If you thought Spike TV was out of the mixed martial arts (MMA) programming business after severing ties with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), you were wrong.
Tonight (Feb. 22, 2012), the network launched a new MMA news program called "MMA Uncensored Live." It featured former UFC middleweight Nate Quarry, HD Net's Mike Straka (known primarily for his work on the hit program "Fighting Words") and Craig Carton (who is largely recognized for his sport radio show that he co-hosts with former NFL great "Boomer" Esiason) all served as anchors on the new show that aired at 11 p.m. ET on Spike TV.
The show joins the ranks of other MMA news programming such as HDNet's "Inside MMA," ESPN's "MMA Live" and FUEL TV's "UFC Tonight."
Interestingly enough, the promotional slogan for the new show is: "No Bias. No Boundaires. No B.S." Not that its inferring this is not the case for other shows in their genre (wink, wink).
After the jump, we'll recap the highlights of the latest MMA news broadcast to hit the airwaves:
The show kicked off with a round table set-up, circled by the aforementioned panelists: Quarry, Straka and Carton. The opening dialogue felt a bit forced and was led by a joke from Quarry about being glad to be on Spike without being punched in the face.
Without much of a transition, the show cut (almost immediately) to a live interview with UFC welterweight Nick Diaz that very well may have been the most awkward interaction between human beings ever.
Right off the bat, Carton lost the mercurial Diaz by leading with a question about his positive drug test after UFC 143. Diaz spent the next several minutes refusing to make look into the camera, giving short answers and just looking generally miserable to be there.
It did get better as the interview went on and Diaz seemed to loosen up a bit. However, the interview was generally pretty hard to watch.
After a break, the program took some viewer questions, did a brief UFC 144 preview and then transitioned to an interesting story that linked the fall of the Japanese based PRIDE organization to ties with the Yakuza mafia and other excursions in lawlessness.
The show wrapped up with an interview with Dan Henderson that pushed things over the originally alloted 30 minutes. Bad news for anyone who recorded the show via DVR or Tivo.
Overall, it wasn't a bad debut. I thought they did a decent job, gave good content and showed promise for future broadcasts. Its got some things to clean up, but hey, "Inside MMA" has been on the air for years and Kenny Rice still can't get the fact straight or pronounce the simplest of names.
It will certainly be interesting to see how things progress.
Did any of you Maniacs catch the the debut episode of "MMA Uncensored Live" on Spike TV? If so, what did you think?