Bullfighting is not a sport. It was never supposed to be. It is a tragedy … The tragedy is the death of the bull.’
So wrote Ernest Hemingway after he witnessed his first bullfight as a reporter in Spain. But three bulls yesterday turned the tables on their killers.
They challenged their own ritual slaughter – and won.
Olé! David Mora is floored by an El Ventorrillo fighting bull during a bullfight at Las Ventas bullring in Madrid
Beast versus man: The matador is tossed backwards by the huge bull, which is primed for the kill
Head over heels: Mora is flicked around the bullring like a ragdoll by the enraged bull he intended to kill
The goring is seen here from another angle. Mora was still in intensive care today but was said to be recovering
Occupational hazard: Assistants help a grimacing Mora from the bullring after he was badly wounded in the fight yesterday
Bulls 3 – Matadors 0. If bullfights had a score line that would have been the one at the Las Ventas ring in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday evening.
All three matadors were gored, one of them severely, and the rest of the bloody spectacle was cancelled because there was nobody left standing to fight.
It happened at the 12th corrida in the Spanish capital, less than half-way through the Fiesta of San Isidro, the biggest single event in the official season.
Described by Hemingway as the ‘World Series of bullfighting’, it lasts for nearly a month with a fight every day.
Antonio Nazare is gored in his leg by a Los Chospes ranch fighting bull after killing the one that took out Mora
Tragedy: Nazare’s cape drops to reveal the bull’s bloodied back, as it makes sure he is unable to get back up
Death in the afternoon: The bull which beat Nazare spews blood after it is killed by Jimenez Fortes, top second left, in the traditional manner – but without the flair and flamboyance which bullfight audiences come for
First to lose was David Mora. Brought down by his first bull of the afternoon, he was gored in three places as he was tossed around the ring like a rag doll.
After Mora was carried-off and rushed to the infirmary for emergency surgery, Antonio Nazare followed tradition and dispatched the bull using cape and sword.
But he did so as swiftly as possible, with none of the flair audiences expect.
Then it was Nazare’s turn to fight his own first bull of the afternoon. Within minutes he followed Mora to the infirmary with a single goring.
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Not getting up: With no one left to fight the remaining bulls, there was no alternative than to cancel the rest of the corrida – the first time in 35 years that a bullfight has been stopped during the Fiesta de San Isidro
The one remaining matador, Jimenez Fortes, stepped into the ring and killed the animal, again swiftly and without flamboyance.
Then his own first bull sent him flying through the air, catching him on its horns three times.
After Fortes was taken to the infirmary the bull was enticed back into its stall alongside the pens of the other three who had also escaped their scheduled deaths in the afternoon.
With no one left to fight them, there was no alternative than to cancel the rest of the corrida.
It was the first time that had happened during San Isidro since 1979, and only the third time in the fiesta’s history.