(Jason Miller on the unpleasant end of an Army Ranger “stress position.”)
— Next Monday through Wednesday at 10 p.m., the mini-series T.O.P. Army Fighter will air on the Military Channel. Each episode features military personnel competing in four-man tournaments — in seven weight classes ranging from flyweight to heavyweight — using modified MMA rules that prohibit knee strikes to the head and leg-locks, among other attacks. The fights will take place in a ring and will employ a scoring system that awards points for things like takedowns and passing guard. Army Ranger and MMA pro Tim Kennedy (IFL, HDNet Fights) will be one of the 28 servicemen competing on the show. Sounds like it could be a bit too complicated for its own good, but hey, it’s fighting on free TV. Now we just have to figure out what the hell the Military Channel is.
— GI vs. Pro, a series where MMA-trained armed services members fight professional mixed martial artists, debuts July 19th on Fox Sports Net. The action will be more traditional than T.O.P. Army Fighter‘s, with each match slated for three five-minute rounds inside a circular cage. The GI team will be led by BodogFIGHT/FCC vet Nick Agallar, while the Pros squad will be led by UFC/KOTC vet Chris Brennan. Both lightweights will face off in a match during the show’s September 13th finale.
— In other MMA-on-TV news, Strikeforce on NBC premieres late this Saturday night at 2 a.m., immediately following Poker After Dark. The first episode will focus on Cung Le, and will include his June 2006 fight with Brian Warren. With that time-slot, how could it not succeed!