By Drew Graham:
While everyone else was busy doing something far less productive, 920 000 People (myself included) tuned in to UFC Primetime: St.Pierre vs Penn 2, in January of 2009. This was the first time UFC had released a Primetime show before the PPV. I watched in amazement as the program began with the knockout highlight of BJ plowing his knee into Sean Sherk’s face and the glimpse of the amazing training ritual of GSP.
GSP jumped his hurtles with ease as the rest of episode 1 was underway. Hurtles are a training routine I had often done too, at half the height. He dodges giant q-tips for improved slipping, ducking and reaction time. By the end of the program (all 3 episodes), I remember wondering to myself how on earth a human could be physically capable of the training routines GSP had displayed on the program. He seemed like a near perfect physical specimen. This was one fighter that, regardless of his wrestling-dependant fight style, I wanted to see simply to witness this amazing athlete in action.
BJ jumps out of the top of a tree into the beautiful Hawaiian water. He ran across the beach while the sun was setting. You can’t help but feeling jealous of a guy who kicks asses, hangs out in Hawaii, and makes money doing it.
“Tap from strikes, you’re a little bitch”
“George, no sex 6 weeks before the fight! You’re gonna get f***in knocked out; you’re gonna lose your legs.”
The show may have been filled with over-dramatic representations of the lives and training camps of Penn and St.Pierre, and may have stirred up some unneeded conflict, but the first instalment of UFC: Primetime caught my attention, caught my friends attention and caught my friends’ friends attention.
The series was clearly directed in favour of making GSP the hard-working, relentless athlete and BJ the care-free, badass who was looking for a scrap. Whether these personas were warranted or not, it didn’t matter to me. This is not so much a credit to the UFC for creating primetime and doing such a good job on it, because that wasn’t necessarily the case. I (and many others) were attracted to the athletes and the sport instead. These two men were in the middle of carrying a sport. They were capable of beating the hell out of anyone that you know in person and previously thought was tough. These guys were warriors, we all wanted to see more of them.