Ottawa, Canada, July 1st 2021 – Boxing is one of the world’s most popular and oldest combat sports, and the Bally’s Casino and Hotel brand has staged regular ‘Fight Night’ events over the years to showcase the best in boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) talent. For a recent combined MMA and boxing Fight Night event held at Thunder Studios in Los Angeles, however, Bally’s new owner (hedge-fund investor Soo Kim) challenged Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions to reimagine combat sports through technology.
As part of the event, which was produced for broadcast on the Stadium app by Ross Production Services (RPS), fighters used wearable sensors from StrikeTec around their wrists that measured the velocity and position of hits, as well as the force of punches. Each fighter started their match with a power bar of 100 and the punches landed were scored on their force and accuracy by a combination of the wearables technology and two data scientists, with each hit reducing the amount of power left on their power bar. If any of this sounds like a famous street fighting console game from the late 1980s, the similarities are entirely deliberate! Rocket Surgery, Ross Video’s in-house creative and professional services division, created the production’s scoring system and data server workflow using DashBoard from Ross, the power bar graphic using XPression, the augmented reality graphics using the Voyager graphic rendering solution, as well as creating a full insert and fighter stats package and graphics for the LED display wall in-venue.
"This was a remarkable event comprising five professional MMA and four professional boxing contests," notes Mitch Rubenstein, Ross Production Services’ President and Executive Producer. "The objective data collected by the wearable sensors and its effect on the power bar graphic added a new dimension to both sports – MMA and boxing – and really helped to increase transparency." With all bouts being sanctioned by the California State Commission, this wearable tech could become the norm for both sports in future, and the added gamification element was well received by audiences in the venue and online. "This is a really fascinating development in the world of combat sports," comments Jim Doyle, Mission Commander at Rocket Surgery. "The power bar is a highly engaging and easy to understand graphic, and I can see why both fighters and the audience would benefit from its widespread adoption. We are very proud to have played our part in this intriguing pilot event, and we look forward to seeing how this style of presentation will develop in future."
"By integrating our innovative technology and interactive gaming platforms into combat sports, we will create new and transformative ways for audiences to engage with our live broadcasts," comments Soo Kim, Chairman of Bally’s Corporation’s Board of Directors. Oscar de la Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, also highlights the fighter experience using this technology. "We have the utmost respect for the storied history and tradition of boxing and mixed martial arts," he says. "By partnering with Bally’s and working to develop this innovative product…we will provide an experience that is more easily understandable for the average viewer, and at the same time more rewarding and safer for fighters."