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Funny, I Like Iron Ring

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Jake Rossen of Sherdog has a "review" up of Iron Ring that repeats the same old whining from MMA fanboys who resent the success of Iron Ring on BET:

For BET's audience, though, the appeal of recording artists twirling towels around ugly fights is proving to be irresistible. The series is attracting roughly 900,000 viewers, which is a not-inconsiderable audience. (The recent seventh season premiere of "The Ultimate Fighter" drew 1.7 million pairs of eyes.) Promising for producers but disheartening for fans that still feel protective of this still-maturing sport and prefer it not be reinterpreted as an evolved dogfight.

But that's essentially where producers have slotted it. The athletes are not independent thinkers or possessed of unique stories: They exist solely to scrap and bleed for the amusement of their rich and famous spectators, who clap and smile when one collapses in the corner. Devoid of any clear structure -- six episodes in and we're still watching captains pick teams -- it's essentially a meat market.

It's pretty much gotten universal thumbs down from all the MMA blogs, and yet when my wife put her foot down and made me cut back on the amount of MMA I DVR'd every week, I kept Iron Ring and cut Ultimate Fighter without batting an eye. Why? Well:
  • It's different. I don't feel like I've seen it before.
  • The handheld cameras and fast editing don't bother me at all, in fact they make the show move along just fine. As opposed to TUF which literally crawls along, even as I'm FF'ing through it.
  • The less than sporting aspects of the show don't bother me. It's got a funky backroom smoker feel (wonder why Din Thomas isn't involved) that reminds me of inner-city boxing gyms. It's not a spectacle in the way the old SEG UFC's were, instead its gritty and mean, which is fine with me.
  • I like the celebrity hosts -- except for the ones I love to hate. Boo Floyd Mayweather! I was really hoping Shonie was going to judo toss him on his skinny ass.
  • Its got a smart business strategy and is successful so far. I guarantee you these guys will be players in the MMA business long after Affliction, IFL and probably EliteXC have gone bye bye.
  • As far as the complaint that it doesn't focus enough on the fighers' personalities, have seven seasons of TUF taught us nothing? Personally, my interest in fighters is pretty much limited to wanting to watch them fight. I'm not very interested in the back stories of many other atheletes, or any kind of performers for that matter, be they musicians, comedians or porn stars either. Just want to see them do what they do well and then go away. There are a very few exceptions, but for every Muhammad Ali there are a million fine boxers I don't want to see except when they're fighting.