Tuesday, 9 August 2011

UCMMA Warrior Creed on Primetime - TV Review

It was an event built up on cheap heat and professional wrestling-style promos as the darling of the tabloid press Alex Reid took on advertisement actor Jason Barrett in the main event of Ultimate Challenge’s Warrior Creed, shown live this past Saturday night on the Primetime pay-per-view channel here in Britain.

The broadcast began with women’s bantamweight action as Anna Zucchelli faced Karen Ousey.

What we had here were two girls making their professional debuts, and given that both of them came from kickboxing backgrounds it was pretty obvious how this one was going to play out.

While both girls put on great striking displays in this back and forth encounter, but even though both fighters were technically sound there were no attempts to take the fight to the ground, and for many this was just too close to call.

So we basically had fifteen minutes of kickboxing action, with one judge scoring the fight even and the other two giving it to Ousey. As entertaining as this was you have to wonder what would happen if either of these two had been put in with a grappler.

Then it was on to Andy McEwan against Spencer Hewitt in the bantamweight division.

After a sound striking battle we were treated to a nice ground battle. McEwan began the fight by going for a standing guillotine, but Hewitt was easily able to escape.

Moments later Hewitt managed to take McEwan’s back, but try as he might he just couldn’t sink in the rear naked choke he was looking for as McEwan showed some sound defensive skills.

But with McEwan tiring in the second round Hewitt managed to reverse the positions on the ground, taking Hewitt’s back again seconds later, finally locking in the rear naked choke for the submission win.

Action from the light heavyweight division followed as Karl Lawrence faced Iain Martell.

This was the fight I was really looking forward to, mainly because Martell is a fellow Norfolk boy.

Martell came forward as soon as the fight began, unloading with a couple of shots before scoring with the early take down. From there he dominated the action, transitioning well and delivering the ground and pound at periodic intervals before taking Lawrence’s back and locking in the rear naked choke for the very impressive submission win. Well done to my felloe Na’folk boy!

Then it was on to UK1 kickboxing action as former Dean Amasinger faced Luke Sines for Super Middleweight Championship.

Amasinger, a late replacement for the injured Tom “Kong” Watson, did okay to start off with, but his progress was halted by an inadvertent low knee. When he’d recovered the action was fast a furious, but a left kick from Sines to Amasinger’s body doubled the former Ultimate Fighter contestant up, and even though he managed to be the count the referee called the fight, giving Sines the title winning TKO win.

The main event saw Alex Reid taking on Jason Barrett for the Super Middleweight title.

This one began with Barrett coming forward and throwing a few punches as Reid covered up. This was followed by a brief clinch against the cage before the action eventually went to the ground.

From there Reid took control, and it wasn’t long before Reid took the mount and pulled Barrett into position so he could apply a triangle choke for the submission win.

Well, that’s what happened, but as soon as the fight began things just didn’t seem right. All the punches and knees seemed pulled, and when Reid went for the triangle it seemed that Reid was almost pulling Barrett into position. In short this wasn’t fighting, this was a fix.

In conclusion - having presented his shows on several channels, most notably Sky Sports, over the past few years this was Dave O’Donnell’s first foray into a pay-per-view, and while it was a bold step it was also the wrong one.

The first four fights on this broadcast can’t be faulted. The action was sound and each of them delivered in varying ways.

The main event, on the other hand, was another matter.

The various filmed segments which saw such events as Barrett taunting Reid outside his gym and Barrett fighting Reid and his bodyguards outside a restaurant came right out of Vince McMahon’s playbook. It’s pretty obvious they were staged. The only problem was that they weren’t staged very well. Sure, this was a professional wrestling-style angle, but it was poorly executed.

As for the fight itself it was one of the worst things I’ve seen from UCMMA. It was obvious the fight was fixed. Reid and Barrett looked like two rookie professional wrestlers putting on an exhibition match for their trainer at a wrestling school, and believe me, I’ve seen quite a few of those over the years so I know what I’m taking about, and if you were to look on their Facebook page as well as various MMA news sites you’d see that I’m not the only one who thinks that this whole situation was rotten.

The move to pay-per-view was also a bad idea. Reid versus Barrett was not a pay-per-view quality match, not even in name value, and I’d be interested to know just how many buys UCMMA will get in the end after all of the repeat showings because for the prices they were charging for this you can get up three UFC shows with ESPN’s monthly subscription, as well as a ton of other sports including boxing, football, American football and baseball, not to mention the other free MMA shows you can get on various other channels.

So in all while I’m going to give the first four fights the thumbs up I’m giving everything else the thumbs down. Alex Reid, Jason Barrett and Dave O’Donnell may have taken British MMA into the mainstream with this fight but the mainstream may be laughing their backsides off with the fake nonsense they put on in the main event.