Last week, EliteXC's debut show on CBS was being touted as the downfall of Western civilization; now the ratings are in and suddenly everyone's an MMA expert ESPN's pair of popular rundown shows devoted a bunch of air time to the card on Monday.
ATH's discussion was largely benign - with the exception of the completely irrelevant Jay Mariotti saying the card reminded him of professional wrestling "with a little more realism," host Tony Reali and the panel actually sounded as though they'd done at least a bit of research. Woody Paige and J.A. Adande both asserted that this was "minor league" in comparison to the UFC (which Paige bafflingly declared a "class organization"). Adande and Reali had a good back and forth regarding EliteXC vs. Stanley Cup ratings, wherein I believe Adande became the first person to use the word "boffo" since WWII.
J.A. ADANDE: I think it's a pretty good success. I mean, it did better than the NHL, it did... it exceeded, great ratings here in Los Angeles. And also, if it was the minor leagues as Woody said, imagine what happens if you put a more marquee line-up out there. Then it would get boffo ratings.ADANDE: This isn't the top of this sport! The NHL's the best hockey league.
TONY REALI: We've made fun of NHL ratings for like the last ten years. You can't praise this for getting the same ratings
REALI: Have you ever seen cauliflower ear like that before in your life? That was nasty.
Truly, the person who came off best in the segment was Tim Cowlishaw, who wisely recused himself from the conversation without being negative and simply stated his preference for boxing.
PTI, meanwhile, devoted their ironically named "Five Good Minutes" segment to the card as hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon were joined by frequent fill-in and now, apparently, "MMA analyst" Dan Le Batard. I won't waste time transcribing what Wilbon and Kornheiser had to say, but it was largely sarcastic, negative and typical of their poorly informed and researched MMA discussions with Kornheiser going as far as to call James Thompson "some bum."
Le Batard sounded at least moderately educated on the topic, and even delved into the Kimbo "thumbs up vs. tap" debacle and the fact that many people think Slice was set up to win. He too had valid comments as to the inferiority of EliteXC's product to the UFC's -- "this is AA baseball, this is not major league or all-star baseball" -- but still managed to end the segment on a sour note.
KORNHEISER: Do you have any thoughts on women MMA fighters beating each other senseless? Do you like that too?LE BATARD: Um, it was sexy. It was sexy and grotesque.
As usual, no one really wins when these types of shows try to delve into serious MMA discussion. However it's still important for the MMA community to note what's being said, as these are the programs which guys of all ages and demographics watch and then regurgitate lines from around the water cooler or at the bar. In short, the opinions of these few become the opinions of many others.