Cage Combat w/Monkeys

Monkey Combat Cage 2017 on the move!


Another sure sign of summer being right around the corner is the wheeling out of the Monkey combat cage (actually Baboons). This activity, hugely popular in years past, has made a thrilling comeback over the last few summers. The concept is easy to grasp – two ‘trained to kill’ baboons are put in the glass cage where they fight to the death, or the until one animal’s owner/trainer throws in the towel and rescues his charge.

Much like the traditional cock or dogfight, bets are taken and, as odds are adjusted, piles of money change hands during the ebb and flow of the battle. A clever punter can do quite well on a beautiful summer’s evening. At the end of each match what’s left of the two combatants are whisked away (to hospital, to the morgue or to the kitchen) and a small child, hardly bigger than one of the monkeys, climbs into the cage to wash the windows. That the cleaner is wearing his/her pajamas adds a calming family folksiness to the event though sometimes the youngster doesn’t get to “hit the sack” until daybreak.

The most popular recent innovation was the ‘team competition’ concept in which pairs of baboons fight as a team to maul an opposing pair. Little colored caps cocked at a jaunty angle help viewers distinguish between the teams.

The “arena” is completely mobile so the matches can occur on any night tucked in some remote corner anywhere on the island and naturally out of sight of animal lovers. An added novelty is the availability of souvlaki (cooked meat on a skewer), the abundance of which increases as the night wears on.

The season culminates after the tax fraud police have left the island in September, when under the guise of a something more “normal”, the final bouts of the season are played out to a full house under starry skies at the packed to the rafters outdoor amphitheater of the Elementary school.

Word gets around about upcoming competitions and locations. If one is discrete, details can be obtained by asking anyone who appears to possibly be involved in the games (look for pinky rings) and asking, “Παρακαλώ κύριε, πού και πότε θα είναι το επόμενο διαγωνισμού μπαμπουίνους;”. Don’t be shy. The answer you receive might be cryptic but that’s all part of the fun.

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10 thoughts on “Cage Combat w/Monkeys

  1. …and when you think about the thousands of baboons (and they can grow to be quite large) held semi-humanely in that huge (8 storey) secret storage facility out near Mourtero. Last summer (in local legend) a supply truck loaded with bananas for the little critters overturned and scattered its cargo all about the roadway near the water purification plant. It is a surprise that no one reported the hilarious havoc that ensued. No humans were hurt but a few tons of bananas were injured, could not be saved and had to be put down. It is ironic and a bit unbelievable that there were no photos available…

  2. It is difficult for me to tell how many minds need to be put to rest – the premise of the post being so ridiculous. The piece is so overloaded with absurd impossibilities that a careful reader would and should rather quickly write this article off as extreme silliness.

    The first tip-off would have been the photo of a piece of common restaurant equipment, of which there are thousands all over the world, being referred to as a “Monkey Combat Cage”. The writer observed a very ordinary and uninteresting “Summer Preparation Event” (the taking of a souvlaki cooker out of winter mothballs) and, instead of reporting the ordinary and uninteresting as other local blogs do, the writer decided to entertain himself (and hopefully his readers) and make up something more interesting.

    That the premise is so absurd only added to the creative possibilities and the result was “so far out there” and preposterous that I have difficulty believing that anyone could have taken it seriously. But these are strange times. I wondered whether the comments received were written in the same spirit as the article.

    Here are some nuggets from the article:

    “At the end of each match what’s left of the two combatants are whisked away (to hospital, to the morgue or to the kitchen) and a small child, hardly bigger than one of the monkeys, climbs into the cage to wash the windows. That the “child” was wearing pajamas is not important.

    and
    “An added novelty is the availability of souvlaki (cooked meat on a skewer), the abundance of which increases as the night wears on.” Here the absurdity is admittedly a bit more subtle.

    I should point out that Skopelos does not have a baboon population, and of those non-existent baboons, none were killed or injured in the writing of the article.

  3. OK. I’m not sure what sensitivities I may stepped on and certainly there was nothing personal meant in my reply to your request to “put our minds at rest”. My intention was to explain the post and note my surprise that anyone could have taken the post seriously at all.

    “Cage combat” in which humans try to maim each other is now a mainstream “sport ” no matter how disgusting it is as an “entertainment”. I’m not a fan but there are enough viewers interested to make “cage combat” a career choice for some individuals and a money maker. My surprise that humans can behave in such a manner must have lurked in the back of my mind in writing such an offensive post and my subsequent comments.

    Sorry.

  4. Even though we have been spending lots of time on Skopelos every year bar 2 since 1990, more and more since we retired, and knew inside of ourselves that the article was a weird fabrication, the words “Monkey World, Dorset, England, Alison and Jim Cronin” sprang immediately to mind, and we needed to be sure there is not a shred of truth in it. And we’re clearly not the only people who questioned the piece. Your withering reply really stung.

  5. Concerning this post and its aftermath, I have no idea if one line comments are written ironically in the spirit of the post or are straight forward. I also can’t tell how many of the 200+ readers were or were not offended.

    Your comment was the first to clearly indicate concern. The first two could be taken either way.

    When you write: ” We’re assuming and hoping that this is some kind of wind up/spin. Please put our minds at rest. Thanks”,
    it is impossible for me to know whether the “We” and “our minds” constitutes the opinion of one person using the ‘editorial we’ or an individual member of a family group, or an individual writing as spokesperson for a larger group. I can’t tell. So my response was explain the post to the 3 initial comments (out of 200+ readers) the post inspired.

    So when I write “It is difficult for me to tell how many minds need to be put to rest” it is the truth and not meant to be offensive.

    Soon after the posting I bumped into a reader at the supermarket – who liked the post and was incredulous that anyone could have taken the article even a bit seriously. With fake news being in the norm these days, it may be a sign of the times that readers can’t be sure what’s real and what is not.

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