All though officially not allowed in Bali, village communities can get a permission for cock fights on special occasions and holidays. You can spot them easily whenever a bunch of excited guys are squared around a tiny bamboo surrounded “arena”. The imagination of a cock fight might sound harmless since chicken pose no thread to us, but in reality they are more brutal than the highest awarded heavy weight boxing fight. The reason is obvious after the first minute: this is a fight for life and death. The death of one cock is not only regular but also highly expected. To increase the odds for death, the fighters are being armed with razor sharp knifes tied to their legs, which they are using as a secondary weapon next to their mouth. As if this is not enough, they are being put together in a tiny cage in case there is no satisfying result in the open arena. Taking pictures is next to impossible. As soon as the fighting starts, there is a pushing and a pulling for the best point of view, and only the cock owners and judges are allow inside the arena. But nobody really needs to be that close. If highly aggressive animals fly around when caught in a fight, they can not only cause severe injuries to them selfs, but everything which comes into their way.
My favorite moments were those, when two cocks simply refused to fight. It doesn’t happen that much, but occasionally you can witness that the brave gladiators turn into chicken and desperately try to ignore each other by picking grass and looking the other way. If they still don’t want to fight after several attempts of bringing them together, the fight is being called off. The disappointment of the crowd doesn’t last long. The next pair in line is already prepared, and shortly after, they face each other in close distance and spread the feathers surrounded around their necks. And after observing the expression on their faces, you can be sure that these ones are literally dying for a decision.