Archive for the ‘Strikeforce’ Category

The marketing landscape continues to evolve. The companies that continue to grow and take down the competition are the ones that are marking territory in brand journalism and content marketing.  The UFC has long been a proponent of creating its own news through its print magazine and its online news from UFC.com.  This week while promoting its end of year blowout card it also launched its new content platform “Fight Pass.”

Following the steps of the WWE who launched a digital catalog of old matches and content from its acquisitions, so too has the UFC. Now fans can enjoy the greatest matches from UFC, Pride, Affliction and Strikeforce.

I have long touted the success of the UFC is due to its incredible relationship with its fan base.  The UFC, its executive team and its fighters go out of their way to make the fan experience like no other.  UFC Fight Pass is no different. The UFC has opened up the first two months of the service as a free trial to fans to check out its capabilities.  Details on the channel and the cutoff date can be found below in the official press release:

THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP® LAUNCHES UFC FIGHT PASS™
NEW DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE OFFERS
 
EXCLUSIVE LIVE EVENTS, THOUSANDS OF FIGHTS ON-DEMAND AND ORIGINAL CONTENT

The Ultimate Fighting Championship® organization announces the launch of UFC Fight Pass™, the new digital subscription service which is a must-have for mixed martial arts fans.

Unveiled today with a two-month free trial, UFC Fight Pass delivers a minimum of 10 exclusive live events per year, exclusive live prelims, newly created and exclusive content in addition to unprecedented on-demand access to parent company Zuffa’s vast mixed martial arts video library.

UFC president Dana White said: “We’re very excited to announce this unique subscription service for our great fans. As the demand for live UFC events around the world continues to increase, we’ve responded by planning more big shows in international markets in local primetime. In 2014, there are going to be more international events than ever before – but we wanted to make sure that fans around the world could see these fights too.

“The UFC has always been ahead of the game when it comes to new media and new technology. We are putting together some sick cards in international markets and with UFC Fight Pass fans never have to miss a single UFC event, no matter where in the world the fights are taking place.”

Three international UFC Fight Night events have already been confirmed for UFC Fight Pass: UFC Fight Night: SAFFIEDINE vs. LIM on January 4, UFC London 2014: GUSTAFSSON vs. MANUWA on March 8 and a third international fight card in March. All cards feature top-10 ranked fighters competing in highly significant bouts.

UFC Fight Pass will also be the exclusive place to watch live Fight Pass Prelims™, the opening contests on major UFC Pay-Per-Views and televised cards.

In addition to more than nine exclusively live fights per month, UFC Fight Pass will also offer unparalleled on-demand access to the biggest MMA fight library in the world.

White said: “Zuffa has the biggest fight library on the planet, and with a UFC Fight Pass subscription, fans will get access to thousands of fights from the entire history of the sport. This is what fans have always wanted – we are giving them the keys to the candy store. Subscribers will be able to watch, on demand, the greatest fights and greatest fighters in the entire history of this sport. And I mean everything, fromRoyce GracieMatt HughesChuck Liddell and Anderson Silva, to Frank ShamrockWanderlei Silva,Kazushi Sakuraba and Fedor Emelianenko.”

Subscribers will be able to access hundreds of hours of content from the archive which includes two decades of UFC fights and the video libraries of other MMA organizations including PRIDE FC, PRIDE Bushido, Strikeforce, EliteXC, the World Fighting Alliance, Affliction Entertainment and World Extreme Cagefighting. See attached FAQ sheet for further details.

Additionally, there will be newly-created content for the service including regular behind-the-scenes reports, fighter diaries, UFC Upfront, UFC By the Numbers, UFC Fight Camp Insider and training tips. Plus, there will be exclusive content including the hotly-anticipated upcoming The Ultimate Fighter: Brasil season featuring bitter rivals Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen and future international editions of The Ultimate Fighter will be available exclusively on the UFC Fight Pass service.

“If you are a fight fan, UFC Fight Pass is for you,” White added.

UFC Fight Pass will initially launch in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, with a $9.99 price point per month in all four markets. Content will vary according to local television blackout rules.

A free two month trial starts now through February 28, 2014 providing access to live fights including the UFC’s first ever event in Singapore, UFC Fight Night: SAFFIEDINE vs. LIM, and UFC Fight Pass Prelims.

Visit UFC.TV/FightPass to start your subscription today. Read the UFC Fight Pass FAQ here.

I’ve been a big negligent of the ol’ blog.  Some personal and professional matters have kept me preoccupied and my writing has suffered a bit. Well, I’m back on the horse and ready to jump back into the wonderful world of MMA.

