Jim Ross has been pretty consistent with blogging his thoughts on various MMA topics. In his most recent blog, he hits the nail on the head in regards to Friday's Strikeforce Challengers show:
The Strikeforce broadcast produced by Showtime Friday night was embarrassingly mediocre.
This statement is not a reflection on fighters phoning it in or the announcing soiling the bed. The fighters fought hard but none of them were household names and really needed pre-produced, personality profiles and more info on who they are from the announcers to let casual fans 'in' the process so that we could care more about the fights and the overall broadcast.On a free preview night on Showtime, the network really dropped the ball in making the fighters human as well as apparently forgetting that Showtime was going to have a much ballyhooed heavyweight tournament in 2011 on which they seem to be hanging their hat.
One broadcast trend, IMO, in MMA is that often times the broadcasters will narrow-cast and speak primarily to the die hard MMA fans while virtually ignoring the casual fan who is attempting to make a decision whether or not to emotionally invest in this relatively new, TV and PPV sport.There needs to be a better balance on these broadcasts and TV producers and the broadcast teams themselves have to make a more concerted effort to consistently not speak over the heads of casual fans who are sampling the product. This by no means is saying that broadcasters need to 'dumb down' their presentation but simply do a better job of covering all bases regarding their viewing audience.
The Strikeforce Challenger broadcast reminded me of one of the many nights that yours truly spent in the Georgia Mountain Center in Gainesville , Georgia taping WCW product before a sparse, largely silent, crowd who was not into the product.
JR goes on to share his thoughts on Joe Rogan as a color commentator:
Yes I enjoy Joe Rogan's UFC work as he adds a much needed entertainment element to the process with his sense of humor notwithstanding Rogan also throughly understands the intricacies of MMA. Rogan, not unlike any other MMA broadcaster, still has to remember that every viewer isn't as educated in the finer points of MMA as MMA message board dudes are and that 'recruiting' and educating new fans is imperative for the long term growth of the UFC brand.
JR makes great points in regards to the common fault that MMA commentators run into. It's a fine line to walk, balancing information break down and straight commentating. With so many intricacies in MMA, keeping casual fans and new viewers in mind is a must, and not just for a few shows. For example, Joe Rogan has explained what "mission control" is a few times, but now, he may just use the term on the fly, without explaining exactly what it is he's talking about. Needless to say, 10th planet jiu jitsu terminology can leave fans...lost. On the other hand, fans of the sport who tune in regularly would be annoyed if we heard Rogan explain what an omoplata is every time a fighter MAY be looking for it.
I do not envy the job, especially for commentators that are working so often, and some are more aware of this peculiar situation than others, but it can definitely be an issue. In closing, check out this shot from JR's twitter.