MTV’s “Caged” Puts Black Eye on Sport and is Quite Possibly the World's Worst Show
Apparently I must have been living under a rock because for nearly the past 20 years I have watched practically everything ever aired on television regarding the beloved sport of mixed martial arts, but somehow I missed a somewhat new reality series called “Caged.”
“Since you are always watching MMA, why don’t you watch that new show on MTV called ‘Caged’?” my wife asked me last night after putting our children to bed. What on earth are is she talking about, I silently wondered to myself.
So we quickly went to the remote control, found the Video on Demand button and began watching episode one of the series. And that’s where the excitement stops. Because the show included commercials, the running time was 46 minutes. However, I still feel that my wife owes me 46 minutes of my life back whether or not I fast forwarded.
The fifteen or so minutes that were skipped through commercials were spent wanting to vent, so I, like most journalist do, took to the keyboard.
I should have known that anything produced by MTV (does anyone know why it’s still called MTV if there is no music?) would include teen pregnancy and alcohol.
The first words of the show are, “Here in a small town in Louisiana, once you graduate high school, nothing is given to you.”
This is immediately followed by one of the fighters they would profile saying, “there are three things to do: go out and get laid, get drunk, and beat some guy’s ass. If you don’t do that, you don’t feel right about yourself.”
Right then and there I clenched my fists and tried to conceal my anger from showing through, but it was impossible.
Everything that mixed martial artists on the professional level have fought to prove is not the common stereotype was completely erased in this first episode.
Not that the UFC’s reality series the Ultimate Fighter has done much better in trying to avoid the association with all fighters being alcoholic barbaric knuckleheads that will throw down at the drop of a hat and consistently avoid a life of crime, but at least the majority of those guys have put in their dues in the sport and have gone on to be somewhat successful.
This episode of ‘Caged’, or at least my experience of it was an exploitation of these young men who thought they were going to become big reality television stars. But instead the joke was on them.
MTV found three young guys that they could take advantage of for their own personal profit.
Each of the three main fighters that were introduced on the show thought they were the greatest thing since….well Anderson Silva and they clearly were not.
The first fighter who I absolutely came to despise was named Wes. Not all fighters have nicknames that instantly lead you in the direction of their true meaning, however I’m pretty sure we can narrow down where Wes got the name “Cat Smasher” from.
What else is there to do in a small Louisiana town besides smash cats?
Speaking of the name “Wes” one of the other fighters is named Daniel but he strikingly resembles former UFC fighter Wes Sims. Sims is most notably remembered for intentionally stomping on the face of Frank Mir during a sanctioned bout. Sims has a goofy persona and is hard to take seriously for more than a few minutes, probably one of the main reasons his career in the UFC was short lived.
Daniel was hyped up as a fighter who “has never been knocked out.” You see where I’m going with this right?
The only guy who seemed to have a real interest in the sport as far as taking it seriously and wanting to make a true career of it by following guidelines and training extremely hard was a kid named Matt but he went by “Danger.”
It wouldn’t be MTV unless there were some sort of dramatic surprise that is supposed to shock the viewer right? So Matt and his sister are sitting down to dinner together in a restaurant when we learn that the sister is a stripper.
So back to Cat Smasher…. Wes is the one who has fathered a child with his ex-girlfriend. Wes is probably around 20 years old but has the figure of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. You remember, a large belly but not too fat or too thin everywhere else.
So how does Wes have this abnormally shaped mid-section at his age? Oh, binge drinking. The show follows the crew to a garage where a friendly game of beer pong is played. A few scenes later a few of the guys are outside hitting a large punching bag.
The workout does not seem to be that intense but a few short seconds later you see Wes projectile vomit some sort of liquid. He then follows that up by saying he drank “about $100 worth of beer the other night.”
Now I know that everyone has to start out somewhere and that not every fighter is going to come from the greatest of backgrounds or have the best equipment to train with. I know this.
But what was apparent here is that these guys do not have the dedication or commitment to what it takes to make a career of mixed martial arts.
I would have much preferred if the show followed a standout high school or young college wrestler who had the fortitude to commit to something great.
These guys were too concerned about drinking, women, and having fun, more than they should have been.
There are thousands upon thousands of young amateur fighters who would give it their all to make it in mixed martial arts. This show was about making fighters look like Neanderthals.
I became somewhat lost in the storyline as I was “bitching” to my wife like someone who missed a meal. This is why she calls me the Snickers lady.
So somewhere in that story Daniel (the Wes Sims lookalike) began talking about a girl named Hannah who had died.
I feel bad that the young lady is no longer on this earth. I truly do. But then all my sorrow was immediately erased when a memorial service was held for Hannah and Daniel tells her brother that she may have caused him to prematurely ejaculate when she touched his leg while driving. Because every brother wants to hear that about his sister, especially while memorializing her.
So much to my excitement at the end of the show when they finally get to the fights, Daniel, the guy who has never been knocked out gets blasted and is immediately knocked out cold.
Wes won his fight via an armbar but amazed me was that his training partners later said that he didn’t even know what an armbar was. So either he pulled a rabbit out of a hat or his opponent is one of the worst amateur fighters on the planet.
“He was hitting me but it wasn’t hurting. It was like he had pillows in his gloves or something. I wanted to apologize to him before the fight because I knew I was gonna kick his ass,” Wes said after his fight.
Matt, too won his fight via an armbar submission but there’s no great post fight quote. He clearly is not the fighter the network is pushing to be the star.
After the show ended I noticed there were two more episodes that were playable on demand but I opted not to take that route. I will leave this series where I finished it.
Thank you MTV for bringing yet another failed mixed martial arts based show to network television to completely tarnish the mainstream image serious competitors are trying to put forth. As if Bully Beatdown were not bad enough, now young kids can be inspired by the crew of ‘Caged.’