This show was going to be different for me and for the viewers, as a new production company was responsible for the broadcast. As presenter and commentator, I can’t deny that I was a little nervous, after all producers have their own ideas and I needed to make sure I met expectations. Those nerves however quickly turned to excitement as the new producer, Ian, went out of his way to communicate with me his new vision and way of delivering the show. Couple this with the new Cage Warriors roaming team of Brad Wharton and Tommy Lakes and this show was set to be stacked with the usual action…and lots more! Whilst preparing research I had also managed to help my good friend and coach, Max (Denniston Sutherland) get onto the Cage Warriors bill. How cool would this be; commentating one of your coach’s fights? I was to later learn it can also make you feel quite sick! check out my interview with Max http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5VxF7Rzg_o
On the Saturday I felt unusually relaxed before a CW show. This was surprising given the new dynamics etc, but I was happy for it. Being too nervous is energy sapping and when the main event is after 10pm, there’s no room for slacking! I had managed to get hold of most of the fighters and I particularly enjoyed new introductions like Hardiman, Pariente and Danny Roberts…he signs off his emails Hot Choc- gotta love that! I’ve had quite a few conversations this year about getting across the individual fighter’s message and building characters. I heard an interview with the WWE’s Jim Ross which spoke about how they managed to become mainstream and a lot is spoken about entertainment. When you add to this the real people behind the fighter, Joe Public can relate, follow and support. Cage Warriors recognise this and are trying to get this across. I think Kris Edwards is a really good example of someone with bags of talent and potential, but also is a young dad working a shift job trying to realise his dream. Some will relate to that and those that perhaps don’t can respect that.
There was definitely an air of anticipation around CWFC48. The fight card was top drawer (of course), it was a remarkable anniversary celebration and a new production team. It made you feel like something really big was about to happen. I had selected an appropriate bow tie and jacket, so all that as left was provide informative commentary! After a quick interview with Brad and Tommy it was time to go to work. It was a great show and although we had pretty significant technical problems the show looked great. Oh the joys of live TV! I managed to hold it together for Max’s fight (just) although I lost a pen whilst flailing my arms and also frightened a cameraman (yes I did, I can be scary y’know…in an unpredictable rather than intimidating sort of way). It was a really good experience working with a new crew and I look forward to getting to know them better in the future.
Now here’s something properly significant… #cwfc48 was the top trend in the UK! Above the UFC!! On a Saturday!!! This is such good news for the sport, let alone the organisation. Its evidence that the sport is growing and that UK MMA is in some way moving in the right direction. Certainly in terms of physical promotion and establishing media links, we are ticking a lot of the boxes. I reserve judgement about the way some shows go about their promotion, but that’s an aside to the point. MMA is out there, being watched, heard and read. Now it’s there, we need to make sure its positive, coherent and representing positively.
Keep stopping by over the next month as I’m hoping to bring some new stuff to this blog including more videos and my new injury blog which will detail my journey back to fitness using an American technique advocated by the awesome, Rener Gracie.
Photos by me and Dolly Clew. Poster from Cage Warriors. Check out the following clips from Brad and Tommy: