Pick your underdog fighting story of choice and know that what you love on screen is partially a reality. The part where you watch the hero struggle to win a fight, only to be knocked down, until finally they triumph is based in reality. And then inspirational music cues up, the montage begins, and you’re up out of your seat cheering Rocky on.
This is shown to be true of many creatures as scientists organize mini-fight clubs to test the idea that when you win a fight you’ll continue to win. When an animal wins an early battle with weak opponents it is more likely to win later against stronger opponents. The underdog becomes more aggressive and capable, a phenomenon that is as much physical as psychological.
Essentially if you do the proper leveling up early on by smacking around rats in a cave you’ll have the wherewithal to take down the level 45 dragon later on in the game of life. It’s also common that when a fighter loses their first bought they receive a “dent in the armor” and often can’t compete on the same level as before.
There are mitigating circumstances that also affect whether an animal wins a fight, including environment. If a territorial creature fights in a new space they lose most of the “bonus benefits” of the Winner Effect. Some, like the cricket, have had the Winner Effect removed completely. So the next time you’re watching Warrior or Rocky and your significant other rolls their eyes at the hero’s convenient rise to fighting prominence, just tell them that science says it’s all true. If all else fails, challenge anyone who defies you to a fight…but be sure to battle the elderly and children first to build up your Winner Effect to at least a lvl10.