Turkish Oil Wrestling on “The Bachelorette”

Ali Fedotowsky of ABC's "The Bachelorette"

If you watched “The Bachelorette” last night, there are a  few things you know. You know that the show was filmed in Turkey. You also know that Justin’s bachelor status was toppled by his annoyed girlfriend who told all about her cheating boyfriend’s desire  to raise his professional wrestling notoriety. Then there was the rekindling of Frank and Ali’s feelings on their romantic one-on-one date, plus the sad send-off for Craig, who went home without a rose. Whew, what a night…huh? Well, one thing that might have really surprised Bachelorette fans was an introduction to a particular form of wrestling that is very popular in Turkey – oil wrestling.

Oil wrestling is the national sport of Turkey.

The bachelors were stunned as the Turkish men came out bare-chest and oiled from head to toe. As the remaining bachelors vied for the affections of bachelorette, Ali Fedotowsky, they too were drenched with olive oil and engaged in some slippery wrestling mayhem.

Oil wrestling is the Turkish national sport, and the sport goes all the way back to the Persian Era (around 1065 B.C.). Oil wrestlers (called pehlivan, from the Persian term meaning “hero” or “champion”) wear a Kispet, short tight trousers made of buffalo leather or calf skin. Once upon a time matches had no set time – matches could go on for hours, even days, but in 1975 the duration was capped at 40 minutes for the bas pehlivan and 30 minutes for the pehlivan category. Matches may be won by achieving an effective hold of the kispet.

The Kirkpinar is the annual oil wrestling tournament, usually held in late June in the city of Edime, located in Turkish Thrace. The tournament has been a fixture in Edime since 1346 and it includes a big fair with music, belly dancing and lamb roasts.

Wikipedia: Example of a full Turkish meal. Adana kebab on pide (also known as berberi) flatbread, served with (clockwise) ayran, radish, parsley lemon, green salad, onion salad, grilled tomatoes, and peppers.

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