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Category:    Home > Reviews > Martial Arts > Sports > Special Interest > UFC: The Best of 2009 (Lionsgate DVD)

UFC: The Best of 2009 (Lionsgate DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B     Main Program: B



The hardest thing about reviewing a DVD set like this is I’m not 100% sure who the audience for this DVD really is.  Is it for the casual cage fight fan?  Maybe.  It does a nice job of rehashing the events of the previous year’s UFCs including some interesting clips, but the first full fight of the DVD is a predominantly ground control based wrestling affair that goes the duration and would bore a casual fan to tears. Is it for the die-hard UFC fanatic?  Maybe. It does include some really great fights including the GSP vs. BJ Penn.  Though I would point out that particular fight is head-shakingly featured as a bonus, even though it is arguably one of the best fights on the set and of the year 2009.


The counterpoint to that, however, is that a die-hard UFC fan has probably already seen all this via Pay-Per-View throughout the year and would simply be paying for the same content all over again.  So perhaps this DVD is for the person who has never seen the UFC before and is interested in learning what it is all about, and in that regard I would say that UFC: The Best of 2009 is somewhat successful.


For one thing it has a lot of variety: the aforementioned ground based wrestling control match, the fast based skillful transition match (lots of strikes and submission attempts), the iron chinned gore fest, and the heavy weight slug fest.  I don’t think UFC President, Dana White, would characterize them that way, but you get the point.  In that sense, if you don’t know what the UFC is all about this DVD provides a good education and the commentary is, as expected well educated in the sport, and clearly seeks to educate the viewer.  Though not exclusive to this DVD, the in-the-corner cam is wonderful and gives some real insight into what the sport is all about and the mental and physical toughness of the fighters.


This DVD set also concretely illustrated some comparisons in my mind between itself and its biggest competitor WWE (oh and boxing… oh wait that industry has, like Oroboros, devoured itself into oblivion).  Setting aside the elephant in the room: WWE’s scripted battles versus UFC’s unscripted (though sometimes mismatched) battles, there are some interesting comparisons.  UFC has clearly learned something from WWE in their presentation, matchmaking, rules, and fight hype.  The fighters may not have the delivery of wrestlers, but they often seem to believably hate each other in promos in spite of hugging or shaking hands after the match.  The rules keep most fights moving at a good pace, forcing fighters to stand up whenever there is too much of a lull, while at the same time preventing the quick kill knockouts that plagued PRIDE due to knee strikes on the ground.  There are some really amazing match-ups, and though they are not in the majority, the percentage for an unscripted event is usually quite high (a testament to the skill of those at the helm).  Fights are presented in a pleasing manner with eye-catching montages that give the back-story of each fighter.


UFC also routinely does something I have only seen WWE ever do once, and badly.  UFC recognizes other companies and uses fighter’s successes in those companies as a basis to promote fights.  On this DVD WEC, PRIDE, and Pancrase are mentioned multiple times.  Does this publicity help those organizations?  Of course!  However, UFC has learned a lesson WWE has yet to learn: You can give legitimacy to other organizations without delegitimizing yourself, and by doing so you are seen as stronger, rather than weaker.  When Carlos Condit fights on this DVD after ten successful title defenses in WEC I’m thinking, “Oh man, I can’t wait to see this guy fight the best the UFC has to offer, this is going to be great!”  It is a shame that pro-wrestling organizations can’t understand this.  Instead they continue to ignore each other at best or at worst tear each other down.


The fight quality on UFC: The Best of 2009 overall ranges from slow to epic and unless you are a truly dedicated fan or an MMA competitor in training you will probably find yourself skipping around a lot.  However be careful not to skip too much or you may miss some unintentionally hilarious moments whenever a fighter thanks Jesus for the power to pummel another man into a red goopy pulp.  Vitor Belfort goes as far as to hold up a Jesus t-shirt after completely obliterating his opponent with a flurry of blows.  Oh the irony.  I guess he has a sponsor.  Oh, and before you ask, “No, I wouldn’t say that to his face.”



-   Enrico Nardini 


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