Yesterday Spike held a press conference to announce the details for their Bellator TUF clone, FIGHT MASTER. Included on stage with network brass were the four coaches for the show: Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, Joe Warren, and Greg Jackson. Frank’s inclusion in the show should be no surprise to anyone – he seems to magically appear in the roster of any organization going tete-a-tete with the UFC. But Greg Jackson? That one is a bit of a surprise.
Sure, Greg Jackson has ample reason to team up with Bellator – he spent the last couple of months having his name and reputation dragged through the mud because Dana White blamed him for the cancellation of UFC 151. Dana called him a sport killer and a fake and a bunch of other nasty things, and I guess sometime around that point Jackson decided he didn’t owe the UFC all that much in terms of loyalty.
Jackson claimed at the press conference that he didn’t foresee any issues between himself and the UFC, but those who have watched Dana White foaming at the mouth over the Randy Couture situation have to wonder about that assumption. Sure, White probably won’t be able to ban Jackson from cornering guys like Jones and GSP (and there’s a lot of evidence he can’t even ban Couture since corners are commission licensed). But there are a number of formerly big MMA agents that learned what happens when you cross Dana White. Their stars might be set, but none of their new guys got picked up by the UFC. Has it been so long since there’s been a war with Zuffa that Jackson has forgotten how petty things can get? That sweet child of summer.
As for the reality show itself, it hasn’t done much to distinguish itself from The Ultimate Fighter. The fighters will go through an elimination round to get into a house and will train every day with their coaches. The differences? Four coaches instead of two! Fighters get to choose their own coach, and somehow get to choose their own fight too. Any other major changes noted during the press conference? Not really. But what can you expect creatively from a show with a name like Fight Master?
Why Fight Master anyways? Was ‘Superior Warrior’ already taken? Well, it’s the same reason Randy will have a show on Spike called MMA Rescue. That one is a play on Bar Rescue, so should it be surprising that Fight Master is a play on the Spike show Ink Master? That’s right. This MMA reality show is a spinoff of a tattoo reality competition. And it’s the same people who make Ink Master making Fight Master, so if you want a sneak peak of the cutting edge production skills that will be on display, check that out. Or don’t. I’d recommend you don’t.