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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Questions surround first "Saturday Night Fights" event

"Questions surround first "Saturday Night Fights" event
by Steve Sievert on Jun 02, 2008 at 10:29 am ET
It was a night aimed at finally ushering mixed martial arts into the mainstream.

Instead, EliteXC "Saturday Night Fights" on CBS swung and missed with a main event that raised serious questions about how the outcome was handled.

Debatable officiating by referee Dan Miragliotta in the headline match that pitted former street-fighting Internet star Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson against James Thompson left a black eye on a night of fighting that, until the main event, had been entertaining.

The announcing crew of Gus Johnson, Mauro Ranallo and Frank Shamrock (more on the trio in a moment) harped on "safety first" in MMA during both an opening package that outlined the rules of the sport and again during the stoppage of the Robbie Lawler-Scott Smith tussle. However, Miragliotta showed disdain for that safety mantra when he let Thompson pound away on a defenseless Ferguson for 40 seconds near the end of round two.

That unabashed beating was in stark contrast to the ultra-fast stoppages of the evening's first two primetime fights. Both the Brett Rogers-Jon Murphy heavyweight bout and the middleweight fight between Joey Villasenor and Phil Baroni were waved off as soon as Murphy and Baroni were dropped to the mat. While clearly Murphy and Baroni were in dire straits, the casual viewer had to be scratching his head about why Ferguson was given every opportunity to weather the storm, while Murphy and Baroni were not.

Miragliotta added further fuel to the conspiracy-theorist fire that there was no way Ferguson – EliteXC's prime-time meal ticket – would lose on national TV by stopping the fight in the third with Thompson still on his feet.

Where's "Big" John McCarthy when you need him?

Even the announcer Johnson called it a "horrible stoppage." It appeared only a matter of time before Thompson ultimately succumbed, but if Miragliotta stopped it there, he should have stopped the fight when Ferguson was eating a steady diet of ground-and-pound and doing nothing to defend himself.

Inconsistent and questionable officiating is just one aspect of the evening's show that made the viewing experience feel more like a spectacle than sports.

To be sure, the production was unmistakably EliteXC, complete with booty-shaking dancers, pyrotechnics, and fighter intros dressed up as music videos. Song titles and artists names, with a plug for a web site to download the tracks, actually appeared on screen. The NFL on CBS this was not.

While some of the initial scene-setting on the broadcast made sense – covering the rules and stepping first-time viewers through moves and terminology– the show was nearly a half-hour old before the first punch was thrown.

As a quick sidebar on the package that Shamrock did to outline the rules, it was ironic that when Shamrock said knees to the head are not allowed that the footage used for the shot was none other than his illegal knee to the back of Renzo Gracie's head from the first EliteXC show last year. Very nice.

Speaking of Shamrock, he was visibly nervous during the opening standup, but later settled in to deliver solid color commentary.

Overall, the broadcast trio of Johnson, Ranallo and Shamrock did a decent job. As you would expect for the first time working together, there were some stumbles. In the Gina Carano-Kaitlin Young fight, they failed to recognize a choke attempt by Carano when she was using her shin against Young's throat. Shamrock described it during a replay. In the Lawler-Smith bout, the crew was perplexed as to where blood was coming from, when it was clear to the viewer that Lawler had a gash on the top of his head.

Also, Johnson overcalled portions of the Lawler-Smith fight saying Smith was in trouble and "ready to go" on a couple of occasions when Smith was not close to being KO'd.

And, by the descriptions of virtually every fighter on the card by Johnson, you would have thought these were the best fighters on the planet. Sure, selling the product is part of the announcer's role, but don't try to convince us that a 10-9 Baroni is a world-beater. His cage walk was five times as long as his fight!

But, the announcing crew was the least of the concerns on this night.
Hyped as the most significant night in MMA history, the first network prime-time broadcast lacked the production polish that comes standard with a UFC experience, felt more music video than sporting event, ran 45 minutes over its allotted time, and raised considerable questions about inconsistent officiating that can only be damaging to the sport's image.

As first impressions go, this first network broadcast of MMA fell short.

Steve Sievert is the Lead Staff Writer for MMAjunkie.com. He is also the former MMA beat writer and blogger for the Houston Chronicle."

