Steroids in MMA
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Tag: TV

“UFC Primetime” Ratings May Justify Expense

(‘To the death, Georges.  To the death.  Right after I get back from vacation.’)

As if you couldn’t tell from the high production values in last night’s debut episode of “UFC Primetime” on Spike TV, that thing didn’t come cheap.  The pricetag for the entire series is $1.7 million, which is a lot when you consider that your run-of-the-mill “Countdown” show only costs about $200,000.  But judging by the ratings numbers from last night’s premiere episode, it may prove to be worth it.

MMA Payout reports that the show drew nearly 1.5 million viewers (1,494,000 to be exact), according to ratings estimates.  In case you’re curious how that compares to the “Countdown” ratings, the best that show ever managed to draw in its first airing was 782,000 viewers.  That means “UFC Primetime” drew nearly twice as well as the best “Countdown” ever, and it has the added benefit of being a recurring series, so we can see how many of those people come back for more next week.

But here’s the real question: will the high ratings translate into big pay-per-view buys?  Probably.  “Countdown” ratings have proven to be a fairly decent barometer for how a given PPV event will sell, and these kinds of numbers should give the UFC reason to be very optimistic about the potential for UFC 94.  Then again, Georges St. Pierre-B.J. Penn II was bound to be a huge event anyway, so it will be difficult to say how much “Primetime” helped.

Either way, as long as the UFC is putting out something this good, and as long as they keep employing our boy Ariel Helwani (who is hopefully seeing a big chunk of that $1.7 million, because we need to borrow some cash to cover our gambling losses after UFC 92), we aren’t complaining.  Let’s just hope this success means more “Primetimes” in the future.


Exclusive: TUF 8′s Dave Kaplan Says He Didn’t Eat the Special Sushi, Dicusses Last Night’s Loss

It was an Ultimate Fighter first when the cast members exchanged various bodily fluids via warring food pranks on last night’s show. Eliminated lightweight Dave Kaplan talks us through it in this exclusive Cage Potato interview, and claims all was not as it seemed. We also discuss Junie Browning’s betrayal and what went wrong in the loss to Phillipe Nover, among other things. Enjoy. Now that we’ve all seen last night’s crazy and often gross show, what are your thoughts overall?

I liked the show a lot. That might seem counter-intuitive. Obviously, the end of the show wasn’t the best for me, but I’ve had three months to deal with that. I liked the stuff that they showed. I thought I came off as funny, the type of person that I wanted people to see. I didn’t talk shit about anyone, and I feel good about that. All in all, I thought it was a good show. I might be biased, but I thought it was the most exciting and interesting of the episodes thus far.

It seemed like we spent a lot of time watching these food/bodily fluid pranks unfold.

You know what the funny part about it is? I had nothing to do with any of the pranks that happened. Any of the stuff that Krysztof did with people’s underwear or any of that stuff. I had fish put under my bed, which I thought was a lame prank anyway. But I can’t even tell you where I was when they peed in the fruit. I wasn’t part of any of that. I guess it makes for good television if you like the gross-out factor there.

The semen on the sushi, did you feel that was going too far?

I would say so. Here’s my take on that, and I have to be perfectly honest. I did not eat the sushi. I said that I did, because at that point in the show Kyle Kingsbury was getting on my nerves and I wanted a reason to retaliate, plus Tom Lawlor had actually eaten a piece and I wanted to have his back. So I said that I did it so I could retaliate, which Tom and I did.


“Stankie Knows Best” Coming Soon to Spike TV?

(All that wisdom, and no primetime TV slot on which to garble it…yet.)

Right away we knew that Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz (aka: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira’s boxing coach) had a certain magic about him. From his crazy motivational sayings to his semi-coherent ramblings about sardines, the man is straight up charismatic. But the more stories about him that trickle out, the more it’s starting to seem like he is being criminally underused in this season of The Ultimate Fighter. The latest Stank-tastic tale comes from TUF 8 cast member Ryan Bader, who paints a portrait of Stank as a lovable old card getting the most out of his affiliation with Nogueira:

I have a funny story about Al Stankie, who is our older boxing coach. After practice the coaches would go grab something to eat — most of the time without showering and in full Team Nogueira garb, which (I’m pretty sure) they were not supposed to be doing. Stankie had on a rashguard, full TapouT velour red warm-up, a TapouT beanie and a couple long gold chains. They went to The Palms to watch the Lakers vs. Celtics game. Stankie is a big Lakers fan, and when a Celtics fan expressed some joy about his team scoring, Stankie walked over and slapped the guy — with all of our Brazilian coaches looking on in horror. Before the other coaches could grab him, he yelled out, “I am with the heavyweight champion of the world! You want some?” Those of us that saw this understood that this could be Junie’s relative, and maybe that is why he wasn’t kicked off the show yet. Stankie is a great man, and Spike TV should give him his own show.

There are many stories that involve Stankie that I will try to give to you each week. We would all gather around Dan Valverde, one of the assistant coaches, and he would tell us the stories of what Stankie did over the weekend.

