Minute by Minute: UFC Fight Night & Affliction

By Jake Rossen Jul 21, 2008
The MMA consumer had some rough choices Saturday night, Sophie Zawistowski-style: watch a four-hour advertisement for a clothing company that takes its design cues from Charles Manson’s prison cell etchings -- and pay 39.95 for the privilege -- or catch a three-hour block of free fights with roughly two hours and 45 minutes of commercials.

It gets worse -- witness the most formidable challenge in years for Russian concussionaut Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures), or Anderson Silva (Pictures)’s carbohydrate-fueled bid for 205-pound supremacy? Listen to the hackneyed patter of Frank Trigg (Pictures) or Mike Goldberg? Concurrently, puncture your eardrums with a No. 2 pencil or a sterilized knitting needle?

The solution is obvious: remain noncommittal and use the wonders of picture-in-picture and the Last Channel button to create your own simulcast of Affliction “Banned” and Spike’s UFC Fight Night.

This is how I spent my Saturday night. Pretty sad, isn’t it?

8:00 p.m. ET I tune into Fox Sports Net for the Affliction “Banned” prelim show, which is fairly solid in its own right thanks to the participation of Vitor Belfort (Pictures), Paul Buentello (Pictures) and late-replacement Gary Goodridge (Pictures).

Only it’s not on FSN; it’s on something called the Madison Square Garden network, a channel I’ve come across before that seems pre-naturally obsessed with ancient pro wrestling footage and Boomer Esiason. And it’s not on at 8, but at midnight -- exactly when the pay-per-view event it’s purporting to hype is entering its fourth hour. The promotion will essentially be counter-programming itself. Not exactly General Patton-level planning.

With an hour to kill, I switch to Flix to catch the first hour of “Judge Dredd.”

8:15 p.m. Judge Dredd has just murdered 17 people. I think he has a soft spot for Diane Lane, though I’d advise her to sleep with one eye open.

8:20 p.m. Someone calls and asks if I want to see “The Dark Knight.” I tell them I’m very busy working and wipe nacho cheese sauce from my imported Pride snack bib, which sports an illustration of Nobuhiko Takada (Pictures) grappling an octopus.

8:59 p.m. Despite the winning combination of Stallone and Rob Schneider, I peel myself away when I realize I’m not being paid to watch “Dredd” -- though that would clearly make great amounts of sense.

9:00 p.m. Since I figure UFC Fight Night is likely going to open with Mike Goldberg straining to tow the company line and asserting that Anderson Silva died for our sins, I opt for Affliction’s first few moments on air.

As threatened, Megadeth is opening the show. I’m not all that familiar with their music, but the woman on lead vocal is pretty good.

9:05 p.m. Goldberg refers to Anderson Silva’s style as “Muay Pie.” Sounds delicious.

9:06 p.m. Affliction wastes no time -- unless you count the time wasted on Megadeth -- getting Mike Pyle (Pictures) and JJ Ambrose (Pictures) in the ring. All of Pyle’s cornermen are sporting Affliction gear. Imagine that.

9:09 p.m. Pyle gets a rear-naked choke for the win. Referee-turned-announcer “Big” John McCarthy looms over him for an interview; back on Spike, incontinent McCarthy doppelganger Jesse Taylor (Pictures) is shown explaining his drunken misbehavior on “The Ultimate Fighter.”

9:11 p.m. Taylor, McCarthy, Taylor, McCarthy … it’s like having a time machine.

9:13 p.m. Pyle dons a Tapout cap and is immediately wrestled to the ground by staff.

9:14 p.m. UFC’s Bruce Buffer is announcing opposite brother Michael, who is working the Affliction show. Now my remote is acting as a talent-siphoning device.

9:15 p.m. Taylor and opponent CB Dollaway (Pictures) engage in some dirty boxing. Appropriate, since Taylor is no stranger to dirty boxers.

9:16 p.m. CB Dollaway (Pictures) lands an illegal knee to the massive head of Taylor.

9:18 p.m. “… state, er … country of Brazil,” says Affliction commentator Frank Trigg (Pictures). Blame Robbie Lawler (Pictures).

9:19 p.m. Dollaway ties up Taylor in a Peruvian necktie for the win.

9:20 p.m. Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) is shown playing cards in his prep room. Not surprising, considering he has a face roughly as expressive as a Botoxed Charles Bronson.

