This past weekend I took a road-trip up to Seattle’s friendly neighbor to the north: Vancouver, BC. For those of you not from the Pacific Northwest and unfamiliar with the terrible drivers, over-abundance of coffee shops or the provincial well-read hippie nature of the area, I will give you a brief metaphorical primer. Imagine that Portland, Seattle and Vancouver are three siblings, the latter being the eldest and Portland being the youngest. Seattle is the middle-child; fun to be around, good for a laugh, all around good time. Portland is the younger brother who dropped out of college, sleeps on your couch, smokes weed all day and then takes you out to a show at night with a headliner you’ve never heard of but will hear in twelve movies next year. Last, but certainly not least, is Vancouver: the slutty older sister. Vancouver takes you out for your first drink when you’re thirteen, pierces your ears with a nail gun, dyes your hair, gets you a tattoo, introduces you to her trampy friends Victoria and Whistler-Village and takes you to your first strip club. Vancouver is awesome.
It was in this backdrop –in the land of tramptastic awesomeness and hockey-fights known as Canadia—that I spent a Saturday night on the couch, glued to the TV and my laptop for an evening of ass-kickery via Strikeforce – Nashville and Total Fight Alliance 17. Strikeforce – Nashville was broadcasting live on CBS and had a card crammed full of title fights, so I had it up on the TV. Total Fight Alliance 17 was a streaming live event broadcast by Swagg Media via the interwebz from the Hangar Athletic Xchange in Hawthorne, California and was pulled up on my laptop. Out of the two events I was way more excited about the Strikeforce card, but was still fairly interested in the TFA event if not only for the spectacle of web-based pay-per-view and the fact that I was getting it for free based on my charm and good looks.
By the end of the night I had done a complete 180 –or a 360 if you have Jason Kidd’s grasp of the English language—and had gotten far more enjoyment out of the TFA card than the Strikeforce card. Whether or not this was because my level of expectation for the Strikeforce event was unreasonably high while I had absolutely zero expectations for TFA is beside the point. Or maybe it isn’t. Crap. Either way: the underdog won the day and you can shut your face.
What was so disappointing about the Strikeforce card, you ask? Well, when the highlights of your broadcast are one of your announcer’s amazing misuse of the English language –I’m looking at you Frank Shamrock—and a post-fight melee, you are bound to disappoint a few people.
Strikeforce - Nashville
Originally I was going to give a round-by-round right description of the Strikeforce card. Hell, I even spent the entirety of the fight broadcast splitting my attention between the TV and my laptop in order to ensure it. I’ve got the fights written out all right here in front of me –all 15 rounds of title-fight coverage—and I’m not going to use them. Why? Because I can describe each fight using one sentence each.
Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal vs. Gegard Mousasi for the Light-Heavyweight Belt
King Mo, an Olympic caliber wrestler, spends 5 rounds laying on Mousasi who appears to have prepared for this fight by falling over a lot and getting punched in the face.
Lawal wins a unanimous decision in a fight where he threw fewer effective punches than a 7 year-old white belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Shinya Aoki for the Lightweight Belt
Melendez stalks Aoki, who refuses to do anything but jump guard and scoot around on his ass like a diarrhea-suffering coyote, and spends 5 rounds chasing him around the ring punctuated with brief punching.
Melendez wins a unanimous decision something-something, witty comment about Aoki sucking.
Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shileds for the Middlweight Belt
Henderson nearly KO’s Shields in the first and then spends the next four rounds getting put on his back like Jenna Jameson.
Shields wins a *gasp* unanimous decision that is punctuated by a post-fight brawl between his camp and Jason “I’m on MTV” Miller.
Seriously, that’s what happened. The highlight of the broadcast was a post-fight brawl that CBS, after providing 3 lukewarm fights, had the balls to cut away from. Frank Shamrock, a former UFC fighter, was the only thing that made this show barely watchable and even that was only for the purpose of mockery. Let me paint a picture: Frank Shamrock is a tough bastard with a nose that makes Owen Wilson’s look like it had been sculpted by Michaelangelo. He is also now wearing braces. Add on top of this the fact that he has a two year-old Korean’s grasp of the English language and you have comedy gold. Quote of the night: (after he has spent nearly two minutes describing the multiple skills of Gegard Mousasi) “…his skills literally defy description.” Really? Do they LITERALLY defy description, Frank? Here, do us all a favor and take this here dictionary and flip through it at your leisure. See if’n you can’t wrassle a few turns of phrase out of it that don’t make the public at large want to punch babies before your next broadcasting job. You’re welcome.
TFA 17 – Swagg Media Webcast
Now, contrast the above debacle with a series of two-minute round, three-round fights headlined by guys trying to break in to the sport that are willing to just windmill punches and kicks at each other until someone dies and you can begin to see why I enjoyed TFA. The broadcast was great: it was entertaining and peppered with more swearing and non-sequiters by both the commentators and fighters than a battle-rap at an ADHD/Tourettes Frat-House. At one point, after the only fight that went to a decision all night, one of the commentators actually yelled “Tits McGee!!!!” at a judge that he disagreed with. Frickin’ spectacular.
The broadcast ended with two 230lbs heavyweights –Jens Grau and Danny Radicic— squaring off. Grau is trained by legendary Dutch MMA fighter Bas Rutten, while Radicic looks like the guy that was repaving the sidewalk this morning out in front of my apartment. Things are not looking good for Danny. Sure enough, Grau spends 90 seconds beating Radicic like he stole his car before the fight gets stopped. Grau looks like a roided out Frank Trigg. If he’s not on the juice then I’m not a hyperbolic-Irishman prone to over-exaggeration and redundancy *ZING*. I haven’t seen this many biker-types in tank-tops since the last casting call for Sons of Anarchy. TFA may have something here and Swagg Media did a great job broadcasting the fights, keeping things interesting and providing good camera coverage for a lower-level MMA event.
Good times, good t-i-i-i-i-imes! Not much more that you can ask for from a Saturday night of free televised fighting, punctuated by a night out with Seattle’s trampy older sister. I’ve gotta visit her more often, if not just for the great nightlife then simply to get this rash checked out via socialized medicine. Thanks Canada!!