Bader also described Stankie as “drunk and funny as ever” when he and Nogueira showed up at the house to try and squash the prank war, which might at least partially explain the disrespect shown by many of the Team Mir fighters.

As for the suggestion that Spike TV should give Stankie his own show, we’re all for it. The fact that Brooke Hogan has her own show and Stankie doesn’t, well, let’s just say it’s a sign that this nation has lost its way.


UFC Signs Japanese TV Deal

Dana White
(See, Japan? Dana White knows what you’re into. You guys are still into samurai swords, right?.)

The UFC is headed back to Japanese TV sets via a new two-year deal with the Japanese subscription-based broadcaster WOWOW. They’ll be broadcasting all UFC pay-per-views starting with this Saturday’s UFC 89 from England on a tape delay. From the press release:

“The Japanese market has always been important to the UFC, and we want to bring MMA and all of its biggest stars back to Japan,” said Dana White, UFC President. “We are thrilled to be back with WOWOW.”

“WOWOW is extremely pleased to announce that UFC is back on WOWOW, starting with the UFC 89 event in Birmingham, UK,” said Mr. Kazuyuki Omura, Chief Producer, WOWOW. “The UFC will telecast in High Definition on WOWOW’s popular “Timely-on-Air” format, a limited delay broadcast adjusting the airtime to a time that will be convenient for the sports fans in Japan. After airing over 50 UFC shows from 2001 to 2007, we are excited to once again provide our subscribers with the most prominent mixed martial arts program in the world.”

There, Japanese MMA fans, does that take some of the sting out of Zuffa buying Pride only to dismantle it? No, probably not, but what can you do. At least you’ve still got Dream, and at least they finally paid Nick Diaz for a fight that happened last spring.

This TV deal is just one more box checked in the UFC’s global domination plans. Now look the fuck out, Phillipines.


Arlovski-Nelson to Be Added to Elite XC on CBS: Now Who’s Got the ‘Heat’?

(Network TV exposure makes Andrei feel like singing.)

Don’t look now, but Elite XC’s next offering on CBS is threatening to turn into a legitimately big time MMA event. Andrei Arlovski and Roy “Big Country” Nelson have reportedly been offered a bout against one another at Elite XC: Heat next Saturday. The fight will be an Affliction/Elite XC co-promotion. Like they say, the enemy of my enemy is my tentative friend as long as they’ll let me promote my t-shirt line.

If this sounds like late notice to be throwing a bout like this together, remember that both Nelson and Arlovski were prepping for bouts on Affliction: Day of Reckoning, which was set for October 11 until recently, so it’s reasonable to think that both guys are in fighting condition. However, while Arlovski was preparing for Josh Barnett, Nelson was getting ready to face Paul Buentello. Nothing against “The Headhunter” here, but he’s no Arlovski.

Needless to say, you can expect to see Arlovski-Nelson on the CBS portion of the card on October 4, but the bigger question is, what will this mean for the relationship between Affliction and Elite XC moving forward? Funny we should ask, because MMA Rated spoke with Jared Shaw about the deal, and he had this to say:

This is just one fight. This is a co-promoted fight and it’s the first time out and it’s the beginning of a working relationship, there’s nothing else in place. We hope that Roy Nelson vs. Andrei Arlovski is the beginning of a great budding relationship between Donald Trump’s Affliction and EliteXC.

Shaw says the two-hour CBS broadcast will now feature five fights, and had no problem saying that this news “hits Dana White hard.” We’ll see. One thing we know about Dana White is when you hit him, he usually hits back.


“MMA Live” Headed to the Real ESPN Soon?

(A face made for TV.)

When Kenny Florian told us in our exclusive interview that he hoped to get ESPN’s internet show “MMA Live” onto actual TV soon, we naturally assumed it was just one of those things you say without really meaning it. Kind of like, ‘We should get together for lunch some time’ or ‘I love you.’ But from the sound of it they might really be close to landing a TV slot for the show on one of the ESPN’s:

“I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but soon,” Florian said. “The next couple of months, we’re hoping to get [MMA Live] on ESPN or ESPN 2, and the sponsors are getting on board as we speak, so we should have a deal very, very soon. We’re all very pumped.”

In all seriousness, we really hope this works out. Not only is it a great step towards more coverage for MMA, but Florian is one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors. You put his suburban Boston mug on TV with the words ‘MMA Fighter’ below them and suddenly it gets a lot harder to call the sport human cockfighting fit only for tattooed bar bouncers. Plus, doesn’t the world deserve to hear about his hellbows?


MMA’s Popularity Makes Judo Sad

Ryan Reser (above, right) is said to be one the United States’ best hopes in judo at this summer’s Olympics in Beijing, but apparently that doesn’t mean he isn’t still chapped about judo being largely ignored in the U.S. while MMA enjoys a growing a fan base. From a story in yesterday’s New York Times:

“It blows me away and upsets me because we’re not to that level,” he said at the Olympic judo trials in Las Vegas. “We’ve been doing a lot of that stuff all along. Not the punching and kicking, but the arm bars and chokes.”


