Triller Fight Club mixes top music names - Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg - with boxing

Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg are among the major names performing during the Triller Fight Club event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday. Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings/AP
Justin Bieber and Snoop Dogg are among the major names performing during the Triller Fight Club event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday. Courtesy of Def Jam Recordings/AP

Credit: Def Jam Recordings/AP

Credit: Def Jam Recordings/AP

Pay-per-view will air live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

There won’t be any spectators — aside from about 100 contest winners — filling the stands at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when Triller Fight Club takes over the venue.

But that has nothing to do with COVID-19 protocols.

No, the fusion of boxing and music that will beam live via pay-per-view from the downtown venue on April 17 is deliberately staged to be viewed on a screen (of any size, including the Triller app). So whether you’re tuning in for the headlining fight between social media star Jake Paul and mixed martial arts veteran Ben Askren, the undercard bouts or the array of music performances from Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg and others, expect a cinematic-styled experience. (Paul was accused of sexual assault by TikTok star Justine Paradise earlier this week, a charge he has denied through his lawyer, according to People.com.)

Last month, Triller held a Golden Ticket Giveaway that presented about 100 fans entry to the presentation — the first for Triller this year — that is being held at the Atlanta stadium because its size and amenities will allow for a theatrical production.

The Black Keys will play Triller Fight Club Saturday. Courtesy of Ryan Fleisher
The Black Keys will play Triller Fight Club Saturday. Courtesy of Ryan Fleisher

Credit: Ryan Fleisher

Credit: Ryan Fleisher

“This is the blueprint,” said Peter Kahn, chief boxing officer for Triller. “Part of the message is that you can’t A-list your way into the event.”

“This is literally being shot like it would on a movie set,” Kahn said. “Every camera angle has to be focused on the particular set that’s being utilized, whether it’s the stage for the artists or the boxing ring or the commentators. Triller is not a traditional boxing promotional company and therefore they don’t feel like they have to play by traditional rules.”

Bert Marcus (“The Apollo,” Netflix’s “The American Meme”) will direct the production.

The intersection of sport and song is ingrained in the DNA of Triller Fight Club, a partnership between Triller and Snoop Dogg and spearheaded by Ryan Kavanaugh, the former founder and CEO of film production company Relativity Media. During its 11-year existence, Relativity generated about $20 billion in box office revenue behind movies including “Social Network,” “Talladega Nights” and “Mamma Mia!”

Kavanaugh’s comeback event — via his new company, Proxima Meda — was Triller’s November debut featuring an exhibition battle between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones.

Snoop Dogg served as a commentator during that bout, cementing his presence as both an entertaining presence and a guy with more than a passing knowledge of boxing.

“His vision is aligned with Ryan’s vision that there’s no reason why they can’t break the rules and create these new rules for the sport of boxing,” said Kahn. “It’s truly merging boxing with entertainment.”

During the event, Snoop will debut with Mt. Westmore, the newly formed supergroup also featuring Ice Cube, Too Short and E-40. Other performances — all taking place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium — will come from Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo and Major Lazer.

“We’re going to go back and forth from the stage where the artists will perform, then to the ring where the boxers will compete to add to the anticipation,” Kahn said.

The lineup was specifically curated to appeal to different demographics — “It’s similar to a lineup you’d see at the Grammys,” Kahn noted — and commentating duties will be split among “Saturday Night Live’s” Pete Davidson, actor Mario Lopez, model Taylor Hill and Internet personalities Dixie and Charli D’Amelio. Snoop Dogg will again contribute some banter, and boxing purists can rely on insight from Ray Flores, Al Bernstein and Mike Coppinger.

June 15, 2017 Atlanta - Exterior of Mercedes-Benz Stadium during a media tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday, June 15, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
June 15, 2017 Atlanta - Exterior of Mercedes-Benz Stadium during a media tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday, June 15, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

“We’re not leaving it to Snoop and Pete to educate the audience if there’s a question about a head butt,” Kahn said, adding that Sean Wheelock will be on deck to answer queries about rules and regulations.

This is the first standalone pay-per-view event held at the stadium, according to Tim Zulawski, chief revenue officer for the venue.

“They’re getting our expertise,” he said of renting the venue to Triller. “My collective teams have done 200 events since opening (in 2017), so when a Triller comes in, we’re able to take a six-month build and cram it into six weeks.”

Though Zulawski wasn’t sure specifically what the Triller Fight Club setup would entail, the stages will be erected on the field.

“Boxing is ingrained in our culture and we all relate in some way to the fighters and love the story lines,” Kahn said. “When you mix that with pop culture and some of the top music entertainers in the world, we like to say it’s not just a demographic, but a ‘culture graphic.’”

EVENT PREVIEW

Triller Fight Club

8 p.m. (main card starts at 9 p.m.) Saturday.

Broadcast live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium. $49.99. Pay-per-view via cable providers, fite.TV, the Triller and Fite apps and trillerfightclub.com

Jake Paul and Ben Askren headline; music performances from Justin Bieber, the Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer and Mt. Westmore, featuring Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too Short and E-40.

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