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A bunch of MMA randomness from this past weekend

By Zach Arnold | September 27, 2010

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Dana White has a saying that he likes to tout after every UFC show and that saying can be paraphrased in this manner: Whenever we put on a show, we make a good first impression in that town and ‘the MMA bug’ spreads like a virus. Somehow, I’m not sure that’s totally the case with last Saturday’s Indianapolis show. The Indianapolis Star has two headlines of note: Rousing UFC event fizzled at the finish at fieldhouse and UFC card is a huge hit with Hoosiers. I love this Indy Channel report claiming millions of people watched UFC 119 on PPV.

After Melvin Guillard’s fight performance against Jeremy Stephens, Rich Hansen at MMA Torch had less than kind things to say about Greg Jackson. As Jonathan Snowden puts it, Winning Above All: The Greg Jackson Formula.

Michael Bisping penned a piece for Sky Sports (or someone did it for him) where he’s frustrated by the fact that Yoshihiro Akiyama isn’t talking trash about him. He wants to fight an opponent who talks trash so that he can be more motivated.

Can someone please explain to me why the Alex Reid fight was such a big deal over the weekend in the UK? There’s a million tabloid headlines over there like:

A must-see: A report w/ photos of Georges St. Pierre drawing huge crowds in the Philippines.

Notes on DREAM 16 TV ratings. Take note that the show drew a 11.9% rating overall, with the Satoshi Ishii vs. Minowaman fight drawing a peak rating of 18.1%. Speaking of Ishii, there’s been discussion of him wrestling Naoya Ogawa on the IGF 12/3 Ryogoku Kokugikan show in Tokyo.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, UK, Zach Arnold | 38 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

38 Responses to “A bunch of MMA randomness from this past weekend”

  1. Ryan says:

    Hey Zach. In relation to the popularity of the Alex Reid fight (which I thoroughly enjoyed BTW), there was a ton of build up leading up to the fight in the UK. They made a TV programme which followed him training different styles of MMA around the world to prepare for the fight. He then suffered an injury which caused the fight to be postponed and they made another programme about his training to get back to into shape. I have to admit I was sceptical of Reid in the beginning but after watching some of the programmes and seeing his attitude he is actually a really good proponent for MMA in the UK.

  2. Brad Wharton says:

    The buzz about the Reid fight had nothing to do with the build-up for it or the awful TV series he filmed for Bravo (in which he trained various TMA’s including the feared Kaysi Fighting Method, which even Reid admitted would be useless in an MMA fight) in the run up to it. The ratings for the TV show were insignificant.

    The four headlines you put up there explain why the Reid/Watson fight was a big deal in the UK Zach; Reid is Katie Price/Jordan’s husband/lapdog, and she is one of the biggest tabloid darlings in the country. Reid gained his own notoriety after appearing in the last ever Celebrity Big Brother, not as ‘Alex Reid, MMA fighter’ but as ‘Alex Reid, cross-dressing boyfriend of Jordan who does some cage fighting stuff’. He was put in to stir up trouble with Dane Bowers, Jordan’s ex (who coincidentally is the ‘money’ behind ‘Knuckle Up MMA’, a pro-am MMA show here in the UK) that was also on the show.

    Some people here have called it our Griffin-Bonnar…which it was and it wasn’t. Mostly it wasn’t. The fight was wild, messy and exciting and Reid showed the kind of heart that few people thought he had. I was unable to attend on the night, but was told by friends later that evening that is was one of the best ‘fight atmospheres’ they’d ever experienced.

    But make no mistake about it, the ‘buzz’ is from the tabloid press and people who know Reid as Jordan’s cross-dressing other half; it’d have been the same if they’d had a fight or a game of ping-pong.

    For what it’s worth, I gave my take on the Griffin/Bonnar comparison here:

  3. Brad Wharton says:

    Question: Is Ogawa still enough of a big deal in Japan that a fight between him an Ishii at Dynamite! would be worth FEG finding the money for?

