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After a soft launch in December, Vice’s new mixed martial arts-themed website Fightland marks an official launch Wednesday with a slate of new video series in the pipeline.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the site will unveil footage of CNN globetrotter Anthony Bourdain practicing fight moves on a dummy alongside his wife, Ottavia, who — believe it or not — is a Brazillian jiu-jitsu competitor. In her Fightland column, Mrs. Bourdain details her obsession with the sport (she trains three times daily) and her somewhat harrowing effort to adopt a vegan diet, much to her meat-loving husband’s horror.
“I had to get a punching bag in my apartment because I would keep kicking my husband and my husband is like, ‘This is not gonna work,'” says Ottavia in a trailer for the latest installment of Fightland’s Fightland Meets series, featuring interviews with MMA athletes.
Chiming in, Bourdain adds: “The joke around the house is my daughter will come charging at me and suddenly punch me in the stomach and I’ll remind her the rule is: not daddy. Go hit mamma, she has abs.”
Other celebrity contributors include LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy (a massive MMA fan), rapper Big Boi and fashion photographer Terry Richardson.
Fightland aims to carve a niche as the No. 1 destination for in-depth coverage and original content on all things MMA, from the culture to the fighters around the world to a collection of instructional videos showing Vice-minded viewers — mostly male and more hipster than brawler — how to mimic the sparring style of such stars as Jon Jones, the reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Vice’s Trevor Silmser tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Among the upcoming video franchises: Fight School, which offers tutorials with UFC champs and top coaches, arrives next month while Fightland Worldwide, which documents traditional martial arts in Lahore, Pakistan, is expected to launch in late May or early June.
There will also be an online collaboration with Jones as well as a short documentary focused on Cat Zingano, a new UFC women’s challenger. Aaronson also wants to film a documentary shattering the myths and fear surrounding MMA, which is illegal in New York and has cultivated a reputation for violence and bloodshed. At the same time, UFC matches are popular viewing on pay-per-view and on Fox networks.
Quoting Murphy, whose band retired in 2011 after three sold-out shows in Madison Square Garden, Silmser asks: “How come they can’t have mixed martial arts in this building?”
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