From Russia With Love – MMA The Hard Way
When a sport gets popular, more and more backing comes from advertising and corporate sponsors that make the sport feel a bit diluted. You see it with American football when a replay is sponsored by a new sandwich from a fast food place. The sport becomes less about the actual sport, and more about the commercial breaks. I’ve always compared it to sitting in traffic on the freeway: Stop, inch forward a bit, stop, stare at a billboard, repeat.
This is the very reason why I find the Arrows Street Fight MMA out of Russia to be so appealing. Sure, there is advertising like most sports, but it takes you back to fighting that is gritty, outside and more focused on the sport. Two men fight each other one-on-0ne in an outdoor ring surrounded by fans, in the dirt, and with minimal flare and fireworks. If a sport is entertaining, you don’t need a Grammy award winning singer to sing before it.
Check out 12 different fights that will get you into what type of MMA we’re dealing with:
Since the fights happen outdoors, what better way to implement the use of new technology to record the fights? Arrows will be using drones to video tape the fights from the air to give fans a new view of fights that they can’t really get in an indoor stadium. Sure, you can tie cameras to wires that slide back and forth on a fixed path, but a drone can hit any angle that best fits what’s going on it the fight.
Here is a fight that is pushing 3 million viewers on YouTube that is better than most fights you pay $50 to see on Pay-Per-View:
What happens to a lot of people that try to get into Boxing/MMA is that things like big hits and body blows happen so fast that you aren’t sure if it was a major hit or not. Viewers usually wait for the slow-mo replay to see how effective a hit really is. What Arrows does is introduce a technology that gives you real-time hit points as it happens. Think of it like a fighting game like Street Fighter. It will show the combos and hit points on screen as it happens so you know which fighter is landing punches with points attached.
The way Arrows sets this up is pretty fun to behold. Not only is the fight entertaining to watch, the points added at the bottom right give you a better idea of how great the fighters technique is, but also how much the crowd is getting into it.
I had the privlidge to as the fantastic people over at Arrows Street Fight a few questions.
Arrows: The use was mainly inspired by our limited budget, which we are actually very proud of. Not only does it set up the exact style of fighting that we want to see, but also forces us to be creative.
We used drones for the first time in Moscow. The event venue was expensive so we had to get creative and still deliver great videos to our fans. So, instead of multiple stationary cameras we went for one drone and one GoPro camera and shot it.
In our previous events, Arrows we used two main approaches to shooting the videos.
1 – High cost approach: Seven (x7) HD cameras and live stream signal on YouTube.
2 – Mobile approach: eight (x8) GoPro cameras (for events outside our traditional local fights). As implied by the name – this approach is very mobile and definitely less expensive.
We do feel that drones are potentially a very good idea for MMA events. There are, however, a few moments to be cognizant about
- Optics need to be changed: fisheye is not applicable for shooting fighting events
- Also – safety is important. Next generation drones shall resolve it, since right now you could potentially injure someone.
Arrows: In all honesty when we started we had a decent idea and just wanted to make money. But our combined capital was around $400. So, my friend at the time had a studio specializing in creating Apple applications, and he told me: just shoot a crazy awesome fight video and let’s upload it on the app, and so we did. Before we knew it this is application was top 10 in sport category in Russia in 2011-12. We did end up making any money on that app, but we understood that this is type of events in MMA are the future, because:
- First and foremost are the rules: no time limits, no rounds, no judges: only win or lose by a KO or tap out. – This is what makes fights exciting.
- Events production is very cheap: 2 – 5% of what a similar “big TV show” MMA event would cost.
- It’s very fast. All event takes 1 – 2 hours and the crowd likes it.
- Everybody can fight. In fact we now have 1,500 fighters registered and ready to fight. And you are bound to find some gems in such a big pool.
- High quality production and 100% free access to all fights on YouTube
- Variety of locations: we change places and countries (first 10 seconds in this video)
Arrows: Yes, this is definitely something we were looking for and are planning to continue implementing and improving upon. This was a real live score on the screen in a live stream.
On top of that ARROWS EXP – gives you an option to invest in your favorite fighter. You can support him monetarily by investing into his score. The score helps assessing fighter’s popularity level and you can follow it through the fighter page including Arrows EXP score. For fighters, the score is obviously a better chance to make more money and gain more visibility during events because we calculate EXP in real money.
Arrows: We are good friends and enthusiasts, looking to make some money, but only the way we like it. We come together and put something the way we like to see it, simple, straightforward and honest. Apparently (no, seriously, we had no idea) many other people like it the same way. It all happens organically and without major in-depth planning. We like quality approach, but it will not come at a price of detailed business model. This is not what we are about. We are about having fun and watching good, old school, healthy fighting. There are obviously some concerns about future and accidents, which are sure to come. But we are staying positive and true to ourselves.
Arrows: The primary inspiration is cheaper prices for a fantastic quality with our outdoor events. I do think when the new generation of safer and simpler drones arrive – we will use drones for all of our events. The biggest issue we have now is battery life – 20-30 minutes.