Virtual Knockout: Digital Fight Club Plans To Redefine Online Events Through Its 2021 Dallas Edition

Digital Fight Club: Dallas 2021 is happening on June 9. Here's who is facing off and what you can expect from the organization's first-ever virtual event.

After Digital Fight Club was only able to hold one event in 2020 due to the pandemic, the one-night experience is back with the promise to turn the virtual event world on its head.

On June 9, local experts will virtually face off in a series of debates on predetermined topics related to their areas of expertise—and it’s up to them to defend their stance and win the round. Each “fighter” will have an opening salvo, rebuttal, response to a referee’s question, and a follow up.

While this format is similar to Digital Fight Club’s in-person events, the audience’s experience will be completely different and promises to be nothing like a boring Zoom call.

The CEOs, technologists, entrepreneurs, investors, and many others that attend Digital Fight Club: Dallas 2021 will be able to be part of the action by watching from their own eight-person virtual couch, heckling and reacting verbally and electronically, and even throwing (virtual) tomatoes at the fighters, per founder and president Michael Pratt. Attendees are also able to network by moving between the virtual couches.

To add to the experience, attendees can get a DFC Drink Kit sent straight to them.

Digital Fight Club founder Michael Pratt speaks to the crowd at the 2019 event. [Photo: Michael Samples]

This year’s Dallas fighters

The fighters for Digital Fight Club: Dallas 2021’s first two matches haven’t been released as of May 3, but the topics will be “Future of the Cloud: Public vs Private, Edge & Security” and “Future of Work: Remote Work, Culture & Technology.”

Pedro Lerma, CEO of LERMA, and Matt Powell, CEO of Moroch, will face off in the third match on the topic “Post-Pandemic Collective Displacement: How Brands Engage with Consumers.” The fight will be followed by Roee Adler, CEO of Santa, matching up against a yet-to-be-announced opponent on “Future of Retail: Distribution, Shopping & Stores.”

Hubert Zajicek, CEO of Health Wildcatters, and Lyndsey Harper, CEO of Rosy Wellness, will close out the night with a debate on “Health Care: Remote Care & Innovation.”

The 2021 fight referees are Matthew Pharr, Managing Director of Accenture; Nancy Flores, CTO of McKesson; Andy Minteer, Emerging Technology VP of Walmart; Kevin Cummings of NTX Inno/Dallas Business Journal; and a fifth referee that hasn’t yet been announced.

Creating the fight club

Michael Pratt came up with the idea of Digital Fight Club while having drinks with a friend and coming to the conclusion that panels are boring.

“In a panel, no one’s incentivized to actually say what they think. Everybody wants to pontificate and be seen as an august professional waxing eloquently. But no one really learns anything,” Pratt previously told Dallas Innovates. “With that in mind, we somehow just came to, ‘Well, why don’t we make people who are really smart, have done a lot, and are experts in a particular field, fight?'”

The original Digital Fight Club was created by Digital Dallas, an organization Pratt founded some 10 years ago to bolster the entrepreneurial community in North Texas.

Along with Dallas, Digital Fight Club events have also taken place in Houston and Boston. This year, Dallas is kicking off its 2021 schedule, which will be followed by events in Houston, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

To get a taste of what Digital Fight Club is like, check out our 2019 recap of the electric event.

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