Not since the progeny of singer David Bowie was christened Zowie -- swear to God -- has popular culture suffered a name as patently offensive to good taste as YAMMA Pit Fighting, the latest in the me-too march of MMA offerings.

Too harsh by half? Perhaps, but with two months to go before YAMMA makes its official debut at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., there's precious little else about the promotion to comment on.

Pit Fighting founder Bob Meyrowitz -- there's one for the résumé -- has been evasive in questions pertaining to the YAMMA fighting surface, alleged to revolutionize how we view the combat sports. No participants have been officially announced, though it's known that Meyrowitz plans on dusting off combatants from the UFC's heyday for a series of "Master" class super fights. The event will also use a single-night tournament to crown champions, a dubious honor awarded more for luck than skill.

Couple this with the rumored reunion tour of New Kids on the Block, and you'll forgive anyone who mistakes 2008 for 1994.

I don't mean to indict Meyrowitz without a fair hearing: YAMMA could indeed be a spectacle worthy of admission, and I'm as big a sucker for MMA nostalgia as the next guy. But the rational part of my frontal lobe has to express concern that Meyrowitz -- who participated in both the UFC's staggering early success and its later, dismal failure -- is in danger of pandering to a market that no longer exists.

Consider the tournament format. Once a staple of pay-per-view, the conceit is virtually extinct, a Darwinian victim of combat evolution. While having an athlete compete three times in an evening expedites the emotional investment for fans, the downtime between bouts often acts as a black hole for second thoughts and injuries. If a fighter breaks his hand in the first minute of a three-round bout, he's likely to fight through it. Given the opportunity to consult with a physician and his corner for an hour, though, he's likely to decline advancing to a second round contest.

Presuming the fighter makes it through a truncated tournament (Meyrowitz plans on single-round quarterfinal and semifinal bouts, with nine minutes allotted in the finals) … so what? The prestige of being a violent marathoner is going to remain in the shadows of what the public perceives as the true mark of martial arts perfection: being a UFC titleholder.

It's rumored that two of those former champions, Oleg Taktarov and Don Frye (Pictures), will meet during one of the Masters bouts on April 11. Having worn out several previously viewed VHS copies of their career primes, I'll watch -- I'll even be appreciative of Meyrowitz recognizing that fights should be between contemporaries. (Tito Ortiz (Pictures)-Ken Shamrock (Pictures) III depressed me more than a recent reduction in my Zoloft dosage.)

Unfortunately, I'm one of a micro-percentage of observers who even remember Taktarov and Frye. Today's MMA fan has synapses that fire up only when exposed to the UFC brand and its stable of basic-cable draws. The IFL attempted to peddle the creaky musculature of Maurice Smith (Pictures), Marco Ruas (Pictures) and other mid-‘90s talent. No one really cared. "Tank" Abbott will be tackling Kimbo Slice on Saturday. Notice that it's not on pay-per-view.

Meyrowitz still has an interest in the stories of these formative athletes. To some extent, so do I. But our demographic is painfully threadbare in an era where Michael Bisping (Pictures) and Rashad Evans (Pictures) can headline a card and pull in several hundred thousand buys.

Finally, there's the arena itself, a slice of canvas shrouded in mystery. Will it sport piles of broken glass and inebriated buddies hurling bricks at opponents? Athletes on bungee cords? Or will it resemble nothing more than an oversized mat with sloped walls? (My money's on the latter, though I'd probably pay double for the former.)

I don't begrudge Meyrowitz his ambitions, and anything that eliminates the perpetual eyesore that is the Octagon has my instant gratitude. But if recent history has taught us anything, it's that any kind of martial arts attraction not emblazoned with "UFC" across its banner is doomed to bankruptcy.

My advice for Meyrowitz, Gary Shaw and anyone else looking to chip away at Zuffa's market share: Instead of losing millions over the course of three or four ulcerous years, take a big pile of cash and throw it at two high-profile athletes or cultural stars. Use their recognition to offset consumer apathy over your debuting promotion. Have Mike Tyson fight Kimbo Slice or Tank in a bare-knuckle street match; have Jean-Claude Van Damme fight Wesley Snipes; have Danny Bonaduce fight a tranquilized grizzly. Be as shameless as you can -- people paid millions to watch Tyson and the early UFCs for the sheer spectacle of it. While you're at it, throw a few million more at a cable network to run barker ads.

Whatever you decide, YAMMA folks, don't try and promote a legitimate sports contest. It didn't work for the XFL, it didn't work for the IFL and it didn't work for the ABA; their bigger brothers have insurmountable leverage. Challenging them has become as foolish a notion as believing your kung fu is finally going to ace jiu-jitsu.

Oh, and Zowie waited until he was 12 to change his name. I wouldn't take that long.

For comments, e-mail [email protected]

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Dana White warns Yoel Romero: 'America doesn't want to hear your thoughts on Jesus'

  • 17 hours ago
  • 24 views

Top middleweight contender Yoel Romero momentarily found himself in hot water after allegedly making an anti-gay remark following his victory over Lyoto Machida at last weekend's (Sat., June 27, 2015 read news >>

Dana White to Yoel Romero: 'America Doesn't Want to Hear Your Thoughts on Jesus'

  • a day ago
  • 128 views

In the Bill of Dana White, there must be a separation of church and fighting. The UFC President spoke with MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani at the unveiling of the new Reebok uniforms about Yoel Romero’s read news >>

Bermudez hopes that Aldo’s injury ahead of UFC 189 isn’t some ‘boxing bulls***’

  • 2 days ago
  • 38 views

UFC featherweight Dennis Bermudez offers his thoughts on Jose Aldo’s injury and how that will impact UFC 189. read news >>

Vadim Finkelchtein believes Reebok deal ‘took money from fighters’ pockets’

  • 7 days ago
  • 1 views

M-1 Global founder Vadim Finkelchtein offered his thoughts on the Reebok deal and contrasted it against M-1’s sponsorship model in Russia. Once the compensation terms for the new Reebook apparel deal read news >>

Shlemenko: MMA is ‘not a woman’s occupation;’ she can turn into a man

  • 14 days ago
  • 1 views

Former Bellator middleweight champion Alexnader Shlemenko shared his thoughts on the existence of Women’s Mixed Martial Arts. Several months ago, legendary Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko made read news >>

The Monday After: Final thoughts on UFC 188

  • 16 days ago
  • 2 views

Bloody fights, high altitude and a new Heavyweight champion. Let's take one last look at the memorable moments that took place in Mexico City, Mexico, this past Saturday. We had to wait almost two ye read news >>

Daniel Cormier surprised by Gustafsson title shot: 'all logic said it was going to be Bader'

  • 26 days ago
  • 81 views

Daniel Cormier reveals his thoughts on Alexander Gustafsson leapfrogging over Ryan Bader for a title shot. The UFC recently announced that it would be Alexander Gustafsson - not Ryan Bader - challeng read news >>