In Mexico, on the outskirts of the city, there are some places that when dusk comes a practice begins that for many means power. Cockfights as entertainment and a social activity, which  in Mexico date back to the early sixteenth century, have since evolved, becoming a distinctive sign of our culture.

This hobby is widespread through much of the geography of our country . Palenques is known for being the place of origin of the traditional fairs, and today there are indispensable show in Aguascalientes, Leon, Texcoco, Guadalajara, Puebla and Tlaxcala, among other major cities.

People of both low and high income with an attraction to adrenaline and the obsession to win fast and free-of-tax money, play their cocks (term used in gambling) against each other. For immediate compensation, as in any other business of betting, participants can win or lose a great deal of money in this game. Sometimes, as it is in a circle away from the law, there are shootings or other types of shady deals made. In many countries this “sport” (named after the people who practice it) is a way to fix dirty business, or some unfinished business. There are exceptions for people involved that, for example, have been stuck in the gallo movement since they were 9 years old, and losing is a tough blow for them and their families.

In the United States these wagers are related to gangs and drug trafficking, paying those bills that through play come to a settlement, but can often escalate to having more serious consequences. Mexico is not the exception, in this arena bets are made not only on animals, it is a meeting point for fans to come and discuss other business. In places where small mafias are set up outside the metropolitan area, there provides space for the coexistence of other play—with brains full of cocaine and bills flying, the stakes go up as the night progresses.

It is in this kind of place, the uncontrolled euphoria from seeing two animals destroy themselves, that one of those Caesar movies comes to mind, flooding the coliseum with shock-value and spectacle, cathartic, where the smell of dried blood covers the feathers of those already fallen, and all just for the sake of a simple monetary amount back in your pocket.

About the author:
Emilio Espejel is a photojournalist and he was born in 1993 in Mexico City. He’s focused on documentary photography and portrait to tell stories about daily life and conflict situations. He collaborates with AP Agency, Vice, and other network medias.

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