Once decried by former presidential candidate John McCain as "human cock fighting," the popularity of mixed martial arts cage fighting is growing rapidly in the US. But instead of the glitzy spectacle of Las Vegas title matches, many of the most exciting fights take place in back-room convention halls and small town meeting centers. Fighters hoping to make it big get into the cage with no hope of winning money, but with the promise of brutality. Fans watch eagerly and cheer with every pounding fist and spray of blood. If America can be likened to the Roman Empire, then cage fighting are our Gladiatorial games.
Ring-card girls, usually strippers from the surrounding area, stand at attention during the recital of the American National Anthem.