The UFC is everywhere these days. Last night, they enjoyed their first trip to the state of Maine, and a raucous live crowd offered a great atmosphere.
But on TV? I still think the UFC can do a lot better.
Sure, Jon Anik and Kenny Florian hit the notes that they had to hit. Florian draws from a long MMA career when he provides insight on tactics. Anik does fine — in a tough job.
But I still don’t think it’s where it should be.
One big reason is the lack of partiality. With everyone on the broadcast essentially a UFC employee, you’re not likely to get a diverse range of opinions. This is symptomatic of a bigger problem in today’s ZUFFA-dominated era.
Another, and perhaps more difficult to understand, is that despite the popularity of MMA — with live network TV broadcasts we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago — we’re still not getting a matching level of professionalism in the booth.
For UFC Fight Night, Josh Koscheck made his debut. Koscheck, of course, is a fine fighter, who has enjoyed an almost ten-year run in the UFC (including challenging for the UFC welterweight title in 2010). Along the way, he earned victories over the likes of Matt Hughes, Diego Sanchez, and Anthony Johnson.
But his analysis? Well…
First came a shaky weigh-in performance:
Hopefully Josh Koscheck can improve his public speaking, because that was cringeworthy to sit through. Opening day jitters?
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) August 15, 2014
Then, last night…
As fas as TV announcers go, Josh Koscheck is making Tito Ortiz look like Howard Cosell.
— Carlin Bardsley (@CarlinBardsley) August 17, 2014
Koscheck struggled at every turn. Prior to the co-main event, he droned on about a mysterious fighter named Greg Maynor. To hype another bout, he reminded us that “they train hard at Alliance MMA.”
Josh Koscheck just said they train hard at Alliance. #BreakingNews
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) August 17, 2014
It’s tough to be on live TV, sure. But UFC fans deserve more than one meaningless cliche after another and announcers who fail to even say fighters’ names accurately.
But it’s a disturbing trend. Chris Lytle was similarly abysmal. Others, like Dominick Cruz, may be likable but seldom offer any real insight.
It’s become clear that the UFC, after striking gold with a polished and insightful Brian Stann, thinks they’ve found a treasure trove of analysts among inactive fighters.
The struggles of the likes of Josh Koscheck have made it also clear that they’re incorrect.