After months of buildup on The Ultimate Fighter fans finally got to see the rematch of UFC champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and challenger Miesha “Cupcake” Tate.  The “Cupcake” had benefited from the injury of Cat Zigano and was slid into a coaching position on TUF and an instant title shot.  Although many may say it was undeserved, marketers could quickly see the appeal that Dana White and the UFC saw: a rivalry that would create instant ratings. Like Shamrock-Ortiz or Rampage-Evans, these coaches had a hatred that could not be faked.

What I never saw coming however, was the backlash that fans unleashed on Rousey during her time on TUF.  Miesha Tate took a page from the Rousey playbook using mind games and smack talk to get under the skin of Rousey.  However, fans seemed to gravitate toward Tate and lose interest in Rousey when she would react (explode) to the goading.

During their first encounter, Rousey defeated Tate for the Strikeforce championship via vicious, limb-snapping armbar. The second fight went a few more rounds, but the result was the same. Rousey won via armbar. The fight was one sided with Rousey taking the better of the striking and judo tossing tate around the octagon at will.  When the fight was over, Tate extended her arm and Rousey walked away.

The fans of the arena exploded with boos and I for one was disgusted – with them. MMA fans that cheer on the Diaz brothers flipping off defeated opponents, love watching Tito Ortiz dig his opponents graves in the cage and still praise Brock Lesnar for his double guns, “Coors light” UFC 100 rant, held Rousey to a different standard. They felt she should have shown more sportsmanship and shook her opponent’s hand.

Ronda Rousey didn’t owe Miesha Tate a handshake. She fulfilled her obligation as a champion by putting the title on the line and going toe-to-toe for the gold.  In her post fight interview with Joe Rogan and her backstage interview (embedded above), Rousey explained her actions, her respect for Tate and why she would not extend her hand.  Fans need to realize if they want to cheer “the bad boys” they need to hold that same respect for the bad ass women of MMA.

I’ll admit I’m in the opposite camp of the booing Vegas crowd. I was cheering on Rousey and admit I loved seeing her walk away from Tate. I found Tate to be obnoxious on TUF and thought that Rousey gave her a well-deserved loss.  The irony of me admitting this is that when fans cheer on the Diaz brothers for similar behavior, I am usually disgusted and screaming for them to show more respect.

This post could easily be 10 pages, so I’ll wrap it up here. As a huge comic book geek and Rousey fan I found Fox’s take on the fight to be perfect.  If you have a moment give this a read. “Ronda Rousey doesn’t need to apologize to anyone for being Ronda Rousey.”

So….what were your thoughts on the fight?

 

One episode in and I already like this season of the Ultimate Fighter more than the last 3 seasons combined.

  • Wonderful production.  Fox and the UFC continue to step it up with the quality of filming. No longer does it feel like a bad soap opera set (ahem, SPIKE) but a beautifully shot documentary that happens to be a reality event.
  • The woman are here to dominate.  I did not see one boring prelim fight. Sure, there were some sloppy ones – but those fighters were looking to finish.  The men need to step up, I saw a few too many decisions to get into the house.  When you are in a gym that has “Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges” over the door – why on earth wouldn’t you put on the fight of your life.
  • A Family Affair.  It was interesting that this year they allowed family members on set to watch the entrance fights.  Although I thought I wouldn’t like that, it made the fights more authentic. Previous seasons the fighters battle in silence and it just appears awkward.  With family cheering on fighters around the cage it felt more like an event.
  • Tito & Ken reborn.  Leading up to this season the comparison kept being made that the hatred of these two was that of Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock.  But for me, the comparison goes much, much deeper.  Meisha is definitely Ortiz – loud, brash and wants all the attention. It was clear from the moment she appears on screen this will be about her.  For her sake, I hope I’m wrong and she proves to be as good a coach as Tito was in season 3.  “Rowdy” Rhonda is definitely the Ken role – angry, quite, distant.  Her near meltdown at the beginning showed me signs that she could be a bit too focused on her hate of Ms Tate that it could affect her overall coaching strategy. Again, I hope I’m wrong.

What did you think of TUF so far?

From UFC.com/Getty Images

From UFC.com/Getty Images

What is the one question I ask on a semi regular basis? (Ok, beyond the question of when MMA will be completely mainstream…)  The answer: when will we see the next Gina Carano?

Despite my earlier misgivings, the answer is quite clear: she is here, she is the current UFC champion, and her name is “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.  She has headlined UFC PPVs successfully, will co-headline the end of year PPV spectacular  (alongside Weidman-Silva II), has an upcoming spot as the captain of The Ultimate Fighter and is dominating magazine covers left and right.

She took the reigns as the “face of the sport” and has done well upholding herself as a champion and an ambassador for MMA and the UFC in particular. The problem? The world has taken notice.  Rousey has recently signed on for two films next year, The Expendables 3 and Fast & Furious 7.

This is not bad news for Rousey, this is an incredible boost to her own personal brand and an exit to the fight game when she is ready.  The problem for the UFC is that if others like Miesha Tate do not rise to the occasion the way Rousey did there is nothing to fall back on. This is the exact spot Strikeforce and women’s MMA was in back when then juggernaut Gina Carano stepped away from the cage and stepped up to the cameras.

