While Affliction “Banned” was labeled a success by most, it wasn’t flawless by any means. Most noticeably, the televised production had issues, quite a few of them in fact. In the weeks following the event, Tom Atencio stated that the production problems would be addressed for the second show. While we’ll we have to wait till showtime on Oct. 11 to see how well Affliction implements those changes, we can at least report now that they have replaced their broadcast team with the HDNet/IFL crew.
Out is the initial pay-per-view broadcast group of Jay Glazer, Frank Trigg and “Big” John McCarthy; in is the familiar former International Fight League team of Kenny Rice, Ron Kruck and MMA living legend Bas “El Guapo” Rutten.
Bas Rutten commented on his new gig and what you can expect from one of MMA’s favorite personalities.
“It’s great to be here on American soil to do a big event like Affliction, which did a great first show, and I think the organization can really do it, can really make it.”
“I’m pretty good at (taking it) if there’s a reason why Bas shouldn’t do this or that, if it’s true and someone didn’t just make it up. I think the fans like what I’ve been doing thus far, so I think it shouldn’t change.
“It’s like when you go to a concert of a band and people can’t follow along any more because they totally changed the song; they don’t want that. I think, right now, things are good, but I am going to try to go a little more in-depth for the people that may be tuning in for the first time and give them a little more insight to what’s going on.”
I definitely think this a step in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jay Glazer and Frank Trigg, specifically on the FSN PRIDE show, but they were just a little too much when they commentated for “Banned.” “Big” John noticeably improved throughout the night, but it was his was first time working a major event, and right now, Affliction can’t afford not to be perfect in all aspects of their production.
I’m not the biggest fan of Kenny Rice and Ron Kruck, but they are experienced and usually do a solid job. And then there’s “El Guapo.” Bas may not be on the same level as a network television sports broadcaster, but he truly brings something unique to an MMA broadcast. He obviously has the in-ring experience and knowledge, but he also brings an energy and passion for the sport that I’ve always felt adds tremendous value to the broadcast team.
On a side note, there have been rumblings that Affliction has been having difficulties promoting their show in Vegas. Atencio believes the interference is being caused by the UFC.
“They’ve been messing with me every step of the way. There have been issues that I’ve been dealing with. So I can’t say it’s them, but there’s been things we’ve been dealing with that have never happened before, so I guess that’s why.”
Atencio didn’t specify exactly what the UFC was doing, but as Cage Potato suggested, they may be using their pull in Las Vegas to block Affliction’s marketing efforts. There were even rumors that Affliction was “sending out feelers about canceling the event,” although that doesn’t seem to be the case.
There’s no denying that “Day of Reckoning” doesn’t have anywhere near the same amount of buzz that “Banned” had, which is a shame, because they had a ton of momentum coming out of their first event. It will be interesting to what Affliction does, if anything, in the next month to change that.