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Public ruling on UFC 120: We hate ESPN and the show was OK

By Zach Arnold | October 17, 2010

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I’ve been more interested in the reaction to the show than the show itself. As for the show itself, I’m not sure how you can say that ‘it set back British MMA’ because it’s going to take a while before we see some real cultivation of that scene in general before the real elite fighters are developed. Perhaps I’m not as skeptical as I should be. Hywel Teague says a lack of talent and shallow pool of fighters is hampering UFC’s expansion plans.

Overall, I thought it was an impressive atmosphere to see at O2 Arena and that the crowd was lively. The Michael Bisping fight with Yoshihiro Akiyama was fun — nothing more, nothing less. Bisping was certainly more aggressive than usual and punched (a lot), which is an improvement over bicycling backwards and circling around like he did in the Dan Henderson and Dan Miller fights. Dana White says that he would like to see Akiyama move down to 170 pounds (stamina issues) but I’m not sure if a move to 170 will help improve what Akiyama needs to work on. I give him credit — when he made the decision to jump to the UFC it was a risky move because he could have sat back and cherry-picked the fights he wanted in Japan. However, given the money troubles with DREAM and the way things have collapsed in Japan, Akiyama ultimately made the right move. His win total doesn’t reflect it, but he showed guts and heart in moving to the UFC.

Names at the UFC 120 show — Guy Ritchie, Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr.

Reading this article by USA Today on Tito Ortiz reminds me of what Luke Thomas has said over the last week, which is that absolutely no one is talking about Ortiz leading up to this weekend’s UFC 121 event in Anaheim. All the barkers are pushing the Lesnar/Velasquez and Shields/Kampmann fights, as they rightfully should. It’s a far cry from even a year ago when Zuffa had invested time to promote Ortiz.

Yesterday (before our server ate the post) we noted that there were a ton of people angry at ESPN for ‘giving away spoilers’ about UFC 120 match results on their news ticker during college football games. What I can say is that the reaction I’ve gotten from our various online outlets and in e-mail is that it’s about 65/35 angry versus those who say “hey, this is a real sport, shut up.”

This Thursday’s Bellator 33 event in Philadelphia features Eddie Alvarez vs. Roger Huerta and Lyman Good vs. Ben Askren. As fights alone, I expect them to be really entertaining and fun to watch. However, so many people have lost confidence in the promotion because of their television platform that it largely seems interest is muted.

For those who haven’t heard, Dana White told Ariel Helwani after the UFC 120 show that he will be in Reno this Wednesday with Vice President Joe Biden at the University of Nevada. Biden’s in town to stump for Harry Reid’s re-election bid for the US Senate.

When asked about the issue of over-saturation, Dana White’s attitude was summarized in this one quote: “We can’t pump out fights fast enough.”

After Vitali Klitschko’s pummeling of Shannon Briggs on Saturday night, Briggs is expected to stay in the hospital reportedly for up to a week.

Do you believe that MMA is part of the normalization of sociopathology in America? Put that axe down, junior.

Topics: Bellator, Media, MMA, UFC, UK, Zach Arnold | 28 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

28 Responses to “Public ruling on UFC 120: We hate ESPN and the show was OK”

  1. Fluyid says:

    “The moral rot at the center of American life results from a normalization of pathologies–sociopathic and psychopathic states and behaviors are now “normal” or incentivized. Moral behavior is institutionally punished.”

    That’s a little strong.

    Things change over time, social mores included.

  2. Steve4192 says:

    Regarding spoilers, add me to the “hey, this is a real sport, shut up’ tally.

    ESPN is in the business of reporting sports results. MMA is a sport. Ergo, ESPN should report MMA results.

    Blame Spike for not airing it live. Don’t blame ESPN for doing their job. It’s like blaming the scorpion for stinging the frog.

  3. MMA Tycoon says:

    There will be plenty of British fighters coming through in 2-3 years. A couple of years ago there were very few MMA gyms but now there are hundreds.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Let’s look at what ESPN really does….

    1) They do not show X-Game results on the ticker before the event has been shown on their channel.

    2) They made people click on links for the World Series of Poker results for a few years. Then they decided to push back the final table for months after the event itself, making most poker purists very annoyed (kills the flow of the game). Still, they don’t show the results in the ticker until AFTER they have shown it on their station.

    3) ESPN use to have a contract with the NHL. When they no longer carried their games, their “News” all of a sudden dropped off on the NHL. If ESPN is purely a news site, then their coverage of the NHL shouldn’t have changed.

    Look…. ESPN knows that people who are watching their channel haven’t seen the event yet. What benefit is there to post the results live? Who are they really benefitting? This isn’t serious news like politics or world affairs. This is sports. So this need to have it “immediately” just isn’t there.

