On Saturday, June 27, I spontaneously attended the Evolution Sports Expo with Terisa, held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I didn’t expect actual competition to take place – there were judo, boxing, bodybuilding, BJJ, and MMA events.Having watched MMA for about 9 years on TV, seeing a small production versus the top dogs (Pride, WEC, UFC) was extremely fascinating. Most MMA fans have huge complains about the UFC – mostly about their mistreatment of fighters in contractual obligations and pay. But man, compare that to the problems this event had, it’s not even a comparison.
Here are some issues and general observations of the event.
1) The first fight was scheduled for 4pm. Some ring girl trainee was just modeling with a photographer for the first 15 minutes.
2) The actual ring girls then came in, and modeled for another 15 minutes.
3) At 4:50pm, a hip hop artist performed one of his hit songs at the expense of the disgruntled crowd. Some folks were shouting to begin the fights, whereas the remainder of the crowd tried to act impressed. He asked everyone to stand up, but half way through the song, everyone sat back down.
4) Microphone problem. The crew didn’t bother making sure that announcers could be heard, so they swapped microphones after trying to begin the show. The new microphone still sucked.
5) At 5pm, after a one hour delay, they still had someone sing the national anthem. She then sang a song for the announcer, stating he had been a 27 year military veteran. That’s cool man, but the announcer is not the big deal here.
6) Zero security at the show. No barriers separating the crowd from the coaches or fighters.
7) Fights were stopped very early. The referees didn’t seem knowledgable. This may not be the production company’s fault; rather it might be the California State Athletic Commission, and we all know they’re pretty miserable at refereeing MMA.
8) They duct taped the corners of the cage. That’s a very bad sign of cage quality.
9) Ring girls were walking around the cage at inappropriate times, when they’re still announcing the fighters.
10) It seems like most of the people in the crowd had some sort of connection to the fighters or the production crew. A fight broke out in the crowd after one of the fights. I think opposing fighters’ friends got into a scuffle.
11) The announcer made a big statement about this being unprofessional, then proceeded to say that he had been a professional kickboxer for 17 years and knew what he was talking about. Except the way he said it was extremely self centered and unnecessary.
12) The crowd almost stormed the stage as one fighter was about to knock out his opponent. This blocked the view of everyone else in that section.
13) No replays. No live screen TV to see how the fights ended. Instant replays are nice.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the event. It was only $25 for the entire expo, versus hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for a UFC event. Very worth it considering the short notice.