What ever happened to these?
In Ancient Rome, roughly two thousand years ago, these games used to take place occasionally in the Colosseum in Rome. Gladiators would fight to the death for show against each other, or wild animals. These fighters were slaves, criminals, or sometimes even volunteers.
In the modern world, we have condemned criminals who sit on death row for years awaiting their execution. Why not speed up the process, and entertain the viewing public at the same time, and bring back the Gladiator Games?
I think it would be great to tune in every Friday night to a live battle involving actual carnage. This may sound rather sadistic, but let's face it--carnage is interesting (ever notice how everybody always slows down to get a better look at that wreck on the side of the road?) People could watch (and many would) as justice is served on live television (you could also watch at the arena, but I'm sure tickets would go fast) as the most brutal killers our society can produce do what they did to get themselves there: kill or be killed.
And they wouldn't necessarily have to fight each other, they could be pitted against animals (although animal rights activists might object...), robots, or whatever kind of vicious, cloned, or genetically altered creatures science can produce. (I've always thought cloned Velociraptors, like in Jurassic Park, would make a great opponent)
The only problem I see is motivation for the contenders. We certainly wouldn't want to let the winner go free and return to society... so what's to keep these fighters from just giving up and getting themselves killed? I suppose that's a minor detail, which would have to be resolved by the event coordinators, who would, I'm sure, be making a really lot of money off the whole event.