Last time when we posted WWE play-by-play announcer Jim Ross’ critique of a UFC pay-per-view event, it was one of our most read articles for the month. Well, Ross is back at it again, this time with an even more thorough critique of UFC 87.
I wanted to post some of his thoughts again. As a huge Ross fan, I marked out recently when we were on the same flight from Philadelphia to Dallas last month. It was pretty early in the morning, so I didn’t want to disturb him. Early morning flights after you worked late the night before are the worst. It was still pretty cool getting to sit one row behind the guy (he was the last row in first class, I was in the first row of coach).
While reading his thoughts, please keep in mind that Ross is a pro wrestling-man who has been involved with that industry almost his entire adult life. He is also a former WWE Vice President of Talent Relations and admittedly is more fan than expert when it comes to MMA. None-the-less, I still think his perspective is very interesting.
On various production elements (morphed by me into one paragraph):
The pre-show interviews from the key participants felt unnecessary. After watching the 30 minute pre pay per view show, I felt like I had heard the material enough already. Let’s get to business. … But if pre show interviews are going to be used, the UFC should consider identifying the interviewees with graphics. … The sponsor signs in the fighter’s corners has got to go. Or classed up. Something. … Announcers (Mike) Goldberg and (Joe) Rogan always do a solid job and I enjoy listening to them because it is clear that they thoroughly prepare for which I have ample respect…. I do think that they could lay out more especially on the fighter’s entrances so we fans at home can hear the natural ambiance. I like to hear boos, cheers, catcalls and all the other unique sounds that come from an atmosphere like Target Center was Saturday night. … It’s easy to get too familiar with the Harley Davidson spiel…”only motorcycle worthy of being in the Octagon.” Please tweak the copy so I don’t tune out when I hear it. That’s not the purpose. … The UFC needs a 3rd voice, a voice over guy, to read the copy for the fighter’s packages and any thing else they can take off Mike Goldberg’s plate. Doing play by play is plenty even with a partner like Joe Rogan. … The broadcasters having to sell live event tickets during the action of the final two matches was distracting. Having been there I understand one reads what they are produced to read but from a fan’s perspective it annoyed me. Sell tickets between bouts or just use a graphic and no audio sell but keep the main event (s) clean. …Post match interviews on these events are often times a train wreck. That may be a good thing for some but for my two cents this aspect of the presentation needs addressing.
On Brock Lesnar:
Brock Lesnar was a beast Saturday night winning by unanimous decision against Heath Herring. Lesnar who made weight at 265 likely tipped the Toledos at around 280 by fight time and used that weight and strength advantage effectively. Lesnar delivered some nasty knees throughout the fight. The former NCAA Heavyweight Champion (2000) can take any one down that I have seen in MMA. If there is a man out there that can keep his feet for extended periods of time against Lesnar then I definitely want to see that man compete.
On the St. Pierre vs. Fitch fight:
Jon Fitch deserves a bonus for his courage and his will to compete in a losing effort against Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. Demonstrating that I would be a poor referee in this game, I might have stopped the fight early which would not have been the thing to do as things worked out.
St. Pierre dominated and won the 5 round unanimous decision but as impressive as GSP was one still has to marvel at the toughness of Fitch. Plus, Fitch is the type of athlete who learns from the experience and who redeems one’s self the next time in the Octagon.
On a potential rematch between St. Pierre and B.J. Penn:
Yeah, I want to see B.J. (Penn) vs. St. Pierre as there is the smell of serious money in this matchup. This will probably be a Vegas fight but how great would the atmosphere be to return to Montreal or to have the fight in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu?
On Demian Maia:
Demian Maia is a bad dude and is going to be special or perhaps I should say more special as time goes on. Maia’s got it all. Plus, I enjoyed watching him put on his sponsor laden T shirt in record time after his fight. It was a “Tap Out” shirt for the record so the advertising must have worked.
Ross doesn’t stop there. He has a lot more in his writeup of the event, which you can read by clicking here.