With the popularity of the UFC, do you think the audience for Karate Combat is similar, or are you trying to reach a whole new demographic?
There's definitely a lot of overlap in prospective fanbases, but I think Karate Combat actually has wider overall appeal. A lot of fight fans don't enjoy watching the grappling element of MMA, for example. I've also heard a surprising number of people talk about feeling put off by the way MMA is presented - the tone of it is very different from the traditional martial arts.
Broadly speaking, if you're a fight fan, you'll enjoy watching Karate Combat. If you're someone from a traditional martial arts background, you'll also probably feel more at home with us than any other combat sport.
But beyond that, Karate Combat attracts people with a wide range of interests. Our fights are high-pace, all-action and, unlike grappling, you don't need to understand any technical elements of martial arts to understand what you are watching. It's something anyone can enjoy.
Also, the visuals are beautiful even if you're watching on a cellphone, which most people today under a certain age are. We've taken account of that - our digital operation is calibrated to give mobile viewers the best possible experience and we have a lot of free content available on-demand. If you're someone who enjoys using their phone for entertainment, we've got you covered.
Will you ever have live events in the future?
We've staged live events in the past actually, and we will have live events in 2022 and beyond. Our biggest problem right now is deciding how and where to meet demand - there's been an explosion of interest in Karate Combat as a result of season three and we have a lot of interesting possibilities on the table.
One option we're exploring is a hybrid model which combines the current format - where fights are recorded just before release, allowing time for the producers to add these amazing visual elements - with 'tentpole' live events. In that model, you'd see a short season of fights across several episodes followed by a season finale live event. That's just one idea we're exploring.
There's also strong demand for regional variations catering to local markets, such as China, and potentially a sub-brand which would operate as a developmental series and allow karateka coming from semi-contact to gain experience in full-contact before entering the lion's den of Karate Combat proper.
What can viewers expect in Season 4 of Karate Combat?
We've enjoyed massive growth and evolution from season to season. Don't forget, Karate Combat is just three seasons old, but if you look at the level of awareness out there today, it feels like we've been around a lot longer.
Each season has taken things to a new level and season three, in particular, has been like rocket fuel. We've got fans pouring in daily from all over the world. It feels like that period just before a band goes world-famous.
In Season 4 you'll see us continue that tradition of taking things to the next level, building on the successes of Season 3 and adding refinements. In terms of specifics, aside from the hybrid event model I mentioned earlier, I think in Season 4 you're going to see some stars emerge.
It takes a certain amount of time and fights for a fighter to establish themselves as something special. Some fighters got over that line during Season 3, like our lightweight champion Edgar Skrivers - he looks like he's going to hold onto that belt for a long time.
Eoghan Chelmiah, the new bantamweight champion, he's looked incredible. But he had a close title fight with Ilies Mardhi and Mardhi will be gunning for that rematch in Season 4.
Middleweight is also heating up; Shahin Atamov won the belt in Season 3, but he's got Igor de Castenada and Ross Levine coming after him. Every weight class I look at, I see stars emerging and I see serious rivalries forming, which is great for the fans.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Karate Combat's new season. Will Karate Combat be the next big thing? We'll have to stay tuned in to the pit of action, and watch, to find out.
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