People alarmed by Ultimate Fighting are sure to be shocked by Ultimate Tazer Ball, a new game in which players use stun guns to floor their opponents.
Its backers say the game will develop into an “exciting sport of the future.”
Although the league has yet to play an official game, Ultimate Tazer Ball has a website touting four teams, including a Toronto franchise called the Terror, and a YouTube video that shows players dashing around an indoor soccer pitch, zapping each other with hand-held stun guns.
The guns are not as powerful as the type used by police, but can still produce a painful shock.
Players on each four-man team attempt to score using a beach-ball sized soccer ball. The video shows players shocking each other with the stun guns. With each successful stun, players collapse to the turf, writhing in pain.
The video is more comical than credible. In addition to action footage, it includes short interviews where players deride their opponents in a style similar to costumed professional wrestlers. The teams are even kitted out in illuminated uniforms.
"It hurts man, it doesn't feel good," says one player about being shocked. "That's why the cops use them."
It all has the whiff of an internet hoax, but two men who claim to be behind the so-called league spoke to CBC’s Nil Koksal via Skype and insist its legit.
"It's not fake. We're very serious about it,” said Eric Prum, 25. He's launching the league along with German business partner Erik Wunsch. They intend to start with a tournament in Bangkok, scheduled for March.
“We're hoping to turn it into a league with a series of events that we're travelling across the world.”
Gun control issues
Tasers are considered weapons and can’t be obtained legally for civilian use in Canada.
When asked how a team could operate a professional sport in Canada with illegal equipment, Prum said the Toronto team would put aside their stun guns until they travel south of the border for matches against opponents such as the Philadelphia Killawatts and the Los Angeles Nightlight.
“They would focus more on staying in shape and the tactical side of it,” he said. “Most of the training would be without Tasers."
Prum, who claims to have a background in paintball, also wasn’t specific about the league's launch date.
"We've got a few events going forward. We’re just trying to get attention and feedback for the sport and expose it to the public."
Although he admits his sport isn’t for everyone, he also said it isn’t dangerous.
"If you think it's a police-grade Taser or a lethal or cardiac-inducing Taser, then you could think it's a step too far, but the stun guns we're using are far below the amperage to cause any damage like that. So it's more of a useful tool in an action sport than anything."
"We don't recommend anyone playing it outside of a controlled environment, which we provide.”
Prum also understands his new game is certain to draw its share of skeptics, but points to the eventual success of the Ultimate Fighting Championship after a sketchy start.
"That guy was putting on events in basements for years. Now he's doing quite well."