In an attempt to fill an apparent void in extreme sporting events held off-Earth, a new entertainment firm called Space 11 has just announced plans to stage gladiatorial clashes in orbit featuring MMA fighters.
Veteran producer Andrea Iervolino is the visionary founder of Space 11, a production company whose roster of projects include TV shows, movies, live events, and future sporting contests unfolding in outer space. First on the launchpad is Galactic Combat, a rough reality TV show starring an international cast of 40 mixed martial arts athletes who will train and clash both on terra firma and in zero gravity.
“If you take UFC, it has a huge fan base,” says Iervolino in an interview with Fast Company. “My goal with this new format is, I don’t want to lose UFC fans—we need to embrace all of them. The whole MMA world. But the goal with Zero-G fighting is to make the concept much wider.”
MMA-Zero G fighting will hopefully catch on as an entirely new sport, where 32 of the 40 contestants first compete in an elimination-style format on Earth. Eight fortunate finalists then buckle up and blast off for a trip into space and eventually battle it out aboard the craft while orbiting Earth for 90 minutes.
To smoothly and effectively develop the 12-episode series and tap into the billion-dollar industry, MMA pro fighter John Lewis is attached as VP and promoter for Galactic Combat. The far-out event is currently slated for preproduction and is expected to air sometime in 2023 at the latest.
“When people try to punch you in zero gravity—I don’t know if you’ve seen the video of a baby pushing a person [in zero gravity] and the person goes to the other side of the room,” explains Iervolino. “It’s a totally different way to punch someone. It’s a very different type of training.”
Iervolino’s Space 11 venture is bolstered by a crack team of former SpaceX employees, rocket engineers, astrophysicists, astronomers, and assorted experts.
”When we first started to work on Space 11, we were super quiet about it,” he adds. “No one knew if the technology was ready. The important thing is you need to be safe enough to be inside the rocket. You need to come back safe.
“This one is doable. Having two guys fighting in a rocket orbiting the Earth is easy.”