Reser is hoping that the M.M.A. crowd will watch judo during the Olympics. He said the similarity between the two sports would lend to natural crossover appeal. And maybe get some athletes intrigued by the M.M.A. cage wearing a gi.

“We’re just not a very big sport,” he said. “We have a lot of judo, but it’s spread across the United States. It’s hard for us to get partners and news coverage. We’re hoping we can get more interest in judo.”

This is the second time in the recent lead-up to the Olympics that we’ve heard a judo-lover expressing frustration over the lack of interest in the sport stateside. First it was Karo Parisyan, and now Reser, who says he’s taken up training with some MMA fighters to learn a few new tricks. I’m not going to point out that the issue of “crossover appeal” for an Olympic sport that incorporates one aspect of MMA only reinforces my belief that MMA (which incorporates all the aspects of MMA) should be an Olympic sport all its own.

Instead, I’m going to hypothesize that crossover appeal is never the issue with the Olympics. Not really.


“Unfinished Business”: The Aftermath

Nick Diaz EliteXC MMA Stockton
(“I’d like to say fuck you to all my fans, fuck you to everyone at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu who helped me train for this fight, a huge fuck you to my brother, fuck you to my sponsors Chase Chevrolet and Stagr…” Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

If CBS’s latest “Saturday Night Fights” card proved anything, it was that the EliteXC brand isn’t strong enough yet to pull in viewers without its marquee fighters. “Unfinished Business” drew 2.62 million sets of eyeballs according to, and while that’s not a ratings disaster, it does represent almost a 50% drop from the “Primetime” show in May, which was headlined by Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano. Getting the ratings back on track will be priority #1 for EliteXC’s next show; during Saturday’s broadcast, it was announced that “Saturday Night Fights III” (actual title TBA) will go down October 4th at the BankAtlantic Center near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Mr. Ferguson and Ms. Carano have been booked to fight.

Now the question is, who will they be fighting? We previously mentioned that Kelly Kobald was being discussed as the next opponent for “Crush/Conviction,” but Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos had a star-making performance this weekend with her double-homicide of Shayna Baszler, and a Carano/Cyborg matchup would probably be the biggest fight in women’s MMA right now. As for Kimbo, who freakin’ knows. Brett Rogers is still the most obvious choice for Ferg’s next opponent, but EliteXC has been cagey about confirming it, leading some to wonder if Rogers is being saved for Antonio Silva’s first heavyweight title defense. Regarding a Slice/Rogers match, EliteXC’s Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen said “I’m not sure if that’s the fight fans want to see right now,” telling Sherdog that EliteXC is now looking at four or five potential candidates for Slice’s next opponent. He wouldn’t name names.


Great Moments in MMA Product Endorsement

I guess you could call this CagePotato’s first original highlight reel. We rounded up the most insane TV commercials starring MMA fighters and stuffed them into a single video for your convenience and enjoyment. Some of them are beloved classics; some you’ve probably never seen before. Noticeably absent are the unauthorized Fedor Emelianenko honey-drink spot (because we’d like to avoid any rude letters from Fedor’s lawyers), and the Rich Franklin “Xyience Teacher” commercial (because it seems to have disappeared from the Internet). But if we’ve left out any other good ones, shoot us some links in the comments section. As Randy Couture might say, “Oh, you’re gonna like this.”


Hoo-Rah! Armed Forces Invade MMA TV Shows

(Jason Miller on the unpleasant end of an Army Ranger “stress position.”)

Two new MMA-based television series are being readied for debut — and we’re already liking them better than The Iron Ring and Settle Your Grudge.

— Next Monday through Wednesday at 10 p.m., the mini-series T.O.P. Army Fighter will air on the Military Channel. Each episode features military personnel competing in four-man tournaments — in seven weight classes ranging from flyweight to heavyweight — using modified MMA rules that prohibit knee strikes to the head and leg-locks, among other attacks. The fights will take place in a ring and will employ a scoring system that awards points for things like takedowns and passing guard. Army Ranger and MMA pro Tim Kennedy (IFL, HDNet Fights) will be one of the 28 servicemen competing on the show. Sounds like it could be a bit too complicated for its own good, but hey, it’s fighting on free TV. Now we just have to figure out what the hell the Military Channel is.

GI vs. Pro, a series where MMA-trained armed services members fight professional mixed martial artists, debuts July 19th on Fox Sports Net. The action will be more traditional than T.O.P. Army Fighter‘s, with each match slated for three five-minute rounds inside a circular cage. The GI team will be led by BodogFIGHT/FCC vet Nick Agallar, while the Pros squad will be led by UFC/KOTC vet Chris Brennan. Both lightweights will face off in a match during the show’s September 13th finale.

— In other MMA-on-TV news, Strikeforce on NBC premieres late this Saturday night at 2 a.m., immediately following Poker After Dark. The first episode will focus on Cung Le, and will include his June 2006 fight with Brian Warren. With that time-slot, how could it not succeed!

(Props: MMAJunkie)