FIGHT! Media, publisher of the most popular mixed martial arts publication in the United States, has quickly established itself as a leading innovator in online MMA video content through its popular YouTube channel.
The Atlanta-based company’s already sizable viewership is about to expand dramatically. Today, FIGHT! Media president Donovan Craig announced the completion of a deal with internet giant AOL to distribute FIGHT!’s original video content.
Beginning this month a selection of FIGHT! videos will begin airing on MMAFighting.com, a division of FanHouse, AOL’s hugely successful online sports franchise. FIGHT!’s YouTube channel launched last spring, and has since produced more than 250 original videos, which have racked up well over 2 million views. FIGHT!’s content includes pre- and post- fight footage and interviews, lifestyle clips, and its flagship series, “FIGHT! Life,” a monthly, broadcast-quality HD documentary series featuring the best fighters and biggest personalities in MMA, including Anderson Silva, Urijah Faber, Frank Mir, the Diaz Brothers, Bas Rutten, and many others. After debuting last November, the videos are now regularly linked to by numerous MMA blogs and Web sites, including the much-read Cage Potato, which praised FIGHT! as “striking gold” with the series.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of FIGHT! Magazine, as well as its FIGHT! Life series and other videos, and I think this will be great for both organizations,” said Bryan Tucker, the managing editor of MMAFighting.com
“We are thrilled to be given the opportunity to expand the FIGHT! brand and increase our online footprint with the help of AOL,” said Craig. “We are extremely grateful for the rapid success of FIGHT! Magazine, and now this deal will help us show everyone how much we’ve developed as a media company. Just like it is with the magazine, our goal is to provide world class content that appeals both to longtime MMA enthusiasts as well as the casual fan. This project with AOL will raise the bar in terms of what fans expect from online video and we couldn’t be happier to have such a great partner. ”
Craig went on to credit Neal Taflinger and Matthew Ross, head of FIGHT!’s internet and video divisions, respectively. Taflinger, an experienced print journalist, has overseen a complete overhaul of FIGHT!’s website www.fightmagazine.com and web operations, including its YouTube channel. Ross, a filmmaker and a journalist, has produced and directed the well-reviewed series “FIGHT! Life” in addition to overseeing the company’s entire video division, which produces 20-40 original clips each month.
FIGHT!, a division of Bluff Media, was launched in 2007. Under the guidance of Craig, the company’s founding editor-in-chief FIGHT! is the now the U.S. market leader in the world of mixed martial arts publishing and has twice been voted “Best MMA Magazine” by industry by The Underground, the most popular MMA message board forum on the Internet.
In October 2008, FIGHT! expanded its operations with the creation of FIGHT! Media, a vertically-integrated multimedia outfit, and appointed Craig as president. Recent developments include an aggressive Internet strategy, a new video division, as well as a number of radio, TV, and film projects currently in development that will be announced later this year.
FanHouse is one of the top sports destinations on the Web, andMMAFighting.com, FanHouse’s MMA vertical channel, has quickly established itself as one of the premier MMA websites. MMAFighting.com is comprised of a star-studded team of Ariel Helwani, Mike Chiappetta, Ben Fowlkes, Michael David Smith and others. Its videos have already become a formidable presence in the online martial arts community thanks to their expansive video coverage of notable MMA events. Given that FIGHT! also has its own event coverage videos, FanHouse will most likely focus on broadcasting (and rebroadcasting) “FIGHT! Life” and FIGHT!’s MMA lifestyle clips as well as a large library of MMA technique and fitness videos that will be unveiled this summer on AOL FanHouse.
FIGHT! has also begun production on a new gym profile series, “FIGHT! School”, which is being produced in conjunction with AOL subsidiary StudioNow, an online-video production company that specializes in providing media outlets with production support and local crews for shoots anywhere in the U.S. The first episode of “FIGHT School” will debut on FanHouse and YouTube later this month.