It was a fun MMA experience over the weekend.
Media coverage of UFC 178 may have been dominated by something new: namely, the promotion’s brash new featherweight star, Conor McGregor. But to me, it felt like something old: a kind of a throwback to the classic events which ZUFFA brought in the early 2000’s, where every bout seemed to have real relevance to the world championship.
This weekend features a totally different MMA show, with a great mix of old and new: Friday night’s BattleGround MMA O.N.E. event from Oklahoma.
Here’s why I think it’s worth a reasonable $20 PPV purchase:
1) I’ve made no secret I like more than one approach to MMA out there. BattleGrounds is standing out from the pack by bringing back an old concept, the way MMA was originally brought to the US in the 1990’s: a one night tournament. It’s unique in this day — how will modern MMA fighters (and let’s be honest, things have changed drastically in the sport’s last 20 years) adapt to having to fight three times in a single night? No way to know without tuning in Friday.
2) Some new MMA talent. Among the participants are rising stars, like former NCAA All-American wrestler (at Oklahoma State) Jamal Parks, still undefeated in his young MMA career. “The” Joe Ray is another, best known for his “fight of the year candidate” at last year’s DARE Fight Sports show in Thailand. That night, the Florida-born, Thailand-based Ray scored a submission victory over Ole Laursen after a grueling battle to record his sixth straight MMA win.
3) The broadcast team. WWE legend Jim Ross will make his MMA broadcasting debut at BattleGrounds MMA O.N.E., calling the action alongside none other than Chael Sonnen. What’s there to say about that combination? Here’s what Chael says:
There you go. Battlegrounds MMA O.N.E. features some old, some new: but it sure sounds compelling — and worth my Friday night.