predecessor of Professional Wrestling. No Holds Barred meant that all submission holds were allowed, including extremely dangerous ones.
- Vale Tudo ("Anything Goes") is the Brazilian term for fights without any rules that were primarily organized by martial arts gyms trying to prove which was superior. Luta Livre ("Freestyle Fighting") and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu were the two primary styles vying for supremacy. The Gracie family, founders of BJJ and co-founders of the UFC, earned their initial acclaim through successes in vale tudo fights, which often ended in broken bones. In modern times, MMA has largely supplanted vale tudo.
- The very first few Mixed Martial Arts events under the UFC were billed as having "no rules," but in reality there were prohibitions against biting, gouging and fish-hooking. Even still, this left quite a lot of "dirty" moves left open, such as groin attacks, small joint manipulation and hair pulling. The term "no holds barred" was even carried over from wrestling to refer to the nascent sport before the term "mixed martial arts" became the standard.
- No holds barred matches, obviously. Goes by many other names as well, like Falls Count Anywhere, No Disqualification, Hardcore, Extreme Rules, etc. (They don't always ditch all the rules at once, though, like a Falls Count Anywhere match may still disqualify you if your buddies join in the beatdown.)
- Super Libre is one that was specific to E\CMLL. Lucha Libre, Salvador Lutteroth's take on professional wrestling, was so named because in many ways it was more free than most pro wrestling of the 1930s. Want to punch your opponent? We don't want you to, but it's not an immediate disqualification. Want to climb the ropes and/or turnbuckle? Go right on ahead. Fight outside of the ring? You can't win there, but sure. Still, lucha libre had rules, and by the 1950s EMLL was in fact less free than many other lucha libre enterprises which had sprung up. So "Super Libre" was what EMLL held when its rules were relaxed. Super Libres have since become fairly tame with the rise of Garbage Enterprises such as NGX, DTU and XMW, but have nonetheless popped up in other feds more in the mold of EMLL. Outside of the lucha libre genre, other "strict" feds such as ROH, or "realistic" feds such as early EVOLVE, sometimes end up with similar gimmicks like Fight Without Honor and End Of Evolution.
- The Arcade Game Arch Rivals is two-on-two basketball with no rules against fouls. The referee's only function is to call time.