By Zach Arnold | December 14, 2008
- It’s not a factor right now, but UFC is going to have to upgrade their production values over the next 1-2 years. The danger? They’ll end up like WWE and keep using the same production values for the past decade like that company has. Given how UFC has modeled itself after some WWE-style elements, they would wise to give their production staff a break and come up with some new, fresh ideas on how to change things up. Improvements are needed on many levels — including creative ideas (get rid of the Gladiator entrance, the now-generic “one guy talks, other guy responds” black/white promos, same format and layout of fights, etc.)
- Part of the production that desperately needs to change is the announcing. I understand that Mike Goldberg is a favorite of UFC management, and yes, he has hung out with Dana White before at after-show VIP parties. With that stated, his persona and schtick is older than dirt. It’s beyond parody at this point. There’s being a ‘carny’ and then there’s the level of carniferousness that Goldberg unleashed last night on viewers at home. Even judging his work on a sliding-scale, the most jawdropping carny of all carny-ish statements Goldberg made on the telecast involved Junie Browning and Chris Leben. Goldberg actually made the claim, without laughing on air, about how Chris Leben became a ‘reformed’ man after ‘graduating’ from the ‘TUF house.’ I’m serious. Chris Leben, a man who went to jail, a man who just failed a steroids test coming off of his last fight against Michael Bisping, and now we’re supposed to believe in the re-writing of history about who he is and what he’s done during his UFC career?
- Even though Todd Harris works with ABC Sports and college football for most of his professional schedule on Saturday nights, I would much rather see the less-experienced WEC announcer pick up more UFC duties when football season is in recess. The fans at home need a change of pace. Harris and Rogan could be a good combination. It would, in my opinion, create a more professional feel to UFC events.
- As far as I could tell (based on what I watched of the TUF Finale), there was no update on Yoshiyuki Yoshida at all. I bring this up because Mike Goldberg thanked the fans at the beginning of the telecast for the Fight for the Troops special, mentioned about the charity that money raised went to (brain trauma victims), and left it at that. I first thought about Yoshida when Goldberg did this intro, and was quickly reminded of it when Anthony Johnson managed to knock out Kevin Burns with a left high-kick. Thankfully for Burns, he was able to recover and stand back up for the winner’s announcement by Bruce Buffer. If Burns would have had to been stretchered out of the cage, would UFC have shown it? Not that I guess it matters, since practically no other MMA web sites even touched upon the way UFC/Spike TV covered the aftermath of Yoshida’s knockout at the hands of Josh Koscheck.
- I agree with site comments about the pacing of the TUF Finale being better than the Fight for the Troops show, but that to me is not saying a whole lot. What is saying a whole lot is the carnage on both shows in regards to some of the vicious knockouts and submissions. It’s been a pretty good week overall for matchmaker Joe Silva. Plus, they got a 1.4 cable rating on Spike TV for the FFTT special.
- For all the talk by certain MMA writers about Junie Browning and what a ‘great heel’ he was coming out of the TUF show, I thought it was perfect karma that Browning got such a tepid and lukewarm response from the Vegas audience when he came to the cage and during his fight. Compared to the reaction that Ryan Bader got from the same fans… An old lesson from pro-wrestling matchmaking — you can push and push a certain person as hard as you can and maybe the fans will eventually come around to accepting that person as a star, but most of the time those same fans can see right through the push and will, in the end, reject it.