Medieval Knights Fight in Cage Battles This February at Municipal Auditorium

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Photo from Nashville Armored Combat Facebook

On February 17, Medieval Cage Fighting will be coming to Nashville Municipal Auditorium at 6:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by Armored Mixed Martial Arts (AMMA) and Nashville Armored Combat (NAC). It is Medieval hand-to-hand combat, like what occurs at the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, on steroids.

The event is often described as a blend of mixed martial arts and Medieval tournaments. Participants dress in full metal armor that can weigh as much as 50 to 80 pounds to do real battle inside an enclosed area or chain-link cage. While the weapons are blunted, the combatants use fully weighted battle swords and the fighting is full-contact.

Engagement between those doing battle one-on-one has a scoring system, weight classes, and time limits for rounds much like boxing. Fighters gain points for hits, disarming their opponent, and for taking them to the ground, much like what occurred in jousts during the Middle Ages.

Team competitions are more like giant melees where there are few rules and it is all about being the last knight standing. Gaining that position can be gained by whatever means necessary. As fighters fall to the ground, they are eliminated until there is only one person left.

Based on the jousting tournaments of the 12th century, the roots of this sport go back to 11th-century France. The goal is not to hurt or maim, the goal is to display skill, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t violent attack and parry.

“Several chroniclers credit a French baron, Geoffroi de Preully, with having invented tournaments,” says Britannica.com. “The early tournament was a mock battle between two bodies of armed horsemen and was called the mêlée. 

According to history.co.uk, the modern version of these games began in Russia in the 1990s as an offshoot of mixed martial arts. 

“This wasn’t American dads holding fake muskets and pretending they were in the Civil War, but instead full contact warfare which has emerged from dusty fields to sold-out arenas all across Russia,” says history.co.uk. “Controversial? For some purists, yes, but the fighting itself is arguably less dangerous than a typical MMA fight while being a much more thrilling spectacle. Two dudes in shorts hitting each other might be fun, but add in metal, swagger and that glorious sound of steel-on-steel? There is no comparison.” 

Nashville is home to the largest AMMA training facility in the United States at Nashville Armored Combat. Located near the Opryland Hotel on Music Valley Drive, they teach a wide variety of skills needed to excel at the sport. These skills include Pro Fighting, Dueling, Boxing, Kick-Boxing, Flexibility and Yoga, Soft Kit Sparring, Open Sparring, Women’s Intro Classes, and Kid’s Classes. 

Extremely popular in Europe, AMMA came to Nashville in 2020 through Mickey Guida. According to the Nashville Scene, “…he traveled to get training from more experienced fighters and brought his knowledge back to Nashville to train fighters in his literal backyard — for free.” In four years, interest in the sport has grown significantly in Nashville. And in the country, according to visitpittsburgh.com, thanks to interest from celebrities Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Hardy, who have competed in the ring. 

Twenty-four fighters will take the field on February 17, the best from around the world, men and women. The doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the games begin at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.