CamSoda is back.
While the webcam live streaming company’s first foray into the world of combat sports, CamSoda Legends, was more of a cult hit than a blockbuster, the show left an indelible mark on any fight fan who saw even a few clips of the action.
Adult performers roamed the venue. Online viewers were encouraged to tip fighters for their performances, with contributions causing a live sound clip like “Kick His Ass, Sea Bass” or “Get Him A Bodybag” to play over the PA. A ring announcer said it was “fu*ing bullsit” that one of the competing fighters was no longer in the UFC. Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett was involved, because of course he was.
However, it appeared for the longest time like that April 26, 2018, event would be a one-off. There was nary a peep from the company about staying involved in combat sports promotion. Besides, how were they going to top themselves?
Fast forward to August 2020, and we have our answer. CamSoda recently announced that it was teaming up with Thailand’s Full Metal Dojo promotion to put on a free show in Bangkok entitled “Fight Circus.” You can see the trailer for yourself:
The commercial boasts that CamSoda and FMD are going “to bring you a freakshow,” and that the matchups are “teetering on illegal.” Make no mistake, this is not a show that’s presenting itself as a competitor to anyone. It is clearly determined to be its own beast, for better or worse.
Fan interaction will still be key, with 100 percent of proceeds going towards COVID-19 relief. Viewers will also be asked to donate directly to the CDC Foundation.
The fan component is a major reason why CamSoda is hosting another fight show. CamSoda Vice President Daryn Parker spoke to MMA Fighting via e-mail and said the conception of the event came about as a result of his team putting its ear to the ground to figure out what people wanted to see next.
“After the success of Camsoda Legends, we got a lot of feedback from users and the message boards about the type of fights they would like to see,” Parker said. “‘What if’ fights kept being mentioned.
“What if 2 ‘Average Joes’ fought one experienced guy? What if one pro, lightweight guy fought a big heavyweight with no experience? What if a girl with experience grapples a guy with no experience? Since we don’t see these type of match ups, we were interested when (FMD organizer) Ben Stark introduced us to FMD about a fight card that would have these type of fights and would be different and exciting.”
With the gears in motion, the minds at CamSoda and FMD looked to build on some of the concepts introduced at CamSoda legends. Tipping will still be a major aspect – fans can tip their preferred fighters (with one fighter receiving an extra bonus based on popularity). They can tip the ring girls, and they can tip the show itself to hear the aforementioned sound bites on the broadcast.
After that, pretty much all bets were off. Two of those “Average Joes” will indeed take on a professional light heavyweight fighter. Muay Thai meets boxing in a matchup that harkens back to UFC 1. Super heavyweights are featured in the card’s top two fights. And as evidenced by the trailer above, Parker and company chose not to shy away from the kind of language that other promotions might make a point to avoid.
“These are exciting and unique fights with tough fighters,” Parker said when asked about the choice of words like “freakshow” and “illegal” in the marketing. “We want to convey the excitement and the fight oddities that will be available for people to see here where they have never been able to see them before under one roof.”
Not every idea made it past the brainstorming stage. Asked what match types ended up on the cutting room floor, Parker mentioned wanting to see two women fight a man, and a fighter being put in the cage with a wild animal. There are apparently some limits to “Bangkok rules,” though FMD is working with the Thai government to allow for VIP guests to attend with tables socially distanced from one another.
Parker is excited for viewers to unearth some hidden gems, including super heavyweight Steven “Panda” Banks, who headlines against Sam Cassidy, and Po Chissakan and Nattarat Prempida, two women competing in a bare-knuckle boxing bout in which head butts will be allowed.
As for more established names, Parker is hopeful that CamSoda and Charles Bennett can team up again in the future.
“There is a good possibility of it,” Parker said. “Especially if he want to go to Thailand for the next FMD event.”