New reality TV kid on the block, eTV’s Last Fighter Standing (LFS), announced on Wednesday that Hollywood actor and martial artist Michael Jai White has been signed as the lead presenter.
White has appeared in numerous films and television series. He is the first African-American to portray a major comic book superhero in a major motion picture, as Al Simmons, in the 1997 film Spawn. He appeared as Marcus Williams in the Tyler Perry films Why Did I Get Married? and Why Did I Get Married Too? and is currently starring in the comedy-drama television series Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse. White also portrayed Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat: Legacy and boxer Mike Tyson in the 1995 HBO television movie Tyson.
White will appear alongside South African model Keitumetse Naomi Noinyane, fondly known as K Naomi born in the platinum province of North West in Mafileng. K Naomi is widely known for being the iRequest presenter on Channel O, brand ambassador and now Last Fighter Standing co – host to the reality show.
The 12-part reality show, which premieres on eTV on Monday 25 July at 22:30, follows fighters from various martial art disciplines around the country in their quest to be crowned the Last Fighter Standing South African Champion 2016 – and win their share of R1 million.
At the media launch event at Innovatec, Sandton on Wednesday, media were treated to a surprise Skype appearance by Michael Jai White, who told attendees he was looking forward to being part of this unique entertainment concept – particularly because of the influence that martial arts played in his life. “Martial arts has always played a huge role for me and it taught me the discipline I needed for all areas of my life,” he said. “I am very excited to celebrate this project with South Africans.”
LFS CEO Quinton van der Burgh told media: “Our aim with LFS is to bring a Las Vegas experience to South Africa and the only way to expose the sport of martial arts and its fighters to a global audience is to utilize international talent and the platforms that accompany them. We are therefore very excited to have, in Michael, a global influencer with a strong martial arts background backing the LFS concept.”
LFS, which is sanctioned by the Martial Arts South Africa Pro Commission, will host qualifying tournaments in cities across South Africa, which will see top professional fighters compete in different division. Male fighters from three weight categories: Lightweight, Welterweight and Heavyweight; and one female division: Featherweight, will compete in an eight-fighter elimination tournament. The winners who qualify at these Provincial elimination tournaments will compete in the LFS Finals at the TicketPro Dome in Johannesburg on 15 October 2016.
Each round lasts two minutes, with three rounds per fight. This ensures more energetic fights and encourages fighters to bring their all to the table. A variety of leg take-downs, foot sweeps, hip throws and knock downs may be utilised to bring the opponents to the ground. With a 10-second ‘No Time Wasting’ rule, shortened rounds and a limit of 20 seconds on the ground, fighters will have to show more wit and grit to come out victorious. The rules in place for the Last Fighter Standing arena mean that more spectacular KO’s and ground finishes are anticipated.
South African Championship
LFS 2016 will culminate with the winners from the four qualifying events facing off against each other in their particular weight divisions at the Final on 15 October 2016. There, a winner in each division will be crowned the Last Fighter Standing South African Champion 2016.