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YAMMA Pit Fighting Thoughts & Commentary



The only thing that I took from the YAMMA is that it promotes a lot of takedowns. There were a lot of wrestlers on the card so that probably had something to do with the amount of takedowns, but more often than not, when a fight hit the lip of the YAMMA, it went to the ground almost automatically. It’s certainly not the “revolutionary fastest fighting surface” that they talked it up to be nor did I expect that going in. I got exactly what I thought I would get and that was a lame gimmick that backfired in YAMMA’s faces. Instead of speeding the action up and creating scrambles, it created boring fights.

The Tournament

I know that YAMMA has no control over the amount of time that the fights could last during the tournament. That’s all up the the athletic commission, but the single five minute round format for the opening and semifinal bouts were way too short. One single five minute round doesn’t allow you to feel an opponent out and sort of work on a gameplan that you have for that particular fighter.

One takedown under this format and the fight was more or less over. With only five minutes to move onto the next round, it promoted a lot of lay ‘n pray and boring rounds because no one wanted to waste energy or risk losing the round and the fight. I know YAMMA doesn’t have a thing to do with this, but perhaps the next tournament (if they have one) should be fought in a state where they can increase the time limit on the fights.

Travis Wiuff ended up winning and being presented with possibly the most meaningless piece of metal in mixed martial arts, the YAMMA Pit Fighting heavyweight championship after his victory in the finals over Chris Tuscherer. The fight ended up being the fight of the night and even it wasn’t all that fantastic. Tuscherer impressed me, though. He trains out of Minnesota Martial Arts and was very tough to finish against a very experienced Wiuff. If there’s one fighter that came out of this with a great experience and something to build on, it was Tuscherer. He might be a heavyweight to keep an eye out for.

Sherman Pendergarst did exactly what we thought he would do and that’s get eliminated quickly. His fight was the only fight not to go the distance in the first round of the tournament. He looked totally out of shape and was visibly gassed in the middle of round one. Good work, Sherm.

There’s not really much to say about Ricco Rodriguez because he put up exactly the kind of performance you expect from him nowadays. He looked out of shape, but was able to put together one victory in the opening round of the tournament. When he ran into Wiuff in the second round of the tournament though, it was clear that Wiuff actually trained properly and came to fight for a full 25 minutes and that Ricco did not.

The Superfights

It’s time for Mark Kerr to hang it up. When you’re getting caught in kneebars that easily by Oleg Taktarov, it’s time to hang the gloves up. Kerr came in at his heaviest weight ever and was submitted easily by Taktarov in the opening minutes of the fight. Taktarov expressed after the fight that he wished he was one of the tournament participants and would like to compete in one in the future. You and me both, Oleg, but at 40 years old and with your history of fights, you aren’t getting licensed to fight in a tournament anytime soon.

I have to admit, I am an Oleg Taktarov fan from way back, so I was glad to see him get the W over Kerr tonight. A fight between these two in their prime is something that would have been great to see, but these days it has certainly lost its luster.

Butterbean vs. Pat Smith was a real sight to behold. Butterbean was looking to land the haymaker right hand and Smith stayed out of range and peppered him with punches and leg kicks standing up. The funniest part of this fight was really a tossup for me. Was it Butterbean’s piss poor attempts at leg kicks? Or was it when he fell down and literally was so huge that he couldn’t get back to his feet? Definitely the latter.

When Butterbean fell to his back, he was a beached whale. He literally could not get up and Pat Smith capitalized. Smith wasn’t even holding Butterbean down with his body. No, he was just kneeling beside him and punching him in the face on the ground. Butterbean showed no attempt to get to guard or anything and just let Smith literally kneel right next to him and punch him in the face repeatedly. In my opinion, the referee could have stepped in and stopped it much sooner, but he had to be dumbfounded by the position. Any other fighter would simply have gotten up. For Butterbean, that was too tall a task.

Pat Smith then proceeded to thank the entire state of Texas, person by person, in his post fight interview.

The Production

It had its ups and downs. Personally I enjoyed the commentary team which consisted of long time UFC announcer Jeff Blatnick, former UFC announcer Bruce Beck, and former UFC matchmaker John Peretti, who also used to do UFC broadcasts from time to time. That crew brought back some memories from the early days of the UFC, which I think was the point. Meyrowitz pulled these guys out of the woodwork for a reason. I specifically always enjoy listening to Blatnick because he brings a lot of knowledge to the announce booth, so I give them credit on getting this crew together. With the exception of an awkward statement from Peretti from time to time, the crew was pretty good.

The camera work and the overall production is something that definitely need work. For example, when there are key moments in a fight why would I want a shot of the fighter’s cornermen or a shot of the crowd? I felt like I was watching PRIDE shows on Fox Sports Net where they cut to the crowd to cut out foot stomps, knees to the head on the ground, and soccer kicks to make it more television friendly. Right in the middle of the action the camera turns to a shot of the crowd. Not particularly what I wanted to see.

Scott Ferrall as a ring announcer for YAMMA should be one and done. Probably the most unprofessional ring announcing job I have ever seen and that is saying something. How often does a ring announcer get described as unprofessional? They just go in and read off a card and tell the audience who the fighters are, right? No. Tonight Scott Ferrall and his voice that sounds like a voice box went over the line.

“Drink a cold one for Ricco ‘Suave’ Rodriguez”, he said at one point. Are you kidding me? Did Ferrall miss the boat that Ricco was just in rehab? Give me a break. Ferrall’s voice alone was enough to drive me batshit crazy let alone his antics in the cage and his ad libs. “Travis ‘Diesel’ ‘Room With A’ Wiuff” was another one. Stick to Sirius radio, Ferrall. I know you’re into MMA and all, but please stay out of the announcing business. The YAMMA show was a clear example of this.

Overall Impression

Other than providing a great night of comic relief, YAMMA was extremely lackluster. The surface isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, the fights were B-level at best, the talent on the card was extremely mediocre, and the superfights were nothing but novelties. I’ve seen better fights and fighters on local cards than what was on display tonight. If this is the standard for YAMMA, don’t expect them to be around very long. Lots of empty seats in the Taj Mahal and a ridiculously low pay per view buy will most likely make YAMMA a one and done promotion.

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