    What it really comes down to is that they would rather have you watch their channel then SpikeTV, so ruining the results suits them best in this situation. That is who it benefits. ESPN is self serving and if the UFC had a taped delay show on ESPN, you can GUARANTEE that the results would NOT be on the bottom ticker. Which completely kills the argument that they are a news site being made by some MMA journalists and fans.

    A few comments were deleted from yesterday, but somebody made the comment that ESPN covers the UFC in the UK. That is fine, but that is a completely different division of the company, and the US version could care less about that relationship in all likelhood.

    At the end of the day….. ESPN could easily not show the results until the next day and not hurt their “credibility” as a news site one bit. They put the results on the ticker because they don’t have a money stack (through advertising) in the show. Trying to buy into any other form of reasoning is laughable.

    Ed. — The post that contained the comments alluded to was eaten up during the server move. I was not thrilled about it but nothing I can do.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Oh, I wasn’t blaming anybody for the comment being deleted. I figured it was a server error.

      One more point. UFC results on the ticker before they are shown in North America… How does it benefit the fans?

      When I get a MLB score, it’s nice because I wasn’t going to watch 15 games in one day and I want to see what else happened in the league. So the ticker is a good thing.

      Nobody wants to be spoiled on UFC results. Either people don’t care about the UFC, and the results mean nothing to them. Or fans care about the UFC, and they didn’t want to be spoiled. Only a small fraction of fans probably seeked out spoilers online.

      So people can argue until they are blue in the face about ESPN being a “news site”…. But the fact remains that the ticker results made many more fans mad then happy. Which defeats the entire purpose of giving out results.

      I’m not going to say ESPN vindictively gave out the results. But if they do it again, after the know MMA fans don’t want their results spoiled…. Then they are doing it to ruin the event and have less people watch it compared to whatever college football game they have on on Saturday night.

      ESPN spoiling the results would be like CNN having the plot of the movie in big print 3 hours after it came out. Sure, they can do it, but nobody wants it and it ruins it for the people who want to go see it.

      • I forgot to record it at home and when I got to see the results posted on ESPN at 6:30PM in my hotel room, I was perfectly OK with that. Hell, I probably would have deleted it when I got home then rather than bother spending 3 valuable hours of my life watching Chieck Kongo fight.

        This is standard operating procedure for ESPN regarding tape delayed fights – they did for European fights Showtime and HBO would air too. If the UFC doesn’t want to run the events live, I don’t give a hot shit if they get “spoiled”. Anyone complaining is a moron.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Calling a large group of people morons for not wanting to have one of their shows ruined is uncalled for.

          And you completely ignore the fact that ESPN does hold back results if it suits them.

          Putting the results on there only made people mad. There was no up side to it.

        • edub says:

          ESPN covering a cable based card in England without many stars on it should be seen as a good thing instead of having people complain about it.

          Fans of MMA should want their sport lumped in with Basketball, Football, Boxing, Baseball, etc. Not the world series of poker.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          They can cover it after it is shown.

          Once again, what they did benefited nobody.

        • edub says:

          There is obviously some people that just cared about the results. Even Zach’s guesstimate of 65/35 showed that not everyone is pissed off at the spoilers.

    • Rich Hansen says:

      Public interest in the NHL plummeted due to 2004-05 season being canceled. If people aren’t interested in the NHL, then the NHL won’t get covered as heavily on ESPN, nor should they.

      And ESPN isn’t a NEWS site, they’re an ENTERTAINMENT site. NOTHING that they cover or don’t cover will change the world even slightly. The network then has the right to make subjective judgment calls on what they do or do not report, and how much coverage to grant to everything that they do report on. They frequently make mistakes (coff LeBron coff), bu it’s not like it’s comparable to CNN (a NEWS site) choosing to not report on an earthquake or a financial crisis because the network in question chooses to hold off on reporting said news until a time at which ratings will be higher.

      In short, ESPN did nothing wrong, motives be damned. Take some personal responsibility. If you don’t want spoilers, go outside and leave your iPhone in the house.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        So if the local news gave away the ending of Inception on the 5pm local news the day it came out, is that okay?

        Should the people who were spoiled be forced to not turn on their TV until they go to the movie theater?

        • The Gaijin says:

          Comparing “spoilers” for the end of a movie with “spoilers” of results for a [live] sporting event that’s already occurred aren’t in the same ballpark, they aren’t even the same sport (to quote one Jules Winfield).

          You’re beyond stretching to make your point.

        • edub says:

          Terrible argument. Comparing sporting events to movies. Just retarted.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The Gaijin,

          You are right. They aren’t in the same ballpark.

          At least with the movie, ssome people in America had a chance to see it before they spoiled it. With the UFC event, nobody in America had a chance of seeing it before they spoiled it.