Is Rousey’s heart in Vegas or Hollywood? We’ll see – but frankly, I’ll watch no matter where she winds up.  She has proven to be a class act and the real deal in terms of skill sets.

Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate Tour ESPNWomen’s MMA is in need of a serious boost.  It does not lack talent or desire from its fighters but certainly needs a shot of adrenaline for uneducated fans.  Much like other sports it is unfortunately women are hitting a bit of a hurdle in order to gain followership.  Even with the strong push of UFC President Dana White, the perception is that the women’s division is a bit of a one trick pony in “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.  With the upcoming season of the Ultimate Fighter we will bring audiences a new slew of female fighters to cheer for.

But contestants aside, what will be the true igniter for this division is the heated rivalry between the coaches – current champion Rousey and challenger Miesha Tate.  Tate, a former Strikeforce champion has battled Rousey and lost before.  She has everything to gain in this redemption match and because of it, the UFC will benefit.  All reports state that this season is the most heated it has every been between coaches.  This speaks volumes when we look back at some of the previous rivalries:

  • Ken Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz
  • Jens Pulver vs. BJ Penn
  • Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra
  • Rampage Jackson vs. Rashad Evans

Although I tend to hate the drama of reality TV, if this is true and these two fighters truly hate each other that much it means the UFC is going to be flooded with viewers for TUF (something it has lacked over many seasons) and will give the end of year PPV another pump of viewers.  With Rousey-Tate and Weidman-Silva on the main card, the UFC could see the type of numbers it used to project whenever Brock Lesnar stepped into the cage.

Will you be watching TUF this season?

Now in fairness to the phrase – Bellator would have had to at one point produced a phenomenal showing in order to point to decline – but stay with me anyway.

Bellator Fighting Championships has signed Quinton “Rampage” Jackson to its light heavyweight division.  If this were 5 years ago (ok even 3 years ago) this would be a phenomenal signing and a huge draw.  However, this is not five years ago and this Jackson is no longer that Rampage.  The Rampage that crossed over from Pride/WEC, knocking out Chuck Liddell & Wanderlei Silva is gone.  The Rampage that put on a five round war with Forrest Griffin is gone – what remains is a man that no longer knows what he wants to do.  Is he a fighter, an actor, a promoter?

Unfortunately, his answer is all three – as part of his deal with Bellator and SPIKE TV, Jackson is also now a member of the TNA Impact Wrestling family.  Yup, in case you have been hiding under a rock – Rampage is now a pro wrestler.  TNA first signed “King” Mo Lawal for double duty and I was ok with that.  Why? Strikeforce was a joke and so was its “King.”  To have him be part of a second string pro wrestling circuit to promote a second string MMA organization did not make me blink an eye.  But to do so with Rampage, you don’t raise the Bellator/TNA brand – you simply lower Rampage’s.

Brock Lesnar proved that a pro wrestler with a certain skill set can do well in mixed martial arts.  Years prior Ken Shamrock showed that an MMA legend could take his skills and become a pro wrestler. However, when you do both – you lose something.  You lose the reality of the sport of MMA.  This is not a circus, it is a serious sport – where serious injury can occur.

As much as this post is a “slam” to the former slam king Rampage – the true focus should be on Bellator.  When you allow your talent to moonlight in the pro wrestling circuit I can no longer take you (the MMA brand) or your fighters seriously.  Beyond the fact that you will have people wondering if your tournament fights are scripted, you have turned the fastest growing sport into what I have said all along the sport should never be – a 3 ring circus.

What do you think? Am I overreacting or do you think this is a bad move all round?

I wanted to see this movie when it was in theaters.  Unfortunately, due to a hectic life – I never got around to going to the theaters.  When it hit DVD/BluRay I’ll be honest – didn’t want to pay full price on a flick I hadn’t seen yet. And no, folks – I don’t have NetFlix and I don’t have a RedBox nearby so don’t remind me those easy remedies to my laziness.

Heading into the movie I was optimistic, but skeptical.  Giving someone with limited acting creds (beyond American Gladiator) a starring role is a big risk. That said, I have to admit – I really liked this movie.  Unlike a lot of action movies that try too hard to cram in a difficult plot or tries too hard to provide depth to the characters this is a down and dirty action movie at its finest.  It reminds me a lot of the film, Ronin in that the movie jumps right in and leaves you wondering throughout what is actually going on – but not to the degree that you will turn it off and watch something else.  Carano is captivating to audiences from a looks appeal, but those that did not know her MMA background will be quickly impressed with her on screen action.  The BJJ and striking are some of the best you’ll see in a film.

Check it out and then leave me a comment, I’m curious to hear what you think of the film.