We've been scratching our heads wondering why tonight's Elite XC show had so little heat buiding up to the fights. And we've considered the implications of Elite XC representing the sport aspect of MMA as opposed to the spectacle.
But Steve Cofield puts something together that I had missed. It's pretty obvious why there was less heat for this event than even for the last Showtime Elite XC show -- Gary Shaw was gone:
The media is looking for compelling conversation, controversy and some trash talk to hook readers, listeners and viewers. Vanilla fighters and unassuming promoters can be a deadly combo in pitching a fight. Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith are good fighters with crowd pleasing styles, but they just don't talk a good game. Someone needed to step up and pitch the second EliteXC card on CBS. It hasn't happened. Fightopinion.com tracks fight stories and says EliteXC has gotten little coverage.
I can't gauge the interest of the average fight fan from a keyboard but I can do it on the air doing a radio show. The Kimbo Slice fight card was a very good talk radio topic. This EliteXC fight card has garnered almost no interest on the phones. And it's not just radio, the media turnout in Stockton has been very light according to a surprised Ariel Helwani from MMARated.com:"Surprised that there was virtually no media there. Seriously, maybe a handful...tops. Surprised that the Shaws (Gary and Jared) were no where to be found.Shaw did a great job as the front man. I'd say he was fired but we still don't have a clear answer of where he is or what his role is now.
Surprised that no one is willing to give a straight answer as to where they are hiding. Trust me, I asked around. Surprised that there appears to be zero excitement online, around town or even in the local media for this event."
I have to say I agree. It was a decent night of fights, but there was something missing and frankly I found myself at a loss for things to talk about. If Elite XC had the UFC roster and could put on fights featuring the absolute best on the planet instead of one or two top ten fighters, then they could get by without the spectacle, but as is, they're just a second tier sporting organization and they need that aura of controversy that Shaw, the old carnival barker can generate.