          I’ve said it above and I will say it again…. What ESPN did not benefit any of it’s viewers. Nobody wants to be spoiled and the people who weren’t going to watch the card could have easily gotten the results later and not cared for the difference.

        • edub says:

          “With the UFC event, nobody in America had a chance of seeing it before they spoiled it.”

          That’s not true at all. I watched football all day saturday, and I didn’t catch it once on the ticker. I know I’m just one person, but some people could’ve seen(or not seen) the same. Some also probably weren’t watching football.

        • The Gaijin says:

          “I’ve said it above and I will say it again…. What ESPN did not benefit any of it’s viewers. Nobody wants to be spoiled and the people who weren’t going to watch the card could have easily gotten the results later and not cared for the difference.”

          If you don’t want your 6-hour taped delay event to be spoiled, don’t watch a 24-hour sports programming channel…it’s pretty f**king simple.

          You know that sports/sports news channels publish results of events as they happen…the evening news spoiling a major motion picture ending would be unprecedented…so retarded, seriously such a retarded, fantastical argument. This whole me and Dana against the world is so f##king aggravating, you guys will whine about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.

  5. Sports is entertainment.

    The reason for the spoiler was not to ‘report news’, but to screw over a non-ESPN event as Huddle 45 pointed out.

    This is no different than if Fox News had revealed the ending of Lost the night before the finale aired, and called it “news”.

  6. david m says:

    I wish Dana had fired Kongo and the other guy as soon as their fight ended. DANA, ADD THE WEC TO THE UFC! NO MORE HORRID HW FIGHTS!

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Heavyweight fights can either be awesome or horrible. There seems to be very little middle ground. And it seems like there are more horrible fights then good ones.

      Also, that talk about international expansion…. The WEC weight classes will have to be mergered to help pull that off.

      • mr. roadblock says:

        I don’t see why people think pulling in the WEC fighters will be some magic elixir.

        If fans cared about the guys in the WEC, the WEC would get good ratings.

        A lot of people, myself included, don’t want to see jockey-weight guys fighting each other. I don’t even DVR the WEC events a lot of times. It holds no interest for me.

        135, 140 and 147 are great divisions in boxing now. But you can’t make that comparison as it relates to MMA. Very little attention is paid to the boxing weights between 154 and HW now. When those weights were respected little attention was paid to 130 and 135.

        If you’re going to ask UFC fans to care about 7 weight classes that gets very confusing and muddled. It’s not going to help the company overall and won’t help in the creation of new stars.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The UFC name alone would give those fighters much more exposure and viewers. If Aldo/Faber was in the UFC the entire time, it would have done 500,000 PPV Buys instead of 150,000.

          Plus, with 8 full divisions, the UFC could put on more title fights and then use some of those fights on their European cards. Right now, they just don’t have enough Championship or #1 contender fighters to go around for all of their cards.

        • robthom says:

          “…don’t want to see jockey-weight guys fighting each other…It holds no interest for me.”

          I have to somewhat shamefully concur.

          It lacks the gravitas of putting your weight on and carrying it with vengance.

          Except for terrorist sh!ts like Aldo!

          I cant be bothered to watch Henderson grind another one out (in all fairness that sympathy also applies to the big boys).

          The market is to flooded.

          But Aldo makes an event.

  7. robthom says:

    “Perhaps I’m not as skeptical as I should be.”

    I find its always more helpful to be positive about things.

    Hywel Teague says a lack of talent and shallow pool of fighters is hampering UFC’s expansion plans.

    No Sh!t!
    You’d halve to be a maroon to not notice the difference between murikan and dutch/english/aussy/japan MMA.

    Braz is the only other nation that seemscar competitive.

    “… Akiyama move down to 170 pounds (stamina issues) but I’m not sure if a move to 170 will help improve what Akiyama needs to work on. ”

    Doesn’t that have something to do with the culture of training from a wrestling base?

  8. Zack says:

    I watched the event live on a CANADIAN stream. Is the US the only place tape delayed? LOL

    Maybe UFC should send out a press release to news outlets to say who is allowed to report results in real time.

    They should be happy that anyone wants to cover a mediocre even like that one.

  9. Rob says:

    I was just getting ready to watch UFC 122,when I decided to check espn for all the college football scores.I start to scroll down and read,I then see the marquardt vs okami result.Fudge you dana white and even more so you espn,I usually like Dana to but this is lunacy,think about it espn is doing this purely outta jealousy because they do not own the UFC so they screw the fans because there jealous.I am a big mma fan but honestly the only remotely honest interesting fight in this is the main event.Don’t you “MMA Elitest”bash me just cause I said there was only 1 intrigueing fight if you really look over the card it’s true.I also propose a pretty frickin easy solution ESPN it’s called a F@#%ing Spoiler alert inconsiderate pri#@s.


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