Elite XC on CBS

June 3, 2008

I donít often talk about MMA. My usually focus is on pro-wrestling, but with the monumental debut of MMA on CBS this past Saturday there is never going to be a better time to talk MMA than now. I was really looking forward to watching this show live but unfortunately was unable to. Saturday night I had a surprise 40th Birthday party for a friend of mine to go to so I had to record the show in order to watch it back later. I have 2 DVRs and set them both to tape this show. The one I set to record the CBS broadcast and the other to record the Fight Networks broadcast. With my kids home for the night with a babysitter, I figured there was a small chance they might use one of the DVRs to watch movies and somehow screw up a recording, so I hedged my bets and set two machines. Thatís how much I wanted to watch this show.

This leads me to a HUGE bone I have to pick with CBS or TV Guide or who ever the hell is responsible for this show being listed as 2-hours, when it in fact ended up running closer to 3. Despite my kids not messing with either of my programmed recordings, I returned home late Saturday night to find out that neither machine captured the main event fight between Kimbo Slice and James Thompson. I was to say the least FURIOUS, and I canít help but wonder how many other people, who planned on watching the show back at a later time, are now in the same boat. How many people recorded this show for the sole purpose of seeing Kimbo Slice and in the end didnít get to.

I just canít believe the magnitude of this screw up. This show was arguably the biggest and most important MMA show in the sports history and the entire show was built around Kimbo Slice. How CBS (or who ever was responsible for this) could fail to get Kimbo on the show in the advertised time slot is beyond me. There were only 5 matches on the show and not a single one went the distance. The opening 2 fights were 1-minute knockouts, and Carano vs. Young was the only fight to go more than half the distance, yet the show runs long and goes way over time. WTF? If I can borrow a term from my friend Bryan AlvarezÖ EPIC FAIL.

All that being said, I did manage to catch the entire show thanks to The Fight Network replaying the show Sunday afternoon. I still had to record the show while I was out, but this time I set my machine for a 4-hour window and managed to catch the entire show. On the whole I really liked the show and Iím turning into a huge Elite XC fan. This was the third Elite XC show Iíve caught, the first two being the Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbott event and the Frank Shamrock Ė Cung Lee show, and Iím looking forward to hopefully many more.

The CBS show started very slow with two very short fights and a ton of introduction type video packages. The video packages were a very good and likely needed, due to the strong likely hood of this show drawing some less knowledgeable MMA fans, but with the first two fights going so short the beginning of this show ended up a bit flat. Iíll be very curious to see how ratings held after the first 45-minute to 1-hour, because I wouldnít be surprised if fans getting their first taste of MMA might have lost interest after those first 2 fights.

Thankfully the show picked up a great deal from here with a great fight between Gina Carano and Kaitlin Young. I was really pulling for Young in this fight because I saw the one night tournament she won in Hook and Shoot and think this girl is incredible. I was disappointed Kaitlin lost but felt these girls really brought the show back and likely stopped a lot of viewers tuning out.

The Lawler Ė Smith fight had both good and bad, or more accurately, GREAT and Horrible. The fight was fantastic and the stoppage complete crap. I absolutely loved this fight and had they been able to continue, this fight alone would have made this event a must see, thumbs up show.

The Main Event will likely stir great debate in the MMA world as I suspect a lot of people will have different opinions about it. Did this fight make or break Kimbo Slice? Is Kimbo Slice the real deal or is he over rated? Iím willing to leave the jury out on Kimbo Slice for now and just take the fight at face value, and I enjoyed this fight. I enjoyed watching Kimbo have to fight on the ground, and thought for a guy in his 3rd MMA fight, he held his own well enough and showed he is not completely one-dimensional. Iím sure Elite XC would have been happier with a more decisive win, but I would rather watch a fight like this, than a first round knockout.

I didnít feel this was a bad stoppage, but will grant you Kimbo got by, by the skin (or rather gold) of his teeth. Thompsonís eyes were completely glassed over, in my opinion, when the ref stepped in and fully believe he would have been hit and dropped seconds later had the ref not stopped this fight.

On the whole, I thought this was a very strong show that was definitely worth the repeated attempts I had to make to see the whole event. Critics might point out that it was not up to the match quality standards of a UFC PPV, but I think they need to keep in mind this show was FREE not $49.95. I grade the show this way; I have definite interest in seeing the rematch between Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith, am glad I have an avenue to follow womenís MMA (That was one of the reasons I followed bodog), I still want to follow the development and growth of Kimbo Slice, and more importantly just plain enjoyed myself watching the show. If that isnít a thumbs up, I donít know what it. Way to go Elite XC and CBS and congratulations to Mauro Ranallo for being a HUGE asset to that program.

Lance Storm