When Bob Arum and other fossilized creatures speak on the "brutality" or sadism of mixed martial arts, they're not referring to ground strikes, kicks to the head or even a bone break: They're thinking of the utterly disgusting, Grand Canyon crater opened on Abe Wagner's head during the premiere of "The Ultimate Fighter" on Wednesday night.
I can't say enough about this thing: Did Tom Savini run into the frame and apply a rubber appliance when I wasn't looking? Has there ever been a wider, deeper gash on an athlete that wasn't participating in a swordfight? What does it feel like to have cool air on exposed skull bone -- or more importantly, the hot salami breath of an apathetic EMT?
Get past the nausea and you've got a promising start to the season. There haven't been two more contentious coaches than Rashad Evans and Quinton Jackson; their footage makes Dana White's frustration at Jackson bowing out of their December fight all the more reasonable. Marcus Jones is humongous. Kimbo Slice's humility makes him a hard man to dislike. And there was vomit.
The complaint: Weird interstitials mixed in with commercial breaks that are obviously there to entice viewers into slowing down their DVR fast-forwards. It's clever, but backing up because I didn't want to miss Wes Sims in a 10-second bit is advertiser dirty pool.
As for the fight itself, or the prospects of the season inside the cage: Dubious. Heavyweights with poor prep might be the most agonizing sight in the sport. Hopefully more of them snap into shape as the weeks progress. Otherwise, the most effective offense on the show might continue to be Jackson's mouth.