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Fight Critic: Reviewing UFC Fight Night 13

icfc.jpgIt was a crazy night of fights last night on Spike TV and I think we all saw some things during UFC Fight Night 13 that we’ve never seen before and may never see again. If I was a betting man, I bet the house that we’ll never seen a Superman punch thrown immediately at the start of a fight that actually lands.

The outcomes were very surprising and I have to state for the record that my record on picks last night was god awful. It’s so bad that for my fight previews I am thinking about taking a hiatus from making actual picks. MMA is just too subjective and if you’re someone who can consistently make money betting on MMA, my hat is off to you. But at this stage, unless I am in Vegas, I think I’d bet on hockey before I’d bet on MMA.

I am giving the show a definitive thumbs up, as I really enjoyed all of the fights, however, the pacing of the show was once again tough to take. I guess it’s not a bad thing if you can find ways to keep yourself busy. I actually try to use the downtime during UFNs and TUF finales to catch up on phone calls. I just wish that some more innovative ways to incorporate less-intrusive advertising and sponsorships were introduced to the telecasts but I’m not holding my breath. My feeling is that the viewership would increase if the show moved quicker. But what do I know?

One thing that has to change is they need to stop killing Joe Rogan! Using him as a glorified entertainment correspondent and having him interview “celebrities” is not fair to him. It’s just really surreal seeing Rogan give you very technical analysis about ground fighting one minute and the next see him doing a fluff interview with some unknown comic involved with a Vince Vaughn documentary.

Spike has to do what it has to do to promote its shows but why not help Rogan out and have someone else conduct interviews that aren’t directly related to MMA? It would be the same as if CBS asked Phil Simms to leave the broadcast booth during a game in order to interview Jennifer Love Hewitt in the crowd in order to promote the “Horse Whisperer.” You know if they asked Simms to do that he’d be on the phone with his agent. Kudos to Rogan for rolling with the punches but I can’t imagine the effort it takes to pretend to be interested in interviewing random people from Spike’s galaxy of stars.

And did anyone see the irony in Rogan interviewing two DEA agents? Priceless.


  • Derek B. says:

    “I just wish that some more innovative ways to incorporate less-intrusive advertising and sponsorships were introduced to the telecasts but I’m not holding my breath.”

    Thats my only problem with these televised fight nights. I was lucky enough that my friend DVR’d the whole fight night so I was able to skip through the commercials. I was thinking maybe just having the advertisers pop up on the screen in a mini window during the fights or having like a scrolling thing on the bottom of the screen that would shoot out advertisers during the events.

  • bigfish042 says:

    It was free and still you will have crowds of people saying they would RATHER pay $40 or $50 to see it without commercials?!!!?!!?!

    I pay almost $150 and up every month for cable and maybe 1 UFC a month. Enough is enough, it is TV. What if you had the option to pay for baseball, the Superbowl, other sporting events…COMMERCIAL FREE??? you would be paying hundreds and hundreds, maybe closer to a thousand for cable every month

    Come on get a grip, FREE is FREE..Screw paying for free events. Hey, why not pay double for gas ALSO, IF you didnt have to drive to the gas station????? the argument goes on and on. We pay enough for UFC

  • Guy Gaduois says:

    As to in – show production values and planning, I must also point out that the last WEC took a step backwards . . . Frank Mir was really hitting his stride and then they did a change up on the last show and it didn’t work. Maybe Frank didn’t get a chance to do as much research/prep because of his own post fight stuff, but I agree . . . both UFC and WEC being Zuffa owned, I feel the only criticism that’s worthy in the production is the poor choices for utilizing Rogan and Mir and the craptacular high-def present by UFC on PPV and lack of via Spike.
    They are losing ground in the HD tech appeal.

    I got killed on my picks, absolutely a horrible showing. Scored like a 145 or something. Agh. But a fascinating night of fights.

  • Grape Knee High says:

    Sam, I don’t mean this with any disrespect at all, but perhaps you’re not looking at the right factors or you maybe you are over-thinking your picks?

    I’ve noticed in your picks, especially the ones that end up incorrect, that you place a premium on your perceptions of a relative difference in skill between two fighters. I think you don’t give enough credence to the fact that there is a lot of skill parity among UFC-level MMA fighters and very often the difference between winning and losing are size, strength, reach and gameplan advantages. Simple physiology, rather than pure skill, can determine in many cases whether you get that submission/KO or not. (For example, Nate Diaz and Shinya Aoki will *always* have an easier time getting triangles at 155 simply because their legs are built the right way.)

  • Sam Caplan says:

    GKH, that’s some pretty good advice. I will start trying to apply some of it.

  • HexRei says:

    Sam Caplan wrote:
    One thing that has to change is they need to stop killing Joe Rogan! Using him as a glorified entertainment correspondent and having him interview “celebrities” is not fair to him. It’s just really surreal seeing Rogan give you very technical analysis about ground fighting one minute and the next see him doing a fluff interview with some unknown comic involved with a Vince Vaughn documentary.

    Are you sure Joe is so against that? Keep in mind that he IS also a standup comedian and actor and camera time with various famous people, with the freedom to joke around a little with them too, probably helps that aspect of his career.

  • Zane says:

    I still have not gotten my Frank Mir stuff for winning the contest for his fight with lesnar . I have been patient and have tried to be cool about it, but what the hell is going on? It was 3 mnonths ago….I have pretty much accepted that i’m not gonna be getting it. I dont know if it went wrong with the shipping or whatever but who else can I complain to? I am over it, just sucks i dont get what i was promised by this site.

  • Beef says:

    I don’t think that Rogan is unhappy. I think that he likes essentially every business aspect of working for the UFC. He gets more exposure to his principle young target audience and that will only help in his comedy & acting. Besides, This gig with the UFC is way better than having to tell people that “Fear is not a factor…”

  • Andrew says:

    Loved the DEA interview! As a fellow cannabis club card holder and pot smoker, I would have loved it if Joe asked the DEA guys to quit raiding medical marijuana dispensaries!!

    Did you see Rogans face when Matt Hamill was speaking. Just like me I know Rogan didn’t understand a word from Matt. I can usually understand him but that lip was cut in half!

  • Zack says:

    I was in Denver at my first live MMA event last night and the whole experience was incredible. I definitely plan on going to more shows in the future, and I’m pretty sure I’ll pick events in smaller, non-LA/Vegas venues for many of the reasons spelled out below.

    You all saw (most of) the fights, so I won’t recap those. Here’s some of the first-person stuff I noticed:

    Scattershooting on the crowd….

    I’m not from Denver, so I had no idea what the crowd would be like. They were great. I didn’t see any posturing among fans, and everyone around us (floor seats, 9th row, fighter’s entrance side of the cage) was friendly and knowledgeable. Matt Hammill’s contingent sat directly in front of us, and I was surprised that many of them were also deaf. They were signing with each other throughout the night.

    A minor annoyance – I’m not an autograph or photo hound, so I was a bit annoyed to see how many people seemed to be more interested in hunting down fighter’s in the crowd for autographs and photos than watching the fights. I caved later and had my picture taken with a favorite fighter (more on that later), but I did it during a break before the show went live on Spike, so I reserve the right to be a hypocrite.

    This deserves special mention – I don’t know if anyone noticed this, but the crowd didn’t boo a single time due to a lack of perceived action. Sure, we all booed mightily at the apparent early stoppages during the Alexander and Karo fights (both Mazzagati, for what it’s worth), but you could have heard a pin drop during some of the slower ground action. Take that, Japan!

    Clear fan favorites: Anthony Johnson, Guida (by miles the most popular fighter of the night), Hamill, and Lauzon. Lauzon is a clear case study of how to market yourself via the blogs, email, discussion boards, etc. and become a fan fave.

    But, and this is just mindboggling to me, with the possible exception of Randy’s brief appearance in Karo’s corner and Rampage strolling around, the most popular person in the building was easily Dana himself. The fans just love him. He came into the arena about the third fight and you would have thought it was Elvis.

    Scattershooting on the production, pacing, etc.

    The day started off lightning fast at 2:40 MST, 20 minutes earlier than scheduled. One thing that is different live vs TV is that the fighters are suddenly at the cage and then they introduce them – except for the main event. So you’d be wondering when the next fight was and then you’d see somebody in the cage. It lacked the anticipation that the TV production creates.

    And, as Sam points out, once the televised portion started the pace seemed glacial at times. The time between the stoppages and official decisions of the Houston and Karo fights was painful, especially for Houston, Karo, Mazagatti, and even Joe Silva, who had to keep pointing at the replay screen for both of them to try and justify the ref decision. Karo stalked around the cage for what seemed like 3 minutes waiting for the official decision. Painful.

    Scattershooting on the non-fighting/non-cornering fighters in attendance…

    There were tons of them, and almost all of them were sitting in a roped off area right in front of us….Mir, Diego, Marquadt (initially unrecognizable in beard and curly mop top), Mac Danzig. They were extremely patient with any and all fans wanting photos or autographs. Oh, and Mir’s wife is even hotter in person.

    A minor observation – most of the fighter’s are short. I mean surprisingly short. I’m a very average 5’11”, and it seemed like I towered over them. With one serious exception: during the break before the live telecast I was walking back from the bathroom with my friend and I suddenly realized I was walking right next to Nick Diaz. I quickly changed my stance on asking them for pics and got one of me with Nick. He’s huge – really tall and bulky. How he has ever made 160, less 155, is nuts.

    Scattershooting on the hotties…

    Our seats were on the aisle where Arianny and Edith had to walk back and forth between the ring and backstage. Those girls must have to use the bathroom a lot, because their predictably hennish older handler seemed to be taking one of them backstage after every fight. They were extremely patient for requests for pics but made no small talk. They were even hotter in person. I’d thought that Edith would look roughed up close up, but she wasn’t – her face was actually prettier.

    There were two other hotts that caught everyone’s eye, and they both ended up being fighter girlfriends. One was either with Matt Hammill or someone in his crew. The other was with Scott Smith’s crew. Lucky guys.

    Scattershooting on the airport…

    Yes, I talked to or saw several fighters in the….wait for it…airport. I saw Houston in the security line and told him I thought he got a raw deal on the stoppage (although now that I’m home and have seen the replay I’m not so sure anymore), and he simply thanked me and told me that stuff like that happens. No complaining. Very cool.

    I stood right next to Tommy Speer in security, and I must say that it is an entirely different thing to see their wounds up close. His eye looked like a distended bright purple plum. Nate’s eye looked like someone had taken a cheese grater to it.

    Sorry so long

  • yenny says:

    Zach, you’re as windy as Nick Diaz. Don’t worry, that’s just jealousy talking… I want to be a live event.

    Joe does a great job on the hats he wears for the live shows. Good analysis, post fight interviews are good with somewhat thoughtful questions, and most of all he holds his composure and the booing crowds never phase him.

    DVR is a lifesaver.


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