Here at BloodyElbow we were pretty quick to boo and hiss at the low quality of the fights on EliteXC's big CBS debut. Some of our commenters and other bloggers took a more balanced view, pointing out that while the hardcores (ie us here at BE) were up in arms, the mainstream audience was happy with what they saw. The always judicious Adam Swift for example said:
however, I did want to quickly address the online media/hardcore fan reaction to the show which has been largely negative. Regardless of how the core MMA audience felt about the show, the strong audience growth during the broadcast strongly suggests that the mainstream audience was not offended by the presentation and might have in fact enjoyed it.
It's important to remember that it is those fans who are the key to expanding MMA's audience and that in order to reach the "casual fan," certain sacrifices invariably have to be made that the core fan base will disapprove of.
But there's a whole 'nother level of meta here that no one's talking about. And that is the important role we bloggers/hardcores play in setting the tone of elite opinion, which will eventually drag the mainstream by the nosering to a higher quality product.
To wit, shortly after the bloggers sounded off, some mainstream journalists sounded off -- and MADE EXACTLY THE SAME POINTS. And not just the Yahoos (Iole and Wetzel) that Falzon links to, but also Jim Rome on ESPN and half the crew on Around the Horn.
Wetzel's commentary was typical:
If you’re a fan of MMA, then what Elite XC trotted out as a main event was mostly an absurd exhibition. It’s like tuning in for the NBA Finals and finding the And 1 Mixtape Tour – only with announcers pretending Hot Sauce is a better player than Kobe Bryant.
And the thing is, this is what the noobs need to hear. Keep at it folks, the more we can tell curious newcomers who were amused and intrigued enough by EliteXC to hit the webs looking for more MMA info, "EliteXC was kid stuff, you need to check out the UFC next saturday to see real fights, and if you're really hardcore, the best fights are the WEC on Versus or anything on HDNet" the more we'll build the sport, as a sport.
Repeat after me, "EliteXC was kid stuff..."