What a Difference a Week Makes -- Mallory Looks at a Kinder, Gentler "IFL Battleground"
By Mallory Mahling
Happy First Day of Spring, everybody. It finally got here--blue, warm and glorious. (Sorry for gloating if Old Man Winter is still lurking in your part of the world).
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“IFL Battleground” got off on the wrong foot last week with its questionable debut episode. Days after the poorly received show aired, International Fight League Commissioner, Kurt Otto, appeared on MMAWeekly Radio and apologized profusely:
“I would like to apologize on behalf of the IFL and MyNetwork if we upset or disappointed anybody in the MMA world. We’re all about MMA being seen in a positive light. In this instance, we dropped the ball and we promise to make everybody proud. We realize as a group that we made a mistake with some parts of the show, but we will learn from this and grow. We want to make this the best possible platform for the sport as possible. The IFL would also like to apologize to our athletes and our coaches. We promise that it will be corrected and we as a group will learn from this.”
Imagine that! A company that listens to its fans. Of course, after the boatload of criticism that came its way, "IFL Battleground" wasn't going to have a whole lot of fans left if it continued to feature the barbaric side of the sport rather than the skilled fighting side of it.
Since I've enjoyed IFL on Fox Sports, I was willing to give it another chance Monday night, and, as promised, it was vastly improved. The episode was more or less a highlight reel of the first season, but since the fights were probably new to most viewers, maybe that was just as well. A lot of emphasis was put on the fighters' back stories, also a good thing. (Keep your eye on Chris Horodecki, who seems to be on the fast track to MMA stardom. He gives new meaning to "baby face" and looks like he should be in junior high, but he's undefeated and quite talented.)
One of the things that annoyed me most about the first episode was the "Voice of Doom" announcer. He's gone (or at least toned down), and the show has more new voices coming. It has been announced that Bas Rutten was lured away from coaching the Anacondas and will be co-hosting "IFL Battleground" with Tiffany Fallon in future weeks. Rutten is a former Pancrase and UFC champion and former color commentator for Pride FC. He is knowledgeable, entertaining…and I love his accent. Fallon is the 2005 "Playmate of the Year."
On an amusing note, if you remember the "Janice Dickenson Model Agency" episode that featured IFL, one of JaniceZilla's bored-to-tears models could be seen doing a very poor imitation of a ring girl on Monday night's show.
IFL Battleground will be repeated Saturday night on MyNetwork TV. (The WB morphed into MyNetwork TV last fall.) If you don't get MyNetwork TV in your area, IFL still airs fights on Fox Sports Net. Check local listings for time and channel.
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Thanks for reading and see ya next week.
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