Does anyone know the name of — and hopefully references — the two following ancient Greek boxing legends, mentioned in this video by MMA coach Ramsey Dewey?

  • A boxer who, in sudden-death overtime, used an open-hand punch to rip out the opponent's intestines and kill him.
  • A pankratiast who would deliberately break his opponents' fingers so they couldn't signal quitting.
  • 1
    Dang. Been too long since I watched a Ramsey Dewey vid. Love his delivery, and the dude generally knows what he's talking about (at least when he's talking MMA).
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 25, 2023 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


From The Met

Sostratos, a fighter from the city of Sikyon, was known as “Fingertips” because he would break his opponent’s fingers at the start of a match. It’s no wonder the Greeks became experts in sports medicine!

The Pausanias reference is 6.4.1-3

Another website I found"

Pausanias writes of a particularly violent encounter where the fighter Damoxenos pulled out the entrails of his opponent Creugas. After the gruesome incident, the Greeks were forced to institute an additional rule forbidding the ripping out of internal organs.

The Pausanias reference can be found at 8.40.3-5.

  • 1
    Thank you. I tried google searching it but couldn't find it. What terms did you use specifically?
    – psygo
    Jan 25, 2023 at 17:51
  • 2
    @PhilippeFanaro I also added the reference to Pausanias for Sostratos. The searches I used were "ancient greek boxer broke fingers" and "ancient greek fighter ripped out "organs"". I made sure to put quotes around "organs" since Google kept wanting to change it to "origins."
    – cmw
    Jan 25, 2023 at 17:58
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    I found a lot of references to Sostranos as well. They do all agree that he was into breaking/dislocating fingers. However, none of those sources say he did it specifically to prevent submissions. In fact, several of them, including Pausanias, say he did it to encourage submissions.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 25, 2023 at 19:27
  • @T.E.D. Pausanias is the original (extant) source, I believe, so I'd chalk it up to Ramsey Dewey misremembering the details. (Also, doing it to prevent submissions makes no sense!)
    – cmw
    Jan 25, 2023 at 20:08
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    @cmw - Well, it would make sense if you would prefer to kill your opponent, as that was the other way to win (and apparently quite common). Its also a workable extrapolation on Dewey's part, as raising an index finger was apparently the signal for submission, so dislocating/breaking the index finger would technically prevent that. Apparently, the judges had some leeway to call it themselves though, and its probably clear most of the times when someone wants to submit, even sans fingers.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 25, 2023 at 20:15

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