The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Bellator Thoughts

Nothing too in-depth here, just a few notes from a first time viewer.

First off, seriously MSG+? 2 AM? Maybe they mislabeled the tape and thought it said “Belated Fighting Championships.” I don’t know how wide-spread the time bump for this show was (though it’s not just me, at all), but it’s really not a good thing if this was a common occurrence- it’s not often a company like Bellator gets a star like Roger Huerta to debut, and given that they didn’t use him to best effect in any case they kind of need all the help they can get to draw eyeballs to his debut.

As a show, overall it was easy to watch and enjoyable. Their PBP and Color guys are completely inoffensive wallpaper types who neither stand out for their insight not offend with their inanity, which is probably an overall plus. Their video packages are slick and professional-looking and while I skipped over most of them, the few I watched seemed well-edited to bring out the best of the personalities of the guys they have. I came away more interested in Joe Warren for example, than I was beforehand, and I’ll likely remember the name Georgi Karakhanyan in the future. The quality of the fights seemed on the whole to be higher than the quality of the fighters, but there wasn’t anyone who seemed wildly out of place or comically inept and it helped that you had both a star in Huerta and a world champion wrestler on the card, so at least on that level the show easily passed the “does this look major league” test. Most of the in-fight TV production seemed fine and professional, and they did a good job locating and highlighting the two celebrities in the crowd. Bonus points if they arranged for them to be there, which they may have though I don’t know.

On the negative side, well… that place looked ROUGH on camera. It was obvious that large chunks of the arena were blacked out and the crowd seemed either indifferent at times or simply too small to make much noise. A small time atmosphere, which is the kiss of death as a TV product especially for a show and an organization very much still trying to get established. Also, why on earth was Roger Huerta not in the main event? The live crowd was mostly hardcores so they didn’t seem all that deflated by it, but for first time viewers and a more casual audience who might be tuning in for Huerta alone this was a rather quizzical choice from a ratings standpoint. Most importantly, and related to this, is that this show’s biggest problem is going to be stars and the lack of them. They seem to more or less get the idea that you need to build stars based on their video packages, but with the exception of Huerta there was no one on this show with what you would call breakout charisma in or out of the cage, and frankly not much of anyone with even come-back-next-week charisma. They’re going to need to find those guys and encourage them as best they can, because while I’m not certain about the underlying economics of their promotion I am willing to bet that there’s not any obvious road to profitability at their current company income levels. Fox Sports Net isn’t paying huge rights fees and if that crowd is typical for them, that’s a problem.

Overall, a fun enough show and a fine additional option for the hardcore fan. Yet, not one which offers anything special really and which is using an unstable TV foundation and few real stars to enter an already over-saturated MMA market as the #3 domestic promotion. If they can find ways to make decent money and keep costs down they can perhaps find a niche as the ROH to Strikeforce’s TNA and UFC’s WWE, but it’s far from guaranteed. I wish them the best.

Side notes:

– That Hinton dude looked like a bonsai Jeff Monson, and had all the head movement of Stefan Struve and the gas tank of a Prius. An unfortunate combination.

– Karakharyan hits Fucking Hard, but he sure does like to shoot in with his head wide open and down, and he gives up positions pretty easily. He’s an interesting prospect, but not much more than that so far.

– I have no idea how you score that first round for Joe Warren. Makes my head hurt. I really think every judge in this sport needs to be sent to some sort of re-training session or seminar to re-familiarize themselves with the ideas that A) the name of the game is to finish fights, and two near-finishes usually wins you a round, and B) top position is not always tantamount to winning. I’m not a jiu-jitsu fundamentalist by inclination, but this continues to irk me.

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April 9, 2010 - Posted by | MMA

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