Super Fight League was supposed to be India's introduction to big-time mixed martial arts. Production values! Dancing girls! Giant hosses throwing bones!
Mixed martial arts, we are told, has universal appeal. Fighting, after all, is the most primal and natural form of human expression. The sport is huge in America, Canada, Japan and Brazil. Why not India?
That was the thought process that led to Super Fight League. India has a population of 1.2 billion people. If you captured even a fraction of the populace, there was money to be made.
But could Super Fight League have possibly made any fans today in Mumbai? Only if Indians enjoy absurd train wrecks as much as we do. Because, man, this show was a mess!
Can you make the case that Super Fight League is one of the most ridiculous cards of all time? You bet. Shall we proceed?
What can you say about the Super Fight League theme song? I think it speaks for itself:
Boom, pow. Punch kick, wow.
Drop him to the mat with the Boosh whish now.
Super Fight League!
It's a must-listen. Check it out here.
Is a picture worth a thousand words? Probably. Especially in this case, when those words would inevitably be inappropriate and offensive.
These two gentlemen, Raj Kundra and Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, have made it their mission to bring high-level MMA to India. Instead, however, they brought the Super Fight League. Their partner in crime? Former MMA super-agent Ken Pavia, perhaps best known for being sued by the UFC for allegedly supplying secret documents to their competition.
I wouldn't call the owners "money marks." That's pro wrestling slang for someone with money who is taken advantage of by a savvy operator. Someone who wants to be famous and will gladly blow through tons of cash to be on television and meet celebrities.
But I will say this: Kundra and Dutt opened the show with long meandering, multilingual soliloquies calling themselves visionaries and thanking their in-laws. So you can see where this perception might come from...
"Bro, should we head to the cage?"
I don't want to disparage the brave athletes who put it all on the line in the Super Fight League. But I'm pretty sure I'd be the best fighter on a SFL card—and I'm a giant cry baby who doesn't handle pain well.
Normally, you'd expect tough guys in the cage. Men would want to be them and women would want them. Super Fight League? They had athletes like Chaitanya Gavali, who, according to announcer Jeff Osborne, "Wants us to tell you he's never had a girlfriend and he is on the market."
I'm not trying to brag, but I watch a lot of fighting. A lot. Too much. An embarrassing amount. And yet there was almost no one of this card on my radar. The most famous people in the building, besides the owners, were Phil Baroni and ref Herb Dean.
The level of fighter showed when Travis Bell finished a fight with a forearm choke. A forearm choke? Even UFC 1 fall guy Art Jimmerson could defend that one! Yet there was Bell, putting his forearm on the throat of Nail Natasadu, securing the tap.
You can understand why a promoter would want to use Bob Sapp. At over 300 pounds of solid muscle, Sapp just looks like a fighter. He's a monster on the outside, but a mouse where it counts.
My partner in crime, new Bleacher Report MMA blogger Jeremy Botter, warned readers that Sapp would phone it in. For a moment, it looked like he would be wrong.
Then Sapp set new records for futility. He somehow managed to tap out to the fearsome double-leg takedown. It was a new low for Sapp, who at first seemed injured, then miraculously recovered to walk out of the cage limp free.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for the 43rd time like Sapp did? Anyone who watched this expecting a fight deserved what they got. Which was an astounding sham.