It’d finally here; the first installment of the MMA Media Roundtable has arrived and the panel will take on UFC 146 & TUF Live in this the inaugural edition. The panel of three will each answer one question regarding last weekend’s historic UFC 146 and one on this seasons TUF Live, which wrapped up at Fridays Finale.
UFC 146 saw an all heavyweight main card, headlined by Junior dos Santos making his first defense of the UFC heavyweight championship against Frank Mir. Also on the main card were former champ Cain Velasquez, Roy Nelson, Stipe Miocic, Stefan Struve, Antonio Silva, Dave Herman, Shane Del Rosario and Lavar Johnson. The ten heavyweights put on five exciting fights, with none of them making it out of the second round. This leads us to the first question:
Saturday’s UFC 146 featured and all heavyweight main card, do you think the format of having an all “fill in the weight class” main card was a success and if they were to do it again what division would you like to see and why?
Stephanie Daniels – The “all one weight class” card is a novelty that should be used sparingly, in my opinion, and typically only for the big boys. The heavyweights are where the drawing power is for the casual fans. If you start throwing out cards stacked with just one weight class, all willy nilly, you’re going to end up ruining the mystique of this nifty promotional tool.
Erik Fontanez – I absolutely loved the all-heavyweight UFC 146 main card. Personally, I’ve enjoyed the UFC heavyweights, especially in the last three years. The division is the deepest it’s been since the promotion’s inaugural year, and the big fellas’ talent sets have grown year by year.
It’s difficult to put another card together where the main card is exclusively one weight class and have it be something other than heavyweight. The thing about fighters that size is their considered more of an anomaly than any other weight class due to their massive stature. It’s rare that you see athletes their size move and have the agility that some of them do. Beyond that, not many hit as hard as a heavyweight — and people love intense knockouts, right?
While the smaller weight classes could use more publicity — specifically, flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight — it’s the heavyweights that sell the Pay-Per-Views … for now.
Jason Probst – I have always wanted to see “A night of lightweights.” Because it is the most exciting division and there are tons of good matchups. Given the attrition rate of this weekend’s card, they did a reasonably good job of filling in the spots, but the injuries and dropouts seem to really be taking their toll. At its inception, UFC 146 was one of the best cards in the last 2-3 years, maybe since UFC 100. But the actual card was merely decent.
Lightweights have so much depth that you could ostensibly replace three-four fights on the card and lose far less in card appeal. Just my .02.
Friday in Las Vegas, inside the Pearl at the Palms Mike Chiesa joined the fraternity of Ultimate Fighter season winners with a first round submission of Al Iaquinta. With this being the LIVE first season, the two finalists had the toughest path to the finals having to fight three times in four weeks. Our last question focuses on the TUF Live season format:
TUF Live is coming to a close with Friday’s Finale in Las Vegas. What did you think of the live format?
Stephanie Daniels – I thought the live format was great, but they are airing on the absolute worst day of the week to try to play the ratings game. Fridays are days that people do several things, TUF Live not being one of them. When Joe Casual Fan gets off from work on Friday, after a 40-60 hour work week, he wants to stop by the bar. He wants to grab the wife and take her to dinner. He wants to do anything except go home and watch TV. I honestly feel they should go back to Wednesday nights to get over this ratings hurdle. I also think EVERY season of TUF should be TUF Brazil.
Erik Fontanez – As much as the UFC has attempted to push, promote, and revamp their jeweled reality series, “The Ultimate Fighter,” it hasn’t hit home with the fans. The TUF Live format was something this past season played with for the first time in the series’ history, but it did little to bring attention that warrants huge ratings. Having been a regular viewer of the series in years past, I gradually lost interest in the show up until the 10th season. Since then, I’ve not watched one episode. As big a fan of MMA as I am, I can only imagine the lack of interest a casual fan has in the show now.
It’s time to pull the plug on TUF. It had its run, and served its purpose. The UFC can drop their push of the show and focus more of their growth and grooming efforts on Strikeforce. Take the up-and-coming talents you see on TUF, and insert them into Strikeforce shows, branding the promotion as the UFC’s farm system. Everyone wins, and Zuffa no longer has to worry about pleasing Showtime, or explaining horrible ratings from Friday night broadcasts.
Jason Probst – The TUF Live format erased a lot of the guff and junk that was part of the taped format. I liked it and was pleasantly surprised with how it came off. There are some challenges but the added authenticity is big plus.
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MMA Media Roundtable: UFC 146 and TUF Live