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AI Reaches Octagon: UFC 219 to Feature AI-Powered Gloves

UFC will be testing out AI-powered gloves in the UFC 219.
Representative Image.

UFC will be testing out AI-powered gloves in the UFC 219. Representative Image.

The AI gloves will be collecting real-time data from the fighters inside the octagon and will provide the viewers with a more detailed scenario of the ongoing fight.

Artificial Intelligence is apparently making its way to the Octagon now. Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has recently approved a proposal from the UFC wherein the UFC fighters will use AI-powered gloves to reveal more statistics in relation to the fighters inside the ring. Created in partnership, by consumer platform company HEED and analytics company AGT International, the AI-powered gloves are aimed to collect real-time data from the fighters, which will later be used for analytics. For now, the NSAC has approved the test run for the gloves and find out ways in which the collected data can be beneficial.

As per HEED co-founder Mati Kochavi, the UFC was able to produce 12 different “stories” using the gloves during the sparring tests with fighters Mark Diakiese and Edson Barboza. The data indicating movement as well as range between fighters and their cornermen was collected during the sparring session.

Each of the gloves carries various sensors to measure the fighter’s stress, punching power and more such data. “Those insights are covering entire aspects of the fight between Diakiese and Barboza,” Kochavi mentioned. “They cover their passion, the power of the fight, the resiliency, the strategy. All those things happen in the octagon.”

The data collected from the AI gloves is aimed to give the viewers a more detailed scenario of the ongoing fight inside the octagon. For this, the UFC will first need to ensure that all the data is accurate. Adding to this, the UFC will have to come up with ways in which the data can be represented and used for the viewers. As an initiative, the AI gloves will be used in the upcoming UFC 219 by selected fighters this weekend to test all of this.

While the NSAC was optimistic about the whole proposal, it was also sceptical about the potential leak of the confidential data generated during the fight, as has happened before once. UFC stressed upon the use of the new gloves as a way to help the fighters improve upon their training methodology and avoid any potential mishaps inside the octagon like concussions and injuries.

Kochavi rounds off the whole argument with his statement “Shouldn’t we tell the story of sport that way? Shouldn’t sport be told in real time, with real data, with real information, and real insights, and real emotions?”

After all, we would all love to see the exact power of Conor McGregor’s punch as he throws one on his opponent inside the octagon.

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first published:December 15, 2017, 18:18 IST