9:24 p.m. A “Never Back Down” DVD commercial is on Spike. I’ll do them one better and Never Watch This Movie.

9:27 p.m. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pictures) stalks Edwin Dewees (Pictures), who fires off some effective kicks.

9:30 p.m. A flurry by Nogueira puts Dewees down for good.

9:32 p.m. “Then he fell. Ha, ha, ha!” Nog narrates the replayed finish like an emotionless mercenary.

9:34 p.m. I’m not exactly overwhelmed with choices here: Anthony Johnson and Kevin Burns on Spike, or Matt Lindland (Pictures) and Fabio Negao (Pictures) on pay-per-view?

9:34 p.m. I make my decision, and not a moment too soon -- Judge Dredd just blew up the moon.

9:37 p.m. Negao enters wearing Affliction. The clothing company recently announced expectant mothers can now be injected with a chromosome that will induce a pre-tattooed Affliction logo on their infant’s belly.

9:42 p.m. Lindland rocks Nagao early and goes for a guillotine; Burns and Johnson are swinging for the fences.

9:45 p.m. “… and that’s why fans love him,” says Jay Glazer (Pictures) of Lindland. I definitely missed something there.

9:49 p.m. Johnson is poked in the eye and goes to the ground screaming. Either that, or he just saw David Spade sitting next to a Playboy model and reacted accordingly.

9:54 p.m. Round two ends with Lindland in control. Glazer recalls the Quinton Jackson (Pictures)/Lindland fight of 2006, saying that “the Law slammed Rampage.” It’s as unfortunate a choice of words as we’ve heard yet, an honor usually pre-earned by Goldberg.

10:02 p.m. Lindland wraps up the fight, decision via being Matt Lindland (Pictures).

10:03 p.m. On Spike, promising newcomer Cain Velasquez (Pictures) has a crucifix on Jake O’Brien and is landing a series of unprotected shots to his head.

10:08 p.m. Glazer says light heavyweight Mike Whitehead (Pictures) could be as much as 237-240 pounds for his fight with Renato Sobral (Pictures). Whitehead sports a scar from where his leg was amputated and then re-attached on fight day.

10:15 p.m. Goldberg interviews Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) via satellite from his home in Montreal. He says Jon Fitch (Pictures) is likely to beat him and that training has been going horribly. Sure he did.

10:18 p.m. Round one of Sobral/Whitehead ends; Frankie Edgar and Hermes Franca (Pictures) are up on Spike.

10:24 p.m. Sobral’s corner channels Burgess Meredith: “Stop $%&*@ playin’ around with this guy. You’re way better than this prick.”

10:26 p.m. Edgar is working over Franca in his guard; Sobral tumbles outside of the ropes. Twice.

10:32 p.m. Another takedown by Edgar.

10:32 p.m. Couture is in Whitehead’s corner sporting a different Affliction shirt than the one he wore when cornering Pyle earlier. Wardrobe changes have no place in MMA.

10:34 p.m. Sobral wins a decision; Edgar is still in Franca’s guard. Franca should start charging him rent there.

10:41 p.m. Savant Young enters the ring looking like Kevin Randleman (Pictures) after being hit with a shrink ray -- 1:6 scale but with the same size head.

10:45 p.m. Edgar wins a decision; Young and Mark Hominick (Pictures) trade.

10:48 p.m. The crowd cheers as Fedor appears backstage looking relaxed. Handlers rub his feet as he swings in a hammock while reading the Russian version of Maxim. On the cover is a woman dressed in a very revealing potato sack.

10:48 p.m. Silva’s opponent, James Irvin (Pictures), is shown in the locker room struggling to get his gloves on over the brass knuckles.

10:51 p.m. Hominick attempts a triangle and is slammed on his head for the effort.

10:52 p.m. Brandon Vera (Pictures)’s first 205-pound fight -- against IFL alumnus Reese Andy (Pictures) -- is up next on Spike.

10:53 p.m. Hominick tries another triangle, converts it to an armbar, and gets the win.

10:57 p.m. Megadeth returns to the stage. If you play their “United Abominations” album backwards, it recites Affliction’s dismal second-quarter earnings statement.

10:59 p.m. Nice kicks by Vera. Andy nails a takedown, but Vera pops right back up.

11:03 p.m. “Affliction ‘Banned’ is brought to you by Affliction. Get Affliction at Afflictionclothing.com,” says Glazer.

