I’d give the card a B-plus. While there weren’t any classic fights, the dramatic endings to several of the fights were plenty memorable. The action that transpired during the conclusion of those fights made the card well worth the price. It was night of some brutal knockouts that really got the adrenaline flowing.
Also, consider me a fan of afternoon MMA on pay-per-view. I guess I am showing my age because I am much more awake at 3 p.m. ET than I am at 10 p.m. ET. I also grew up watching sports on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and watching sports in those time slots are just my preference. While I didn’t have to pay to see games on TV, I’m more than willing to pay money to avoid having to be subjected to a billion commercials. But I’m in the minority here as I know the sport’s young audience would much rather make a night of it and with disposable income being hard to come by at times when you’re in your early-to-mid-20’s, the more free MMA the better.
There were a few negatives for me.
This was the first UFC PPV that I’ve seen in high definition. I watched the season finale for the sixth season of TUF on HD and was really impressed. However, I wasn’t anywhere near as impressed with Saturday’s HD telecast and I’m not sure why. The UFC controls all of their own production so it’s the same cameras, producers, etc. It just seemed like a lot of the shots weren’t even in HD. Some of the shots looked great, such as the overhead camera angles but at other times I completely forgot that I was watching a telecast that I had paid extra to see. Once again I was completely underwhelmed by the graphics.
I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to technology and have only had HD for a brief period of time. I’d love to hear from people who know more about the subject than I and what your thoughts are about the HD telecast. One thing I am sure of, Yarrenoka! in HD looked ten times better than UFC 80 in HD.
Another negative was the UFC’s decision to use Sean Sherk as a third member of the announce team during the main event between B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson. I understand the logic behind having him involved, as it helps promote a match down the line between him and Penn. However, considering the reason why he’s no longer champion it’s just a little hard for me to see him involved with almost no acknowledgment that he tested positive.
When they did their rap before the fight, Mike Goldberg sort of hinted at what the deal was and they hinted at it again during the match but they never addressed it with any sort of clarity. It almost seemed like that if you were a casual fan that wasn’t aware of the situation, the UFC wasn’t going to do anything to help inform you of the circumstances. From day one the company has tried to sweep the Sherk situation under the rug. It only seemed liked they announced it on their web site because they had no other choice. Dana White broke the news and in a way to call as little attention to it as possible.
The way Sherk was dealt with last night would never happen if it was the NFL, NBA, or Major League Baseball. But that’s what happens when MMA is covered like an entertainment show as opposed to a sport.
Sherk’s behavior to me is irrational, bizarre, and at times, borderline insane. Again, I’m not disgusted at him for testing positive for steroids and still don’t know whether he did it or not, but how he’s handled the situation is beyond embarrassing at this point. Saying during the match that he had no respect for B.J. Penn is ridiculous. Even more ridiculous was Sherk’s expression when he entered the cage and got booed. What, did Dick Cheney tell Sherk he’d be greeted as a liberator?
Normally Goldberg and Joe Rogan’s commentary doesn’t bother me but it did Saturday night. There were just some statements made that left me scratching my head. During the pre-taped promo for Jason Lambert, I believe I heard Goldberg say that Lambert “was talked about in the light heavyweight title picture after his win over Sobral.” Huh? Who talked about him in the UFC light heavyweight title picture?
At another point Rogan chimed in and said something to the effect of that “Babalu was a highly-rated fighter at the time” when he was defeated by Lambert. Well, if he was a highly-rated fighter then, why would he be now after he beat David Heath? Hey, I was all for Babalu being let go after that fight but he still won it. Why is he no longer a top light heavyweight? Because he’s not in the UFC? Was Rogan told to phrase it that way or was he simply calling it like he sees it?