Stupid Robot Fighting League Explained

Buckle up, this is going to get weird…

Welcome to the rather lengthy description of what is the Stupid Robot Fighting League (SRFL). This may be a bit off beat, I make no apology for this fact. I find that if I make something a little strange it will attract people people that I want to be around.

If reading is not your thing, watch the video on the right. It gets to the point. If you are more nerdy, this document should float your boat.


SRFL has a passionately defended family friendly culture. We will do all we can in our power to keep it that way. It not only makes moral sense it makes business sense. As our format will attract more viewers it will give us more opportunity to advertise.

SRFL is a ridiculous idea birthed from a love of shows like Robot Wars and Junkyard Challenge. I loved the drama and tension of wrecking stuff and having to make a functioning thing in a given time limit. The one thing they both lack is accessibility. When I say this I mean something that everyday people can do. Both shows require prowess with either robotics or engineering. Not a skill that everyone has. Well what if we dumbed down the idea a bit? How about a whole lot? If you can get a sniff of the direction I’m heading, great.

The simple short version.

I will start off with a simple bullet point list. This will have no meat in it but will give you a very rough idea. It will be formatted as if you were watching the live YouTube show.

  1. Show starts.
  2. Introductions of the two teams of 3 members.
  3. Robot build starts. (2 hr time limit).
  4. Teams trade home baking for junk from audience.
  5. 1 team member records their promo.
  6. YouTube audience votes on the best promo.
  7. Robot build finishes.
  8. Teams given 30 mins to mount their robot to a practice frame to learn how to operate robot.
  9. Robots mounted in the octagon.
  10. Fight starts. (3 rounds two minutes each). Each round is begun with a monologue from each robot operator.
  11. During fight penalty chair head-shots administered. (From vote results on YouTube.)
  12. Fight stops. Pedometer count recorded. Bribes taken into account.
  13. End comments/drama.

Clear as mud right? This is where it gets long winded. I needed somewhere to flesh out the ins and outs for the show. Why not here. I try to explain the plan to people and they get bits of it. I forget to add bits in so I hope all the gaps are taken care of now.

Lets start with the teams.

Each team will have 3 people. In it’s current form it would be ideal to have a person that is good at building things, a person that is good at decorating things and a person that is good at acting. Each of these skills are equally important and could be the difference between winning and losing. We will cover more on this later.

The robots.

The robots are made from junk. Old broken stuff. Each team will be given a fridge box full of old toys, electronic gadgets, Op Shop purchases, wood scraps etc. The robots are humanoid in form and need to follow a basic size and weight range. If it’s too heavy it will be impossible to move around. All external decorations are to be attached by hot glue. This will make the fights more exciting as parts fly off.

The robots are operated by poles attached to the robots head, hands and feet. The operator sits outside the octagon pushing and pulling on them. It’s more like a puppet but more violent.

Each robot has a pedometer attached to the back of it’s head. This is a simple method of counting blows to the head. These are recorded at the end of the fight.

If something falls off the operator can no longer use that limb. If the head detaches then that is counted as a knockout.

The building phase.

The teams and sectioned off so they can’t see each other. The two teams get tools and safety gear. They are also given a thick cardboard template so they get a rough idea of the size the robot needs to be. They are each given a big fridge box full of junk. They are required to strip off what they need and attach all of the parts in a sturdy yet flexible matter.

Nearing the end of the building phase the “actor” of the team is required to shoot their pre-fight promo. The promo is a video recording of the “actor” of the team eyeing up the video camera pretending that they are talking to the opposing team member. This was a classic part of 80’s-90’s pro wrestling. Instead of breathing out threats to their enemy they have to rehearse a given script. This script is provided by fans. They will be voted on my the live YouTube audience. The weirder the better. For instance the promo script could be someone’s shopping list or a 4 year old’s poem written at Kindergarten. Whatever it is the “actor” has to speak it out in a threatening manner. Who ever pulls if off best will get the most votes. If you get the most votes then the opposing team’s robot gets a smack in the head with the “penalty chair”.

The practice phase.

Each team is provided 30 minutes and a frame to practice fighting with their robot verses a dummy to get heights sorted out and pull some moves together. The team must invent and name 3 moves. During the fight the operator must call out the name of the move while performing it for bonuses during judging. This is an homage to Street Fighter. Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

The robot must also be weighed for final judging.

The fight.

The teams must hang their robot in the octagon frame ready to fight. The pedometers will be attached. Once the Referee and Judges are happy it’s time to get it on!

The fight is 3 rounds of 2 minutes. Each round has a 2 minute break in between for the teams to try to reattach any loose parts. Each round begins with a monologue the operator has to say in a threatening manner to the opposing robot operator. The twist is that the monologue is written by the other team.

The fight is stopped when either the timer has run out for the 3 rounds or one of the robot’s heads has been removed from it’s body. Should it come down to a judges decision then the winner is decided on the following:

  • Total head shots counted by the pedometer.
  • Total special moves performed and landed (must be called while performing the move).
  • Starting weight of the robot – finishing weight of robot (how many parts you have lost).
  • Vote results from live YouTube audience for each round start monologue.
  • Any perks gained through bribery. (Explained below)


Bribery and corruption.

To thicken the plot SRFL encourages bribery and corruption but surrounded by two immovable rules:

  1. All bribery and corruption transactions must be made on camera. This is to thicken the plot of the show.
  2. The only accepted currency to bribe anyone with is home baking.


Team sponsorship.

SRFL encourages each team to get their own sponsorship. There is no cap on how much they can earn. During the show each team can promote their sponsor as much as they like. If the team members are more dramatic or interesting then they will draw the camera to themselves thus getting more bang for their sponsors dollar. Here are the avenues the teams may use to promote their sponsor:

  • Wearing sponsors product or branded apparel.
  • Talking about sponsors while on camera.
  • Working sponsors name into monologues.
  • Decorating robot with sponsors logo.

It’s important that each teams sponsors understand how the culture of SRFL works. Two teams may support competing brands. That’s just the way things are. It’s the teams responsibility to be honest. If they are not, they are on their own.


Along side the show we will be running a VLog covering everything else concerning the show. The teams will be encouraged to do the same. This is another opportunity to develop advertising revenue. If the show and teams link to each other then the audience will expand exponentially.

Part of the VLogging will also to be to cover the sub-plot of home baking, the process and a chance to share recipes or even highlight a cookbook or well known chiefs called in to help the teams with their baking skills.

The end.

The finish of the episode will be a wrap up of the build and fight by the commentators, some interviews with the winners and losers and some announcements concerning future events.


If you read this far I figure you must be quite interested. You then, are the type of people I’m looking for to be part of this family fun crazy thing that is SRFL. Please get in touch. This is early in the game. Those who get in early reap the biggest rewards.

Thanks, John Espin – Creator of Stupid Robot Fighting League.