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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

UFC 71: Are You Sold on MMA?

An ESPN article struck a nerve of some of the folks in the MMA community today.

Here is the quote that started the fire at Sherdog:

"(For one thing, throughout the preliminary bouts there was way more nuzzling and cuddling -- lengthy cheek-to-chest action -- than I ever anticipated. Barefoot guys in swim trunks listening for a heartbeat -- this is the sport of the future?)"

The point to the article resided in the paragraph that preceded the quote that stirred up deep emotions about the sport of mixed martial arts:

"I'm probably predisposed to disliking this kind of fabricated sport, but I watched for the first time, and I watched with an open mind. In my case, the pre-hype won. The reality, though -- just like every other overhyped event -- didn't measure up."

You see, the writer was giving not only his perception of an emerging sport that is fighting tooth and nail to gain mass appeal and credibility but also the view of most people who are recently exposed to this sporting phenomenon and have yet to form an educated opinion and I have to say, I agree with his perspective.

To the untrained eye, MMA looks like two dudes laying on top of one another during the ground game or similar to a barroom brawl (as was the case with Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine & Rampage vs. Liddell) when the fighters stand up.

The stand up fights are over in seconds and the fights on the mat appear to be long and boring because the viewer does not understand that both fighters are attempting transitions that could ultimately end in a quick submission win or an escape from ground control.

Whose fault is this?

The announcers of the UFC PPV events that's who.

Mike Goldberg deserves to be fired for being an ignorant dumbass that continually interferes with Joe Rogans explanation of what is actually happening in the fight not to mention his butchering of MMA facts and also his over the top cliches that are painful to listen to.

Sometimes, Joe Rogan... well, most of the time Joe gets very excited and speaks about MMA moves at an advanced level that often loses the viewer because they cannot understand what was said so mentally, the viewer tunes out and forms their own opinion which, is not based on anything other than ignorance. .. hence the ESPN article.

As an example in UFC 71, I recall Joe Rogan mentioning the name of a position in the Rubber Guard called "Mission Control". That sounds cool on TV but to the first time viewer of MMA and the UFC, Mission Control, Rubber Guard and all the MMA jargon is meaningless so the commentating is actually lost on the viewer.

The UFC needs to do a better job at getting its viewers to better understand the martial arts styles and the strategy behind the use of some moves within the fighter's style and how each is used to gain an advantage over the opponent or why the move was incorrect and the fighter lost because of it.

The famous quote for me from UFC 71 was from Chuck Liddell saying, "I got caught". That's all that was said so the commentators and everyone else left it at that. What a shame and a missed opportunity to pull the fans into why Chuck got caught because Chuck doesn't "get caught" very often so why is this any different from the past 7 fights he had. (I know why, I'm just making a point here... bad footwork, posture/balance, striking technique and recovery not to mention the sledgehammer counter punch that keeps Chuck up at night now ;)

I agree that Chuck Liddell exercised poor judgement by partying in Vegas a few days prior to the fight and whether he drank or stayed up in the wee hours of the morning laying pipe is besides the point because perception is reality as Dana White knows all too well.

Here is a clip of The Ultimate Fighter 6 which saw three fighters kicked out of the house and the Spike TV reality show for acting unprofessional and perpetuating the misconception that MMA is nothing but a bunch of undisciplined roughnecks beating the hell out of each other like in the no holds barred days of the UFC.

Well, Dana is a confirmed hypocrite by rewarding these guys with UFC contracts according to Brawl Sports. It's just TV right?

Monkey see, monkey do Dana:

The ESPN writer finished off the article with a spinning back fist backhanded compliment:

"And that, fans of UFC, is a compliment. It's the kind of second-guessing your sport receives when it has finally hit the big-time.

The UFC has a very long way to go yet with convincing people to be part of record breaking PPV events in the future if they continue in the same fashion without adapting and answering to the buying public's requests for better coverage of the PPV events for the newcomer UFC fan to stay and continue to pay.

If you are new to MMA and the UFC, were you sold on MMA after watching UFC 71?

Is this really how Dana White and the UFC want to make the big time?

Once you have the Fever, you tend to tolerate and block out the noise (shotty announcing, endless commercials and weak post fight coverage) in the PPV broadcast and focus on the great chess match unfolding before your very eyes by two highly skilled fighters doing everything they can to win, man against man.... but then again, we are a small percentage of those PPV buys.

The UFC has more work to do in my opinion to shape and change public opinion about what once was known as human cockfighting no holds barred barbarism with the uneducated MMA masses.

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