This was from:

http://mmajunkie.com/news/4480/quest...ghts-event.mma


A LOT of attention is being directing at the CBS show from Saturday night- good/bad or eh? Overall this did get good ratings but A LOT of MMA fans thought the show was garbage and that the stoppages were questionable at best. I'd just like to see what ya'lls thoughts on it were. Was this show good exposure good for MMA? Bad? Or we'll have to wait and see.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 12:48 PM
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great read! thanks! rep.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 12:58 PM
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I enjoyed the fights on saturday but I don't think that the show was a good representation of the sport. When I watch an Elite XC show it is always glaring to me just how second rate this promation is to the UFC in every aspect. Being that I am a devooted fan of the sport I enjoy watching Elite XC anyways but it really is like watching a minor league baseball game. The players are good and the field is nice but its not the big leagues and you know it.

Saturday nights event wasn't the best representation of the talent that top level mixed martial artists posess and I think that SOME first time watchers of the sport may have been turned off by that. EliteXC was making claims that these fighters were the best that the sport has to offer which from a company standpoint is understandable but is a very inaccurate statement. I think that SOME viewers will have walked away after the show thinking " If those are the best the sport has to offer, this sport doesn't have much to offer ". We can only hope that the Lawler-Smith fight was enough to show these viewers what high caliber MMA looks like, but the sparkle that fight produced was tainted by the horrible stoppage.

Like every EliteXC event before it, I was left really appreciating the quality of the events put on by the UFC and formerly Pride. I hope that the event was a gateway for many to look into the sport and eventually find the high quality events and real top tier talent that is showcased in the UFC.



Credit to Toxic for the sick sig!
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 01:32 PM
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i would love a UFC on NBC night and o the same night Elite XC on CBS and see who takes it.......uuhhhh my money is on the UFC! my t.v is on NBC...
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 01:44 PM
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My opinion on the thread question is yes and no.

It is a step forward that MMA was accepted and broadcasted to the masses via a major television network so in that aspect (Yes)

It sucks that two of the fights were controversial stoppages. So (No)

But all in all, we all watched. I beleive we all will again.

EliteXC is getting attention for now, be it positive or negative.

Look at the the numbers viewing on the home page of MMA forum. I've never seen the EliteXC section with more viewers than the UFC threads.


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J.P. View Post
My opinion on the thread question is yes and no.

It is a step forward that MMA was accepted and broadcasted to the masses via a major television network so in that aspect (Yes)

It sucks that two of the fights were controversial stoppages. So (No)

But all in all, we all watched. I beleive we all will again.

EliteXC is getting attention for now, be it positive or negative.

Look at the the numbers viewing on the home page of MMA forum. I've never seen the EliteXC section with more viewers than the UFC threads.
totally agree!!!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Oh man check out mmajunkie's new poll question, top right on the homepage:

http://mmajunkie.com/

They jacked my poll! I had mine up first!


I definitely agree with much of what has been said in this thread. Good and bad this event has sparked a huge amount of attention on MMA and many outlets are discussing it. I was just driving and ESPN's Mike Tirico(sp?) afternoon show brought the CBS show up for discussion- I wish I could tell you what was said but I was at lunch when they talked about it. I'm glad that MMA is getting this attention though I wish the event had been a better showcase for MMA. The things I liked- the female fight, I had never seen one before and I came away impressed. The Lawler fight was entertaining but the ending kinda messed it up. I actually really liked the tutorial as I liked them trying to educate the novice fan and other people on positions and what the fighters are trying to work for. Especially on the ground most people just see two dudes rolling on the canvas and have no idea what they are trying to work for.

Big negative was the Kimbo crap- terrible terrible technical fight, they both gassed, the groundgame was atrocious by both men and the stoppage was BS(IMO). I really wish the caliber of the fighters had been better to showcase to casual fans and viewers and especially the main event.

I voted "wait and see" for this question as I want to see longterm the effect this event had.

EDIT: This event is also bringing a huge amount of people to this site especially this section- 12 members on, 208 guests on...wow.


Last edited by Walker; 06-02-2008 at 03:04 PM.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-02-2008, 03:18 PM
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I think it's more good for the sport than bad.

It's also CBS and EXC's first stab at a Network TV Sat. Night Fights format.

Hopefully after all the bad things have been publicized they will lose the "dancing ho's", excessively long intros, and the sub-par main event for the next one.

I'm also really glad that so many were watching when the Kimbo hype train got deflated a bit. None of his nut-huggers seem to be claiming him invincible anymore.




Don Frye's Mustache > Kimbo's Beard

Last edited by stitch1z; 06-22-2008 at 10:42 AM. Reason: misspelling
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