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espn-mma-live-2I just read 2 columns about ESPN’s MMA Live. The first, over at MMA Junkie, seems to think the show is clicking. The other, over at Bloody Elbow, says it’s overrated.

And me? I’m in the middle. Part of me is thankful that I can watch an MMA news show and watch it whenever I please on my laptop. That being said, I do not watch it every week. After reading the 2 articles I got to thinking if I would be a weekly viewer if it was on TV. The answer is yes. I would definitely set a series recording for it, and navigating back and forth or through a show is much easier on a DVR. And while the production values are excellent, web video simply can’t compare to TV, especially HD.

I think Anik is fantastic in his role and he gets the most out of whatever talent is beside him on any given show. Bloody Elbow thinks that the analysis is woeful, save for Florian and the occasional piece with Mir. I agree to an extent — the 2-3 word answers after an Anik question are awkward and sore-thumby — but I still get something out of the show and its analysis.

Bloody Elbow also thinks part of the problem is money and location. “The problem is that the number of folks capable of offering entertaining and meaningful on air analysis in MMA can be counted on one hand, so by recruiting regionally ESPN unfortunately narrows the scope of an already shallow talent pool.”

I would think that if they did talkbacks with analysts in other cities it would work out well. What they would have to pay other people, as well as other production costs and satellite time fees, etc. is probably negligible. Especially considering the big numbers MMA Live is pulling. Or perhaps they are just content with McNeil, Florian and the like.

So would a talkback like the recent one with Loretta Hunt and more like them add to the content and quality of the show? A bit. It probably wouldn’t alter my viewing habits. I suspect the same of other viewers.

I found this note about Ken-Flo especially funny from the MMA Junkie article:

Poise, however, wasn’t one of Florian’s stronger assets in those frantic moments when a studio director’s countdown is down to a single hand. Butterflies may be swarming when the referee asks him if he’s ready for battle. Bats were seething seconds before the red light went on and Florian received the cue he’s on the air – not wearing gloves, trunks and Vaseline, but in jacket, tie and makeup.

I hope he knows it’s not really live. And if he screws up they can pretty easily cut and do it over. I’m kidding of course, but it’s interesting to hear how nervous it makes Florian.

I don’t think MMA Live is overrated. I also don’t think it’s the greatest thing ever in the history of MMA coverage. But I like it and think it’s well done. It serves its purpose. I think I’ll go watch it right now…

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