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Postcard from the Couch: UFC 90 – Silva vs. Cote

Welcome to “Postcard from the Couch” – UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote.

Before we get to the action, I would like to thank those of you who commented on or emailed me about the first edition of P.C.F.T.C., which covered UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben. Some enjoyed the read, while others were extremely critical of my in-fight graphic suggestions and Bud Light Lime as my beer of choice. Regardless, I just want to say – pardon me, I’m just finishing this soothing, refreshing Bud Light Lime – that I truly appreciate your feedback, so please keep it coming.

With EliteXC now biting the dust, we’re reminded yet again that there’s essentially one game in town: the UFC. Does that mean they should stand pat on how they approach their televised events? No. Sometimes, change can be good. Other times, though, change is unnecessary.

Will this be the broadcast where we see something different?

Now, straight from my couch in New York City, it’s time for UFC 90: SILVA VS. COTE.

(Times presented in hour/minutes)

10:00 – The pay per view portion of UFC 90 is officially under way and I’m $45 poorer. However, in New York City, $45 is a cheap Saturday night. Plus, I don’t get billed for another 30 days. So as far as I am concerned, until then, it’s free.

10:03 – Out of the show open we see the obligatory “WE are sold out from….” shot, and Mike Goldberg starts things off with some excellent Anderson Silva facts:

  1. 7-0 in the UFC
  2. No fight has gone longer than two rounds
  3. Silva has not gone the distance in four years

Rather than see a talking head spew out these facts, I would rather see a split screen of Silva highlights on the left and those stats on the right. For one, it enhances those good statistics/facts. And two, it’s better eye candy for those who are watching it without being able to hear it, which can be the case if you’re at a party, a bar or simply deaf.

10:04 – Rogan, breaking down the main event, says about Cote: “He (Silva) is facing a guy who’s got the three most important qualities in MMA: heart, balls and power. Patrick Cote has all three of those in mass.”

Basically, Rogan just said that Cote has massive balls. Classic Rogan line, and kudos to him for A+ use of the word “balls.”

10:06 – Goldberg appears to be tossing to a pre-produced, voiced over package breaking down the other fights, saying, “Top to bottom, it’s gonna be another great night inside the octagon.”

We then see a mini-package voiced over by Goldberg on the Fabricio Werdum/Junior dos Santos fight, followed by the “Rules of the Octagon.” This began a confusing sequence as a viewer. I was expecting to see the other televised fights included in the Goldberg-voiced package. Because we didn’t, I then expected to come out of the rules portion with the Werdum/dos Santos fight, since it was the sole fight featured in the package. Instead, they went right to the Sean Sherk/Tyson Griffin pre-fight preview package. Huh?

If I were a betting man, I’d say this might have been a mistake. If it wasn’t, it was certainly an odd way to lead up to the first fight of the night.

10:10 – As Griffin approaches the Octagon, a graphic pops up with three Griffin-related facts: Strong Wrestling Base, Heavy-Handed and Well-Rounded. At the same time, Rogan supports the graphic by commenting on how every time they see Griffin, they see “another new and improved facet of his game…especially his striking.” Good stuff.

10:11 – Sherk reaches the octagon, and we learn via graphic that Sherk has fast takedowns, underrated striking ability and is a cardio machine.

Goldberg and Rogan have not mentioned this yet, but I believe that this would have been the perfect time to mention that Griffin’s last five fights have gone to the cards, while Sherk hasn’t finished an opponent in the UFC in nearly six years.

Mentioning these facts right before the fight began would have been a solid set up for a Goldberg, “Everyone should get their money’s worth tonight with this one” line.

Personally, I think this may be the equivalent of a 9-3 slugfest between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings at a snow-filled Solider Field. Since I mentioned that, I might as well make a prediction: Sherk via decision.

10:14 – DVR REWIND ALERT!!!! We have a classic Bruce Buffer moment. As he is saying, “Introducing first” he quickly turns from his right to his left, leading with his left arm and elbow, as if he were the lead monster dancer in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.

I never thought I would say this, but my “Knockout of the Night” already goes to Bruce Buffer, who apparently just TKO’d a ghost via elbow strikes.

10:16 – Round one, and Griffin is carrying Sherk on his back while walking him across the Octagon. He’s doing this with a look on his face as if he’s searching for a place to lie Sherk down and tuck him into bed. This is one of those moments you find difficult to explain to casual fans when they ask, “What’s going on?”

10:18 – A “Couture vs. Lesnar” graphic pops up. And I am instantly reminded of how pumped I am for this fight. Are you?

10:20 – A very solid round one concludes. Goldberg asks about Griffin, “How many shots to the body like that is he going to be able to take?” Between now and the first minute of the second round, I would love to see a stat stating how many body shots Sherk landed. Also, as long as this fight lasts, I’d like to see how much time these two accomplished wrestlers are spending on the ground versus standing up.

10:26 – Round two. Griffin lands a nice left, prompting Goldberg to scream, “Are you kidding me!?!” Really, Mike?

10:27 – Round two concludes. Excellent fight to kick things off. Is anyone wondering how Saw 5 is doing this weekend?

10:33 – Fight over. Solid fight, with Sherk getting the nod via unanimous decision. Lucky call #1 by me.

10:36 – We see that text voting has 79% of fans in favor of Silva over Cote. I wonder what percent of the 21% are Canadian?

10:37 – There’s a quick Rachelle Leah in Playboy mention. Personally, I think I speak for a lot of men when I say that I wouldn’t have minded a small feature about her being in the issue. Maybe Dana and Co. feel it’s a cheap way to sell his product? Thoughts?

10:38 – We have a promo for UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar, that starts with “The biggest fight in UFC history.” Is it? I would love to hear the opinions of others on this. If it is, what fills out a Top 5 list? Let the hype begin.

10:40 – We see another Werdum/dos Santos pre-fight package. Some internet scribes find this to be a mismatch coming in (with Werdum as the heavy favorite). But, in trying to build up the fight, Goldberg says that dos Santos has not allowed an opponent to escape the first round.

10:47 – As Buffer is introducing the fighters, I’ll predict Werdum via TKO in round one.

10:48 – Hey, Magnum P.I. is in the house! Actually, it’s UFC legend Dan Severn.

10:49 – Wow! dos Santos stops Werdum with a vicious right uppercut! Fight over! Great replays show a slight left jab setting up the knockout punch. Goldberg and company deserves credit for their first-round fact nine minutes ago.

10:51 – Rogan over the replays of the KO: “Look at his (Werdum’s) ears wiggle!” (Best Marv Albert voice) “Joe Rogan…on fire!”

10:54 – TEXT VOTING UPDATE: We learn that Silva has now lost 5% of the votes so far, as “only” 74% of the voters now believe he will defeat Cote. Ironically, cell phone usage in Canada is up 198.7% tonight.

10:55 – According to my count, we now see the third Courture vs. Lesnar promo of the night. And that is not a complaint.

11:02 – “Harley Davidson…the only motorcycles worthy of being in the octagon.” It’s only a matter of time before the UFC goes Undertaker-style and has a fighter ride a Harley to the ring, right?

11:03 – As Buffer does the intros to Gray Maynard/Rich Clementi, I have absolutely no idea who will win this fight. But I’ll go with Maynard via decision.

11:07 – As Maynard executes a nice take down in round one, Goldberg, on cue, reminds us that he is a three-time All-American wrestler. Simple, but effective.

11:11 – Round two…another takedown by Maynard. I appreciate Maynard’s ground skills, but I would also appreciate it if a “Saw 6: Coming in 2010” graphic would pop up.

Also, those of us at home don’t have the option of picking a hot girl in the stands to stare at during this fight. The slow pace here is a golden opportunity for the UFC/Zuffa to pick up the pacing. Not that corner men are hot, but if you brought up the corner men in a small box during slower moments, it would prevent Goldberg and Rogan from having to provide filler for “dead” action. After all, Couture is in Maynard’s corner.

11:21 – Fight over, and a missed opportunity to enhance the fight with better production goes by.

11:23 – Buffer announces the decision, Maynard by UD. Two out of three for me. I am officially a mixed martial arts expert.

11:25 – TEXT VOTING UPDATE: After once dominating the polls with 79% support, Silva is at just 68% now as the main event nears. Riiiiiight.

11:26 – The Alves vs. Koscheck pre-fight package rolls. Personally, I’m a fan of Koscheck and his arrogance and willingness to play the “bad guy” role. I’ll go out on a limb and say that this may be the televised fight of the night because Koscheck won’t be able to resist going toe to toe with Alves. My prediction: Alves by TKO in round two.

11:28 – Nice job again, as Rogan talks about Koscheck’s wrestling background while a graphic says that he is a “College Wrestling National Champ.”

11:35 – Round one…The Pitbull rocks Koscheck. Is it me or does Alves look HUGE? Koscheck is back on his feet and appears to be willing to stand up.

11:38 – Couture vs. Lesnar pop up graphic alert! It’s at least the fourth promo for this fight tonight. And I’m still excited.

11:45 – Round two…as Alves is avoiding a Koscheck takedown against the cage, Rogan gives some great technical analysis on how Alves is doing this. This is where Rogan is at his best, because to common fans, it simply looks like they’re at a stalemate against the cage. Rogan is the KRS-One of MMA, always providing “edutainment.” I’m guessing just three to five people possibly got that reference.

On another note: my prediction goes down the toilet. And we’re going to round three.

11:52 – The fight ends. Koscheck shows great heart, but is simply out-gunned by a stronger Alves. UFC/Zuffa always excels in the replays department, and tonight is no exception, as Rogan walks us through shots that show Alves overpowering Koscheck. Alves is the winner via UD.-

11:57 – Another Rachelle Leah/Playboy promo is followed by Goldberg doing a strange Silva/Cote segue to a Transporter 3 preview. Saw 5….Transporter 3….what is it with the UFC and sequels? And Transporter THREE? Really?

11:59 – It’s now time for our main event of the evening. As Goldberg and Rogan set up the fight, we see a nice, easy to read, full-page graphic on Silva stating that he connects on 69% of his strike attempts. Rogan mentions, but we do not see it on the graphic, that the UFC average is 35%. The graphic also says that Silva has outstruck his opponents 624-249 (in his MMA career).

Cote is also given the full-screen graphic treatment, with two facts stating that he has a 50% success rate on strike attempts and has ever been knocked down.

Look, I get why they’re waiting to use graphics like this until the main event. Simply put, it gives the production more of a “main event” type of look and feel. However, these kinds of graphics are so simple to do for EVERY fight, so why not do this for the entire broadcast?

12:01 – TEXT VOTING UPDATE: The viewers are now supposed to believe that just 64% of the texting audience thinks Silva will beat Cote. This is down 15% from just one-hour and 25 minutes ago. Is Sarah Palin in Silva’s corner? Or are a lot of people up north just drunk texting right now for Cote?

That fraudulent update was followed by a nice preview package on the fight. If you’ve watched the fantastic Countdown show then you’ve basically seen it already. Still, a nice and necessary touch for those who hadn’t.

12:04 – As Cote enters the octagon, my final prediction of the night is Silva by highlight reel KO in round one.

12:09 – The “three-fact” pop up graphic on Silva comes up. Goldberg reads a solid fact: Anderson Silva is the most accurate striker in history of the sport. Why not say this over the graphic 10 minutes ago when you had numbers that backed up your statement? Sloppy.

12:12 Buffer: “It’s tiiiiiiiime!!!!” Ironically and simultaneously, the camera quickly pulls out to a very wide shot of the crowd and octagon.

12:16 – The main event is under way, and with 3:00 left in round one and both fighters still feeling each other out, you almost expect Cote to just stop and say, “Okay, go ahead, do it now” to Silva.

12:17 – I’m pretty disappointed that Condom Depot isn’t in the house tonight.

12:20 – As round one concludes, I’m wondering if 1) Silva is actually bored and just trying to get some work in or 2) If he actually respects Cote’s power. You truly get the feeling that at any moment, Silva can push the “Destroy Opponent Now” button and finish Cote.

12:21 – Another prediction bites the dust, as round two begins.

12:24 – Good fact by Goldberg that Cote is about two minutes away from becoming the first man to take Silva to the third round in his UFC career.

12:26 – We’re shown Cote in his corner after the second round. And the UFC/Zuffa blows it by not putting up a graphic over Cote that compliments what Goldberg said two minutes ago. Doing this serves a few purposes: one, it builds up the drama more in the fight; two, it makes Cote appear to be more of a threat (than what he really is); and three, it reinforces what Cote just accomplished. Remember, if a viewer is watching this in a loud environment, they can’t hear Goldberg. If they look up and see this fact appear on screen, they may think, “Well, we have a fight here.”

12:28 – We’re in round three, and all of a sudden, Cote goes down with what appears to be a blown out right knee. Replays confirm in graphic fashion that this is likely the case. Silva is the winner by TKO in round three. Tough to watch.

12:33 – Good job having Rogan talk to Cote after hearing from Silva, but a classless gesture by those folks in the crowd who were booing Cote at the beginning of the interview.

12:35 – The pre-fight package to Thales Leites vs. Drew McFedries rolls, and we have a BONUS FIGHT ALERT! No complaints here, considering the disappointing ending to the main event. And, seconds after typing this, Leites wins via submission/rear naked choke.

12:45 – As Goldberg and Rogan continue to wrap up the night, Rogan finally explains (on air) why he is wearing the full beard. Rogan explained that he is doing this in tribute to the late Evan Tanner, even adding, “That’s why I look so goofy.”

Unfortunately, I was completely unaware of the reasoning behind the beard last week and proceeded to poke fun at Rogan for his new look. Of course, it was all in a joking manner, but this week, I owe him the props he deserves for the tribute.

12:48 – After two hours and 48 minutes, it’s a wrap!

This wasn’t the most action-packed card you’ll ever see. And the ending to the main event was certainly disappointing.

Did the telecast itself correlate with that? In a way, yes.

Like I said earlier, the UFC is, for all intents and purposes, the only game in town now. There’s essentially no competition to compare their product to. And they know they provide a good product. But, I continue to believe that it can be better, particularly in the graphics department. I understand those viewers who don’t want to be overwhelmed with graphics during a fight. But, they need to enhance their in-fight storytelling by providing more MMA-style statistics, whether it’s in between rounds or at the beginning of rounds. Their graphics presentation is too inconsistent; every fight should have had statistics like the main event. There’s absolutely no reason why they can’t do this.

Otherwise, I felt that the pacing was solid, especially with three fights going the distance. And we did get to see one bonus fight. Nothing exceptionally negative stood out for me when it came to Goldberg; but I must add, Rogan was excellent. He threw out some great lines, provided excellent technical insight and capped the night off by showing his connection to the sport and its fighters; first with Cote’s injury and then with the Tanner tribute.

Overall, a solid B+ broadcast, but with a D in the graphics department.

Thanks for reading – and until next time – I’ll see you right here, on the couch.

19 COMMENTS
  • HexRei says:

    is it just me, or did someone delete all the comments from this thread? are we not allowed to have a negative or conflicting opinion of one of these articles now? I mean I’m sorry, this is just bad.

  • the sheik says:

    ur not funny

    let someone else write this

  • Justin B says:

    Michael Buffer does that karate move every single fight. “Introducing first to my left” then BAM damn near breaks his neck. This is nothing new. I cant help but chuckle every fight.

  • HexRei says:

    Yeah it kinda just demonstrates the author’s newness to the sport. That move is a classic buffer-ism and has been named and immortalized in his tribute video as well as many other places.

  • Jeff L says:

    I wish I was nearly as concerned and obsessed about the graphics overlay and timing as you are and this would be a fascinating read. As it stands, not so much. Strike 2.

  • James says:

    can someone put an end to this column? its a painful read

  • JollyDV says:

    And I thought the crowd from Illinois was tough….whew, you guys are brutal.

    Speaking of Bruce Buffer, something did jump out at me last night, and it wasn’t his “Thriller” moves. His hair. He needed a hair cut. I couldn’t believe it. Go back and watch the replays. His hair is always poofed perfectly. He had some waves going on last night.

    Odd, I am sure someone will tell me. But Bruce did not get his hair done last night before the fight.

  • Davey D says:

    To the author: with all due respect, I really do not like your take on the past two UFC event’s. They’ve been doing their thing for a long time and have added newer stuff to their broadcasting in many ways. I would suggest that if you know so much about video editing and production. Maybe you should send in a resume to Zuffa. I heard they are looking into hiring more video editor’s.

    I hope your posting’s will get more interesting because you bring up some issues at hand but your storytelling needs improvement. It is pretty boring at times to be honest. Make it exciting, write as if you’re talking directly. I’d really like to hear your take on the prodution of an event like Segoku, Dream or Affliction. Again, with all due respect. Cheers!

  • Mr.PIBB says:

    HexRei,
    You guys we’re right about your boy Sherk.He’s FAR from a gatekeeper and I think he deserves an immediate rematch with Penn.I bow down to your wisdom.
    The guy is no joke(Sherk that is).

  • kirby says:

    I enjoyed the read keep up the good work.

  • mingo says:

    yeah they deleted them because my first post said please stop this sucks

  • Drew says:

    Actually not a bad read. I guess some people enjoy the middle school punchlines ala Huckaby. To each his own, good grown man read.

  • Grappo says:

    took longer to read this than to watch the actual PPV.

  • Caidel says:

    It is a interesting read from another POV than we are accustomed to. If someone has a serious problems (it is painful?) with reading this, then the solution is simple: do not read this, and do not spoil it to the other people, who are enjoying this.

  • ihateemo says:

    Indeed. I enjoy this column. Reading the “layman’s” take is a nice flip-side to Sam’s more in-depth “wonk” columns.

    Keep it up!

  • Michael says:

    This column again? You’ve got to be kidding me. Sam- I’m not saying you have to can this lee guy but there must be some other way in which he could contribute his thoughts and expertise to the site. These winded breakdowns are just not interesting and not well written either. I’m trying to keep my comment as nice as possible but seriously, this segment gives your otherwise great site a sour taste of amateur hour. In the words of GOB, come on!

  • monsoon says:

    I don’t realy get the point of this column.
    The “production improvemnets” you suggest here seem to me just what compustats idiots do to many other sports events and commentators therefore are mixing their dumb comments about the players’ families with sick and useless statistical stuff.
    Well, what I would appreciate is (like in some of the japanese events, I guess its DREAM) to bring each fighter’s “bout history” to display” (a la “Key losses; key wins”). Also, the “tale of the tape” graphics could be a bit more in-depth (e.g. adding “walkaround weight”, a comparison of fight styles and camps the fighters train at) – this would be stuff even an occasional viewer could build on – and much more than most of the stats bling-bling. OK, why not compucount “landed” strikes by an Anderson Silva, but who would find such instructive on young and new or really veteran fighters who have been around for ages? Are the also counting distracting grounded punches thrown from the back? Did anybody count an wheigh the quality of submission atempts? Elusive moves? Bring it, but very restrainedly, please.
    As far as your comments go on graphics explaining: “takedown: Sherk” in your last column: that would be just as helpful as displaying “figure contact: fisher” during a chess match. Is there anything more obvious to see than a Takedown?
    To “educate” first-time viewers, all graphical glamour is useless in my eyes. Instead watch the unaired fight Miller vs. Horvich: Rogan commented Horwiches amaplata attempts an guard modes up to an annoying scale. If you intend to learn mma by whatching the ufc, listening to such coment might be the only way (apart from “explanatory extras” before/after/in between fights).
    I guess to understand what’s going on, you have to at least whatch regularly for along time, if not practise some kind of Martial Art yourself. Stats won’t help, neither graphics.
    Concerning the production, I would rather suggest to “mix it up a bit” and not be so “predictable” for the hole show. I learned with pleasure that Goldberg now (at least) occasionally forgets to comment on the referee: “Herb Dean – our referee” in always the same annoying intonation… Many of the phrases, as well Goldberg’s as Rogan’s while commentating I don’t want to hear anymore either. Replace’m! Bring in some external experts! Allow non-UFC guys to comment! Kick out Bruce Buffer, or bring in some other guys occasionally. Tell him to change one or two lines in his 10 years old Lyrics, please! I really appreciated to whatch UFC89 on swedish tv – with svedish comment (which I do not understand).

    Well and finally back to my first line: what’s the point of your column? To let us know your in tv business? To bring more Stats to the PPVs? If it’s on the technical side of “educating the fans”, I’d say that this is not be achieved in a telecast. Bring on excellent free programs before/after; let some experts help commenting, replay one or two good moves per match, … and forget about too much of your stats…

  • Echolocating says:

    I seem to recall Sam Caplan breaking down the production of MMA events on the ProElite’s site. In other words, I think Caplan has a soft spot for this sort of thing. 😉

    Anyway, I don’t think showing the current fight’s statistics is a good thing. I like that I can debate who won a round with friends on a purely gut instinct level. Statistics typically don’t tell you who the winner is. If you bring that shit into play, you’ll see a lot of fighters trying to simply out-point their opponents and that would be horrible for the sport.

    I appreciate the crux of these article’s but the delivery is not digestible. I like what Caplan did previously in these types of exercises. (I’d link to one of his previous articles, but ProElite seems to have had the plug pulled on their website.) The content of this article reads like the notes one would take during an event to then write an actual article about the event. Take the time to summarize your thoughts into a concise and proper format and I’m sure readers will be eating this stuff up.

    Also, the comments about how the rounds of a fight went has very little to do about the production of the event. Is this an article about the production or someone’s analysis of how the fights went? Is it really beneficial to have both? Just an honest question.

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