Mixed Martial Arts (or “UFC”) is usually relegated to pay per view for $44.95 (higher for HD), a price I’m not willing to pay (big surprise there). Some of you are fans, others kinda curious, and most probably happy that the violent sport is not in front of your face (or your kids’ faces) very often. Well, on Saturday the 20th, there are two chances to watch two live events for FREE. A bargain, if you ask me.
On Saturday night, the UFC 95 event in London will be tape-delayed for American primetime (hence why it’s FREE) if you get the Spike Network on cable. Some interesting match ups are scheduled, including a strident Republican (Chael Sonnen) taking on Damien Maia, one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu submission fighters in the game. Both are in title contention, headed for a date with a guy called “The Spider.” I was a sucker for WWF drama as a kid. To heck with skill, gimme sub-text!
Then there’s the main event: Joe “Daddy” Stephenson who became a dad at age 17 and one day wants to be a teacher, but figures he’ll pursue that once his fighting career peters out – a really likable, if hapless, ball of muscles. He’s up against Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez, a born again woo-woo who belts out Tony Robin’s style affirmations while bringing his mean temper to bear on his opponents (Karen thinks Jasper Diego was named after some left-wing painter, but really it’s the ultimate fighter – j/k). Diego is going to sweat out 30 lbs before he fights (has to make 155lb limit for his first time). That’s a lot of holy ghost power that may leave him depleted come fight time . Should be interesting. Another spectacle is Josh Koscheck (pictured), a bad boy seemingly plucked from the Cobra Kai dojo in The Karate Kid. Strangely, his sneering, two tone hair, and brash attitude is starting to grow on people (cuz it pairs nicely with his masochism).
If this whole arrangement sounds a tad unethical, that could be because the UFC has a bit of a stranglehold on the MMA market. Maybe you’d prefer to support the local promotion. At George Mason’s Patriot Center there’s a great fight card taking place on Saturday night. The Ultimate Warrior Challenge is showcasing really talented fighters (including females) who aren’t quite ready for the big time. This is kind of a misnomer, because some have been to the big time and are trying to get back there, while others are totally deserving, but there just isn’t much room at the top (in the UFC) with MMA’s current level of popularity (and illegality in some states). If you can’t visit the DC metro area to watch the UWC, you can watch the live stream for FREE at www.Sherdog.com. Levon Maynard (pictured) is fighting too. You might remember him from the time that I covered a story for a MMA blog who sponsored the VA Beach based fighter. A really swell guy. I’ll be rooting for him for sure.
Well anywho, that’s my hobby – the only sport I take an interest in (aside from Top Chef) shared with you. Enjoy.
*for an economic perspective, check out NPR’s Marketplace coverage
*these two events do seem to be airing at the same time, but there are ways of watching the London event live during the day (or you can tivo it). I’m not going to say too much about the strategy that saves you a flight to London. But, justin.tv is a good place to start your research.