ESPN: The World Wide Leader In Sports...Not Quite

Tony PrestonCorrespondent IMarch 24, 2009

This past few weeks I have noticed something.  ESPN is trying to tell its viewers that the World Baseball Classic is important.  It's not the Olympics and several of the best players were not playing for the US team, but we should care because they have USA on their jersey.

I, however, cannot find a reason to care about watching guys who are not yet in shape make rookie mistakes.  That is what spring training is for. All stars get into shape there and if they make a few rookie mistakes it's ok because it is just spring training.

I know of a better use of ESPN's time, MMA.  Currently ESPN's coverage of MMA is lacking.  When they do talk about it on TV it is mainly Kimbo coverage and for the UFC what is considered the best promotion they talked a little about the Lesnar-Couture fight.  On their website the MMA page is a joke. It is articles copied and pasted from Sherdog.  MMA Live is a great online show, but they should find a time slot to air it on regular TV.

ESPN has worked hard to increase people thinking that poker, the spelling bee, scrabble, and cup stacking are sports.  Also ESPN spends tons of time on NASCAR and I know there are people that care.  But a few years ago NASCAR was where MMA is today: a sport right on the cusp of being mainstream and FOX started to broadcast races and promote NASCAR then ESPN jumped on board and the sport has taken off.

ESPN should make it a point to try and educate their viewers about MMA.  If possible, sign a deal with the UFC and have ABC, a network station owned by ESPN, broadcast some fight cards.  If ESPN is really the worldwide leader in sports their coverage of MMA should be more than several of their talking heads such as Jay Marriotti and Kevin Blackistone saying "I don't watch MMA but..." and spending the rest of their time bashing the sport and dragging up the age old term "human cockfighting."