A Brave New World

By Patrick Auger Jun 20, 2019
Battlefield Fighting Championship held its first event on March 18, 2017 at the Seoul Olympic Hall in South Korea. “The Great Beginning” saw former One Championship middleweight titleholder Igor Svirid emerge victorious in the main event and featured a co-headliner that paired Jessica-Rose Clark with Sarah Kaufman. While some considered the show a solid start for the Korean promotion, failure to pay fighters on time and the backlash that ensued resulted in a less-than-stellar reputation, as the BFC became nothing more than an afterthought in the minds of fans and pundits.

Two years later, however, the organization is attempting to stage a comeback. With new ownership and all previous debts paid, Battlefield Fighting Championship has recruited some notable names for its second outing, including Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans Abel Trujillo and Bryan Caraway, former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Will Brooks and former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Wanderlei Silva as an honorary ambassador. BFC 2 takes place on July 27 at the Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel in Macau, China, and is one of three events the promotion has planned for this year.

With that said, the most significant change within the company is not the roster additions but the new business strategy. The organization has created its own cryptocurrency and is currently working on a decentralized application called Battlefield Platform in the hopes of creating an MMA promotion that runs entirely off of Blockchain technology. The application is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year, and the company hopes to list its cryptocurrency on a public exchange by the beginning of 2020.

If that all sounds like a foreign language to you, you’re not alone. While we will not go down the rabbit hole of explaining decentralized applications or how Blockchain technology works, the overall idea of this strategy is to create an ecosystem of products and services that revolves around Battlefield Fighting Championship. Viewers will pay real money to consume content through the Battlefield Platform, and by taking certain actions, a customer will be rewarded with Battlefield Tokens. Those tokens can then be exchanged for Battlefield Coins, which can be traded in for real-world money or other products.

For example, if a fan decides to share an article written by the promotion on his or her social media sites through the platform, he or she may receive three Battlefield Tokens. Those tokens can be exchanged for the promotion’s cryptocurrency at a 1:1 ratio, resulting in three Battlefield Coins. Since the coins will be on a public exchange, they will be worth in dollars whatever the current value the exchange puts on them, much like shares of stock. Fans can hold onto the coins until they are ready to sell them, hopefully at a high real-world price.

Sharing articles is just one way the company plans on rewarding users of the Dapp. Buying pay-per-views, viewing videos on demand, betting on the outcomes of matches and voting for potential future matchups are all part of the planned rewards system, with the number of tokens being given out dependent on the current market value of Battlefield Coins. Fighters can also join in on the operation, with tokens being given out to athletes that produce original content or interact with fans through the platform.

Transparency is a major part of the promotion’s strategy, as well. The entire business overview, Battlefield Platform system architecture and company roadmap are listed on the Battlefield Fighting Championship website. You can even download a 36-page white paper that was presented to investors, outlining in great detail how the Korean firm plans to differentiate itself from its competitors and gain a substantial portion of the MMA market. By having everything out in the open, the company hopes to attract fighters and investors who believe in the vision of the product while simultaneously repairing its damaged reputation.

Although it remains to be seen just how successful this approach will be, there is evidence that the promotion could be on to something. While some believe that cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology is nothing more than a fad, several corporations have come around to the idea, including popular social media site Facebook, which recently unveiled its own cryptocurrency. Current Bellator welterweight champion Rory McDonald has been vocal about wanting to receive part of his payment structure in Bitcoin and received a whopping $250,000 -- more than what Reebok has paid out for an entire UFC card in sponsorship -- to represent cryptocurrency Dash at Bellator 192.

Any way you look at it, Battlefield 2 will be a serious test for the viability of the Battlefield Fighting Championship. If the promotion can deliver an exciting card that draws attention from the bigger MMA media outlets, it could launch the start of a new type of business model in the industry. No matter what happens, one thing is certain: Fighters are going to ask for their money up front, just in case.

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