So many things go into a MMA event, even more when it’s broadcast on one of the largest television networks available. Breaking down the evening into parts, let’s review and talk about the good, the not so good , and what Strikeforce/CBS needs to do to keep the momentum building from tonight’s landmark card.
The Card itself flat out performed, from Silva vs. Werdum all the way up to the main event. With the exception of the Shields vs Miller title fight some might say this card over performed as the long shots Rogers and Sokoudjou clearly came to fight and faired much better than most could have predicted. Even with the slow pace of Shields vs. Miller there was still a story being told, and it was dramatic with Miller nearly securing the victory by submission as time expired in the third round. The main event delivered, Strikeforce, CBS, and us as fans could not have asked for more. A+
Not so good
Johnson, Shamrock, Ranallo really need more time together. CBS needs to decide who their play by play announcer is going to be. Johnson often times seems unsure of himself, and incomplete in knowledge. If he is going to be the voice of MMA on CBS he needs to start covering and following the sport with the same dedication as he would College Basketball. On too many occasions it is clear he doesn’t know what he is looking at, or calling, and is unfamiliar with the fighters he is talking about. This is magnified by his willingness to go over the top about things he is more familiar with, thus making it clear to the audience at home that he is indeed learning the sport with them. Ranallo on the other hand has the experience and has been around the sport for quite some time. Often times instead of providing “color” he is finding himself following behind Johnson and adding the facts that should have been covered by the lead announcer.
I really want to like Frank Shamrock in the booth, and he does many things well, but leaving your partners hanging when asked “How did you score that round Frank.” Is just inexcusable. By no means was this the worst commentating ever, but improvement is needed to give people the full “Big Show” feel. C+
Having the referee’s mic’d was a very nice touch. It really gave the home viewer a better understanding of what was going on in some situations. Hearing fighters encouraged to protect themselves, let go of the cage, or to work for a better position goes a long way in making stoppages, stand ups and breaks in action make sense to the less experienced viewer. A+
Not so good.
The camera work in many cases wasn’t very good tonight, too many shots from bad angles that really need to be fixed. I can’t count the number of times we got direct shots of the back of the referee, and let’s be honest the shot of Fedor’s belly panning up to start the main event wasn’t very pretty.( especially in HD) C+
There are a few things Strikeforce and CBS could do to really improve broadcasts in the near future. While I think tonight’s debut was a solid effort, here is my wish list of changes big and small.
- PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD BROADCAST LIVE NATIONWIDE.
Although MMA is currently being handled by CBS’s entertainment division, this is a sporting event. CBS doesn’t ask football or baseball fans to watch games via tape delay, MMA needs to be treated the same. People are most interested in LIVE sporting events.
- Devote 3 hours to LIVE MMA.
It’s my feeling a lot is lost by not including fighter entrances. The anticipation of the fight doesn’t seem to build the same coming straight from a Poker commercial to Jimmy Lennon . I’m all for excellent pacing of events but tonight seemed rushed. And I have a funny feeling no one would complain if a 5th fight was added.
- Improve the Backstage reporter segments.
I don’t dislike the idea, but they seem ill prepared and clumsy at times. If they were a little more produced perhaps instead of playing “telephone” with the translators, we could have a clean overdub of the answers in English.
Overall the event was nothing short of an excellent debut for Strikeforce who are clearly the big winner of the evening. And honestly as critical as I may seem towards CBS, they did a fairly solid job based on the number of MMA shows they have produced. I guess if I really get bent out of shape I could always call them and demand a refund.