Judge Kent Dixon hopes to one day get his PhD in Whoopassery.
Our review of UFC: Best Of 2009, published August 9th, 2010, is also available.
20 fight cards and more than 200 fights.
As popular as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has been in the past, the sport continues to grow, with no sign of slowing down in either popularity or influence. With everything from video games and branded clothing, to home video releases and other merchandise, the UFC is a sports phenomenon like almost no other. New markets opened up in 2009, with events held for the first time in Oregon, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Pennsylvania; and with 40 state athletic commissions regulating mixed martial arts in the U.S., there are likely many more events to come. UFC also expanded into Europe for the first time in 2009, with five events culminating in UFC 99, headlined by a Rich Franklin/Wanderlei Silva title fight in Cologne, Germany.
Without question, one of the standout events of the season was the UFC 100 fight card in Las Vegas that featured a heavyweight rematch between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, Georges St. Pierre defending his welterweight title against Thiago Alves and a middleweight match between former Ultimate Fighter enemies Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. Now that was an event! The year also saw other records and highlights as UFC 100 drew an astounding estimated viewership of 500 million fans; Anderson Silva snatched the record of the most consecutive wins at 10; former champions and hall of famers returned to the octagon to show fans they still had what it takes; and newcomers Todd Duffy, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Paulo Tiago and Kimbo Slice made impressive UFC debuts.
From the moment you press play, a high-energy UFC promotional video reaches out of the screen and punches you in the face with high-energy marketing that likely hasn't been seen since the ShamWow. From there, a short segment reviews the highlights and achievements of 2009 before viewers get a 12-odd minute profile of Georges St. Pierre's meteoric rise to the top of the welterweight division, before his sidelining groin injury during UFC 100. The release wastes no time in getting to the first fight of this collection, with the 12 main fights spread over two discs as follows:
What's that you say? You want more blood, sweat, submissions and omaplata action? As if 12 fights wouldn't be enough for most fans, casual or otherwise, this release exceeds expectations by offering an additional 14 bonus fights, accessible by either using the "Jump to Fight Mode" feature while the main fights are playing, or by accessing them on a chapter by chapter basis through the "Special features" menu. As an aside, a great feature of this collection is the announcer and info card segment that leads into each fight, providing the context of where and when each match took place.
Picture-wise UFC: Best of 2009 is above average with a decent level of detail, color and contrast throughout, but the image also seems over-processed at times, with whites a bit too hot for my liking. While a 5.1 audio mix might have been overkill, it would have been nice to allow the often-conflicting crowd noise, announcer chatter and the grunts and groans of the ring more room to breathe. The 2.0 track does an adequate job, but for a high-intensity event like UFC, the audio presentation would have benefitted from a more immersive approach.
UFC: Best of 2009 offers more than just main feature and bonus fight content. Beyond the previously mentioned year-in-review and Georges St. Pierre profiles at the top of the release; fans also get additional short overviews of several Ultimate Fighter match-ups, lightweight and heavyweight contender profiles and a "Behind the Scenes" featurette that includes fighters and coaches talking strategy and profiles of a few specific fights. The depth of content included on this release is pretty impressive. From the main fights and bonus fights, to the behind-the-scenes featurette and other extra content, there's likely something for both casual viewers and die-hard fans here.
UFC: Best of 2009 serves a lot of purposes. Die-hard fans will have likely seen all of the individual matches on this release one or more times and there's no question that the majority of the season's greatest match-ups are included here. For anyone new to the freight-train phenomenon that is UFC, this release provides a wealth of content that allows viewers to see a decent majority of the greatest fights and highlights of 2009, gathered in one convenient place. Aside from some relatively minor issues with the audio and video presentation, UFC: Best of 2009 is a must-own for fans and a good starting point for anyone who's new to the world of MMA.
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