Born to win? Testing the fighting hypothesis in realistic fights: left-handedness in the Ultimate Fighting Championship

Thomas Pollet, Gert Stulp, Ton Groothuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Given the heritability of human left-handedness and its purported associations with fitness-lowering traits, the persistence of the minority of left-handedness in human populations is an evolutionary puzzle. The fighting hypothesis proposes that these negative fitness costs are offset by fitness gains for left-handers when involved in fights with right-handers, as being a minority would generate a surprise effect increasing the chance of winning. The finding that left-handers are overrepresented in many combat sports is interpreted as evidence for this hypothesis. However, few studies have examined sports that show good similarity with realistic fights and analysed winning chances in relation to handedness of both fighters. We examined both, in a sample of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a fierce fighting sport hardly constrained by rules. Left-handers were strongly overrepresented as compared to the general male population but no advantage for left-handers when facing right-handers was found, providing only partial evidence for the fighting hypothesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-843
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume86
Issue number4
Early online date5 Sep 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Born to win? Testing the fighting hypothesis in realistic fights: left-handedness in the Ultimate Fighting Championship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this