Triller’s upcoming Triad Combat hopes to level the playing field between MMA fighters and boxers when they compete against each other.
This new take on boxing will take place in a triangular ring, with the fighters wearing 8-ounce hybrid gloves. Aside from the usual punching techniques, fighters will be able to utilize spinning backfists and superman punches.
Sean Wheelock, Triller’s director of rules and regulations, helped mold this idea along with Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanagh, aiming to level the playing field between boxers and MMA fighters in this punching-only sport.
On Nov. 27 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir will take on former boxing world title challenger Kubrat Pulev in the main event of the first Triad Combat event.
In recent years, there has been a rise in MMA fighters testing their standup skills against legendary boxers in the ring, such as Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather and Anderson Silva vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. According to Wheelock, the idea for Triad Combat was sparked by Kavanagh following Vitor Belfort vs. Evander Holyfield in September.
Wheelock’s experience in combat sports stretches beyond the commentary booth, where most fans are familiar with his work from the early days of Bellator to today’s BKFC events and other promotions across many fighting styles. With his experience as a boxing referee and unpaid work with the Kansas Athletic Commission, Wheelock has been carving a path towards rules and regulations, which came to fruition when Triller expanded his role beyond commentary.
“I love these environments where we say, ‘Let’s do something different, let’s take a chance,'” Wheelock told MMA Junkie. “Let’s ask, ‘Why not?’ Instead of, ‘Are we allowed to?’ …Ryan (Kavanagh) was asking me, ‘What could we do to make this more even between boxers and MMA fighters?’
“If you put someone who does that as their primary sport against someone who doesn’t do that as their primary sport, no matter how good the athletes are, the advantage obviously always goes to the person that’s in their primary sport.
“If you had a home run hitting contest and you put Roger Federer in there, he’s probably not going to hit as many home runs as Major League Baseball players,” Wheelock continued. “It just kind of makes sense that way, even though he has great swing mechanics.”
Aside from the triangular ring which will provide unique angles for the fighters to navigate, the curved 8 oz. hybrid gloves, which have exposed fingers, are a key component to Triad Combat. While fighters of both fighting backgrounds can take advantage of these gloves, they potentially open the door to accidental eye pokes, which is a concern boxers have never had to worry about.
“I looked at four different glove companies,” Wheelock explained. “I found a glove, and we worked with the manufacturer to where the fingers are naturally curved in. “That was something I worried about a lot. …It looks like an 8-ounce boxing glove on the backhand and on the front part, it looks like an MMA glove.
“Because you’re not going in open hands, looking to shoot for a takedown, or snatch a single leg, or hit a blast double, I don’t think eye pokes are going to be a problem. There was a lot of effort and due diligence put in because I do not want to see eye pokes in any fight, let alone on a card of this importance and this magnitude.”
A lot of thought went into the creation of this event, including competing at two-minute rounds, which Wheelock anticipates will create a higher-paced fight.
Rounding out the unique environment that Triller provides for combat sports events, the heavy metal band Metallica will perform a few songs to open the show on Nov. 27, and after the seven scheduled bouts conclude, will return for a full concert.
Watch Wheelock explain the full ruleset of Triad Combat in the video above.