Nothing like watching remnants of the future unfold before your very eyes. That’s what went down last Saturday as the Triller Fight Club invaded the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. If you’re not knowing Triller Fight Club is a partnership between leading music and social media platform Triller, Snoop Dogg, and is spearheaded by visionary producer Ryan Kavanaugh who made a ton of noise with the Mike Tyson-Roy Jones fight back in November. Stealing the show that night and headlining this card was internet sensation Jake Paul, who proved he has some boxing chops and a strong overhand right, scoring a first round TKO over former Bellator and OneFC Championship champion Ben Askren. Other winners in the featured undercard bouts included Steve Cunningham of Philadelphia, who toppled UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir of Las Vegas by unanimous decision; and Joe Fournier of London (now 9-0 with nine KOs), who stopped reggaeton sensation “Reykon” (Andres Felipe Robledo Lodono) with a third-round TKO. More telling however, was the bout of the co-headliner. Not for the performance or even the outcome, but rather the mere appearance of Former International Boxing Federation Jr. Welterweight Champion Regis Prograis, gave credence to the card in the eyes of pure fans of the sport. Raising his professional record to 26-1, with 21 Knock Outs, with a technical decision against Ivan Redkach (Shostka, Ukraine), Prograis knew going in what this opportunity represented. Boxing is a popularity contest. I was a World Champion, one of the best fighters in the world, I made a lot of money, but no one knew who I was. So, I had to invest in myself and work on my brand. I know what I am. I’m a very high risk, low reward fighter and the big fighters had a reason to avoid me. At the press conference during the post-fight Prograis felt he invested wisely, “I love this platform. All the celebrities walking around, my son meets Justin Bieber and he’s going nuts right now.” Aside for the celebrities in attendance, the top draw of the night put things in a real perspective via an Instagram message. “1.5 million PPV buys,” he posted. “$75 million dollars generated.” Now an obvious plan can unfold. Triller is capable of generating some real dough!!! The next fight card is anchored by one of the top 5 pound-for-pound fights in the world today in Teofimo Lopez, who is one title away from being the UNDISPUTED Lightweight Champion, should he retain his titles, he and Regis is a potential barnburner of a fight. Those kinds of speculations are exactly what Triller founder Ryan Kavanaugh wishes for his product. In an interview with SportsPro Magazine Ryan shares, “In the beginning, I think we’ve had to have more of an entertainment-based headliner. We needed people to understand what Fight Club is. We feel that, as we move forward now, there’s enough buzz about what Fight Club is throughout social media and that it’s important we make sure that we are competitive within the boxing world of the fights that we do set up.” He continues, “The concept really is to weave in pro bouts that even the best boxing purists would want to see, but to do that in the context of four quadrant entertainment. As we evolve and grow, you’ll continue to see social media tie-in, music and more of the entertainment-based fights.”
Can’t front on this business model yet. The promised performances by Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer, did nothing for me personally but the inclusion of the exclusive world premiere of the hip hop supergroup Mt. Westmore (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too $hort and E-40) performing for their first time ever together moved the needle.
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Bert Marcus, known for the Netflix hit “The American Meme” HBO’s Emmy award-winning “The Apollo,” along with, Executive Producer Malea Rose oversaw and executed Triller Fight Club’s overall creative vision.
“Triller has already begun to revolutionize the great American sport of boxing,” said Marcus, “I’m proud to be taking it to the next level and lead the direction of an unprecedented sporting event through the lens of music entertainment and unmatched behind-the-scenes access, particularly during this time when people haven’t had many chances to have share important cultural experiences. This incredible lineup of talent is proof that this ground-breaking new format is craved by fans and artists alike. This event will be unlike anything anyone has seen, think ‘Stranger Things’ meets Tarantino.”
As a fan of sweet science, maybe this is the injection of new ideas needed. For years, the best fights have laid dormant until interest died. What if the established promoters must bring the best together? Time will tell.
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.