Watching Saturday night's broadcast of Strikeforce, I was neither impressed nor disappointed in their announcers. Mauro Renallo wasn't nearly as annoying as he can be, Gus Johnson was calmed down from his usual, freaking out self, and Pat Miletich was sometimes illuminating, and sometimes added absolutely nothing. Miletich was the genius who told us that Brett Rogers, a heavyweight, is a big man. Thanks for that, Pat!
Still, the constant overhyping of the importance of the events and the Strikeforce fighters also became old quickly. Did you know that Benji Radach could take out Anderson Silva? According to Renallo, that is true.
But what I did like, regardless of the performance of the announcers, was that there were three of them. The broadcast did not rely on one voice to carry, and another to play off of that voice. This gave each man a chance to give their take, offer their ridiculous puns, and make predictions. It made for such a better event that it makes me wonder why it isn't the norm for MMA events, specifically the UFC and WEC.
Jordan Breen of Sherdog touched on the weakness of both the WEC's and UFC's two-man system. Part of the problem is that Frank Mir and Joe Rogan have to do too much, while Todd Harris and Mike Goldberg don't offer enough:
Because Harris can neither offer context, insight nor even properly call action, Mir is forced to call essentially all of the technical action himself on top of describing its intricacies. This pattern exists in basically every MMA booth because of the fact that there are really no gifted MMA play-by-play announcers ... This is a fundamental flaw that is endemic to MMA and one that's not about to change in the near future. Therefore, guys like Mir, who are already ill-suited to color commentary because of their in-cage requirements, are forced to pick up an enormous amount of slack for a human being who is fit to do nothing but take a broadcast in and out of commercial breaks. As a result, on top of being ill prepared, Mir has to talk endlessly until the fighters in the cage can chill out momentarily and let Harris plug “Crank 2.”
Wouldn't a third voice help take some pressure off of Mir and Rogan? One of the reasons both of these men babble endlessly during the fights is that they can't count on Harris and Goldberg. It's fairly clear that both Goldberg and Harris are here to stay, in part because they are both so talented at shilling whatever product Zuffa needs hawked. Adding a third commentator would really help, yet still allow for Goldberg mention Harley-Davidson 37 times per broadcast.
The UFC has used Kenny Florian and Randy Couture as commentators in the past, and there are plenty of fighters who are not only smart about MMA, but eloquent in explaining it. Let's add a few to the booth, and then maybe we can move onto something really exciting, like a tele-strator.