  4. Mark says:

    I have no idea how good the fight was (although I dislike sloppy slobberknockers so I don’t think I’ll enjoy it from reports) but I think it should be mentioned more as their Krazy Horse vs Ken Kaneko since it’s all about some cheesy celebrity fighting and not solidifying the sport as a mainstream success like Bonnar-Griffin.

    As for Ogawa, he’s certainly not what he was in 2005, but he’ll always have name value there. Actually, that’s a summary of MMA period in Japan: not what it was 5 years ago but can always peak some interest in spurts. Sad. The days when lots of fight fans wished they could move to Japan feels like forever ago.

  5. Brad Wharton says:

    I wouldn’t go as far as to liken Reid to Ken Kaneko…he was, at one time, considered the UK’s top middleweight prospect and has been kickboxing during his MMA hiatus. He also kept coming forward until the final bell, despite taking an absolute battering…and dished out a fair amount of punishment of his own to boot.

    Who knows really? Nobody expected Griffin vs Bonnar to have the impact that it ended up having. Maybe Watson/Reid will do the same in the UK…I just don’t see it. Not yet.

  6. Fluyid says:

    Ivan Trembow no longer will be following MMA:

    I too found that HBO show on ALS that me mentioned very sobering. And, personally, I had over 100 amateur boxing matches and seven pro ones… it scared the shit out of me.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      MMA is safer then boxing. MMA is safer then football.

      Baseball is the safest major sport today.

      A basketball or tennis player will have no knees by 35. A hockey player’s back will be gone. An NFL player will be physically broke down and with massive head injuries. Boxers will sound punch drunk. Some MMA fighters will too.

      These athletes know the risks. It stinks that they are risking so much, but many of the MMA guys could get regular day jobs. They CHOOSE not to. I enjoy MMA. I’m not going to stop watching it because a few guys are broken down later in life.

      I understand Ivan’s feelings on the matter…. But I think he is forgetting that the athletes have a CHOICE!!

      • 45 Huddle says:

        I should add to my post that even though baseball is the safest sport…. Pitchers and catchers still wreck their bodies.

        So I guess unless you are a NFL kicker or a MLB outfielder…. Sports is not kind to the body….

        • edub says:

          “or a MLB outfielder”

          See Griffey, Torii Hunter, or any other Outfielder that continuously smashes into fences for a rebuttal to that.

          It really could happen anywhere.

      • Mark says:

        I think it’s clear when you read Ivan’s whole final column he’s more upset with Zuffa than anything. In it he blames no union, no health insurance, lackluster drug test; all thinks people who don’t like the UFC are angry about. Head injuries is just a small part of it really. And I would hope it is, because if you‘ve watched combat sports for 20 years and just now realize brain trauma is bad for you then you must have severe learning disabilities.

        It reminds me of the ridiculousness of Bryan Alvarez’s recent interview with Paul Heyman where he claims they had no idea that chairshots caused concussions that cause brain damage. Uh, did you get all of your head injury knowledge from The Flintstones where all you had to do to correct a head injury was get another one? It has been common knowledge for decades getting hit in the head is very bad for you and you don’t have to be in something as major as having your head smashed in a car wreck to have brain damage that impacts you for the rest of your life.

        So anybody claiming “We didn’t know brain injuries were bad for you until that Chris Nowinski book came out” is full of crap. And yes, saying you’re giving up being a sports fan because you realized you’re enabling brain damage is as ridiculous as saying you’re giving up listening to music because you’re enabling drug addicted musicians.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The funny thing is that no union or health insurance or anything else will stop these long term injuries. Fighters will still get punched in the head. Fighters will still take major head shots. That is what the sport is about.

          Ivan’s always been a little off on what he complains about. I guess this is no different.

        • Mark says:

          You’re right. I think they should offer benefits. But the problem is these guys aren’t going to have problems until 20-30 years from now, so who is to say UFC would even be around then, or be around in 2040 to the level to afford to pay Player’s Union-like deals to cover all former athlete’s medical expenses? Unless I’m wrong and they really do start making NFL-size money they won’t be able to pay for insurance for hundreds of MMA fighters for the rest of their lives. I wish they could, but it’s not going to be possible.

