Monday, June 2, 2008

MMA's Minor Leagues

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the premiere mixed martial arts organization in the world. It's presence has gone from pay-per-view only events to a mix of its reality show on Spike, the occasional free fight on the same cable network and primarily pay-per-view events. To deep pocketed MMA fans this formula may work just fine. Many are content to watch the fights after the actual event date on the internet though. I fall into both categories, I usually see every other fight or so on pay-per-view and I catch them the next day should I not feel like ponying up $60 a show.

Free fights on cable and prime time networks are becoming more and more prevalent. The class of fighters isn't always on par with the UFC, but a lot can be said for free bouts when gas is four dollars a gallon. Elite XC and WEC both had big fights over the weekend. Saturday night was Elite XC's event which was also the first show ever on network television. Kimbo Slice of YouTube street fight and pr0n body guard fame was the main attraction. Gina Carano of American Gladiator and non-butch/surprisingly hot female fighter fame was the primary under card. Slice's fight was a bit of a sloppy mess, when you combined his semi unorthodox striking and underdeveloped ground game with the tomato can he was fighting. Carano came in over weight, but put an absolute hurting on her opponent.

WEC is the real deal no gimmicky fighters or glass chinned opponents. After being picked up and legitimized by the UFC they have had some killer events that rival their parent companies. On Sunday the biggest WEC fight of the year aired free of charge and delivered. It featured two title bouts and defenses in the featherweight and bantamweight classes respectively. Urijah Faber squared off in a knock down, drag out brawl for the ages with former UFC lightweight champ Jens Pulver. The bantamweight title fight was between two fighters I have only read about previously. Miguel Torres and Masakatsu Ueda went three full rounds before Torres closed Ueda's left eye completely stopping the fight before a fourth round could begin. Both fights set up what should be amazing sequels assuming the contenders can make it through their return bouts.

One last note, Anderson Silva now sits a top UFC middle weight throne that can not be cracked. Sherdog's monthly ranking has Paulo Filho, the WEC's champ, ranked number two and Robbie Lawler, Elite XC's champ ranked number five. I wonder how many Silva vs Franklin 3's, 4's and 5's it will take before the UFC goes fishing in the minors for an actual challenger.

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Recently Finished:

The Wise Man's Fear
Dynasty of Evil
100 Bullets Vol. 07: Samurai
Batman: Batman and Son
100 Bullets Vol. 06: Six Feet Under the Gun
100 Bullets Vol. 05: The Counterfifth Detective
100 Bullets Vol. 04: A Foregone Tomorrow
100 Bullets Vol. 03: Hang Up on the Hang Low
100 Bullets Vol. 02: Split Second Chance
30 Days of Night
100 Bullets Vol. 01: First Shot, Last Call
Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street
Uzumaki, Volume 1
Runaways vol. 1: Pride and Joy
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite
Batman: Hush, Vol. 2
Atomic Robo Vol. 4: Other Strangeness