When people find out I gave up a job covering the NFL to go work in the fight game, the reaction is usually mixed. People that have known me for awhile are happy knowing I now am doing what I have always wanted to do. Others tilt their head like the RCA dog confused as to why I would give up something as great as the NFL for something as dirty as MMA. Watching highlights from both sports over the past 10 days may change their opinion.
We are a little more than a week removed from two incredible fights featuring Clinch Gear athletes Michael Chandler and Dan Henderson. Two guys that I have gotten to know a little bit and I’m happy to count them as friends. While they might make their living trying to knock guys out, both guys are as easy going and friendly outside the cage as any pro athletes I have met.
We tend to be short sighted and lazy when it comes to our sports opinions. What we see in a 30 second SportsCenter clip is usually enough for us to determine if we like an athlete, coach, broadcaster, etc.
I know because it’s what I was feeling watching NFL highlights this morning. I’m lucky because my kids are only 4 years old so they don’t understand the actions of idiots such as Stevie Johnson and Ndamukong Suh.
Johnson, a wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, mocked NY Jets receiver Plaxico Burress by acting as if he had shot himself in the leg after scoring a touchdown yesterday. Burress spent 18 months in jail after shooting himself in the leg at a club.
Suh is one of the best players on the Detroit Lions, but will find himself on the bench for the next two games after stomping on a member of the Green Bay Packers during a nationally televised game Thanksgiving Day.
Two guys acting like idiots vs. two guys who are looked at as thugs because they are professional fighters. I understand that there are plenty of good guys in the NFL just as there are plenty of blockheads in MMA.
It would be nice if there was an equal balance of coverage, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Big time media outlets will cover boxing because it’s simple. Its two guys standing and punching each other. Watch it for 30 seconds and you understand what’s going on. MMA will not get the same kind of attention because once a fight goes to the ground it all becomes foreign to mainstream media.
I think Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan do an amazing job of letting us as viewers know what is going on, but like I said earlier, if they don’t know EVERYTHING in 15 seconds then it’s too hard to follow and they will move on. It’s disappointing, but that’s how it’s going to be until more mainstream guys take the time to learn the sport and the fighters.
I used to love sitting with coaches and players trying to be a sponge and learn as much as I could. I would be ok for about 10 minutes, and then they would lose me. Still, it was a great time and I jumped at any chance I could to watch game tapes with people who see a totally different game than I do.
I’m not sure it would be the same experience watching a fight with Dan or Chandler, but c’mon who wouldn’t jump at that chance!
If you are watching ESPN this week and get bored by the antics of guys like Suh and Johnson go back to your DVR and watch Chandler and Hendo put on a show. It will fire you up again in no time.
On a different note Michael Bisping and Jason “Mayhem” Miller are fighting this Saturday night. That is a fight with ZERO buzz. It’s too bad because I like both guys, and I enjoyed the early weeks of The Ultimate Fighter, but found myself getting bored and losing interest.
I think the live fights on FX starting with the next season will be good, but I think stretching the season out to 14 weeks is a mistake. I would prefer to see 2 fights per show. Seems that would keep things moving. This year I lost interest in some of these guys, and all the pranks felt staged. Bisping vs. Miller should be a really good fight and I feel like if I miss it it’s no big deal.
Keep in mind I am writing this on Monday and by the time fight night rolls around I think that feeling will change, but it’s still weird that a fight between two of the bigger personalities in the sport is almost an afterthought.
We have a great show lined up for Wednesday’s Clinch Gear Radio. UFC welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger will join us to talk about fighting Diego Sanchez and UFC play by play voice Mike Goldberg will look back at an incredible year in the octagon. Clinch Gear Radio airs live every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm ET/ 1pm-3pm PT on Sirius 94 and XM 208.
If you have any comments or questions you can always reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org