The incident happened late last month in Lothunur, a village in the state of Telangana, according to local police Insp. B. Jeevan.
Thangulla Satish, 45, was preparing his rooster for the fight when it panicked and lashed out with the three-inch knife he’d tied to its leg.
“Satish was hit by the rooster’s knife in his groin and started bleeding heavily,” Jeevan said.
Satish died on the way to the hospital.
The rooster was taken into custody and is being kept at a local farm, Jeevan said.
“We may need to produce it before the court,” he said.
Authorities are looking for 15 people who were at the cockfight in connection with the case, Jeevan said. The suspects face charges of manslaughter, illegal betting and hosting a cockfight, the AFP reports.
Cockfighting has persisted in many southern Indian states despite a decades-old ban. The contests are particularly popular during major festivals, and often attract powerful spectators and deep-pocketed gamblers.
The practice involves putting a pair of roosters together in a pit — called a cockpit — and equipping each one with a slashing weapon of some kind, such as a knife tied to its foot. The birds are thrown into the ring together and left to fight, often to the death.
Thousands of roosters die in the bloodsport each year.
A handful of humans have also been killed at the events.
Last year, for example, an Indian man died when his cockfighting rooster slashed his throat in January 2020. A police chief in the Philippines was also killed while breaking up an illegal cockfighting ring last October.
Both deaths were caused by blades on the roosters’ feet.
— With files from The Associated Press