SFL "Challengers" features 16 MMA fighters: 8 men and 8 women who will compete with one another in an elimination-style competition. Along the way, the audience will learn about each fighter and his or her family.
Bollywood films are known for family drama--someone's mother is usually crying over some bad behavior from her son.
The promoters, knowing how much Indian audiences appreciate this kind of melodrama, included two crying moms and the reason for their worry and concern--watching their sons (or daughters) fight--in the promos for SFL Challengers. "When he gets hurt, my heart cries," laments one of the contestant's mothers.
Their new reality show, SFL Challengers, is based on the successful "The Ultimate Fighter" series. Raj Kundra and Sanjay Dutt are betting that they can convince an audience--who've grown up on Bollywood-style movies--to accept the idea of mixed martial arts as entertainment and good competition.
Format of SFL Challengers
Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty SFL Challengers Promo: "It's not only about them. It's about their families as well." video
"The episodes are gripping and full of surprises for the viewer as well as the fighters. The fighters get a chance to earn money through the challenges that are thrown to them and earn respect by winning the fights assigned to them. Every alternate episode has 2 fights where 2 fighters (male and female) graduate to the next round whereas the other two have to leave the camp." Sanjay Dutt brings to you SFL Challengers video
The series starts August 5th.
I'm very curious to see whether this format for promoting mixed martial arts to an audience that has barely heard of it will work. TUF worked for an American audience. British people like it. If there's a market for MMA in India, Raj Kundra and Sanjay Dutt are determined to find it, nurture it and make it pay huge dividends.
Meet the fighters...some of them are beautiful
Meet the women who are fighting--these two have martial arts skills, the others have high hopes of moving forward based on winning challenges (one of the other competitors has judo, but no other martial art skill).
Each video is less than 30 seconds long.
Priyanka is a kick-boxer who has one MMA fight on her record video
Ritika is a decorated kick-boxer who learned martial arts from her dad video
...and some have technical skill
Isaac is a karate master -- I could see him playing Kato from the Green Hornet video
Krishan has kickboxing and a black belt in TKD video
Neeraj has Western-style boxing and is considered a "hot prospect on the amateur boxing scene" video
I'm already a fan of the international TUF format since watching TUF Brasil.
If this SFL Challengers show is available online, I'll probably watch it. I'll just have to keep reminding myself that the sport of MMA is being birthed in India in 2012--and it's designed to appeal to a non-American audience. This year is the official beginning.
SFL and Invicta FC
The MMA promotion company known as Super Fight League (SFL) has something in common with Invicta Fighting Championship. They both started holding events in 2012. They both are following the format for marketing and presentation of their events established by the UFC. They have both been considered a "novelty" with many people wondering if their promotions will be successful.
Invicta FC just successfully completed it's second all female fight card event. The promoters of the organization, Shannon Knapp and Janet Martin expect to have their events shown on cable TV at some point. Currently, they stream their shows online and for free.
SFL has completed three shows already in a different city each month. They intend to hold one event per month--quite an undertaking in a market (country) that is only just being introduced to the sport of mixed martial arts.
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