The 8 Manliest Sports

The 8 Manliest Sports

Human beings have played tight athletic games for as long as there is recorded history. In modern times they have become heavily commercialized and regulated. However, there are a few sports played today that have preserved a sense of the savage manliness that characterized earlier sports (think: gladiators. Real men.) These 8 sports were chosen for their man-factor. Physical contact, body hair, and common injury level were all taken into account. Enjoy: click each sport’s title or picture for a video demonstrating their relative manliness.

Calcio Fiorentino


This Italian sport originated in 16th century Florence. Called Bareknuckle Football, it’s a manlier version of, well, everything. Punching, head-butting, and choking are all legal. In 50 minutes each team tries to score as many points (cacce) as possible. In simpler terms this means that whichever team beats up the other more effectively will win. The closest thing we have to modern day gladiatorial combat. Seriously, they used to release prisoners to perform. Manly.



A game played primarily in Britain and its former colonies, rugby is a ball-sport played with a prolate spheroid. Or a fat football, whichever you prefer. Its a game with no pads and huge hairy dudes, the ‘scrum’ is where most of the violence occurs. Punching, kicking, stomping are all common. And click on the title to see some of the biggest hits in recent years — makes American Football look like a sport for pansies.



Essentially lacrosse for real guys. Hurling comes from Ireland, and is also played without protective padding. Players attempt to score goals with wooden axe-shaped sticks; it’s widely known as being the world’s fastest field team sport in terms of game play. Tackling is permitted, as is two handed strikes and jabs with the stick. No need for a helmet here, unlike lacrosse players these guys have already been hit in the head enough times for it not to matter. Honestly, they hit a hard cork and leather ball at each other’s heads at close to a hundred miles an hour.

Competitive Eating


Don’t think these men only eat delicious hot dogs in vast quantities — they also consume food items from Garlicky Greens to Mayonnaise. Training is discouraged, and puking is grounds for disqualification. In the 1990′s Competitive Eating disappeared for several years due to choking deaths. One of the great sports rivalries has developed at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi have gone dog to dog the last couple years, Chestnut bringing the gold back to America last year by consuming 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes (a new world record). Well done Joey.



There are few things manlier than fights inside a locked cage. Maybe it would be manlier if the fight was between a mountain man and an angry grizzly bear. In any case, we don’t condone violence for the sake of violence, but we do condone regulated violence for manly entertainment. We appreciate the toughness of UFC competitors, and are thankful for the fact they’re in the cage, if only so we don’t have to be. And holy crap you need to check out the video for this one — there might be nothing manlier than a double knockout.

Bull Riding


Cowboys must have been super bored in the late 1800′s when they decided to try and sit on a super pissed bull. They also must not have been very bright — after all, who would choose 8 seconds as the goal time? The bulls weigh between 1800 and 2000 pounds. And they’re super-duper angry. Often called the “most dangerous 8 seconds in sports” rodeo boys are a breed of their own (excuse the pun).



Slamball is a variation on basketball that was invented in 2001. The primary difference between basketball and Slamball is the four, very obvious, trampolines positioned under each of the padded hoops. These allow the players to get much higher when they jump and lead to awesome action. Scoring follows the same rules as in basketball, with the notable exception that slam dunks are worth three points. In addition to having the trampolines, the sport differs in that players wear protective padding and are allowed to be much rougher than in regular basketball. Slamball is undoubtedly a manly sport.

Demolition Derby


Just having cars wouldn’t be enough for any of the true men out there. Why would you use a car to go and buy groceries, or transport your child to school? Instead, go ahead and gather a bunch of them together and slam into each other until they break. The greatest of industrial minds congregated to produce this magnificent sport. Let’s hope the drivers don’t die from too many concussions before my children have a chance to see this tribute to thick-necked manliness.

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