For the first time in MMA history, UFC 219 event will introduce artificial intelligence sensors, a chip in select fighters’ gloves that will provide data that covers a variety of topics, including punch strength and speed. That information will be added to the broadcast to give fight fans a better sense of what goes on in the cage.
The UFC pitched the concept to the NSAC as an idea of fighter safety, as well as pointing to other similar ideas in other sports. Showing the commission a video of Mark Diekiese and Edson Barboza mock sparring, the UFC’s representatives (along with HEED co-founder Mati Kochavi) revealed the huge amounts of data that could be collected in a fight.
The commission was optimistic about its potential, though concerns were expressed about how the data is stored and used. MMAJunkie first reported the news.
“Those insights are covering entire aspects of the fight between Diakiese and Barboza. They cover their passion, the power of the fight, the resiliency, the strategy. All of those things happen in the octagon.
“Shouldn’t we tell the story of sport that way? Shouldn’t sport be told in real time, with real data, with real information, and with real insights, and the real emotions? We are a company which is trying to revolutionize the way we’re going to (broadcast) sports and live events.”
With every punch, new data will be collected and added to a database, Kovachi said.
The NSAC agreed to try the concept out but made reference to issues with fighter data being sold off or leaked in the past.
This time around, they want to see the actual numbers before working with the promotion to find the best way to introduce it to full-time implementation.
This new technology will only be test-run at UFC 219 but could be executed full time if the test-run proves to be successful.