We took in the bloated spectacle of MMA last night that took far too long to finish, had a messy and controversial finish, and was tinged with sloppy production throughout.
(This technique was also used when Jennifer Aniston was pregnant during the filming of “Friends”)
And that was just the Kimbo Slice-James Thompson fight.
The EliteXC fights on CBS last night rarely had the chance to be completely entertaining, but we are willing to grant some level of pass for that since part of the thrill of sport should be its unscripted and unpredictable nature. However, there were plenty of opportunities for CBS and EliteXC to avoid predictable pitfalls and simply failed.
Sound miscues, clumsy video editing (like pre-taping interviews where fighters wish other fighters luck in fights already completed), and ugly flailing by the team in the truck to find decent camera angles marred the fights themselves. However, the worst sins of EliteXC and CBS came from the planning stages.
The overwrought introductions, extended taped pieces, and stunningly long post-match analyses dragged fights that ended quickly and/or prematurely through the local news east of the Mississippi. EliteXC and CBS judged us, the casual viewers aged 14-34, and decided we were too stupid to enjoy the fights themselves and required both dogs and ponies.
(This would explain the state of the ring at the end of the night. Unfortunately, all surgeries attempted in that theater last night were botched.)
Two fights ended with 60-second knockouts, a middleweight title bout stopped after an inadvertent eye poke, and Gina Carano managed to smash Kaitlin Young in the eye with the doughnut in her right hand to get a TKO. Rumbles of fixing ran through the message boards and blogs this morning, but we’re not sure EliteXC or CBS were that well-organized last night.
Instead, it appeared some combination of EliteXC, CBS, and the New Jersey officials chose to show they had control over the violence and could sanitize the sport for national viewing audiences. Well… okay. Best of luck with that.
However, a positive: Kimbo Slice had no reason to commit to learning a ground game at his advanced age. He made decent coin and got on magazine covers for his brawling style. However, he gamely attempted pivoting on his hip to escape and even took a lunge himself at an offensive ground move in the second round.
His willingness to learn and experiment impressed us even if the results were subpar. He could have been embarrassed on the ground (and was for much of the second round), but he just wanted to fight well. CBS’ next attempt at broadcasting MMA should show the same bravery and conviction.
(And new ties for the announcers. Gentlemen, a sale at Kohl’s isn’t required attendance.)