Why do you think violent sports are so popular
back up statements why violence attracts fans with sports
I am not sure what sports you are calling violent. There are some that would say that wrestling, cage fighting and things like this are sports. To me they are not a sport, I am not sure what draws people to watch these types of events.
The outcome of violence is unknown as it is happening. Anything could happen. How will this turn out? Being involved in violence or even witnessing it causes an increase in adrenalin--the fight or flight response. In other words, watching violence, in sports (just as in movies) creates tension, suspense, and physical excitement. People can watch violent sports and have the adrenalin charge under safe circumstances because they are only spectators. Most will find security in believing that whatever violence occurs will be controlled by those in charge so that nobody really gets hurt too badly.
There is a bloodthirstiness in people that manifests itself in mob scenes. People feel safer accepting violence when they are seated in numbers of other spectators. A group of spectators watching an organized event that they know is going to be violent is far more likely to accept violence and mayhem than bystanders on a street who witness a violent crime.
I agree with post #2, but I also think that sports which are more violent & less "sport", if you will, are becoming increasingly popular. Look at the overwhelming attraction of UFC fighting, or the underground network of backyard fighting videos. I think we coming closer to the point when fighting in the street won't be looked on with disdain by the public. The recent surge in staged fights at schools, with the purpose of filming and posting on youtube is another example. Many students don't turn away in disgust at these fights; instead, they egg on the participants and happily record them for posterity, or infamy, I suppose.
I think the attraction is rooted in human nature, unfortunately. Not to drag out cliches, but if we look at the history of sports, we see many violent and even cruel events: bullfighting, bear-baiting, gladiators, etc. There's some raw emotion released in seeing someone or something attacked, and a large part of it may be cultural. While I'd like to think that I would refuse to watch gladiator fights, who knows? I may have been willing to scream along with everyone else in the same situation.
I'm not sure if this is an actual human tendency, or something left over from primitive man, but I do think it's a disturbing trend, that doesn't show any sign of slowing down.
If there is any link between violence and sports, it might exist in the ability to channel aggressive behavior. There is a level of aggression that can be released through sports that is not necessarily permissible in the world outside of sports. For example, the aggressive nature of a boxing contest or in a well timed tackle in American football are actions that will not necessarily be well embraced outside of the sports arena. We can extrapolate this to the ability to playing sports as a way of channeling aggression in the activity of sports. If we take the example of boxing or tackling in football, these would be socially acceptable ways to channel one's aggression. Even kicking a soccer ball and hitting a baseball are ways in which aggression can be channeled in a sports medium. I think the violence present in sports is due to the release of aggression and sports is a socially acceptable manner to channel that aggression. Society views the ability to lay a punch in the boxing ring in a praiseworthy manner, however if one punches someone in the street, it is viewed with disdain, and rightfully so. The realm of sports is what makes disdain evolve into praise.