The Clashing is an underground full-contact fighting tournament that takes place every ten years.
There is no 'official' history of the tournament. Several folklorish origin stories are bandied about, but none of them have, to this date, been confirmed. What is known is that the tournament has been in existence since at least the early 23rd century, at which time it appears to have been a smaller event held yearly. By 2280, the first year that decent records for the event are extant, it seems to have reached a stature similar to what it is today; a decennial event drawing the best in martial skill from many races and regions.
Fighters from all races and traditions are allowed and encouraged. There are no weight classes. Rules are simple; once the fight begins you battle until victory is achieved via death, knockout, or surrender. Fighters may not bring any sort of weapon into the ring, and all are scanned thoroughly for conventional as well as chemical and biological weapons before each bout. Strong telepaths also monitor each fight to ensure that no active telepathic or empathic combat techniques are used (passively reading an opponent's intentions, however, is allowed.) Beyond that, combat is anything-goes.
There are four rounds (Qualifying, Quarter Finals, Semifinals, Final) Each round of the tournament is held in a different location, and weeks or months can go by between rounds, allowing time for a new location to be set up and for any needed healing and recuperation on the part of the fighters. The tournament is double-elimination, assuming the losing fighters are alive and able to continue. The Final round is somewhat different from the one-on-one dueling style of the rest of the bouts. It consists of a free-for-all between the top four fighters.
One unique feature of The Clashing is that once a fighter enters the Quarter Finals, they cannot drop out. A fighter who does not show up for their next bout will be sought out after the round by the winning fighters, so that their placement in the rankings can be determined.
The Clashing prefers to hold most of its rounds in Federation territory, for reasons of unrestricted passage. A governing body that allows beings of all races to pass freely in their space is ideal for a multiracial tournament. However, due to its allowance of injurious and fatal attacks, and the number of casualties that have therefore racked up over time, the tournament is not allowed under Federation law. It therefore remains a secret, illegal tournament. This has had the effect of enhancing its reputation rather than eroding it.