The view from cage side. Photo by Zak Woods.
While it is quickly becoming cliché to demand that cage side judges be given monitors to watch fights -- I can almost recite Jordan Breen's traditional post-fight controversial judging rant from memory now -- and considering the events on Thursday night, I decided to engage in an experiment: watching a round cage side while staring at a monitor vs. watching without a monitor.
Your own personal HD monitor is a much better way to watch the fight. You pick up all the ambient sound of being near a live fight but you see it in 1080pi, which is such a richer visual field than -- well, reality. In this writer's humble opinion the "issue" of whether judges should have monitors is academic.
Sticking with the theme of monitors cage side I noticed that the announcers table had a giant Compustrike monitor providing instant stats for each fight.
I know there is a debate in the MMA community about how useful Compustrike is as a statistical tool (everyone seems to have a Chi-square test crush on Fight Metric) but I thought it was an interesting peek behind the curtain for the Showtime play-by-play staff.
- Dan Henderson still commands a tremendous amount of goodwill with MMA fans. Throughout the fight with Feijao chants of "HENDO!" were audible. When asked about why fans gravitate towards him Henderson was humble saying, "I have been doing it for awhile. I guess I wear on people." In the words of Samuel L. Jackson and Dr. House, allow me to retort. It probably has something to do with this.
- While Strikeforce is traditionally mum on future match-ups following an event there is now a clear path to Henderson vs. Mousasi title fight that many thought would happen last year. Of course Gegard needs to defeat Mike Kyle and considering Strikeforce's 205 division that is no guarantee.
- During the press conference someone mentioned that the Strikeforce light heavyweight title has yet to be successfully defended. Henderson responded dryly, "I am not superstitious at all."
- If taking a fight on a week notice isn't bad enough Liz Carmouche had to deal with finals at the same time. If John Hughes was still alive he'd make a movie out of this. Probably starring Mila Kunis.
- Carmouche she seemed to be the big winner tonight. The press couldn't stop asking her questions and the fans really responded to her tremendous effort. When asked where she would go from here Liz responded, "I’ll be back to training on Monday." Sounds like a Marine.
- Speaking of the military there was some buzz about Strikeforce expanding their relationship with the U.S. military. Tim Kennedy would be the obvious point man and Kennedy described himself as a "conduit" for the relationship going forward. Liz Carmouche could be another valuable asset especially as the United States officially reviews the role of women in the military.
- Marloes Coenen appeared to have an ankle injury after the fight.
- I am incredibly torn on the referee microphone that Strikeforce employs. On one hand it's nice that the stadium audience can hear what the referee is saying rather than being left in the dark over potential rulings or point deductions. On the other hand the constant chorus of, "let go of the fence" during grappling lulls makes a quiet stadium feel like a ghost town.
- The Ohio crowd was fantastic for the undercard. Then they got a few drinks in them and decided to boo whenever the violence wasn't up to snuff.
- Fans like to criticize Strikeforce for outsourcing their undercard but in this case it wasn't that bad. Nationwide Arena quickly filled up albeit with specialty seating and the fans were passionate about the local fighters. Cincinnati native Roger Bowling looked like a possible addition to Strikeforce's welterweight division.
- Best entrance music: Jason Riley walking out to Conan the Barbarian soundtrack
- Fan comment of the evening: "Release the Kraken!"
- Fan comment of the evening #2: "Diaz! I got some weed!"
- Ironic moment of the evening - When Arnold Schwarzenegger explained why mixed martial arts is so appealing he mentioned that the fighters, "talk really well". The great state of C-A-L-E-E-F-O-R-N-E-E-A agrees.
- Awkward moment of the evening - The crowd's reaction when Coenen and Carmouche were in north-south position. *sigh*