Sunday, May 27, 2007

UFC First Impressions

I laid down the money and bought the UFC ppv show last night. After all of the build-up, whether it was the cover of SI, the interviews and weigh-ins on ESPN, or the fact that I knew a ton of people that would be watching this, I had to get it. I had never seen one of these events before and I figured it was about time. I went on-line and put 25 bucks on the event. I bet 4 underdogs-- I have Kalib Starnes ($5), Houston Alexander ($5), Jonathan Buckman ($5), and Rampage Jackson ($10). I have never seen any of these guys fight, but I like rooting for the underdog. Alexander is easily the longest shot of the night.

Remember, I don't claim to know about this, these are my first impressions.

My first thought during the broadcast was how UFC has got this right. There viewers are prodominently young males, and everything associated with the build-up is young and hip. The President of UFC is a young hip guy (Dana White) who represents the organization well and could easily just be a guy in the crowd. That helps. The big-name announcer is Joe Rogan. Who hates Joe Rogan? Nobody I know does. The guy seems cool, and again, seems like a great face for something young and hip.

The ring announcer is Bruce Buffer. Is that Michael's younger brother? Must be. A ring announcing family? Michael Buffer does every big fight in boxing and his brother does the big UFC events? Talk about cornering the market.

The first fight was ok. It went to the cards and I thought it was funny that the loser starting saying "screw the judges, screw the scoring." While the winner, Kalib Starnes, said "I would have given him the win." That's a winner for Verno.

The second fight was awesome. Some older guy named Houston Alexander was making his UFC debut and was a huge underdog. He is from East St. Louis and he looks huge to me. He is fighting some guy that is really popular called the "dean of mean." It's a cool nickname, but he got the crap kicked out of him in less than a minute. Houston Alexander don't play. I could have told anyone that you probably don't want to fight a guy from East St. Louis, but what do I know? Oh wait, I had money on that, pay the man.

The third fight was ok. Some guy named Terry Martin beat up some guy pretty bad. I was eating some chips and dip while this one was going on.

The fourth fight was against a judo guy (Parysian) vs. a guy named Jonathan Buckman. I was impressed when they said that Buckman was an all-state wrestler and baseball player in high school and turned down D1 scholarships in football to be a MMA guy. Nice athletic resume. The judo guy could have been in the Olympics for judo but he went to UFC. The fight went to the cards and the judo guy won. It was a pretty good fight, but not as good as the announcers said. And I lost my 5 bucks on that one.

At this point it seems like the event is going quickly so UFC is gonna replay fights from earlier in the night. I wish they would have more background stuff about the fighters, like boxing does, between the matches.

The fifth fight had an older guy fighting a 21 year old making his debut. The fight had to be stopped because the older guy was gonna break the rook's arm. I like the violence, but I didn't want to see the arm get broken. Good stopage.


Rampage Jackson is from Memphis and I am gonna be rooting for him. He is a big underdog. I love the fact that he howls like a wolf and wears a chain that you could buy at Home Depot. It takes him about a minute to beat the crap out of Chuck Liddell. I must confess that I was totally into this, I was going nuts. It was like watching a Tyson fight, except almost nobody thought Rampage would win. Raliegh Egypt represent. Pay the man.

Here is the sum of it...

I cannot believe that the CA does not even mention this event, or the fact that Jackson won considering he is a Memphis guy. How behind the times can you be? Foresight please.

If a boxer got in the ring in this sport, he would get beat up badly. If one of the MMA fighters took on a boxer in a real boxing match, he would get the crap kicked out of him. It is two different sports.

I do worry that MMA will face the problem of over-saturation. When I was a kid and was collecting baseball cards there were 3 or 4 companies. All of the sudden, there were 400 different brands and inserts and everyone lost interest. Poker had this happen. It was cool to see the World Series of Poker but now it is just too much when it is on every channel. It does strike me that everyone is trying to get a piece of this sport and it will be too much.

I thought the event was awesome and I understand why this sport has grown the way it has. It's exciting, there is no denying that. I thought it was worth 40 bucks. I had 25 bucks on the entire event and end with 57 in my account. Gotta love the underdogs.