In Fujairah, bull fights for honor, not money or blood

Thu Nov 6, 2014 6:55am EST
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By Michelle Moghtader

FUJAIRAH United Arab Emirates (Reuters) - There are no matadors or picadors, but bulls locking horns with each other draw big crowds to bullfights in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

An hour's drive from the dancing water fountains of Dubai's glitzy downtown, hundreds of fans gather in the eastern emirate of Fujairah to watch bulls fighting, or perhaps more accurately head butting, with honor rather than money at stake.

Unlike the Spanish tradition which pits man against beast, the UAE sport involves two bulls locking horns in a three-to-four minute Sumo-wrestling-like fight that usually ends with no bloodshed.

"In the 20 years I've been watching bull fights, we've only had to put down two bulls," said Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Matrooshi, who owns 15 bulls.

He said that the fight usually isn't long enough for the animals to seriously harm one another - but the bull's sharp horns can lead to cuts and injuries.

"Sometimes, they injure their heads and get bloody from the fights," said Fahad Mohammad, who owns six bulls. But the spectators are diligent when it comes to separating them should the fighting get too intense.

The fights also can prove perilous to the spectators, with men and boys seated on plastic chairs in the ring itself always ready to spring to safety as the animals can easily smash into their seats.

"It's exciting for people to sit near the fight," said 29 year-old Mohammad. "But once the bull's blood gets hot, it's hard to calm him down. They will just want to fight and it doesn't matter against whom."   Continued...

A man tries to stop two bulls from locking horns during a bullfight in the eastern emirate of Fujairah October 17, 2014.  REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah