July 20, 2008
Any word that Affliction "Banned" and Ultimate Fight Night 14 going at it head-to-head was bad for the sport was squashed by the Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva performances.
Both scored terrific knockout victories to cap their respective cards. It also re-ignited the MMA pound-for-pound argument. For some reason, many pundits had dropped Fedor way down their list. Since the middle of last year, I've had Fedor No. 1 and Silva No. 2 but it's damn close.
Are Jay Glazer and Frank Trigg (pictured on the right) objective? Each made sure to go right into salesperson mode when their fighter delivered the win.
Trigg was particularly over the top:
"There is no more argument, anymore. You have other people who are in contention for best pound-for-pound. There's nobody else in any other weight class that can do what he does. Not B.J. Penn, not Georges St. Pierre. None of those guys can do what he does. Fedor is a step above everybody else who is fighting in MMA right now."
Oddly enough, Trigg forgot to mention Silva. I believe Fedor is the best but it's not without debate. And Trigg is dead wrong, Penn, St. Pierre and Silva all have skills sets on par with Fedor.
Give the UFC announce team, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan credit, they did not go into shill-mode by screaming about Silva being the best after the win over James Irvin.
The Affliction card was a huge success but there were some gaffes to chronicle.
The new broadcast team at Affliction, Glazer, Trigg and Big John McCarthy, did a solid job. There were a few problems. McCarthy got off to a slow start with his post-fight interviews in the ring but improved as the night went along. He was actually a lot better calling the fights as the second color commentator. He had some great insight and recalled good factoids from past fights. One pointer for Glazer, when the color guys are speaking you don't have to try and scream over the top to call a kick or punch. The viewer sees what's going on and two voices speaking at once become inaudible.
Affliction also did a lousy of adjusting on the fly. They were clearly having trouble with wireless mikes around the ring. The static and the audio cutting in and out during interviews was disturbing. Maybe that can't be fixed during the course of a five-hour event. I'm not a television expert. I do know that you rarely see an ongoing issue during HBO and UFC broadcasts.
There was a silly moment during the Josh Barnett post-fight interview where we got to see Glazer getting make-up applied. Aside from that, the show was solid. I think fan feedback will dictate scrapping the musical interludes. If there is another Affliction card, I'm looking forward to seeing what some small tweaks will do.
From the pure fight standpoint, get rid of the ring. It is better than the cage for site lines at the live event but the constant nonsense of fighters falling through the ropes and inconsistent resets was maddening.
On two occasions, as he flopped through the ropes, it appeared Babalu was set to finish Mike Whitehead with a guillotine choke. And if it's true that the Fedor camp dictated the set-up and size of the ring, Affliction should be ashamed of itself. One fighter, no matter how big his name is, should control NOT how an organization runs its fights.
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