MINISERIES FAILS TO EVOLVE PUNK
No matter what side of the C.M. Punk divide an MMA fan resides on, “UFC Presents: The Evolution of Punk” will do very little to persuade the viewer to change their opinion. The four part miniseries takes the viewer on a nearly two year journey, documenting Punk’s early MMA training through the realization of his upcoming bout with Mickey Gall.
While the series is shot chronologically, not much seems to change for Punk from the first to the last episode. By the time the final credits roll, Punk does not appear to be a vastly improved fighter, nor does the MMA world seem more willing to embrace the former WWE star.
Despite the lack of visible “evolution,” Punk does come across well in many facets of the series. Preexisting fans of Punk should take comfort in the fact that many of the established ethos of C.M. Punk are presented in the series. Punk’s straight edge (drug and alcohol free) lifestyle, his independent spirt, and his friendship with iconic punk rock guitarist Lars Frederiksen are all touched upon in the series.
Throw in “Rocky” inspired training montages, set the music of “The Bouncing Souls,” and a closing scene infused with Punk’s pro wrestling entrance theme “Cult of Personality,” and you have a documentary pleasing to fans of C.M. Punk.
On the other hand, critics of Punk are given no reason to subvert their rage toward C.M. Punk. Those who believe Punk is undeserving of fighting in the UFC are reinforced by much of the training footage. Likewise, those who feel Punk is receiving special treatment will feel vindicated – by Punk’s many media appearances, a fan expo, a phone conversation with Dana White, and of course an entire documentary series dedicated to a fighter with a record of 0-0.
For the casual observer the series is simply boring.
The initial and final episodes contain much of the compelling content, while the middle of the series is relatively uneventful. What took two hours over the course four weeks could have been done in a single sitting.
So what did the miniseries accomplish? In a subtle (or not so subtle) manner, Punk’s opponent Mickey Gall comes across as a potential UFC star. The virtually unknown Gall is given a large platform to showcase his explosive fighting style, good looks, and unique trash talk.
After all, isn’t the promotion of Punk’s UFC opponent the ultimate goal of Punk’s inclusion in the Octagon?
WHO IS JOE SILVA
The recent announcement longtime matchmaker Joe Silva’s departure from UFC has drawn considerable attention from all corners of the MMA media machine. While Silva seems to be well-regarded in insider circles, the general UFC fan base knows very little about such an import figure.
This week Dave Meltzer lifted the veil on the spectacular rise of Silva, in a riveting piece for MMAFIghting.com. Meltzer elegantly describes not only Silva’s many contributions to UFC’s meteoric rise in the 2000s, but he also chronicles the inspirational personal story of a young Joe Silva. The story of Silva is a necessary accompaniment to the narrative of Zuffa’s role in the mainstream expansion of the UFC.
Everyone on the internet feels like they can successfully put together every major UFC card; however, only one man has ever gone from reading books on fighting to having “the book” in world’s most successful fighting organization.
THINKING ABOUT UFC 205
Speaking of fan booking… until fights are announced for the UFC’s New York debut at UFC 205, fantasy booking will have to suffice.
An MMA fan will be hard-pressed to find a more detailed and realistic hypothetical breakdown of UFC 205 than the Aug. 29 edition of “A Few Words with Eric Santamaria” podcast. Starting at the 53:30 mark, the former host of the popular YouTube show “The Wrestling Roundtable,” Eric Santamaria discusses likely and not so likely bouts for every weight class.
What differentiates this podcast from most fan-driven speculation is the amount of thought that is given to every matchup. Specifically, Santamaria gives reasonable explanations to his omissions of high profile fighters like Georges St-Pierre, while also presenting possible destinations for the omitted fighters.
Stay tuned in November to see if an August prediction can prove to be accurate.
CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S “BUSINESS & MEDIA” COLUMN:
Fox Sports 1 is part of the UFC establishment and not a reliable source, What Culture’s MMA YouTube Channel, Alaska added
(Robert Vallejos writes a new Specialist column for MMATorch titled “Media & Business” focused on, you guessed it, the media coverage of MMA and the business side of MMA. He is fascinated by the presentation, business decisions, media strategy, and press coverage of both UFC and MMA as a whole, and will bring that curiosity to explore and delve into that side of MMA to his weekly Specialist column here at MMATorch. He explains his approach: “As a sport in its relative infancy, MMA does not receive the same level of scrutiny and informed analysis from the sports media as other more established entities. This is why it is vital for independent outlets such MMATorch to grow, while featuring a variety of voices. Unlike mainstream outlets, MMATorch is not beholden to any organization. Therefore I believe it is essential for individuals such as myself to explain not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ of MMA.”)