The first three episodes of Super Fight League Challengers are available on Youtube for those people who want to watch the first MMA reality show filmed in India.
I've watched all three episodes and so far, I'm enjoying the show. I like the format. It's reality TV with two sets of competitors, 8 men and 8 women, all living in the same house and each pairing up with one of their competitors for a fight inside the cage.
SFL Challengers: episode 1 video
10 Differences between TUF and SFL
MMA is new to India and very new to some of the competitors who may or may not have seen professional MMA fights before. Some have trained in the various component skills that make up mixed martial arts. All of them are enthusiastic and determined to win the prize--an opportunity to fight for SFL.
It's like starting all over again with the stage set to introduce a country to MMA. I'm curious to hear how the show is being received.
1. It's not like Zuffa's "The Ultimate Fighter" (TUF) show.
Don't expect to see a carbon copy of TUF. This show is designed to appeal to an audience who know very little about MMA. It serves a similar purpose as the original TUF which was to entertain, educate and inform. I learned about mixed martial arts and became familiar with different fighters from watching TUF on DVDs from Netflix.
2. The cultural point of view is not adjusted for an American audience.
As of these first three episodes, every one is still getting along and being polite. In one of the episodes, the group is shown cooking a meal family-style, tasks are shared and decisions are made to prepare a vegetarian dish and a non-vegetarian dish.
The contestants, the hosts and some of the coaching team mix English with Hindi, their native language (like Span-glish, Hin-glish). It takes a while to get used to reading subtitles.
I prefer subtitles to having people's voices dubbed. I like to hear the real voice of the person who is speaking. I think it's funny to hear one of the girls speaking Hindi and then suddenly say, "...and I was like, wow!"
3. Team Challenges
In one of the episodes, the contestants split into two teams and traversed an obstacle course. A cash prize went to the captains of the fastest team. The people scheduled to fight first were chosen as team captains.
4. Fight Selection
The Randomizer was used to select the match-ups for the first sets of fights. All fighters know who they will fight and when. The weight classes are set at 155 for the men and 115 for the women. Some have to cut weight and some are already under-weight. The weight match-ups are not exact. A man weighing in at 145 will still fight a man who weighed in at 155.
5. Level of fitness and nutrition
This is what makes reality TV real. Some are in shape for fighting, some are in shape to look good in their clothes. Everyone is learning something new. Cutting weight seems to be a new idea for many of them. Luckily, viewers weren't treated to a TUF season 1, Bobby Southworth 20 lbs in 24 hours, weight cut session. Bobby was assisted by UFC fighter, Josh Koscheck, who was a contestant on the first TUF show.
I learned about weight cutting from watching that segment. I couldn't understand why Bobby came to the house so heavy in the first place.
6. Family members are in the small audience (like a TUF size audience with the fighters, coaching teams and in this case, family members).
Crying is good in India. Guys cried on TUF, but that's because they were frustrated about losing their fight. On SFL Challengers, people get emotional about many different things. The group doesn't seem competitive with each other, more like a family of brothers, sisters and friends.
Mothers and wives are shown wearing a traditional sari instead of modern western-style clothes. It's a good idea to have regular people--in this case, family members--watching fights and showing them have the usual reaction when their team wins or loses.
7. Safety Message constantly streaming across the screen
MMA is brutal to watch, at first. Seems to me, people either like it or they don't. If they like it, then they need to be warned not to try these moves at home.
During each episode, a message cautioning people not to try any of the MMA moves shown on TV on their friends, family or the local bully...which of course means that if you're a teenager watching the show, you can't wait to try something out on anyone foolish enough to let you.
8. A beautiful woman wearing heels and a tight dress did Jon Anik's job of announcing the winnersLook out, Jon. This seems to be another way of making the event feel safe and suitable for women to watch. Listening to her whilst she spoke Hindi, I wondered whether her heels would poke holes in the canvas.
9. No swearing, pranks or drunken parties
Well, not yet anyway. Everyone is on good behavior. With family likely to show up at unexpected moments, mutual respect is probably going to continue.
10. The contrast between inside of the house and outside of the house
Unfortunately, one of the mothers of one of the two guys scheduled to fight, fell ill and ended up in the ICU. When her son, Rajinder, heard the news, he ran outside with the cameras following him. The house is opulent, but the surrounding area is not.
I hope this show is well received by some portion of the reality TV audience in India. Raj Kundra and Sanjay Dutt, the Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta of the SFL, are breaking ground for the Zuffa version of MMA reality TV when the gang gets around to filming "TUF India".
Source: All sources noted, Twitter
More from this contributor:
Cheryl Ragsdale started out boxing and has added kicks and BJJ so she can practice MMA. Currently, she trains with Keith Florian and has trained with UFC Fighter Kenny Florian at Florian Martial Arts - follow @thatgirlisfunny
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