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Live UFC report from the Dr. Keith Ablow Show

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By Jesse Holland
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On Friday at the NBC studios in New York, I had the opportunity to attend a live taping of the Dr. Keith Ablow show, a sort of decaf Dr. Phil that plays on the FOX channel weekdays at 10 a.m.

While I normally prefer my daytime television to be a bit trashier, I made an exception for this particular episode. Dr. Keith was going to use his experience in psychiatry to examine the lives of five UFC fighters and how their lifestyles affect friends and family.

Having friends in TV land (and slipping them each $20) I was able to secure two center seats in the front row. It was important for me to be close to the action in case they started fielding questions.

Well, that was the story I gave my wife. Frankly, I just felt like gawking at my favorite fighters at point-blank range.

The first guest was Matt Serra, winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 4 and potential toppler of the St. Pierre regime. Matt answered the standard battery of questions, covering such non-invasive topics as his career path and becoming The Ultimate Fighter.

Dr. Keith, being the good sport that he is, feigns interest and calls upon Matt's fiancé to cross-examine him.

Lovely and soft spoken, the future Mrs. Terror joins the show. We learn that indeed she does support his career choice, and despite the occasional butterflies, roots for him during pay-per-views.

Hopefully she'll still feel that way after UFC 69.

The best part of the entire segment occurred when the producers scrambled to create a makeshift cue card that read in big black letters: SIT BACK MATT! It seems his casual posture doesn't make for good television.

We take a short commercial break, which in TV speak means pause the tape and powder Dr. Keith's dome to prevent it from glistening.

Next up is Kenny Florian, who joins Matt onstage to talk about his experience growing up addicted to adrenaline and martial arts. Unconvinced, Dr. Keith brings Kenny's sister onstage to get the real scoop behind the rise of KenFlo.

She stands tall, calling herself proud to be Kenny's sibling and supporting all of his accomplishments -- not exactly compelling television, but still nice to hear.

Mercifully, the producers call for another break. I begin to wonder if I can sneak out the fire exit without causing a scene.

Apprehensive about the direction of the show (meet fighter, introduce relative, repeat ad nauseam) I frantically search the teleprompter for a glimpse of hope. Returning from break I'm relieved to see our next guest is none other than Mr. International himself: Shonie Carter.

Dressed in a light-blue pinstripe suit (think Jeff Daniels in Dumb & Dumber) and an enormous pearl necklace that could shame Flava Flav, Carter parades to the stage, eliciting laughter and applause every step of the way (and loving every minute of it).

Shonie answered each question with a form of poetry that while nonsensical, was wildly entertaining. He also coined a few more Shonie-isms that you'll have to hear to believe. I only hope they make the final cut.

Dr. Keith calls on Shonie's sister to give us some insight into the enigma that is Mr. International. Now, things are getting interesting.

I just had to know what else the Carter bloodline was capable of producing and truth be told, I was not disappointed. I can't imagine what these characters must talk about during Thanksgiving dinner.

Any episode of daytime talk isn't complete until it exploits young children in search of a tender moment. For that dubious honor we had Chris "Lights Out" Lytle. But first, another break!

During the break the producers needed to make room onstage for the Lytle family (wife, son and two girls) so the current family members were asked to join the studio audience down in the front row. That meant that three people in my row would be victims of eminent domain.

Having sat dead center in the fourth seat, I knew I was safe. My wife unfortunately, was not. I figured my best move was to avoid eye contact with her and apologize later. Besides, as long as I held on to the car keys I knew she would still talk to me.

My wife was replaced with Shonie's sister, and I began to wonder if Mrs. H didn't get the better part of my deal. I spent the remainder of the show trying to keep my leg from touching hers, in case she misread my intentions and delivered a spinning back-fist of her own.

Anyway, the Lytle family talked about having a fighter for a dad, and watching Chris's son beam with pride over his Dad's profession was genuinely touching. What better reward as a parent than the admiration of your children.

Kudos, Chris.

Last but certainly not least, Sean Sherk muscled his way onstage. I got a kick out of watching Dr. Keith botch the intro. Apparently, the peon charged with typing the script into the teleprompter got his Sherks confused with his Sharks and they had to restart the taping after Dr. Keith introduced him as Sean "Muscle Sherk" Shark.

Sean (channeling Tim Sylvia) marched onstage with his title belt proudly displayed. I'll be the first to admit the shiny gold of that beautiful belt had me weak in the knees.

In fact, I was so entranced with the title that I didn't hear them ask Sean any questions or notice when they brought his sister out to get her thoughts.

Producers call for one last break and inform us that upon return, we'll have the opportunity to ask the fighters a few questions before ending the show. In my best Tommie Smith impersonation, I tuck me head and stretch my arm high into the air, coming dangerously close to the grade school attention grabber of "Oooh! Me! Me!"

No matter. I was either too ugly or too informed to be heard.

Instead, we were treated to such provocative questions as "Sean, can you take your shirt off?" and "Do you get upset when you lose?" Baffled by the shallowness of the audience, I half-expected them to start booing and chant U-S-A!

Overall, it was a positive experience.

The fighters were well spoken and Chris Lytle's analysis on the perils of boxing (when compared to MMA) was both intelligent and informative. They even tried to stick around after the show to talk to the fans, but were quickly scolded and escorted to their limo.

It should be noted that in the "final thoughts" segment of his show, Dr. Keith promised each audience member a complimentary copy of the "Ultimate Iceman" DVD and a free T-shirt.

We cheered and sang the praises of America's second-favorite shrink. Little did we know that like most psychiatrists, he was full of bologna.

Our free DVD turned out to be "Ultimate Knockouts 4" (in case we may have missed it on Spike TV). As for the t-shirts, the staff members just pretended he never said anything and hurried us onto the elevator.

Thanks for coming, now get the hell out.

I'll be sure to announce the date this episode airs. As they say in showbiz: stay tuned!