Harley Morenstein is an eater, not a fighter.

The co-creator of the YouTube food channel Epic Meal Time, he is known for cooking bacon-wrapped meals and other glitzy meals. But this Saturday, he’ll step into a boxing ring to take on professional wrestler John Hennigan, one of 12 bouts that will make up Creator Clash 2.

Something of a stunning success, last year’s event sold out the 10,000-seat Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida, drew more than 100,000 pay-per-view buyers and raised $1.3 million for the Alzheimer’s Association. , the American Heart Association, and the Healing Horse Therapy Center. . The YouTube video of the full event has racked up over 3.3 million views.

The event brings together unusual internet celebrities to do the unexpected. It’s like a crossover concert with “Dancing With the Stars”, if the stars were punching each other in the face.

“When I was there, I thought the atmosphere was much more like a VidCon or a fan meeting,” Morestein said of the event’s first year (VidCon is the biggest in-person event of the year for internet content creators). “People already came with their merchandise. They are fans of certain fighters. They wanted to see a person on the card. They didn’t care who they were fighting.»

It will be Morestein’s second fight. Last year, he was victorious against his friend Arin Hanson of the YouTube gaming channel Game Grumps in a match that surprised even him.

“I had his little blood spot on my glove,” Morestein said. “And he was fine, but he was still like, ‘Oh my gosh, he was supposed to go to Busch Gardens today. He gets a nosebleed and says, what am I doing here?’”

Live events have been a staple of internet creator culture dating back to the earliest fan meetings. Conventions like VidCon and Playlist Live have been giving fans the opportunity to interact with their favorite content creators for over a decade. But in recent years, influencers have started creating their own live events tailored to their communities, including excursions, award shows and even yours conventionswith varying degrees of success.

Meanwhile, boxing most recently emerged as a popular way for internet creators to fix problems, grab attention, and turn on their most ardent fans. Starting with the feud between YouTubers Olajide Olatunji (better known as KSI) and Joe Weller in 2018, established creators have increasingly turned to boxing after discovering that sport is a lucrative opportunity. Much of the hype around influencer matches, like most boxing events, is based on exhibitions, bets and trash talk.

Creator Clash hardly has any of that. Instead, it aims to be different by downplaying online drama and big payouts, said Ian Jomha, one of the event’s co-founders, who will also step into the ring on Saturday.

Jomha said that the sport of boxing itself has enough drama to focus on and that Creator Clash’s main goals are to «entertain and raise money for charity.» This year, the event is bigger, with three additional fights, more commentators, 15 charity partners and a venue twice the size (Tampa’s Amalie Arena).

“I think the wider the variety of creators you get, the more interesting it will be and the more curious you will be,” said Jomha, who is known for his audacious YouTube reaction channel iDubbbz. «For me, that’s always been the draw.»

The event also capitalizes on the turn towards niche communities in the creator’s space. In recent years, it has become increasingly important to creator longevity to cultivate a core fan base rather than appeal to a mainstream audience. Niches produce stronger and more engaged fans who, for example, will follow a person to a boxing arena and show their support.

In addition to the charity aspect, several wrestlers told NBC News that the event allowed them to try something new, meet other influencers and get out of their comfort zones. Influencers and fans have praised Creator Clash for the positive energy, collaboration, and good sportsmanship surrounding the event.

Amanda Golka, a YouTuber who reviews influencer events for her channel Swell Entertainment, attended last year’s Creator Clash as a spectator. Golka was pleasantly surprised, but said this year is a «really big test» for Creator Clash’s longevity.

“The general novelty for YouTube events and creator events, doing sports and things like that, the sentiment that I see online from the general public of people just watching YouTube, whether they are fans of these people or not, a lot of people are getting tired of these events,” he said. “They’re like, ‘Why can’t you just make content? What do you mean they’re getting into boxing? What are you doing?'»

Jomha knows that there is pressure.

“It feels like it’s the first time we’ve done it, we just have to do it again,” he said. «Because you have to at least match what you did last time, but you also have to do more.»

With higher expectations and more eyes on the event, it is perhaps not surprising that the organizers have been met with some drama in the weeks leading up to the fight. Less than a month before the event, it was announced that YouTube rapper Tyler Cassidy, or Froggy Fresh, had been dropped from the lineup and would be replaced.

The reaction that followed He took care the conversation about Creator Clash and threatened its success, as some Cassidy fans vowed to boycott the event and demanded refunds.

However, Jomha felt the event would go ahead despite the outrage.

«Our whole goal is to keep it obviously drama-free and positive, and that’s the goal,» Jomha said. «And we have to focus on, you know, our fights, because we’ve all been working hard.»