New York, NY -- Karate Combat announced it has signed Jon Gerstel as Executive Producer of the global professional martial arts league’s LIVE events. The four-time Emmy winner brings 25 years of experience creating documentary, digital, LIVE and studio content around sports, including developing the production, talent and original programming for two successful start-up networks.
Karate Combat is the first mainstream, professional full-contact karate league, which has seen rapid growth in fighter signings, distribution partnership deals, media attention, and an ongoing surge in social media followers since its April launch.
Gerstel has worked across many sports, including the NFL, NBA, NCAA basketball, NHL, golf, tennis, boxing and MMA, not to mention his Emmy-winning coverage of the Olympics for CBS. His story on ESPN’s Outside the Lines won a sports journalism Emmy. Gerstel helped launch the successful networks College Sports Television and what became ESPN Classic, and, with Matador Content, was the Executive Producer for programming on Versus, Bloomberg TV, Spike and Viacom Velocity.
Karate Combat events are notable for taking place in the patented Karate Combat Fighting Pit, which promotes continuous action and completely unobstructed views for first rate camerawork. The pit enables Karate Combat to stage events in exotic locales around the world with spectacular monuments and natural wonders as backdrops. It's a perfect setup for Gerstel's cinematic techniques and the elevation of martial arts programming.
"We couldn't be happier with the way the public has embraced our sport," said Michael DePietro, CEO of Karate Combat. "The addition of Jon to our senior management team will add an exciting dimension to our future events."
“Fighters are the most unique athletes in the world," said Jon Gerstel, Executive Producer at Karate Combat. "The opportunity to tell their incredible stories and present the most exciting fights around the world from the 'karate pit' is a dream job.”
Karate Combat has signed more than 100 of the top karate fighters from over 30 countries, all eager to use their full-contact skills and show off their talents on a bigger, better-produced global stage. The league’s debut event Karate Combat: Inception, which was live streamed from Miami on April 26th, has been viewed over a million times on the league's Karate Combat apps for iOS and Android, on its website , and across all partner platforms.
Social media interest continues to grow as fans recognize there is something missing in combat sports that Karate Combat fulfills: high production, high velocity action, and the true spirit of martial arts. The league has been covered by CNN, BBC, CBS, Sports Illustrated, UPI, SB Nation, Vice Sports, Sherdog, Cheddar, HK01, Ouest France and others. Bas Rutten and Chuck Liddell serve as advisors and ambassadors for Karate Combat.
Gerstel begins immediately with Karate Combat, executive producing the second live event which will live stream from Europe in July.