Calcio Fiorentino: The Toughest Sport On Earth

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IAugust 4, 2008

            If you were asked to identify the single toughest, most brutal, and most violent sport on Earth, what would you choose? Boxing? MMA? Football? Rugby? All of the aforementioned games are incredibly rough, although they are all child- play in comparison to the sport that I am about to introduce you to:

            It’s called “calico fiorentino”, and it’s a barbaric sport that is played primarily in Italy. I first learned of this brutal sport from an article in the newest edition of sports Illustrated, entitled “Balls and Blood”. The title of the article was rather appropriate, because that is pretty much what the game consists of.

            Anyway, here are the basics of the game. Essentially, the sport infuses elements of soccer, rugby, and MMA all into one mega sport. There are 27 players on each side at any given time, and the objective is to score a goal; either by kicking or throwing the ball through the designated goal area. In addition, kicks to the face are forbidden. This is pretty much where the rules end.

            Calcio fiorentino is a true contact sport. This is because just about any type of contact is legal, from punches to the face, to body slams, to throwing sand in the eyes of your opposition. Basically, it is your job to score by any means possible, and to stop the opponent by any means possible.

            Of the 27 players on each side, as many as ten of them are often considered brawlers. These players usually come from boxing, wrestling, and MMA backgrounds, and it is their job to essentially knock out the opponent. The brawlers from each side will usually ignore the whereabouts of the ball, and instead engage in combat with one another throughout the duration of the match.

            The skill players on a calico fiorentino team generally consist of rugby and soccer players. The rugby players are typically utilized to carry the ball past the opposition, while the soccer players are there for tactical kicking and goal scoring. However, these players must avoid life- threatening attacks from the brawlers of the opposing team. More often than not, calico fiorentino matches typically end with a lot of splattered blood, and at least a few unconscious participants. Ha, and you think football is rough?

            Without any doubt, calico fiorentino is the toughest sport on the planet. For those of you who read this article, I highly recommend searching You tube and the rest of the Internet for videos of this crazy game, as it definitely is a fascinating thing to see. So, anyone up for a game of calico fiorentino?