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ESPN Airs Silly Shaq MMA Infomercial



Shaquille O'Neal incorporates some mixed martial arts into his off-season training, and ESPN decided that would be an interesting story. No complaints there. But the way ESPN went about reporting the story -- with Dana Jacobson interviewing Shaq's trainer -- turned it into a ridiculous infomercial for the gym where Shaq trains, with Shaq's trainer playing the role of corporate pitchman and Jacobson playing the role of MMA ignoramus.

The trainer, Jonathan Burke of Gracie Orlando, was incapable of answering a question without throwing in a hamhanded reference to his gym's web site. By about the fifth time he reminded us that his gym's web site is SixLevels.com, I was ready to punch my TV.

And then there's Jacobson's interview. I like Jacobson. I've written favorably about her interview with former NFL player Adam "Pacman" Jones, and I've defended her when she was criticized for comments she made at a celebrity roast. But she was completely unprepared and unprofessional in this interview. She mispronounced Chuck Liddell's name five times, referred to a rear-naked choke as a "bare-naked grab whatever," and generally came across like she was proud of her ignorance of MMA.

Increasing numbers of athletes are incorporating MMA into their training, and I hope ESPN does more stories on that fact. I just hope the next time, it doesn't turn into a SixLevels.com infomercial.

Via Cage Potato.