You might remember the Simpsons where Springfield turns out in force to watch a football (yeah, whatever, soccer) game. Kent Brockman, like the crowd, is unimpressed by the conservative midfield passing game:
'Halfback passes to the center. Back to the wing. Back to the center. Center holds it. Holds it. [sighs]. Holds it.'
Meanwhile, the foreign commentator is enthralled:
'Halfback passes to center, back to wing, back to center, center holds it! HOLDS IT! HOOOOOLDS IIIIIIT!
There's a point there, and it isn't that football (yeah, I know) is boring.Misaki vs Santiago II was a fantastic fight. It had everything - knockdowns, near-submissions, dramatic reversals of fortune and an incredible ending. Two men who might not be at the top of their division nevertheless gave everything they had.
But, for me, Michael Schiavello made that fight. A lesser commentary team couldn't have ruined it, but they could have detracted from the action, staying jaunty and aloof while the fighters made sloppy positional changes or paused to catch their breath. Mauro Ranallo wouldn't have done it justice - I have nightmares where Gus Johnson calls it. Michael Schiavello knows and cares about MMA, and made it impossible to watch the fight without absorbing his rabid enthusiasm.
In A Fighter's Mind, Sam Sheridan makes the case that Joe Rogan's 'That guy is my hero!' call after Couture/Ortiz is the first truly transcendent moment of commentary in MMA, our equivalent of 'Down goes Frazier!' I'd completely agree, but, for me, Schiavello's 'Can Santiago find it?' is the second.