As long as you are winning, the world isn't such a bad place. Massages with fragrant oil for the muscles still sore from the last glorious fight, maybe even a servant for yourself, for you are valuable indeed. A night of wine and women that make you forget for awhile. No one dare lay a hand on you right after a fight, not even the pit overseer for fear of angering your master. When you lose, everything changes. If you are lucky enough to live through the experience, your first visit back to the pits erupts in a flurry of pain, expertly placed by men who enjoy the work, and are trained to bring you to the brink of death without quite pushing you over. Then it's back to the training pits. Longer hours, less food, no time to even think about wine or women. No... not until you win again. You must win to survive just another day.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://athas.org/articles/WYFTY-Mul-City-Slave