Jay Glazer says “it’s like I have two careers.”
In one, he’s a Fox reporter covering the most mainstream sport — the NFL. In the other, he practices and broadcasts mixed-martial arts — a sport Fox so far won’t cover. Fox won’t even let him compete so he won’t end up on-air looking beaten up which “I still don’t understand because I’m clearly not on TV for my looks.”
But the two worlds might get closer as Glazer tries to attract NFL players to MMA training. After MMA workouts with Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen a few years back — “it really loosened up his hips,” says Glazer — other players asked for MMA workouts. But, ultimately, none showed up. Until, that is, Arizona quarterback Matt Leinart came to Glazer’s regular MMA gym in Phoenix in April. Says Glazer: “I told him on Day 1 that he had zero chance of showing up Day 2. I tried to make him puke. I was sadistic.”
Leinart kept coming back. Says Leinart in foxsports.com’s video of a recent workout: “I was looking for what could separate me from other guys. … These guys are animals.”
In MMA, says Glazer, “The motto is, ‘check your ego at the door.’ At first, you look like an idiot, and a lot of people can’t deal with that.” Such as pro athletes who are used to being seen as stars. Glazer, who in 2003 had his first MMA fight “in what was like an illegal Russian fight in Brooklyn,” understands such reluctance. So this month, he and longtime MMA star Randy Couture will try marketing “secluded” MMA training for pro athletes at Couture’s Las Vegas gym. He figures it could help all kinds of sports — “hockey should be all over it, for the punching.”
But while he’s “tried like crazy” to get Fox to air MMA, they’re “not budging.” Fox Sports Chairman David Hill has said he isn’t crazy about MMA letting a fighter sit on a pinned opponent and keep punching. But, says Glazer, “Your power comes from your hips and legs, and there you’ve got no hips and legs. The visual thing is what gets people uncomfortable. But boxing is much more dangerous.”
NBC’s McGuire likes being man in the middle of NHL
Viewers who don’t watch much TV hockey, but will drop by for the NHL Stanley Cup Finals’ Game 7 on NBC Friday night, might wonder exactly where NBC analyst Pierre McGuire is coming from. No wonder: He’s about as close to the action as TV gets, at least outside NASCAR.
McGuire is stationed — with no glass protecting him — in the few feet between team benches. In his fourth season since NBC created that role, his mike is left open, his headset covers only one ear so he can eavesdrop on the benches, and several teams use the spot in their local broadcasts. And he’s still physically intact, although he says he needed “surgical glue” on his head after being gouged by a stick two years ago and was almost “smoked” by a flying puck in Game 3 of this year’s finals.
He can regularly talk to linesmen — “they’re really straight up” — as well as hear plenty he can’t report, like the “mucho trash-talking” in this year’s Calgary-Chicago playoff series. And though McGuire recently showed interest in becoming the general manager for the Minnesota Wild, he says he still likes his rinkside listening post, which he’ll also man during NBC’s 2010 Winter Olympics. He sounds psyched about the Games: “It’ll be one of the greatest sporting spectacles of all time.”