UFC 146: The Ultimate Fighting Championship, Where the Big Boys Play
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"World Championship Wrestling. Where the big boys play," said Tony Schiavone and every single WCW announcer in a marketing campaign that seemed to last for years.
It was a marketing campaign that didn't quite work. "Where the big boys play" sounds like a pitch for a summer camp for overgrown high school kids—guys a little too old for camp but unable to talk their parents out of it.
Or maybe it's one of those lame adult "fantasy camps," the kind of sports experience in which you spend a week throwing the old rawhide with a former Dodgers middle reliever and get a complimentary photo with Tommy Lasorda (unless you hate Tommy Lasorda).
I'm sure the brain trust at WCW thought they had a good thing going—until Kevin Nash and Scott Hall came into the company and immediately shot it to shreds.
"This is where the big boys play huh?" Nash asked Eric Bischoff. "Look at the adjective. 'Play.' We aren't here to play."
Ignore, for a moment, the basic failure of this speech. I'm sure his grammar teacher felt like she had been powerbombed on her head after hearing it. More importantly, it showed how something that felt so right could be made to look oh so wrong.
The UFC is walking that same fine line as it promotes an all-heavyweight main card for UFC 146 this May. On paper, it looks awesome. A heavyweight title fight between Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem in the main event. Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez competing for the next title shot. And amazing bangers like Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson also on the PPV portion of the event.
What else could you ask for? The chances for explosive knockouts and hilarious slobber knockers? High.
But here's the rub, and there is always a rub: There is a chance that this will be MMA's Titanic. A disaster. A cluster of 15-minute decisions with large mammoth men leaning on each other and gasping for breath for three long hours.
Will the all-heavyweight card be a huge win for the UFC?
That's the risk you run when you attempt to create brilliant art. UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is willing to jump in the deep end. Don't believe those public service announcements that claim that when you "shoot for the moon, you'll land in the stars." That's goofy nonsense. Sometimes, when you aim for the moon, "Big Country" slips, bumps the cannon, and you accidentally set the circus tent on fire. Metaphorically.
When things get it right though, nothing is better than a special heavyweight fight. There's an allure to watching the big beasts rut in the mud and run into each other as hard as they possibly can. Five of those kinds of fights in a row? That could be truly breathtaking. It's a risk worth taking.
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