Becoming the 1st and only
Throughout 2014 and 2015, we had made a lot of progress on StrikeTec. We had upgraded our hardware components to faster and smaller parts, implemented a system to track 2 fighters at the same time and we spent months traveling around working with Spike TV / Bellator MMA and DirecTV's boxing venue tracking and monitoring both training performances in preparation for the fights and the actual fight itself. Do you think you can perform under the bright lights and crowd cheers the same as you do in the comfort of your own gym?
I can tell you, it's not an easy task. My job was to make the hard work and effort given by fighters and coaches from the long days in the gym shine during the time it mattered most! This is not an easy process, it takes a lot of effort for most. I learned more from these events and opportunities than I had ever imagined. The instinct of a fighter to make them react in such an effortless motion it seemed, to the hesitation of throwing a punch and trying to pull back mid way through it.
During training, these types of hesitations are less important from the stand point of even hesitations require energy and effort which contributes to the endurance of the fighter, but during a fight a hesitation is wasted energy. You spend energy to throw a punch, but you pulled back just enough due to a split second thought process that your energy has less of an impact on the other fighter you are competing with. Resulting in it costing you endurance!
First Step : Nevada Athletic Commission Approval
The first step was a giant one. A little info for those of you who may not know. Anything related to fight night has to be approved by the states athletic commission. Each state has a separate commission that is an appointed official or group of officials, in the case of Nevada State athletic commission this group consist of eight appointed attorneys and they are very strict regarding anything related to boxing or MMA matches and Las Vegas.
It took several months of back and forth interviews and results in order to gain the trust of these officials that StrikeTec had the ability to measure accurate stats and not make a mockery of the sport, two things that I've held very close to my heart. This wasn't just my career it was my passion and I wasn't going to do anything that would jeopardize my reputation in the years I have spent developing a product that did not exist.
On February 17, 2015 I went in front of the NSAC to discuss the final verdict on whether StrikeTec would be used during the life fight or not. To be honest I had no clue that I would be on the same public hearing as Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz. I was sweating bullets! These two fighters were being punished for banned substances being used during the fight and I'm asking for permission to do something that had never been done before and could potentially be a foolish mistake.
However, the outcome was huge. I gained the trust and respect of the commission and we move forward using the technology for DirecTV's big knockout boxing venue. It was a success! I owe a huge thank you to the DirecTV's team and efforts. It was truly an honor to work with these guys.
Stats on TV
The work we had to go through was exhausting, but the payoff was everything! For the first time in the history of the sport of boxing, the fans were able to see the speed and power of the punches that connected during the fight.
Throughout the rounds, we would delivered stats to the screen (in the “lower 3rd”) the average speed and average power of each fighters punches. Also, throughout each round we were choosing the significant punches that had seemingly impacted each fighter during the match and in between each round during the one minute rest we could show the replays with the stats for each punch. We see this all the time in training, but during the live events was really interesting to see.
Behind The Scenes
We had some unique take-aways from this opportunity. Many in which were related to the complexity of collecting the data from the sensors ringside with all of the other frequencies in the arena and delivering this data to the truck in less than 1/4 of a second.
It has to be very quick and efficient in order to produce the stats on live TV. Very little room for error! As per the performance stats, we were able to see the effects of fatigue on fighters who were calm and collected and also those fighters who brought a lot of emotion to the fight.