It's a great looking Saturday here in Norman, Oklahoma and I hope that where ever you are that you're having a great day. More often that not, one having a a positive day is up to the person one sees in their mirror. On that, let's roll.....
#UFC168 is tonight on PPV from Las Vegas. We had originally planned on attending but other upcoming business trips, etc have prevented that. Nonetheless I'm happy to be able to watch it at home on PPV and feel that the event tonight should be memorable in many ways.
Any time a building is sold out and fans have traveled for thousands of miles such as a WrestleMania event or, in this case, UFC168, the atmosphere is generally a huge asset for the TV presentation. Fans who have long anticipated attending the event can be a significant part of making the PPV experience even more enjoyable and exciting.
The Brazilian contingent alone, who idolize Anderson Silva, and who will be inside the Grand Garden Arena tonight should insure that PPV consumers enjoy the night a little more especially if all the fighters are motivated and engage early and often.
Tonight would not be the night for any fighters to lay on their ass or hold back. This PPV has been hyped to death and every fight delivering as best that they physically can is imperative.
The competition between the Brazilian fans and the other UFC fans in attendance has the potential to be entertaining in a nationalistic sort of way.
With that said it is imperative that the UFC TV production staff mic the live crowd as to where there are times when the announce team of Goldberg and Rogan have to push themselves to get over the natural ambiance. This adds a sense of urgency and importance to the presentation which further engages the fans watching at home or elsewhere.
I want to get lost in the presentation and to be provided the live feel of the event all the way from Vegas to Oklahoma.
UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman is in a strange position. He's undefeated...he's the guy who beat the greatest UFC Champion ever in resounding fashion but he seemingly hasn't gained the overwhelming support of many UFC fans. It's as if Weidman must beat Silva again to validate himself as a true star.
I'm curious to see if Silva is still as dominating as he once was or has that particular ship sailed? Every athlete in every sport has an expiration date printed on them somewhere. In a losing effort to Weidman, Silva clowned around and was embarrassed. Or did he know that it wasn't his time?
I 'think' Silva wins, I wouldn't bet a dime on this one by the way, but I love Weidman's game. The Spider winning is no slam dunk but I am assuming that he's re-focused and ready to regain the championship with which Silva will always be associated. Can 'Spider' redirect his ship in a positive way much to the delight of the thousands of Brazilians in attendance?
If the fight is close, and I think that it well could be, a 'rubber match' would be in order even though Vitor Belfort is waiting in the wings for the winner.
I pray that Weidman vs. Silva doesn't go to the judge's cards. Also, I wonder if loud, "USA, USA" chants permeate the arena which will also add some energy at the end of the night.
Ronda Rousey is too strong and too skilled at the highest level for Miesha Tate to handle. The only way that I see Tate winning is via the "puncher's chance" and getting a flurry of clean shots on Rousey and taking advantage of the four ounce gloves that are worn in UFC. If Rousey stays focused and Tate hasn't gotten into her head as Rousey did Tate the last time that they fought then this one might not go two rounds. I actually hope that it does.
I'm wondering if Rousey gets booed to any degree and if so does it matter in her approach? Likely not as it relates to her approach but I feel Tate will be somewhat of an underdog, fan favorite to many in attendance. I see big money being bet on this fight on Tate to score the upset and to pay off with major odds.
What's interesting is the "what if?" What if Tate does win and what that does for the trilogy which can be a promoter's dream? Now, that would be a helluva story.
Nonetheless it will be great to see, hopefully, Judo Gene LeBell in Rousey's corner as you know that he will be salivating to see Ronda apply the lethal arm bar that Judo Gene knows so well.
Very anxious to see my pal Josh Barnett fight the big, tough Hawaiian Travis Browne. Barnett is an old school, throw back and a catch wrestler along the mold of the great, Brit Billy Robinson of Wigan fame. Josh is putting himself in a position to earn some fabulous pay days with a win here but it won't be easy. Brown is much taller and that can provide a distinct leverage advantage. Josh needs to not stand in front of Browne and get into a striking battle but instead use his wrestling skills to take down his much taller opponent, a former hoops star. Barnett has the old school Jack Dempsey hair cut and an old school shooter's body. Josh has lost only once in his last 11 fights which goes back almost six years. Barnett's time is now and I'm predicting that he wins.
On a side note, Josh Barnett would likely make a viable, pro wrestler, of which he has done in the past, when his UFC days are over for some promotion. He's the kind of guy a company like WWE could sign, polish him up and vignette him all the way to a major main event position for, at worst, a one off, big money match.
I admire the work done by @DanaWhite and his staff do in putting together and promoting these major PPV's and keeping their titles special and with great equity. Pro wrestling's major titles back in the day always felt 'special' like the UFC Titles do today. Hopefully the pro wrestling biz can get back there again some day. Dana is a bigger than life personality who is a perfect fit to be the face of UFC.
It will be a long day with many fights to call for the broadcast duo of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan who have to be at their very best at the very end of a LONG day when the Octagon door closes for Weidman vs. Silva. (Pee breaks are pure gold, no pun intended, on long days like these for broadcasters.)
As the old saying goes, don't worry about the mules, just load the wagon (Thanks to the late, Dick Murdoch for that one) as it relates to the best broadcast duo in MMA IMO.
I'm also anxious to see if UFC adds any new wrinkles to the production of tonight's show. That might not be a bad idea. Small, subtle things standout and prevent the broadcast from becoming too formulaic from a production standpoint.
I can't way to invest my time and money in #UFC168 tonight and if you watch I hope that you will enjoy the show as much as I plan on doing. I will be live tweeting tonight @JRsBBQ if you care to follow.
Q&A's here are updated.
Please check out the NEW, JR;s package now at http://www.wweshop.com. Awesome art work by Rob Schamberger and double, personally signed by yours truly.
Big week upcoming....attending the Sugar Bowl in NOLA to support my Sooners vs the mighty, Alabama Crimson Tide and experiencing another birthday.
Tickets for my show in NYC, 'RINGSIDE: An Evening with Jim Ross' at the Gramercy Theatre are on sale now at the Gramercy box office and all http://www.ticketmaster.com outlets. I'm doing two shows on Saturday March 1 that include a no holds barred Q&A session, meet and greet and stories of my unique journey in the whacky world of pro wrestling that spans 40 years. I hope to see you there or at another of my shows in 2014.
Still haven't finalized our NOLA date during WM30 week as it seems that many people take something like three weeks off for the holidays in the USA. However, we re close on the NOLA deal so if you're coming to WM30 please keep our show in mind.
Rumor of the week is Brock Lesnar returning to UFC. I find that one a little far fetched. Diverticulitis isn't something that is to be taken lightly, of this I know what I speak, and returning to the Octagon under those circumstances makes zero sense to me. Brock has a sweet gig in WWE working a handful of dates a year for which I assume is a healthy, 7 figure income. It's a part time gig of which Brock is very good at and earning that kind of money is a bird's nest on the ground. Unless an athlete was broke as hell, and Brock isn't, there is no legit motivation to return to the Octagon and give it one more shot. No one is asking but if I were Brock Lesnar I'd continue to do the WWE gig including more dates and the opportunity to earn MORE money and smile all the way to the bank. Make it while you can, save it, and call it a day on one's own terms. Plus, do it in a show biz world and not inside an Octagon where real fights occur. Just one guy's opinion.
Thanks for stopping by and please visit us again.