Behind the scenes, on a sabong day, there is a busy activity of the game cocks being paired (ulutan), owners intensely wary of the many dishonest, deceitful or accidental ways an edge may be gained by the opposing cock. Surreptitiously, by the swift and expert motion of a hand, a rib can be cracked, a wing disabled or a leg sprained. A poisoned grain or niblet of food could be flicked to the opposing cock's pecking space. Searching for an opponent, both sides look for parity or an imagined edge, guided by experience and intuition, carefully doing a thorough measure of his cock's chances through a visual of the opposing cock's breeding, weight, stance, wing span, head size, beak length, plumage quality, and gameness. When the acceptable pairing is found and agreed upon, the "tari" blade is commissioned for attachment, usually to the left leg, and payment to be due only if the cock wins. Even at this stage, an advantage may be lost, unintentional or by collusion, with the 'blade man's" slight but critical maladjustment of the blade. Stories are told of blades being impregnated with "poison" that may render the opposing cock ineffective and compromised.In the cockpit (ruweda), the owners and cocks are assigned sides: MERON – for the one with the larger pot-money bet or favored game cock, the sign lit-up denoting llamado or favored status, and WALA, under an unlit sign, signifying dejado or long shot. The cocks are allowed a short time and distance to walk, for the betting spectators to observe stance, strut and gameness. Then the "casador" announces the opposing bets and when needed solicits amounts from the ringside bettors to equalize the bets. Then he shouts: Larga na! And spectator betting starts. The "kristos," betting managers sacrilegiously named for their Christ-like crucified stance, arms stretched out beckoning the spectators, taking bets, their hands and fingers wild in the sign language of bets and odds. The noise builds up to a din of deafening decibels. As the betting goes on, each cock is also allowed to peck on the other's head (kulitan), each to anger the other and maintain a level of aggressiveness.Then the protective sheaths or wrapping on the tari blades are removed and wiped clean with alcohol-impregnated cotton or cloth to remove any possible poison. Then the cocks are released. Sometimes, they linger, circle, peck on the ground, watchful, waiting, and measuring their opponent. More often, they charged into each other, winging up into the air to a determined confrontation of death. Then, in a blur and flurry of beating wings, parrying moves, and the midair exchanges of lethal slashes of blade. Sometimes, it goes on for a minute or longer. The din crescendos into deafening decibels. Every deadly slash, every graceful parry elicits a cheer, moan, grunt or groan. Sometimes, victory is claimed on the initial parry and slash, the deed of killing is accomplished in a mere five seconds, as one cock lies, trembling and shaking to his death. Then, as suddenly, the noise deflates into a buzz. The "sentensyador" (referee) picks up the cocks. The victorious cock pecks twice on the vanquished, and when the pecks are not returned, one cock is raised victorious.Rarely, both the cocks die, and a "tabla" (tie) is called. Another uncommon occurrence is when both are disabled by wounds, neither one able to inflict a lethal slash, and after nine minutes, a tie or tabla is called.