King of the Streets (KOTS) Rules. Rule One: “Fight with no rules and no rounds. Rule Two: “Only the winner will get the prize money”.
For all the bad press that mainstream mixed martial arts receive, King of the Streets stands as a sobering reminder of the darker underground scene from which fighting has evolved.
Originating in Gothenburg, Sweden, King of the Streets emerged in 2013 as a home for football hooligans to engage in unlicensed fights. Nothing is off the cards for KOTS fighters – PEDs, eye gouging, biting, groin shots and headbutts are all allowed.
King of the Streets 111 pitted off ‘American Bloodaxe’ Eric Olsen, one of the most hated fighters on the KOTS roster, against the ‘Polish hooligan’ KNF.
What is KOTS?
King of the Streets is an underground fight league that doubles as a hotbed for football hooligans and far-right movements. The secrecy of the organisation leaves scarce information to pick through.
Funding appears to be split between pay-per-view revenue and partnership with (or likely ownership of) Askari Fight Wear. KOTS appear to cover the travel and accommodation of participants yet prize money is impossible to estimate.
Key to KOTS’ mysticism is the location of their events. Due to the illegal nature of the circumstances, the location for upcoming fights is released as close to the PPV as possible. The arenas themselves are often abandoned warehouses but have also taken place in car parks and ice rinks.
Fighting on concrete floors is a ticking time bomb for combatant fatalities. While the ever-present danger adds to KOTS’ allure of ‘true’ or ‘pure’ combat, it is also the most likely death knell of the organisation rather than the more graphic eye gouging or headbutting.
Who is American Bloodaxe?
American Bloodaxe, aka Eric Olsen, has participated in bare-knuckle, MMA and kickboxing promotions since 2016. The 40-year-old is best known for his three fights with King of the Streets against KNF, French Viking and Leo.
Hailing from Levittown, New York, Olsen admits to having spent a total of six-and-a-half years in prison for a range of crimes from: “arson to weapons possession to terroristic threats”.
In October 2022, Olsen lost a bitter bare-knuckle rematch with Szymon Szynkiewicz. It likely represents Olsen’s last fight on the sanctioned scene as the messy affair ended with Bloodaxe gouging his thumb deep into the Pole’s eye.
Based on the tape available from Olsen’s stints in various regional MMA promotions (Caged Steel and Valor Fighting Challenge) and his single fight in Bellator – it is clear that the American benefits most from the dark arts. Almost all of Olsen’s success stems from drawing fighters into the pocket and then wildly flashing his head in the hopes of opening a cut.
Who is KNF?
‘KNF’, Pietrek Pietrula, the 24-year-old Polish football hooligan, is a far more slippery character to identify. The one-time KOTS fighter is part of the hooligan supporters of Stomil Olsztyn, a Polish football club in the country’s second division.
At the weigh-in before his fight with Olsen, KNF spoke briefly of his background in street fighting and having spent two months preparing for his upcoming bout. Above all else, KNF’s words hint at a more orderly process of fight registration behind the scenes.
KOTS Fight Breakdown: American Bloodaxe vs KNF
Entering from either end of the car park, American Bloodaxe and KNF met in the middle before being encircled by a handful of cameramen, ‘officials’ and travelling teammates.
KNF started aggressively, walking down Bloodaxe with ease as he opted to tuck behind a high guard. Creativity was avoided in favour of volume as the Pole unleashed a blitz of short hooks that were largely caught on Olsen’s guard. After finding success with hooks to the body, KNF’s most significant strike came from a stabbing knee that split through the centre of the American’s defence.
The forty-year-old seemed overawed in the face of KNF’s pressure as his labouring footwork saw him fail to keep out of striking range. Bloodaxe’s game plan on the outside was to exploit KNF’s boxing-centric style. Unfortunately for Olsen, his blind leg kicks failed to miss the mark and allowed KNF to close the gap unpunished.
The Pole’s swarming style papered over his technical deficiencies, as his high volume trapped Olsen within his static defensive guard. After KNF threatened with another knee through the middle, Olsen landed a risky counter left hook. In doing so, he had left himself open to a flailing right hand that landed on the temple and knocked him to the ground.
From the top, KNF’s lack of ground game was starkly apparent as he failed to make the most of his turtling opponent. The Pole never distributed his weight correctly, leaving himself wildly unbalanced and unable to leverage his superior ground position to lay down strikes.
What happened next can only be described as a calamity of errors. KNF postured up, attempting to control Olsen with his left arm and rain down strikes with his right. The result was a series of pitter-patter arm punches that harmlessly grazed Olsen’s neck and ribs. Meanwhile, Olsen’s slow transition towards a single leg went unnoticed. The ugly, telegraphed sweep flipped the ground game and marked the start of the end for the Pole.
In response to Olsen laying on top for close to a minute, KNF panicked off his back and threw wasteful punches. The opening allowed Olsen to work his free right hand towards the Pole’s face and begin to gouge his thumb deeply into his foe’s eye. It took just two successful gouges to force KNF into submission. Any semblance of honour or a sporting contest had thoroughly ended after the introduction of such a tactic.
Over the span of two minutes of unrefined brawling, one man was nearly left permanently disfigured. And for what cause? For what value?
During the post-fight interview, Olsen said he “likes to box clean, technical”. Such words hold no value when compared to the ease with which the American adopted such savage tactics as eye-gouging.
King of the Streets is no sweet science. King of the Streets is a circus show for thugs to masturbate their foolhardy ideals of respect and masculinity, blinded to the organisers who use their blood to amass riches that the fighters will never see.
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