Slice of SciFi Asks: Are You Excited About “Robot Combat League”?

Syfy Channel is launching Robot Combat League later this month, on February 26, hosted by WWE wrestler Chris Jericho, and featuring robots designed by robotics expert Mark Setrakian.

Each week will feature a battle between the 8-foot tall humanoid robots and their human controllers (the “robo-jockeys”). Twelve teams, each consisting of a fighter/controller and a robotics engineer, will battle it out tournament style to crown a winner.

ROBOT COMBAT LEAGUE -- "Fight Night 1" -- Pictured: (l-r) Crash, SteelCyclone -- (Photo by: Nicole Wilder/Syfy) Airdate: Tuesdays on Syfy (10-11 p.m. ET) © NBC Universal, Inc.

ROBOT COMBAT LEAGUE — “Fight Night 1″ — Pictured: (l-r) Crash, SteelCyclone
(Photo by: Nicole Wilder/Syfy) Airdate: Tuesdays on Syfy (10-11 p.m. ET) © NBC Universal, Inc.

This extraordinary new series will feature twelve teams consisting of a fighter (a “robo-jockey”) and a robotics engineer (a “robo-tech”) from myriad backgrounds including a race car driver, an Olympic athlete, a National Guard helicopter pilot along with a mix of professional fighters and software engineers.

Each team is paired with its own unique robot and will fight in a first-of-its kind competition using a high-tech exo-suit that translates their movements to their robot. Each fight consists of three rounds of intense action, with the winning team advancing in the competition.

In his role as host, Jericho will set up each week’s fight and provide viewers with a play-by-play commentary of the fighting action.

The robots of the “Robot Combat League” were designed and created by robotics expert, Mark Setrakian, a leader in the sport of robotic combat. In his distinguished career, Setrakian has developed life-saving robotic systems, and pioneered cutting-edge creature effects, animatronics and control technology for such films as Men In Black, The Grinch and Hellboy. Setrakian combines a keen study of biology with innovative engineering to create robots with uncanny organic movement, earning his reputation as the man who brings machines to life.

Slice of SciFi wants to know: Will you be watching?

Are You Looking Forward to Syfy's "Robot Combat League"?

View Results


  1. says

    Will not be watching. Still haven’t forgiven Syfy for SGU so I don’t get the channel anymore. Although Continuum is a step in the right direction. I’ve seen Faceoff and find it frustrating in that I wish they could have shows that actually USE the makeups that those people create.

  2. says

    Now there’s an idea: Have the final challenge to pick the winner be a creation of or interpretation of a creature concept that would in effect be a pitch to Syfy or Chiller as an original TV miniseries or original movie.

    Remember Project Greenlight, that series Ben Affleck and Matt Damon created to spark more indie movies getting made? Back when Bravo didn’t have 20 different Real Housewives series? They should have something like that for the original movie series on both Syfy and Chiller.

    ps: if someone gets that competition show going with NBCU, I want a finder’s fee.

  3. Robotrax says

    Everything so far looks incredible. It IS a Syfy show, so yes there’s reason to be worried it will suck… but I’m going to remain excited until I see for myself.

  4. says

    I can already see where this will go in the future. Somebody will cry foul and demand protective rights for the robots, or, require them to wear protective gear, or more likely, the bots will become self-aware and turn on their creators. BTW: I really like the new look of the SoSF website.

  5. Jake says

    No way. If real science fiction is too expensive to produce for television; just cancel the channel already. Stop giving us these “Wraastlin'” shows.

    • Kurt in St. George says

      I also caught the first episode. It was OK, but some changes will have to be made to keep the format from getting stale real fast. Without bots that can move more freely, the Rock’em Sock’em approach won’t hold viewer’s interest for very long.

      They will need to weaponize the bots with saws, spikes, hammers, titanium teeth, hydrollic rams and anything else their creators can think of to hold my interest.

      • Laith Preston says

        I expect that the second episode will have a bit better pace now that the “meet the teams” stuff is done.

      • says

        Um, not a commercial. This guy has been building animatronic machines for the movies for years (started at ILM when he was 19), and now he’s had a chance to take them one step further. You don’t have to watch the actual show to check out the interview and see how much he enjoys his work… he has a Mythbusters like excitement about what he does for a living, and that’s always a good thing to see.

  6. says

    Saw the 2nd episode & it was better than the 1st. The smaller, underdog robot literally cut the larger 875 pound bot in half near the end of the final round. I do agree the bots need greater mobility with their legs but with more advanced technology I already see this as doable for future seasons should this show get renewed.

    • Laith Preston says

      Glad to hear it, I was hoping that the episode would be better.

      I agree that technology improvements could see it getting better yet. If you think about it even their current state is a big leap from where things were not too long ago.

  7. John from Lakeland says

    To me they operate and act very much like the Rock’em Sock’em Robots I played with as a kid. I can’t really say I’m all that interested in it. I’ve watched the first couple of episodes, mainly just the fighting, fast forwarding through the other stuff. It’s just not really getting my interests.

  8. says

    As the technology improves so will the fight action. If you watch a car race from the 1920’s & compare it to NASCAR today you get some kind of an idea how much room for technological improvement there is for the future of this kind of robot fighting event.

    • Laith Preston says

      It wouldn’t have been that long ago that the robots would have been much more like Rock’em Sock’em Robots.

      These are at least mostly free moving, they just have the equivalent of training wheels… otherwise the first punch thrown would probably have both bots falling over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>