If you didn’t watch the inaugural YAMMA Pit Fighting then God has smiled upon you this day.
It was seriously terrible. There was a novelty value for all of about 10 minutes but once it wore off you found yourself watching some very sloppy and very unexciting MMA, with terrible, terrible commentary.
The show was a train wreck which I couldn’t take my eyes off. But in all great disasters there are lessons learned, so it is without any further waffle I provide, 10 things learned from YAMMA Pit Fighting.
10. John Peretti should not be a commentator.
If you remember back to the early UFC’s, John Peretti was the UFC matchmaker and would frequently be in the commentary box and would provide little to no insight. Nothing much has changed. Peretti’s commentary would consist of either saying Sherman Pendergarst was “built like a sprinter” (the relevance of that I have no idea) or he would either make disparaging remarks about the fighters appearance or what they were doing. The guy basically spewed negativity and showcased basically no knowledge of the sport. If YAMMA continues beyond this event, they seriously need to ditch Peretti. Beck and Blatnik are OK for nostalgic purposes but they really need a fighter in the booth to give at least some sort of insight. Let me narrow that down, a fighter who isn’t Ron Waterman. Was anyone else like “WTF?” when he just showed up randomly?
9. Butterbean should stick to boxing.
There’s that small part of me I try to hide that loves the “freakshow” aspect of MMA. That small part of me most likely got me to watch this event and it also keeps me interested in the career of Eric “Butterbean” Esch. However after tonight I can safely say I never want to watch Butterbean in an MMA arena ever again. His fight with Patrick Smith was just mean. There was something about watching Butterbean stuck on his back like a turtle, unable to get up while Smith just wailed on him that made me feel uneasy. Butterbean should either go back to boxing where he doesn’t have to worry about that aspect or just hang up the gloves.
8. Scott Ferrall is… just no.
Some of you will probably disagree with me and say that ring announcer Scott Ferrall was the best thing about the whole show and for the first 10 minutes of listening to him croak out the verbal diarrhoea he calls announcing I would have agreed with you. For that 10 minutes I was laughing along with the rest of you while shaking my head at the absurdity of it all but then after having to sit through the fights and then struggle to make out the clutter of words he was moaning I was pretty much over Scott Ferrall. The novelty had worn off and when he labelled the YAMMA heavyweight belt as the “big strap on” I was pretty much begging for a large hook to come in from off screen and pull him out of view. The only time I will ever watch anything starring Scott Ferrall again is if it is a deathmatch between he and Rich “G Man” Goins.
7. Ricco Rodriguez looked bad.
Admittedly, I am not a fan of Ricco’s. I’m not a fan of the way he acts or carries himself but tonight I kind of felt sorry for him. The guy used to be the UFC heavyweight champion but now he finds himself fighting in this… thing. If he had won the thing there would have been some dignity in that but to go out in the second round after being laid on for five minutes was just sad. Add to that the fact he looked really out of shape and really slow and you have a very depressing concoction.
6. Mark Kerr looked worse.
Mark Kerr used to be the most feared MMA fighter in the world. Mark Kerr used to be a physical specimen. But as John Peretti so bluntly pointed out during Kerr’s walk in, “he didn’t use to look like that.” Gone are the days of the muscular frame and the ferocious ground and pound. They have been replaced my the lumbering shell of a former fighter. Congratulations to Taktarov for getting the knee bar submission victory, but really what else did Kerr have to watch out for?
5. Heavyweights probably wasn’t the best of ideas.
I know heavyweights are the marquee attraction in combat sports. The reason for this being that when you get huge, athletic and skilled guys fighting each other the stakes and scale seem so much more grander because the blows taken and received are so much more powerful. However heavyweight fights only work if the competitors are huge, athletic and skilled. Unfortunately there is a shortage of heavyweight fighters in this world who meet all the criteria. YAMMA didn’t have any of those fighters in their tournament and as a result we received a night of slow and sloppy action.
4. One five minute round is not enough time to determine the winner of a fight.
There was absolutely no closure in any of the fights in the first two rounds of the tournament (except for Sherman Pendergarst, forearm choke? WTF?!). I found it pretty hilarious in a sad kind of way that YAMMA was created on the premise that it was going to eliminate the wrestling/stalling tactics but in the end six out of the seven tournament fights ended in some form of lay and pray with the one five minute rounds in the opening stages of a tournament a major factor.
3. There is no place for 8 man tournaments in the modern day of MMA.
If YAMMA had their way I think we would have seen three 5 minute rounds for every fight in the tournament. However this isn’t the mid-90s. MMA now has to go through various athletic commissions that won’t allow fighters to fight more than 25 minutes each night. YAMMA worked with what they were given but you can’t work three fights into the 25 minute window without losing the spectacle. The audience just feels cheated when a fighter gets to proceed in a tournament after laying on a fighter for 5 minutes. There isn’t enough time for the fighters to work and in the end, the legitimacy of the title given to the eventual winner is tainted. MMA has moved on.
2. The Trump Taj Mahal was way too big for the YAMMA.
I don’t know what Bob Meyrowitz was expecting crowd-wise but he seemed to have pretty high hopes when he booked the Trump Taj Mahal. At the weigh-in on Thursday, Meyrowitz was expecting 1,000 people to show up… no one did. Sherdog.com reporter, Josh Gross described it as, “depressing”. There was a crowd at yesterday’s event but I think they basically filled up the first few rows and were made up mostly of Ricco Rodriguez’s immediate family. The venue was lighted in such a way that you couldn’t see past the few rows but when the camera panned up and you got a flash of the rest of the seating in the building, you saw that the arena was pretty much empty.
1. The YAMMA Pit does more harm than good.
Finally, number one on the list of things learned from the inaugural YAMMA Pit Fighting event. The pit was designed in order to negate stall tactics by wrestlers. I believe that’s why the cast of fighters were predominantly wrestlers to try and prove this point. That may have been the theory but that is not how things played out. The “height advantage” the fighter was meant to gain from standing on the raised part of the pit was completely non existant. The raised part of the pit only aided the wrestler in being able to achieve a double leg much easier. Countless times, the bigger, stronger fighter pushed his opponent to the raised part of the pit and simply scored the easy double leg takedown. For a show that was claiming they had eradicated “lay and pray” with their new revolutionary surface, they had more decision wins from that very method than I had ever seen in any other MMA show. Also I can’t imagine what it would have been like for the 5 or so people that attended who were on ground level and could only see the head of the fighter laying on top of his opponent due to the raised sides of the pit. The YAMMA Pit and the whole event in general basically proves that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
That’s all from me. I hope to never hear from the YAMMA again unless its their dismal live gate and PPV numbers.
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