January, 2019

By In Social Media

Talking the Talk

It came as a surprise to many when commentator Jimmy Smith announced on Twitter that he would no longer be calling fights cageside for the UFC. By most accounts, Smith was somewhere between good and exemplary in his role. He is experienced in combat sports, possesses a clear and professional voice and also conveys genuine, intelligent enthusiasm for the sport. So why was he let go?

“[The UFC told me] you’re great, fantastic, we love everything you did,” he said in an interview with MMAFighting.com, “[but] we’re going with UFC fighters for 2019.”

This is a perfectly reasonable decision on behalf of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This isn’t exactly a change so much as it’s a pivot into something it has already been doing — and doing successfully. However, if the UFC plans on only putting fighters in the booth, it begs the question of whether or not fighting experience makes someone better for commentating…

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Lessons from The Real OC

If you have followed my column for the last few years, let me first applaud you for your excellent taste. Moving on, you may be familiar with one of the reasons why I gravitate to this sport. I’ve often said that my fascination with MMA — beyond its obvious and immediate thrills — is that fighting is a pure distillation of life. Sometimes the villains win. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Feel-good endings are rare.

Enter Sean O’Connell. Two nights after Penn was submitted, O’Connell became the first light heavyweight champion of the Professional Fighters League. It was by far the biggest accomplishment of his career in the cage, and it was also his final one; he retired after the fight…

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