          And I don’t mean to totally crap on Ivan’s column. I understand what he’s saying. But since one of my first UFC experiences was seeing John Matua losing control of his limbs after a brutal knockout in 1995, it instantly made me realize “This Ultimate Fighting thing is bad for the brain.” And no amount of post-fight interviews with guys who got rocked putting sentences together subtracted from that.

    • I have no problem with people deciding MMA isn’t for them. To be a fan who denies the reality of the violence inherent in MMA for years who then decides to make a very long and public exit from just watching though? Gimmie a break.

    • Black Dog says:

      I honestly don’t have a problem with Ivan deciding he won’t watch MMA anymore.

      This coming from the self-righteous, Ivan “Ban Them for LIFE!” Trembow, who demanded every fighter be banned forever for the least little thing.

      The thing is: will Ivan still pen his largely self-serving prose about MMA, without watching it? If so, it makes him look more hollow than he did before.

      I get where Ivan is coming from in that article, I really do. I understand what he is saying and why; thing is, it scratches the surface of the major problem that MMA fighers and others face in the long-term.

      Yes, people are gonna get hit in the head in MMA; do it long enough, you’re bound to have problems. Just take a look at boxers who fought on too long or wrestlers who sound like they’re punch-drunk after too many piledrivers and brainbusters.

      There needs to be a uniform standard for how much is too much, with enough latitude for referees to do their job. I just don’t see how we’ll get the UFC, Strikeforce and the state athletic commissions to agree on such standards, even if all agree the safety of the fighters is paramount.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    Greg Jackson’s teaching style is absolutely boring, but hardly something to be worried about. Snowdumb over there at BE is just trying to get page views and has no concern for reality. Anybody with a good knowledge of the sport knows that everything goes in cycles.

    There was a point in time that Pat Miletich’s camp ruled the UFC. And people complained that Miletich was ruining the sport with there boring style.

    What ended up happening was 2 things. First, the sport started to pass that camp by. Secondly, their timid style ended up catching up with them. They forgot how to be able to pull the trigger when in a tough spot and lost many of fights they shouldn’t have because of it.

    The same will eventually happen for Jackson’s crew. We can already see the fear of Rashad and GSP of getting hit. The next time GSP gets in trouble, it won’t look like GSP/Penn 1. He’s going to crumble like he did against Serra.

    If anything, I think that GSP/Serra and Evans/Machida showed what true fighters they are not. They don’t have that mental toughness to come back from that and still throw punches. They are literally afraid to get hit.

    And that will always catch up with a fighter in the long run. And just like the Miletich crew…. Once guys at Jackson’s start racking up more loses, fighters will go to new locations and that boring style will be over with….

  8. kobashi says:

    Ishii wrestling Ogawa on the IGF sense would be a good move for Dream. If Ishii goes over with a win it raises his profile and it gives Dream and Ishii more media attention.

    Ishii beating Ogawa even in a pro-wrestling match would help his MMA career.

  9. mma clothing says:

    I thought the fight was good but to me it wasnt Reid looking good it was Watson looking bad!

  10. CapnHulk says:

    This is sort of random. I’m browsing various aggregator sites and up pops a music video by Genki Sudo.

    I didn’t know he had transitioned into a musical career, but then again I don’t pay much attention to Japaneses MMA these days.

  11. robthom says:

    Does 6 months minimum suspension seem like a lot for a basically taking a knee KO (tko?) and nothing else, and getting punched and whooped and tired but not KO’d at all?

  12. Body_Shots says:

    Where’s the Georges St. Pierre report?

  13. Chuck says:

    45 Huddle;

    Baseball being the safest major sport in America? What about golf? The only problem golf players will get is maybe bad hips and sun poisoning. Or swimming? Besides the threat of drowning, swimming HELPS your body.

  14. PizzaChef says:

    Got to say MMA is becoming safer than football over there (soccer) as well. So many horror tackles over there lately.

    The latest being Steve Sidwell’s horror tackle on Adlène Guedioura which gave Guedioura a fractured tibia.

