Sunday, June 1, 2008

EliteXC is a disgrace to MMA

Get better commentators.
Believe it or not, the quality of commentators make a big difference. EliteXC didn't really have a good expert/teacher/announcer in the commentator box. Watch and listen to what the announcers were actually saying. All they do is try to talk big about something we're already seeing. And they are more interested in starting and finishing their rehearsed lines than actually talking about what is going on. It would be great if we were blind, but we are not. What Joe Rogan does is talk about:
-Something Joe spots that a lot of people might have missed. Is someone not throwing that left anymore because his hand might be broken? Is he throwing more fakes than what normal fighters do? Did a fighter do something that looked easy, but it is actually really hard to do? This makes the audience that they are watching something bigger than what is happening at face value.
-He'll talk about how much grueling training the fighters have done to up their game by joining this camp, that so-and-so also trains at. We know the fighters are tough, but hearing that they got tougher and better will tell us that we are watching a better fighter than we have saw in the past. Already liking the fighter, this just makes the money and time I'm investing watching the event more valuable.
-He'll talk about something that a fighter is trying to do (that hasn't happened yet.) Of course, having watched years of MMA, I don't need him to explain to me what is going to happen. But Joe is just validating our own expertise that we have of the sport. Since most people do agree Joe knows a good amount of MMA, it's just something he does to make us feel better about ourselves.

Have a plan after Kimbo Slice.
When/if Kimbo loses, I can't imagine a bigger abandoing ship of the bandwagon than this one. I like watching Kimbo, and hope he stays exciting, but I would never bet on Kimbo just yet. UFC has mastered the art of hyping up a fighter. And more importantly hyping up the fight. Haven't you noticed that all fights make it look like they are all making the fight personal, then after the fight, they hug each other like they just squashed all the terrible things they said about eachother? They do this because UFC tells them to. It makes the fight more exciting, and yes, there is a lot of value in watching two fighters settle the dispute. When we see two guys repsecting eachother after the fight, it makes us feel like we're watching a respectable sport. So again, create some hype by creating friction between the fighters, and tell the fighters to make it look like they have taken the insult personally. After the fight, show more than a handshake. Hug, bow multiple times, show respect, talk about how much you respect the fighter and how good of a fighter your opponent that you just beat up is. Make it mandatory, give them bonuses. All components of the hyping up to and the resolve are important. If you have one, without the other, than its worse than having no hype at all. Another thing they can do is try to sign Fedor (and match him up with Cro Cop), and let him fight his damn Sambo matches as long as he fights in EliteXC.

No women fighters.
The fight that aired tonight was not a bad fight. Guys fighting is all about dominance and respect. Guys think, "You are tough, but guess what? I am tougher and more of a superior man than you." Any guy can understand that, whether you are are a MMA fighter, or you cook for a living. Dominance and respect is the essense of all sports. Girls on the other hand, girls usually fight to scratch up eachother's faces with, pull their hair, and disfure them in any way possible. In other words, girls will fight to make the other one ugly. Beauty is a girl's most precious resource. Girls who have the will to fight like guys do exist. But they are an anomaly. It makes as much sense as female body building. What is the point when they dominate their opponent in the octagon, then they get willingly dominated at night? People watch women in MMA for the wrong reasons. People watch it because its a spectacle, not something they are going to walk away thinking, "she is the best pound for pound woman there is." Making a spectacle out of a sport you are trying to promote is never a good idea.

Put procedures in place so that Lawler/Smith fights don't end the way they do.
I was watching an awesome fight between Lawler and Smith. It could have been the fight of the year. Unfortunately, it became a mockery of MMA. Scott Smith looked fresh and apparently had no visual problems pretty much a split second afterwards. He was told he had 5 minutes, and apparently more than one person did not read the rules. It made me wonder if Gary Shaw, the commissioner that sounded like he was out of The Sopranos (yes they are in NJ), have some bets going with the mob, and since he didn't like how the fight was going, he decided to stop the fight early. It is more likely that it could be that Scott Smith wanted to take the full 5 minutes, so he was exaggerating his eye injury. A step that can be taken in the future would be to say "if you can't see, I gotta stop the fight." Then the fighter can simply say "I'm going to take my full 5 minutes, and I'll let you know because its rapidly improving." If this step was in place, things would have been very different.

Fighters should not dance into the arena.
It made me think that I was watching a show like WWE rather than a sport. Do not make MMA into a spectacle. The UFC would never let a fighter do that, let alone encourage that kind of behavior. Keep the sport respectable. Only Baroni really knows how much of a clown he felt like stumbling back into the locker room walking on the same runway he was just dancing on 2 minutes before. A lot of people hate Dana White, but what White does well is put procedures in place to really sell the idea to people who would otherwise think MMA is just a bunch of dumb people slugging it out for money, into believing that MMA is a respectable sport that involves technique, talent, and dicipline. And that the fighters are respectable humble athletes who have tons of sportsmanship and have nothing but respect for their fellow fighters. People respecting MMA is what made MMA into what it is today. By making MMA a spectacle (what's next, stage props?) we are going backwards in time. Thompson hitting the ref.....yikes. I would say this event hurt EliteXC (and definitely MMA) more than it helped.

What was the best part of the EliteXC? The Street Fighter IV commercial. I can only hope there are online tournaments and world rankings.

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