This Saturday night, one of the most important cards in all of MMA history will take place as Marta ‘Linkimaster’ Linkiewicz takes to the sold-out Sports Hall in Częstochowa; Poland, to take on the fierce, Aniela Bogusz in the main event of FAME MMA 4. The industry experts are predicting that the card will pull in over a million views, not bad considering all those buys and views are mainly coming from the land of Poland. The press conferences have been a viral hit too, with the most recent pulling in over 1.5 million views. When you compare the viewership to that of the UFC on ESPN, which pulls in about a million views per event in the US, we can observe that FAME is as popular as the UFC in term of viewership, in a country that has only a mere fraction of the population of the US.
So why is FAME MMA so popular?
FAME MMA has garnered this massive following in Poland by promoting celebrity fights and Pride-style freak fights. The tradition of freak MMA has been a long strand of Polish MMA, it was kick-started all the way back in 2009, when KSW owner; Martin Lewandowski convinced Mariuz Pudzianowski – the five time worlds strongest human, to put down the weights and step in the cage for a good old-fashioned fist fight, ‘Pudzilla’ was already a house-hold name in Poland. There was a time in ‘Pudzillas’ career when he was expected to sign with Pride, but due to their collapse in 2007, his fighting career was put on hold. This was until 2009 when Lewandowski managed to sign ‘Pudzilla’ to KSW. His career was a runaway success story, managing to defeat notorious boxer; Marcin Najman, by KO just a few seconds into his debut, the freak-style matchups that KSW promoted to the extreme, helped to bring more eyeballs to KSW and thus they became a house-hold known promotion all thanks to the hard work of ‘Pudzilla’ and the events that led to the downfall of Pride in Japan. Thanks Yakuza!
As MMA grew and became more popular in Poland, the idea of ‘Freak MMA’ slowly started to become less relevant, as new ‘Sporting’ stars like Mamed Khalidov started to suck the lime-light away from the fading stars like ‘Pudzilla’ & Najman. Nowadays ‘Freak MMA’ in KSW (The biggest promotion in Poland) still exists, but it’s no longer the main-attraction for the big cards, but is simply a side-show that’s used to add excitement to already stacked ‘Sporting’ cards.
The ‘Freak MMA’ formula helped KSW establish a mainstream brand in Poland, and in 2017, Polish celebrity and ‘Warsaw Shore’ contestant – Wojciech Gola, set his sights on using the same KSW formula of ‘Freak Fighting’ to start building a new MMA empire with FAME MMA. In order to bring in the viewers, Gola went and enlisted the help of polish celebrities, social influencers, Porn Stars and YouTubers who were all either paid to fight each other, or encouraged to engage in the trash-talk and hype.
In Poland it’s highly divisive
Since the promotions inception in 2017, it’s been a true success story. In Poland, it’s managed to bring in a young, media hungry audience that’s willing to gobble up all the trash-talk and YouTube diss VLOGs that are on the go. It’s a little bit like Poland’s version of KSI VS Logan Paul. Though despite its success, FAME is colossally hated amongst many too. On one hand we have a group that are arguing that the concept of ‘Freak MMA’ is too barbaric for modern times, and that it’s morally and ethically wrong to have a bunch of extremely roided-up fighters with zero experience and little training going in to kill each other for the sake of a few dollars and CTE. With the FAME MMA fighters having such little experience and with the lack of testing, it’s clear that someone could get fatally injured. Then on the other side of the argument we have the ‘Robin Black’ type-fans, who see these fights as not being a ‘Freak Show’ but instead being a beautiful exhibition of respect, humility, honour and discipline. The debate of what to do about ‘Freak fights’ is unlikely to go away anytime soon in the land of Poland, and so long as nobody dies or gets seriously hurt in one of these fights, nothing will happen as the Polish government are getting a cut of the money from these events.
And now for their fourth event that goes down this weekend…
Their fourth card is rather stacked, in the main event we will see Marta ‘Linkimaster’ Linkiewicz go to war with Aniela ‘Sex-master’ Bogusz. Marta ‘Linkimaster’ gained viral fame in 2017, when a video was captured and posted online, in the video she can be seen performing oral sex with the hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd. Linkimaster who was 18 when the video was taken, became an overnight sensation due to the quick-spread and the fact Rae Sremmurd are quite popular in Poland. It was a miniature polish version of the Kim Kardashian X Ray J sex tape, and in the end ‘Linkimaster’ managed to capitalise on the video and became a huge star in Poland, now touting over a million Instagram followers.
Aniela ‘Sex master’ on the other hand, has gained a momentous following from modelling and having bikini clad photo-shoots, instead of becoming an overnight sensation like ‘Linkimaster’, Aniela has been slowly working her way up the Polish and European modelling industry for years, like ‘Linkimaster’ she too has millions of followers. Both have managed to hone in on the streaming and VLOGing craze that’s hit the internet, and both of them regularly post streams and videos for their armies of followers to engage with.
When it all boils down to fighting, ‘Sexmaster’ is making her debut, as a teenager she used to wrestle a lot and has a decent Jiu Jitsu game, so many expected that if the fight hits the canvass she will pick up the win. As for ‘Linkimaster’, she’s the shorter but heavier fighter who’s already fought and won before (1-0). She has good KO power and fights slightly akin to Kelvin Gastelum (In a way more amateurish way) with a boxing base. Most expect ‘Sexmaster’ to get KOed early in the fight, but it is also possible that she pulls off the upset and wins by submission or ground and pound from the top.
As for the co-main event of the evening, Adrian ‘Medusa’ Salamon will be making his debut against a fellow debutant, Piotr ‘Knaziuu’ Knas. ‘Medusa’ as he’s known in Poland, is a popular VLOGer and currently has over a million YouTube subscribers.
‘Knaziuu’ similarly is a YouTuber too, with over 70,000 subscribers, ‘Knaziuu’ tends to focus more on the video gaming side of things. Now I don’t fully understand the who, what, where and why of it, as Polish VLOGing isn’t my thing but for some reason ‘Knaziuu’ has a long-held beef with ‘Medsusa’, so they’ve decided in typical Neanderthal style, that it’s best to step into the cage and punch it out to see who’s the better man.
Further down the card, we have an interesting stylistic clash between the president of FAME MMA and a popular Polish EDM music producer. Michal ‘Boxdel’ Baron; The president of FAME, will once again step into the cage for a brawl, this outing being against Jakub ‘Kubańczyk’.
Jakub Flak or ‘Kubañczyk’ as most know him; is a musician who’s making his martial arts debut. Little is known about ‘Kubanczyks’ training or skill-set, so it’ll be intresting to see if he can fight. As for Michal, in his last and only outing at FAME 1 he won via first round TKO against professional gamer; ‘Szymański’ and Michal hopes to keep the forward momentum going when he faces ‘Kubañczyk’ on Saturday night
You can watch FAME MMA 4 on their site, you must PPV the event (It’s about $5) and use a Polish VPN to access the stream, but I’m not even sure if that will work as the event is purely designed for viewers in Poland…