By Rory Carroll
LOS ANGELES – Triad Combat, a new sport that combines the rules of boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA), will hold its inaugural bouts on Nov. 27 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, media platform Triller Fight Club said on Thursday.
The first pay-per-view bouts in the triangle-shaped ring will feature two-time UFC heavyweight world champion Frank Mir, two-time boxing heavyweight world title challenger Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev, and former UFC mainstay “Platinum” Mike Perry.
Hard rock band Metallica will perform at the event, which will be broadcast on streaming platform FITE and be available through cable providers.
Although the fights are one-on-one, the sport will divide the fighters into teams of boxers and MMA fighters to determine which sport’s athletes have the superior skills.
Unlike in MMA, kicking and grappling on the mat are not permitted, but fighters can clinch each other and continue to exchange blows while doing so. In boxing, the referee separates fighters who are holding on to each other.
Triller Fight Club co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh told Reuters that the sport is designed to appeal to a younger generation that views boxing and MMA, which is closely associated with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), as outdated.
“UFC is an old sport now,” said Kavanaugh, whose Triller Fight Club was behind the Mike Tyson v Roy Jones Jr. exhibition boxing match last year.
“The kids aren’t watching it. The UFC isn’t giving the 18 to 27 year olds what they want to see. So we’re hopefully bringing something forward that they do want to see.
“It’s more exciting, it’s faster-paced and better looking. It’s shot like a movie or a video game, and it’s surrounded by culture,” said Kavanaugh, who previously owned Hollywood movie studio Relativity Media.
Nigel Lythgoe, who produced hit TV shows American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, has signed on to produce Triad Combat and told Reuters that music will be a key component of the programs.
“I want to put music in between the bouts so we have an entire evening of entertainment, which I think will be successful,” Lythgoe said.
“What I love about it is we’re breaking new ground, and I’ve always tried to do that in my career.”
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Ed Osmond)