We aren’t that far removed from the Romans, alas. Look at our own sports; look at our movies and TV shows; listen to rap lyrics.
At least the Romans claimed that they had a higher purpose in their blood lust.
They thought that seeing death would train their population to be good warriors.
Furthermore, the blood sports had religious significance.
They had begun as a component of funeral ceremonies, based on the idea that shedding human blood somehow helped the soul of the departed move along to the next world.