A reality television show was largely responsible (along with Ken, Tito and Chuck) for transforming the fringe sport of Mixed Martial Arts into a growing phenomenon that within the year was a strong western competitor with the long established #1 combat sport of boxing.
The Ultimate Fighter, whatever you personally think of it (myself? Very little) was nonetheless extremely effective, and it helped catapult an ailing Ultimate Fighting Championship literally surviving on the name value of Ken Shamrock, his feud with Tito Ortiz, and the current stars in Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture and the round-robin rivalry the men shared. The visibility rose exponentially, to the point where they ended up buying the former #1 promotion in the world in PRIDE FC (albeit also due to the Japanese yakuza scandals that led to Japan’s decline).
Now, India will look to capture that lightning in a bottle (or simply follow a proven winning formula?) by launching their own reality television show!
It will be named SFL Challengers.
The format will be somewhat different from the Ultimate Fighter though, and quite bold; Super Fight League will be essentially hosting two separate tournaments, one for either gender!
Check out this promotional trailer featuring Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty and her famous businessman husband Raj Kundra!
And a second promotional video; note that there is obviously significant money behind Super Fight League, and the promotion will have budgeted significantly in their bid to win over and conquer the huge Indian market while attracting international attention.
The Super Fight League rose very quickly to prominence, with a first show featuring Bob Sapp, and the signings of Satoshi Ishii, Jeff Monson, Todd Duffee, Trevor Prangley and more, and the fact Jennifer Lopez and pop group LMFAO performed live shows at the event.
Reviews on the actual quality of the shows from a Mixed Martial Arts standpoint have been mixed, but one thing cannot be denied; this is one ambitious promotion, and they have the cash to achieve their goals.
Whether or not they do it, only time will tell.