Italy: Modern-day Florentine gladiators slug it out in ancient ultraviolent footy game

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If you wonder what it would look like to mix MMA and football, look no further than Calcio Storico, or ‘historic football’, a tradition dating back to the 16th century, which saw its yearly tournament take place on Monday in Florence.

Sucker-punches and kicks to the head are prohibited but headbutting, punching, elbowing, and choking are all allowed, as shown in footage of players wrestling and boxing in the gladiator arena-like sand covered pitch.

Florence Mayor Rocco Commisso was spotted in the audience at the final, where the Red Team from Santa Maria Novella won 8-2 over the White Team from Santo Spirito quarter. It is unknown how many players were injured, but it is safe to assume few walked away unscathed.

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