Considering the UFC’s slogan is ‘As Real As It Gets’, it was only a matter of time before the world leader in fight promotions got in on the virtual reality craze. Now they’re teaming up with Samsung to provide exclusive VR content for the Gear VR, and the first event they’ll be doing it for is June 3rd’s UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. That card is headlined by a featherweight unification bout between champ Jose Aldo and interim champ Max Holloway.
No, we won’t be seeing the fights from the perspective of one of the fighters as implied by the Samsung video at the top of this post (although that is a part of the Samsung VR app). Sadly, we won’t even get to experience the fight from a camera strapped to the referee, which is something Japanese fight promotions have been doing for years. Instead, Samsung and the UFC will be providing a feed from several spherical video cameras around the cage, giving you a 360 degree view of the Octagon and arena as the fights go down.
That makes it a bit of a gimmick for now, but VR sports have to start somewhere and it’s an interesting step in the right direction. From there, Gear VR is set to broadcast an X Games event over July 14th weekend and then a live concert in August. And as virtual reality continues to grow and camera technology improves, we imagine there’ll only be more cool opportunities to strap on a headset and become immersed in live sports from the comfort of your couch.