“Affliction Affliction Affliction,” agrees Trigg.

11:04 p.m. Josh Barnett (Pictures) and Pedro Rizzo (Pictures) prepare to mix it up, with Barnett looking to avenge a loss that took place when “Baywatch” was still in production.

11:05 p.m. Vera has Andy’s back and looks for a choke.

11:10 p.m. Round two ends. Vera is winning, but not impressively.

11:12 p.m. Barnett stalks and Rizzo looks to counter. Rizzo’s aggression is often called into question: The man could have a loaded gun and still approach a rare steak with trepidation.

11:13 p.m. Barnett satiates my need to see a 250-pound man perform a spinning back kick.

11:19 p.m. Barnett lands a left that puts Rizzo on his back for the win.

11:24 p.m. Ben Rothwell (Pictures) and Andrei Arlovski (Pictures) are up. Arlovski runs hot and cold, but when he’s rocking the Leonidas beard, it’s time to watch out.

11:31 p.m. Cung Le (Pictures) has a ringside seat at the UFC. Solid.

11:34 p.m. Arlovski lands some kicks.

11:35 p.m. Anderson Silva (Pictures) enters the arena for the main event. Now I’m conflicted.

11:36 p.m. Arlovski nails a takedown and looks for a heel to tear.

11:38 p.m. Irvin and Silva begin circling each other. Silva usually takes a round to feel out his opponents. I’ll come back to it.

11:38 p.m. Flurry by Arlovski, but the Affliction ring is so big that Rothwell can backpedal and avoid a concussion. Round one ends.

11:39 p.m. I flip back to Spike. Irvin is motionless on the ground. He’s apparently been shot by a sniper in the stands.

11:40 p.m. Big punches by Arlovski. He gets full mount.

11:41 p.m. Irvin is being helicoptered off to a trauma unit as police search the arena for the assassin.

11:44 p.m. Flying knee by Arlovski. Rothwell is taking some incredible damage, but doesn’t fall down.

11:47 p.m. Rothwell’s blood dots the camera lens before he crumbles to the mat. Backstage, Megadeth is sickened by the display as they rehearse a song about child sacrifice.

11:49 p.m. Rory Markham (Pictures) and Brodie Farber (Pictures) step into the Octagon. I’m surprised authorities would let them contaminate a crime scene.

11:51 p.m. The crowd loves Arlovski, whose English sure as hell doesn’t get any better when he’s out of breath.

11:53 p.m. Markham lands a huge, life-altering head kick. Farber falls right next to Irvin’s chalk outline.

11:54 p.m. The third or fourth “male enhancement” commercial airs on Spike before the broadcast ends. I’m starting to get a complex.

11:56 p.m. Affliction financial figurehead Donald Trump waves to the crowd. Madame Tussaud’s has placed a wax statue next to him that looks eerily like Don Johnson.

11:57 p.m. One more Megadeth number: music to play Dungeons and Dragons by.

11:58 p.m. I’ve rolled a level-7 ogre fart.

12:03 a.m. They’re still playing. Yes, yes, all hail Lucifer. We get it.

12:09 a.m. Main event time. Tim Sylvia (Pictures) steps over the ropes, Andre the Giant-style.

12:13 a.m. A woman holds a sign up that reads, “You are Fedorable!” I vomit.

12:18 a.m. Fedor swarms Sylvia with punches, drops him and snags a rear-naked choke in less time than it took Buffer to bleat “Let’s get ready to rumble.”

12:20 a.m. Don Johnson congratulates Fedor. Somewhere, Jean-Claude Van Damme is weeping into a pillow.

12:25 a.m. Fedor and legally ensnared Randy Couture (Pictures) exchange pleasantries.

12:30 a.m. The true sign of success: A random hooch sidles up to Fedor to give him a kiss. I can finally detect a hint of emotion on his face -- disgust.

Shuffling off to bed, I’m struck with three realizations to come out of tonight’s festivities: It’s impossible to cast Emelianenko over Silva -- or vice-versa -- as the world’s best freestyle fighter; the UFC apparently believes its fan base has the reproductive organs of a hamster; and I’m overwhelmed with the subliminal urge to go buy a T-shirt featuring a skeleton punching a dragon.

Actually, four -- “Judge Dredd” ain’t half bad.

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