King of the Cage: Big Stars, Best Knockouts - The Evolution of Combat
BCI Eclipse // Unrated // $19.98 // October 9, 2007
Review by J. Doyle Wallis | posted November 13, 2007
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King of the Cage is a third tier mixed martial arts promotion that has been running, mainly across the Southwest (CA, NM, etc.), usually putting on at least two fight cards a week for the past seven or eight years. At first it was a typical low rung cage fighting event but over the past few years they made strains to become a low rung ppv event.

In the MMA world, KOTC is the equivalent of the amateurs, where you go to get some fights, experience, and just maybe enough of a name to move on to the bigger leagues and actually make a living at fighting.

This five disc set has three "Knockout" volumes and two "Stars" volumes.

First, the two "Stars" volumes could have been put on one disc. Each contains only four fights and runs under an hour, I do believe so they could fit them in a quickie, cheap ppv slots. They feature some fighters who were cast members of the first three seasons of Spike/UFC's "The Ultimate Fighter" (or TUF) reality show. The fights feature (Vol. 1) Rashad Evans, Joe Stevenson, Forrest Griffin, and Kendall Grove, and (Vol. 2) Shonie Carter, Diego Sanchez, Keith Jardine, and Dan Christinson.

Sad to say, but none of the fights on either volume sticks out as great. The Stevenson and Jardine fights stand out the best, especially the Stevenson bout. The Carter and Evans fights are downright boring, gratuitous, ineffective clinching affairs. The Sanchez fight has the brawling wrestler pitted against Shannon "The Cannon" Rich, a joke in the MMA world for taking payday fights any time he can and then tapping out at the first sign of trouble. Christinson is an odd inclusion since he not only wasn't a popular TUF alum but his fight is one where he loses to former KOTC HW champ Eric Pele.

The three KO highlight volumes fare a bit better. For one, you know all the fights will end in some dramatic fashion. Plus, you actually get discs filled with fights, at least 10(+) on each disc. You get one fight that ends via submission (a nasty leg snapping heelhook), a lot of technical knockouts, and a few flat-out, cold cocked, traditional knockouts.

Well, again, there isn't much quality to the fights. Much of the skill on display is fairly raw and often downright ugly. Less than professional aspects of the promotion come out in things like Toshi Oyama and Mike Bourke slipping around in a rain soaked ring, Wetherspoon-Denny where the action is halted multiple times to attend to a cut (either stop it or let em' bleed), and commentators who cannot even identify moves like a flying knee. There is some amusing stuff too, like John Allessio repeatedly punching a cowering Chris Bennan, even looking at the ref as if to say, "You know can stop this any day now" or Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennet's 15 second KO of Shad Smith, where Bennet exerts more energy in his post fight, off the top of the cage, backflip than he did in the fight. The less said about Jeff Cox red tights, the better. Perhaps he hoped they would be a distraction, but they didn't help him defend the knees delivered by Thiago Avles.

There are a handful of fights that last mere seconds, dramatically ending after a blistering punch or two. But for every fight that ends that quick, there are also a few that go for two or three boring rounds before such endings come about. Some editing would have been nice, perhaps inserting the full rounds as an extra, likewise some of the discs waste a lot of time with intros and post fight moments.

The DVD: BCI.

First, "BOO!!!!!!!!!!" for the Rockstar energy drink commercial that default plays before every compilation. People buying DVD's should not be subjected to commercials.

Picture: Fullscreen. Standard. Production values for KOTC events have never been stellar. You wont be buying this set for high definition, to see the sweat on their foreheads, or for fluid, multiple angle camerawork. The early KO volume fares the worst and steadily improves with each volume. Its pretty clear when they got into the era of more aggressive pay per views and actually became more conscious of putting on a show.

Sound: 2.0 Stereo. Generic metal tunes on the fight bumpers. Again, it is a low budget production. The in ring action isnt miked terribly well, so the true impact of the punches and kicks is not very audible. The commentary is often a bit muffled and less than crisp. MMA fans will note that many of the fights feature color commentary by familiar names like Jens Pulver, Quinton Jackson, Steven Quadros, Eddie Bravo, Don Frye, and, hey, even Don "The Dragon" Wilson.

Extras: Nothin' really. You get a "Rules" video on a few of the discs.

Conclusion: Based on content, I would say this is purely the stuff of a rental. Despite the jaw-dropping finishes, it just is not high quality MMA. Considering the low, low price, it is pretty hard to beat 412 minutes of fights for $10-15, so buy it at your own discretion.



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