|11-29-2002, 10:27 PM||#1|
MMA special to air on ESPN........
The one-hour special will air Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. ET, and re-air Dec. 7 at 11 p.m. on ESPN2, and Dec. 11 at 4 a.m. and 3 p.m. on ESPN.
Outside The Lines will report on ultimate fighting - described as "mixed martial arts" by its followers and called "human ****fighting" by it critics - as it attempts to carve its niche in American sports culture. The one-hour special will air Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. ET, and re-air Dec. 7 at 11 p.m. on ESPN2, and Dec. 11 at 4 a.m. and 3 p.m. on ESPN.
Outside the Lines -Ultimate Fighting: Spectacle or Sport? will present insight into the large and small organizations within the sport, profile fighters, examine the violence, and document illegal fighting in underground "fight clubs." Ultimate fighting includes elements of Greco-Roman wrestling, Marquis of Queensbury prizefighting rules, and multiple disciplines of martial arts dating back centuries.
The show, hosted by Jeremy Schaap, will include the following segments:
ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP - THE FIGHT FOR LEGITIMACY
OTL has been monitoring the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the largest promoter of "ultimate fighting" in the U.S., for two years. When it began in 1993, it was promoted as "no holds barred" with no time limits, no weight classes (a 160-pound karate expert could take on a 450-pound sumo wrestler), with fights ending by knockout or by submission. In 1996, Senator John McCain embarked on a state-by-state crusade to ban ultimate fighting, and shortly thereafter the Ultimate Fighting Championship was dropped from pay-per-view TV. In 2001, new owners purchased the UFC hoping to bring ultimate fighting into sports' mainstream. In its quest for legitimacy, the UFC has made rule changes to appeal to a larger audience and subsequently, returned to pay-per-view in 2001. While it has gained popularity in the United States, the organization faces challenges from critics who think it is too violent, and from states that still won't sanction its fights. -- Steve Delsohn
CRITICS FIGHT ULTIMATE FIGHTING
When a promoter attempted to bring a cage fight to Carmel, Ind. (an Indianapolis suburb), Mayor Jim Brainard and the City Council banished all cage fighting from their town although ultimate fighting is legal in the state. OTL will look at why a number of states, including New York and Illinois, have refused to legalize any form of ultimate fighting. - Steve Delsohn
FIGHT CLUBS - BEYOND THE MOVIE
While most ultimate fighting is legal, OTL investigates the underground, illegal world of fight clubs and how they avoid the law. Venues include a residential garage in San Diego, which is home to the Metal Mulisha fight club, and a Los Angeles bar that can be closed down and turned into "Kaged Combat." OTL examines why fighters risk breaking the law and how they get away with it. -- Jeremy Schaap
FIGHTING FARM LEAGUES
Like other sports, mixed martial arts have "minor leagues" where fighters literally fight their way to the top. OTL reports on why these combatants compete for little or no money, and profiles the aspiring ultimate fighter - it could be your neighbor. - Tom Rinaldi
TRACKING THE UFC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION(S)
Outside The Lines has followed the fate of 39-year old Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champ Randy Couture for nine months. In that time he lost his championship to 24-year old upstart Josh Barnett, who was subsequently suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for steroid use. He was stripped of his belt by the UFC giving Couture a chance to re-gain the title. OTL profiles Couture and Barnett, and the impact the pursuit of the UFC heavyweight championship had on their lives. -- Greg Garber
THE GRACIES - MIXED MARTIAL ARTS' FIRST FAMILY
OTL profiles the Gracie family, the first family of mixed martial arts who have popularized Brazilian jiu-jitsu within today's ultimate fighting and spawned a stable of athletes who spread their knowledge internationally as teachers and fighters. There is 90-year old patriarch Helio Gracie, who can still apply a vicious chokehold, and Royce Gracie, the first champion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993. While learning about the family business -- fighting and teaching fighting -- OTL was invited to a private class with student Ed O'Neill, who played Al Bundy in TV's Married With Children. -- Curry Kirkpatrick.
WOMEN, TOO-- OTL was at the first all-women's mixed martial arts fight card.
POP CULTURE -- A storyline in TV's Friends focused on the pursuit to become the Ultimate Fighting Champion. Actor Jon Favreau talks about his role in the episode and his impressions of ultimate fighting.
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