Is the World Series of Fighting Ready to Hang with the Big Boys?
Last night we saw the second installment of the World Series of Fighting, aka WSOF. With a main event that saw former UFC Heavyweight Champ, Andrei Arlovski take on former UFC Welterweight, yes Welterweight, Anthony Johnson. In what I thought was a very lethargic fight, having Johnson taking the fight via unanimous decision.
After watching the entire fight card, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth. Some fights were great, don’t get me wrong. Including Marlon Moraes defeating Tyson Nam via KO, and Josh Burkman defeating Aaron Simpson with a KO of his own. But to be honest, those were probably the only fights, to my recollection, to make mention. Along with some lackluster fights, including the main event, I saw things on television that didn’t seem right and they also had some potential problems that could have cancelled the entire show.
To start off with, the show almost didn’t happen. The NJSAC (New Jersey State Athletic Commission) was very close to cancelling the entire show as WSOF was having some issues with their cage. The padding that was put in place to to protect the fighters from the posts holding the cage was too thin. Therefor deeming the cage unsafe. A local gym was kind enough to allow the use of their pads. To pour salt on the wound the canvas they were to use was a foot too short. A special canvas was flown in from Vegas to properly cover the cage floor.
Once the show was under way, you can see the great amounts of empty seats on television. I believe its a sad case when you try to put on a good show and have it flop, from the production value to the actual cage performances. I’m pretty sure NBCSports knew they were going to face an uphill battle when they made this deal, so I’m eager to see what kinds of changes will be made.
The fight card itself wasn’t a complete disaster. Although it did involve approximately 70% of former Zuffa bannered (WEC,UFC, and Strikforce) fighters. I believe some still thought they were fighting for the UFC as Arlovski was wearing a glove labeled “UFC”. I know WSOF is trying to be a legit fighting promotion, signing many notable names form other organizations, but at this point in time I don’t see how they can compete with the likes of UFC and Bellator Fighting Championship.
I didn’t go into watching the fights to criticize them. I was honestly excited to see the fights. Especially the main event. But to see Anthony Johnson fight at Heavyweight wasn’t good at all. He came in slow, in my opinion, and was gassed out after the first round. Arlovski was just as bad. So when two fighters come in, on the main event stage and fight like they did last night, they can expect much more criticism from fight fans.
Is WSOF ready hang with the big boys? At this point in their young existence, I say no. Let’s not forget though, it is only their second show and they have much room to grow. As a fan of fighting I wish them nothing but the best and success in the future.
So I ask you the question, Is WSOF ready to hang with the big boys?
Adrian Zamora, MMA ANONYMOUS