That's why Michael Schiavello and Mike Kogan deserve a ton of credit for the way they called the Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Kazuhisa Watanabe K-1 World MAX tournament fight that aired on HDNet Friday.
As Miyata and Watanabe flailed at each other and showed off an ugly lack of kickboxing skill, Schiavello questioned what the two of them were doing as the primary reserves in thetournament.
"This is a strange fight to have as the reserve fight because honestly, neither of these men could go into that tournament," Schiavello said. "They would get murdered."
Kogan was even more blunt.
"Don't get me started," Kogan replied. "I might get fired for this, but no, of course not. It's ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous. This fight is ridiculous."
Miyata won the fight by unanimous decision, but Schiavello made sure the fans watching at home didn't believe they were watching a high-quality kickboxing match, saying, "Miyata has no place in a K-1 ring."
Said Kogan, "He sucks. Honestly, he sucks. ... He has no business here. ... It's insulting. This is K-1. Don't come here if you don't know what the hell you're doing."
I second MDS' commendation.
For my money, no one is more candid about the skill and significance of the competitors he's commentating than HBO Boxing's Jim Lampley. Despite what a personally repugnant character he is and despite his irrational distate for MMA, his candor when commentating boxing fights is refreshing and compared to the borderline pro-wrestling histrionics of MMA commentating, a far superior product.
That being said, Joe Rogan's candor deserves underscoring. Rogan is a special guy. He is able to simultaneously be a company man while at least having the appearance of unbiased analysis. That's a hard trick to pull off, but Rogan does it with precision. His "tough balls" comment in regards to being held down by superior grapplers stands out as a moment of note. But in regards to evaluating the talent of competitors, Rogan gave both Kevin Jordan and Gabriel Gonzaga very honest assessments about their performance at UFC 56 during the broadcast (up until Gonzaga's late third round superman punch). Both fighters looked lethargic, unmotivated and just generally incapable and Rogan acknowledged as much, going so far as to say that this is not how you get invited back by UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.
Candor in combat sports will always be hard to come by given that it's very existence is controlled by the entity putting the event together. That's why real moments of honesty with themselves, the fighters, the show and the audience are important to acknowledge. True honesty is harder to come by in fights where the stakes are the highest, but we shouldn't be so jaded as to reject honesty simply because fights don't carry the sport on their shoulders. Hats off to Schiavello and Kogan for calling it like they saw it...last night, anyway.