UFC launches Zuckerberg-backed virtual reality fights (VIDEO)
The UFC and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta have combined to give fight fans an opportunity to sit cage-side at a mixed martial arts event from the comfort of their own living rooms, with the first such event being broadcast on Friday night.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has made significant strides in developing a world of virtual reality technology, investing billions of dollars in its increasingly maligned ‘Metaverse’ platform – but if that still has a way to go before being fully adopted by its potential user base, Zuckerberg and Meta appear confident that virtual reality will represent a new frontier when it comes to watching MMA.
The partnership between Meta and the UFC was announced earlier this week and came after Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan attended a fight card at the UFC’s Apex facility outside Las Vegas after UFC boss Dana White revealed in the days prior that the event was being closed off to fans and media.
The new tech saw its proof of concept debut at a Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) fight card on Friday. LFA is broadcast on the UFC’s digital platform Fight Pass.
This is what it looks like entering the "arena" pic.twitter.com/u5Pct2FWsO— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) October 15, 2022
“Fans will enter an immersive environment in Meta Horizon Worlds where they can see and speak with other fans in real time while enjoying unprecedented VR views of all the thrilling action in the LFA Octagon, including strikes, takedowns, grappling, and more,” it was announced in a press release prior to the event.
“YBVR will produce LFA 144 in VR180, a virtual reality video format that offers viewers a 180-degree panorama of the event.”
And judging by the videos of the event filtering out via social media, the new technology might take some getting used to – but could certainly be something which would unite fight fans from across the globe and give them a first-person perspective of what it is like to have the best seats in the house at some of the biggest MMA events of the year.
It is expected that the virtual reality technology will be rolled out at upcoming UFC events, though neither the UFC nor Meta have as of yet outlined plans to do so.