  15. Rohan says:

    The Reid fight might well have been the most watched MMA fight in UK history. That it turned out to be a relatively exciting 5 round war was a big bonus.

    Why is it important? Well its complex but this is a crucial time for MMA in the UK TV market.

    The channel showing the Reid fight and hype programmes(Bravo) has been the biggest (most widely seen) television outlet for MMA in the UK. They essentially showed UFC PPVs on Sunday nights to (relatively) huge audiences enabling UFC to build a fan base and turn the UK into a profitable enterprise. Once UFC cut and run for a much better paying contract on a channel with a much smaller audience reach (Setanta then ESPN) Bravo has subsequently gone on to show on one day tape delay Strikeforce and various other shows (as well as TNA for those pro-wrestling fans).

    Unfortunatly for UK MMA fans Bravo is going to be closed down before the end of the year by Sky their parent company. Sky will be deciding shortly what Bravo programming is moved and carried on other channels (Living/Sky entertainment, Sky Sports).

    Sky also own the distribution network and are partners with ESPN who have a channel (showing UFC) carried by the Sky platform and a cross promotional agreement. Sky have also just bought the rights to the Ultimate Fighter. Sky show small time British MMA on their Sports channel and covered Cage Rage shows live on Saturday but because those channels require a further subsricption fee the auidences have been small.

    Therefore because of the timing the success or otherwise of Saturday’s show may ultimately decide the future and plurarity of UK TV coverage of MMA and thereby influence the health and growth of the sport in 3rd biggest UFC market.

    • Mark says:

      The network execs at Sky are going to want to give a close examination of the demo numbers first. Chances are, a huge chunk of those viewers were female tabloid readers. Are they going to be interested in Cage Rage now? Probably not. They’re Alex Reid fans (or more apt, Katie Price fans), not MMA fans.

      So then you’ll have a situation like Elite XC had where they had 80% of their audience being Kimbo Slice fans who couldn’t care less about their show when he wasn’t fighting. That’s not really helpful at the end of the day. They’re going to have to build their programming schedule around Alex Reid and run shows maybe every 3 months (or longer if he’s living off of his wife’s money and doing this for a hobby like lots of people believe.) And what happens when he (rightfully) tells them he’s the only reason for their success and demands an outrageous sum of money to fight again? Or if the UFC swoops him up when they that he’s 50 times bigger than Michael Bisping?

  16. Liger05 says:

    I really dont think the numbers for the Alex Reid fight will show the true popularity of MMA.

    The Ultimate Fighter now being shown on Sky Sports is the best thing for UFC and MMA in the UK. Already Sky have had blogs on the website and now the website has its own dedicated UFC section. Sky is the only network which will give the UFC this kind of exposure. When they come to London u will see fighters on shows like Soccer AM and Sky sports news. It\’s s a subscription service which wont put the UFC in as many homes as terrestrial tv however nobody else will plug UFC Product and its fighters like Sky will.

    • Brad Wharton says:

      That’s the theory…problem being that the TUF/Sky Sports deal isn’t exactly fantastic. Firstly, it’s on a 6-day delay, by which time most people who are remotely interested in MMA will have already seen it on the net/read about it online or watched the episode recap on ESPN’s MMA Live.

      Then you have the timeslot – great in theory because it’ll have the League Cup/Champion’s League as a lead-in. Which is fine, unless you’re one of the many people last week who set your Sky+/BT Vision/Virgin Media box to record it, and missed it because the footy went into extra time. It’s likely to get bounced around timeslot wise all season. And when there is no football, there’s no lead in.

      I agree with your general point though, MMA won’t ‘make it’ in the UK until Sky gets on board…let’s hope they put a little more into TUF over the coming weeks than they have already.

  17. Zack says:

    Who should I believe…the bitter Ivan or Dana White himself:

    “You go to your job and don’t perform; what will happen? And when people say, ‘Hey, these guys put their lives on the line,’ that’s a crock of s—. This sport is so safe. “

    There you go people…the sport is soooo safe. Nothing to see here.


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