Following the transformation of a group of 14 everyday people on a 20-week journey to their first mixed-martial arts fight, FIGHTING CHANCE premieres on Māori Television at 9.30 PM on Tuesday 1 March 2022 and Māori+ at 7.00 PM.

Producer Alex Bradshaw says FIGHTING CHANCE – funded by NZ On Air – focuses on the personal journeys of the participants pushing themselves physically and mentally to overcome their fears and insecurities.

“Focusing on our subjects gives the audience a window into one of the fastest growing sports in the world – MMA,” says Alex Bradshaw.

“The audience is also treated to front row seats inside City Kickboxing, one of the best gyms in the world, and we get to watch Eugene Bareman in action, the best coach in the world.”

This is the same environment that created fighters like Israel Adesanya and Kai Kara France,” says Alex Bradshaw.

Eugene Bareman says the lessons he teaches are applicable inside and outside the octagon.

“With every fighter that I know, the achievement was the journey. That’s the win at the end of the day. That’s why this sport is so good for your soul. You’re gonna benefit out of it regardless,” says Eugene Bareman.

For participant Johnson Crawford, that journey was life-changing, literally.

“I came into this wanting to end my life. All I wanted to do was learn how to control myself again. Control my thoughts, control my anger. I no longer want to hurt myself. I’m here, I’m loving my life.”


EPISODE 1: TUESDAY 1 MARCH 9.30 PM – The training begins and the trainers are not taking it easy. Liz hits a wall; Robert shares his past experience; Puneeth is warming up. Outside the gym, Eugene is a very busy man, but once he walks into the gym nothing else matters.

EPISODE 2: TUESDAY 8 MARCH 9.30 PM - The crew step out of their comfort zones. Early mornings are difficult but the buzz after training is amazing. Ropata is redeeming himself. Gabby is getting used to a new sport; Mark is loving it.

EPISODE 3: TUESDAY 15 MARCH 9.30 PM - Eugene shares his goals and aspirations for his fighters; Puneeth reveals his motivations; Liz shares how she came to be part of it; Gabby reveals she woke up in hospital a lot.

EPISODE 4: TUESDAY 22 MARCH 9.30 PM - Halfway through the programme, the crew are more familiar with the motions. John tells us about a situation that went down at work; Susan gets a shock; Eugene takes his fighters to a FIght Night in Dunedin. .

EPISODE 5: TUESDAY 29 MARCH 9.30 PM - The crew begin to brush up practice what they’ve learnt and strengthen what they’re good at. It’s time to experiment with their newfounds skills, but injuries come into play.

EPISODE 6: TUESDAY 5 APRIL 9.30 PM - Nerves are building as fight night approaches. The gym experiences the loss of a loved one. The group focus on mental preparations ahead of the fight.

EPISODE 7: TUESDAY 12 APRIL 9.30 PM - Weigh-ins are the last step before fight night. They’ve reached the end of the journey and are on the brink of a huge achievement. It’s all in or all out from here.

EPISODE 8: TUESDAY 19 APRIL 9.30 PM - It’s fight night! Susan experiences a moment of panic; Johnson reaches a turning point; Puneeth gets over his fear of pain and adversity.