Underground Blogger Alex Giardini asks if we secretly or not so secretly love mismatches. Follow Alex on Twitter.
2012 was a pretty bad year for MMA. Injuries, fight cancellations, banned substance abuse, over-saturation in a monopoly-driven promotion, and lack of star power hindered the sports' growth and its interest amongst even the most loyal of fans.
The World Series of Fighting debuted Saturday and it was entertaining. While the event was not without even match ups (Miguel Torres vs. Marlon Moraes comes to mind), many of the fights featured an MMA household name against, well, what they call an opponent in boxing. In the main event, Andrei Arlovski made quick work of Devin Cole, knocking him out in the first round. Anthony Johnson knocked out DJ Linderman in disturbing fashion. Tyron Spong made his MMA debut against Travis Bartlett, and gave us a memorable walk off KO. We knew hands down that these fights were mismatches.
Is there a big fan base hungry for these types of nights? We certainly do not want to see them monthly, and we do want to see the world’s best compete against one another as often as possible. But the truth is that we are going to tune in if we are guaranteed someone is getting finished. That is what made Mike Tyson's career.
When an event announces a mismatch, fans generally have one of two thought. One, it is only a matter of time - maybe seconds - before this guy falls to the favorite. Or, two, what if this guy scores the upset of the century tonight?
Does this make us sadistic or mean we want someone to get seriously hurt? No, but it is never the less entertaining to see someone rocked into oblivion. MMA cannot bank on mismatches, but can we say in the most respectful way that they are refreshing from time to time?
If we watch a card where almost every fight ends in a finish, we will likely remember that card and talk about it afterwards for a couple of days with our buddies. If we watch a card in which ten out of the ten fights go the distance, we will likely be upset that we missed Saturday Night Live.
The World Series of Fighting may in due course be able to sign more fighters and create more even matchups. But what if they don’t? What if there is more to come, just like we saw Saturday night. Will you stop watching?
WSOF is not alone. The Strikeforce Challengers cards were usually made for up and comers to shine, and the early Bellator super fights had guys like Hector Lombard smash cans on a bi-weekly basis. Even if we did not tune in live, we made the run to YouTube to see someone get obliterated in spectacular fashion.
When fans pay big money to watch a live event, they do not want to see three rounds of wrestling or technical flyweight jabbing (or they boo). Sometimes they just want to see someone get caught like a deer in the headlights. Not all the time… but sometimes.
Ask youself, could MMA even survive if there never was another knock out?
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