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IFL on MNTV – Week 3

By Zach Arnold | March 26, 2007

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Post your comments (if you saw the show) here.

First notes within the first 10 minutes – they are pushing 9 fights (again), they are using the old footage from last year pushing Renzo vs. Miletich (this was good), and they are pushing the New York Pitbulls team with Renzo doing a lot of talking (this is also good).

Some other notes…

On this week’s show, they showed a menu listing five upcoming fights. However, they only listed the last name of fighters (no first names nor any pictures). One wacky editing spot on the show involved Pitbulls fighter Delson Heleno. They showed a fight at the beginning of the program with Heleno winning. During that fight, Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros talked about how Heleno since studied the IFL rulebook to make sure that he wouldn’t break the rules again. Later on in the program, they showed Heleno’s first one… the one where he got disqualified against Dennis Hallman for an illegal leg kick. The fight that Quadros and Bas were alluding to at the beginning of the show.

The IFL Battleground show then discussed the results of the web site poll about whether or not Aaron Stark tapped out to Alex Schoenauer (the controversial referee stoppage). They claimed that over 500,000 people… and 51% said Stark did not tap out, 49% said he did. I have no idea what this says about the IFL audience.

Again, too many fights on this show. The most frustrating thing about the IFL Battleground shows is that the show doesn’t let the IFL’s core strength – their fights and their fighters – shine. They take a positive and manage to turn it into a negative by throwing so much against the wall. For example… the program showed another Ben Rothwell KO. This guy should be money for them. He should be a big star after a month on free-to-air TV. Instead, the program is formatted in a way that makes Rothwell look like just another fighter on the show. By throwing so many fights in one sitting, you’re asking the fans to try to absorb all sorts of information. What ends up happening is you get casual fans who watch the IFL Battleground show and try to watch the fights by saying, “Oh yeah, I really like that guy in the yellow trunks.”

Another instance of the program format hurting the IFL’s core strength is the way the program aired Renzo Gracie vs. Pat Miletich. The FSN show (when this aired last year) did a magnificent job with video packages and pacing to tell a story between these two legends. Why are they fighting, how they are preparing, what their family lives are like, etc. Just great stuff on the FSN show. When that same FSN footage is edited for the IFL Battleground program, it’s as if the conversion process completely takes the excitement out of the footage. I can’t explain why or exactly how it is. I just feel it.

After spending a good 90 minutes promoting the New York Pitbulls (Renzo is a great talker), the program suddenly jumps to a super fight between Robbie Lawler (whose background in UFC was not mentioned) and Eduardo Pamplona. Neither guy is given any sort of air time to build up their profiles. Instead, more time is shown promoting Evander Holyfield on color commentary (and what a time they chose to push him given the recent steroid probe) than the fighters themselves. You have no idea what kind of past fight history either fighter has, and the super fight ended up being largely boring (the fans were booing your main event on TV) with a controversial referee stoppage.

Coming soon, I have an article that will discuss why we should all support the IFL being a successful promotion. If the IFL is successful, it will open the doors to many more upstarts and really provide a checks-and-balances system to North American MMA. However, every time I’ve watched IFL Battleground I come away with a completely empty feeling about the product. Empty in the sense that I know that what I’m watching is not doing the fighters, the fights, or the product justice. Somehow and someway, this show takes the IFL’s core strengths and twists it into a boring pretzel. Again, it comes off as a show produced by people who have little to no experience in MMA.

I just don’t know why this show hasn’t lived up to its potential, in my opinion.

Topics: All Topics, IFL, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 4 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

4 Responses to “IFL on MNTV – Week 3”

  1. Rollo the Cat says:

    I watched the first show, skipped the second and watched tonight.

    I actually enjoyed it. Some of the fights were good. There were a few early stoppages, but the IFL can’t help that. I think the MMA game was given fair representation in terms of all its aspects. Still, the minor league level of some of the fights shows through, but that’s life for other promotions in a UFC dominated world.

    I thought Holyfield was a plus, and lent some credibility to the whole event formt he standpoint of a casual fan, at least.

    I would like to see more educational segments. Bas would be perfect for that.

    I remember hearing that the first six episodes had already been written when the first aired. So I think they are probably scrambling to edit these shows now, which is difficult. we will see the real Battleground in a few weeks. Until then, I say paws up.

  2. Rollo the Cat says:


    I would like to see the Battleground show done in a more documentary style. Maybe shoot it on film, or whatver they do nowadays to make the look less garish than video. Slowing the pace down, as you seem to be saying would be a good idea, following the fighters as they train and prepare. Maybe more like NFL films does.

    Also, for this show, as opposed to the Fox show, they could do the fights differently. Show the matches and have fighters voice over at certain moments, telling what they were thinking or attempting at that point in the fight.

  3. Zach Arnold says:

    NFL films is the gold standard for documentary-style shows. If the IFL could manage to get someone from Steve Sabol’s camp to work with them, that would be a tremendous help.

  4. Jeff Hamlin says:

    I promise you I’m not reading your reviews before I type my reports for Total coincidence that you and I mention that FSN show from last fall in our reviews. That was the textbook version of how the IFL should be, not just for this show, but for all of its MyNetwork shows. That show had six fights. If I’m not mistaken, they all aired in its entirety. And they had plenty of time to build the superfight. Once it aired, the viewers could understand the purpose, the fighters and the background. Too bad the current IFL production team didn’t see it.


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