Attending a Cock Fight: Granada, Nicaragua

– A winning participant shows us his collection of razors

* This post contains graphic content that may be offensive to some.  Reader discretion is advised.

Curiosity finally got the best of me.  I recently attended a cockfight.

As we drove up the dark and bumpy dirt road towards the cockfighting arena I had mixed emotions. What was I doing? Did I really want to see this? Roosters pecking and clawing at one another fighting to their possible death? 

We entered the gates and  grabbed a couple of cold Tonas and headed towards the arena. As we found a spot in the stands I was not prepared for what I saw. It was near the end of an intense battle between two cocks. The crowd was going wild!  The roosters’ heads, necks and feathers were covered with bright red blood. The energy was intense.

The referee rang the bell and both galleros – folks who raise and fight roosters – began finger pointing and shouting at him. I could feel the adrenaline rushing through their veins. One trainer grabbed his rooster and wiped him down with a bloodied rag he pulled out of his pocket. The other placed his lips and mouth on his rooster’s neck. With my jaw clenched I continuted to watch as he spat out a mouthful of chicken blood onto the ground. While I was somewhat shocked and slightly disgusted, no one else in the crowd even batted an eye. The trainer was sucking the blood out of the neck of his rooster to keep it from drowning so it could fight another round. 

It wasn’t until after the first fight ended that I dug my camera out of my back pack. The air was still and thick, I was dripping with sweat and mosquitoes were feasting on my ankles. Beside me stood the winning gallero from that had just ended. His buddy encouraged us to take his photo.

– A rooster gets prepped for a fight

To my left a couple of guys prepared their rooster for the next fight. As the bird lay still in the arms of his gallero a razor like hook was being fastened to his foot with string and black electrical tape. He blinked his beady little eyes at me and I wondered if he knew that it was his turn to head into the ring next.  

I could hear roosters crowing from their wooden crates as men rushed around the perimeter of the ring trying to secure bets so they could be the next one to step into the ring.

As the primarily male crowd headed back to their seats around the ring and in the bleachers I inched my way in closer to the ring where I’d be able to get some photos. The men seated around the arena were happy to let me in and even offered me a seat ringside. As I peered through my camera lens I felt somewhat removed from this raw and brutal activity that was taking a place just a few feet from me. I felt like I was watching a movie. A gruesome flick – one that I wasn’t enjoying.

I made my way back to where Gord stood in the bleachers and told him I was ready to go. I had seen enough.

Part of my reasoning for attending the cockfight was to get some interesting blog material. Ironically I hesitated to write this post in fear of the reaction I would get.

Although cockfighting is banned in many countries it’s still a very popular sport in Nicaragua and sadly, it’s a part of Nicaraguan culture. An event that men, women and even children participate in. 

One my reasons for moving to Nicaragua was to experience culture – good and bad – and that’s what I view this experience as.  

Do I regret going? No.  

Will I attend another cockfight? Definitely not!

Posted on June 7, 2012, in People & Culture and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Chad and Marnine

    Whether we like it or not it is a huge part of there culture. I enjoyed it when we went but I think it was the atmosphere that I enjoyed. It was like being at a prize fight with all the adrenaline.

  2. I agree with Chad. The birds fighting was such a small part of the overall experience. I spent most of my time interacting with the locals and watching the crowd. It was a raw and gritty look at Nicaraguan culture.

  3. Great article. I really enjoyed reading about an event that is so different then what many would consider normal. I am really glad you went for the experience. Just curious how much did it cost to attend? And did you see anyone placing bets on the birds?
    Thank you and keep posting please.
    http://www.lifeoutofthebox.com

    • The cock fight had more energy than the MMA fight that we went to the next week. It is 20 cords for men to get in and free for women. Just about everyone has money on the fights. I think that’s why it is so wild in the crowd.

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