Traditional Cockfighting vs. Modern Cockfighting [Comparison]

Cockfighting has been around for centuries and is known as one of the oldest blood sports in the world. Tracing back to thousands of years, it’s interesting how cockfighting has changed over time. Here’s a short comparison of traditional cockfighting and modern cockfighting.

Traditional Cockfighting vs. Modern Cockfighting

As cockfighting has been around for hundreds of years, one would expect that there would be several changes between traditional cockfighting and modern cockfighting. Surprisingly, there are only minimal differences between cockfighting in the past and the present.


The fighting rooster has long been regarded as an admirable animal, a subject of religious worship, or even associated with gods such as Apollo and Mars. They were also seen as symbols of strength, courage, and bravery.

Even these days, gamefowls are seen as an extension of its owner. When a fighting rooster wins a match, it gives the owner a sense of strength and privilege over their losing counterparts.

Breeding gamefowls is also nothing new. Back then, breeding fighting roosters was considered an art, and trading them was profitable. The same can be said in the present, with individuals specializing in breeding fighting rooster lineages, as well as selling and trading them.

Cockfighting Pit

In ancient times, cockfighting occurred in temples and the dead gamefowl would be prepared to be presented to deities. The bird was burned on an altar, and its ashes were placed in a golden pot or urn. As time went on, cockfights moved from temples to areas dedicated to these matches.

In 1536, King Henry VIII famously had a cockpit constructed at the Palace at Whitehall and by 1816, the cockpit had turned into a sporting center.

Cockfighting pits were circular and had a matted stage of about 20 feet in diameter, surrounded by a barrier to keep the birds from falling off. From there, cockfighting pits would evolve into the ones we know today.

In countries where cockfighting is popular and accepted, arenas dedicated to cockfighting exist. The cockpits inside these arenas are bounded by wood or plexiglass, and surrounded by bleachers for spectators to sit in.

Fighting Implements

Traditionally, gamefowls used their natural spurs to attack their opponents in cockfights. When the Romans embraced cockfighting, they introduced artificial spurs for combat.

Modern cockfighting has adopted the use of artificial spurs, removing the natural spurs of fighting cocks and replacing them with metal spurs or gaffs. In some regions, the use of artificial spurs is prohibited.


Gambling and betting are central to cockfighting. In the past, Persian traders loved to gamble by pitting their fighting cocks against each other. Often, they would carry their birds and pit a fight in marketplaces and trading centers.

Around the 17th century in England, Sundays were spent by crowds gathering together and gambling at cockpits.

Even now in modern times, gambling is still an inherent part of cockfighting. There are many ways to place wagers in cockfights, whether in person or online. In the Philippines, they even have their own gambling system in place, with betting managers or Kristos using a variety of gestures to take bets.

Final Note

While cockfighting has been around for a long time, it is a sport that has been largely unchanged. Modern cockfighting has evolved only certain aspects of traditional cockfighting, making the sport even more convenient to participate in and more interesting for everyone.