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Boxing

Here’s Another Embarrassing Stunt Boxing Match

Frank Mir is left in a Mortal Kombat dizzy animation after a big punch or five
Image: Triller/FITE

Perhaps you’ve heard of Triller. It’s a video editing/sharing app that is seen as a low-level competitor to TikTok (an app you’ve definitely heard of). One thing that differentiates Triller from TikTok, Vine, or any other short-video app is that Triller promotes stunt boxing cards featuring everything from Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr., to Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren, to Evander Holyfield vs. Vitor Belfort. (Big Daddy Kane vs. KRS-One was a hip-hop battle, not one with fists.)

These cards have not generally been great boxing, but some of them have at least been entertaining, and (most importantly for Triller) some have been lucrative. Tyson/Jones reportedly did north of $80 million in revenue, or roughly 25 years of Defector at last year’s pace. But Triller Fight Club, as the cards are now called in part due to a partnership with Snoop Dogg for some reason (money), also has featured some really gross matches.

In September, Belfort destroyed Holyfield in 1:49; the 56-year-old heavyweight legend looked completely outclassed. The fight simply seemed dangerous; Holyfield landed just one punch. ESPN’s Mike Coppinger wrote that Holyfield “couldn’t protect himself.” The whole night was a letdown, with Anderson Silva knocking out Tito Ortiz in just 1:22 on the undercard. Oh, yeah, Donald Trump announced the fight. “I hope everyone involved in the promotion learned a lesson,” Michael Rosenthal wrote at USA Today.

Ha ha ha! Last night, Triller held the first edition of Triller Triad Combat, which features a triangular ring, 8-ounce open-handed gloves, spinning backfists, and superman punches. The company says it creates a more even playing field when MMA fighters take on boxers, because the problem with that was apparently fairness, not that it needn’t exist.

“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,” Triller’s director of rules and regulations Sean Wheelock told MMA Junkie earlier this month. “It just kind of makes sense that way, even though he has great swing mechanics.”

(A side note: Triller is being sued by bareknuckle fighting promotion BYB Extreme, which also uses a triangular-shaped ring it calls TRIGON, for what BYB says is “illegally trading on the consumer recognition and immeasurable goodwill built by BYB’s tireless works, promotion, and investment in the TRIGON patent and brand.”)

Look, you’ve probably seen what I write about. I live for this kind of dangerous, embarrassing shit. So here’s another one. MMA fighters dominated the night. There was at least one eye-poke due to the open gloves. I didn’t see any spinning backfists, but there was at least one superman punch.

But, uhhh, let’s talk about the main event. Frank Mir, a 42-year-old legendary mixed martial artist who began his career in 2001, faced 40-year-old Kubrat Pulev, probably a top-10 heavyweight last decade. It did not last a round. Mir held off Pulev’s shots for a minute, but eventually the Bulgarian started landing them. Mir was then left in an embarrassing Mortal Kombat “Finish him!” animation.

People complained about ref Dan Miragliotta, who … yeah, was just a little slow stepping in for the TKO. As usual. Hey, another embarrassing boxing match!

Oddly enough, Triller originally had the rights to broadcast Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos, a fight for the undisputed lightweight championship. But the company and its streaming service, FITE, were found in default after being unable to get the boxers to agree on a date. Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh told ESPN that the fight “is meaningless to Triller’s business”; the rights went to DAZN instead.

And what DAZN (pronounced “Days Inn”) broadcast was an absolute thrilling boxing match between Lopez and Kambosos, both undefeated. Kambosos, a 6-to-1 underdog, upset Lopez in a split decision. It was great! It was significantly better than anything in Triller Triad Combat. No shit, of course. The real fight was better than the stunt one. Just another night in boxing.