Photo courtesy of TitoOrtiz.com.
The UFC’s “Countdown” shows have always been good but not great… until now.
I’ve always been a strong proponent that the UFC slowly transition into a format similar to HBO’s “24/7” series that they usually put on during the weeks leading up to big-time boxing matches. It’s been the intimacy and closeness the fan feels while watching Floyd Mayweather or Oscar De La Hoya go about their everyday lives while preparing for their upcoming showdown that has always been able to bring an extra level of excitement leading up to the fight.
Starting with “Countdown to UFC 79” last December, the promotion has slowly changed the program from a one-dimensional look at the training camp of each fighter to a documentary-style show that brings you inside the home and gym of each fighter, delving into their deepest pre-fight thoughts.
Last night’s show was awesome to say the least. I can’t really say that there wasn’t any one point where my attention wasn’t completely drawn to the television save the commercials. Contrary to popular belief, not only did the UFC feature Tito Ortiz on the program, but Ortiz also discussed the fact that Saturday night will be his last UFC fight and he doesn’t intend to resign because of Dana White.
Sean Sherk was also able to talk about his positive test for steroids and continue his push for innocence while B.J. Penn showed why Sherk’s “perversion” of the sport in failing the test has motivated him for this fight.
The UFC has to realize that they reach many more fans with their “Countdown” shows than they do with their actual events. The numbers don’t lie.
They also have to know that the majority of casual fans don’t visit the MMA news sites that often. Purposely avoiding Sherk’s positive steroids test in order to protect the organization’s standing is only going to create confusion among fans. Using Sherk’s comments on the show was a solid move, however focusing a little bit more on the whole steroids issue and the war of words between Sherk and Penn would have made for even better television.
For those who missed last night’s show but were able to catch some of the comments made during last week’s conference call, the intensity levels weren’t even close.
The only gripe I had was the continual footage of the fighters driving, staring out into the sunset without any talking. Doing it a couple of times is fine. But constantly doing it and for half a minute each time is awkward. However it’s something minor and can be easily fixed.
Other than that, last night’s show was the best episode of the “Countdown” series to date.
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