Ring Of Combathits Nj This Saturday
Inside "Outside The Lines":
On Thursday, December 5th at 7:00 PM (Eastern Time), there is no doubt where the majority of the MMA world will be. They will be sitting on their couches watching ESPN’s Outside The Lines hour-long episode on mixed martial arts. Two years in the making, the show has been a collaborative effort among numerous producers and their crews, with filming spanning from November 16, 2000 all the way up to late November 2002, when cameramen will record their last moments of footage at UFC 40. Outside The Lines, a weekly show for the juggernaut sports network, focuses on lesser-known aspects of the sports world. Shows in the past have included subsets of the major sports or certain elements of them that have not necessarily been exposed to the public. On occasion, OTL has even had the opportunity to introduce something completely new to its audience. It would seem that MMA’s turn has come.
No one I spoke with at ESPN is quite sure how this came about, but in the beginning, early seeds for the show were planted when the words "extreme fighting" appeared on a topic board at an ESPN producers meeting for future shows. Discussion on the topic was strong and warranted a little field research, so ESPN producer Jon Fish was dispatched for some reconnaissance work in the trenches. An opportune phone call from then-manager Dana White (he managed fighters Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell) led Fish to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey and UFC 28. When Fish returned to ESPN headquarters with excited descriptions of his experiences at the event, the folks at ESPN knew they were on to something. "Our objective at Outside The Lines is to not do the most obvious thing," explains Mike Cambareri, who joined the project as head producer last March. "This was an opportunity to show the public something they normally wouldn’t see." With company approval, the wheels were set in motion to produce an entire OTL episode exploring the intriguing world of MMA. Producers were assigned. Meetings were held. Topics were introduced and then scratched. Camera crews were fanned out across the country. As the team dug deeper into their subject, Cambareri says they dedicated more of their time to work on it. Now, two years later, and months and months of phone calls, road trips, live interviews and beta tapes later, ESPN’s OTL will be ready to unveil the fruits of its labors.
The show itself will attempt to cover a wide range of matter. Cambareri confirmed that the episode’s format will consist of possibly 4 to 5 major segments of yet to be determined length, while the remaining time will be sprinkled with smaller pieces. What will these main stories consist of? Apparently a lot. One segment will focus on "MMA’s attempt to carve a niche in America’s sports culture", and most specifically, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s quest to get into the mainstream. OTL has been following the popular promotion since November 2000, and, in addition to interviews from UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC president Dana White (among others), footage will take fans behind the scenes the day of a UFC event to get a first hand look at the preparations and emotions leading up to fight time. Cambareri also added that the piece will touch upon the improvements the sport has enjoyed since Zuffa Sports Entertainment became a part of it.
Producer Jon Fish’s segment tracks the UFC heavyweight champion and will most likely revolve around former champion Randy Couture’s story. Fish was there when Couture made his triumphant return to the organization at UFC 28, besting Kevin Randleman for the heavyweight title. Fish was also there when Couture lost the belt to Josh Barnett at UFC 36 in March, and most recently observed Couture unsuccessfully try to get it back at UFC 39 in September. Expect the piece to offer a closer look at the 2-Time Champion’s life through those that know him best. The segment will also cover Josh Barnett’s fall from grace via charges of steroid use. Being the first ESPN representative "on the scene" two years ago, Fish has been an influential figure for the show, as his reports on the sport have helped the other producers in their own planning and research. For Fish, doing a piece on MMA was an appetizing prospect from the beginning. "I like boxing and I like Olympic wrestling. My impression going into this was one of excitement to see this up close and personal."
Click here to continue the article
ESPN OTL Press Release:
Ultimate Fighting: Spectacle or Sport?
Outside The Lines will report on ultimate fighting – described as "mixed martial arts" by its followers and called "human cockfighting" by it critics – as it attempts to carve its niche in American sports culture. The one-hour special will air Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. ET, and re-air Dec. 7 at 11 p.m. on ESPN2, and Dec. 11 at 4 a.m. and 3 p.m. on ESPN.
Outside The Lines — Ultimate Fighting: Spectacle or Sport? will present insight into the large and small organizations within the sport, profile fighters, examine the violence, and document illegal fighting in underground "fight clubs." Ultimate fighting includes elements of Greco-Roman wrestling, Marquis of Queensbury prizefighting rules, and multiple disciplines of martial arts dating back centuries.
The show, hosted by Jeremy Schaap, will include the following segments:
ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP – THE FIGHT FOR LEGITIMACY
CRITICS FIGHT ULTIMATE FIGHTING
FIGHT CLUBS – BEYOND THE MOVIE
FIGHTING FARM LEAGUES
TRACKING THE UFC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION(S)
THE GRACIES – MIXED MARTIAL ARTS’ FIRST FAMILY
From the event’s Promoter:
Tentative Fight Card
Main Event Shooto Class A – Middleweight 76KG 167.5
Ray "Bradda" Cooper (Jesus Is Lord) VS. Jay Buck (Team Hell House)
Semi-Event Shooto Class A – Welterweight 65kg 143.3
Shooto Class B 65KG 143.3
Shooto Class B Constructed 56KG 125
Shooto Class B 60KG 132.3
Shooto Class B 70KG 154.5
Shooto Class B 76KG 167.5
Shooto Class B 65KG 143.3
CARD SUBJECT TO CHANGE