The Man Mountain has a fear of MMA heights.
That’s why Ali Peek is content with his new view on the sidelines, analyzing the world’s fastest-growing sport.
The retired PBA player was the newest addition to the TV panel calling Pacific X-Treme Combat as he sat alongside James Velasquez and Uriah Vanden Bos to cover PXC 43 on Saturday night at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
After witnessing all the knockouts, submissions, blood, and bruises from all 18 fighters in the 12th staging of one of Asia-Pacific’s top MMA promotions, Peek was glad to be outside the cage.
“I’m an old man, dude. I’m happy where I’m at,” the 39-year-old Filipino-American cager said in chat with Spin.ph during a lull in the coverage. “I’m not trying to get in there. After seeing some of these knockouts, no thanks.”
Despite having little experience practicing the sport, Peek has been a big MMA fan since 2006, so he was brought in to “provide a pretty exciting dimension to the coverage,” according to Sports5 manager Vitto Lazatin.
The 6-foot-4 Peek did try jiu jitsu once.
“I got choked and never tried it again,” chuckled Peek, who also dipped his feet into boxing and muay thai. “Basketball is the number one sport, but, you know, I’m a spectator now. Hopefully this is my new career, my new path.”
As the third man in the panel, Peek said he fed off Velasquez and Vanden Bos.
“The two guys have been great. They’ve been helping me out and I’ve been asking a lot of questions. When you watch this, you’ll see that I’m asking lots of questions — not just for myself, but also for the fans — about the technical side.
The event will be telecast on a delayed basis on TV5 Sunday afternoon.
“It’s been awesome. It’s been kind of intense, too,” beamed Peek, the 16-year PBA veteran who officially retired just last February. “It’s almost like playing in a crucial game seven of a basketball championship series.”
With a lot of free time in his hands, Peek has also been able to analyze the PBA on the other side of the fence, marveling at former team Talk ‘N Text’s undefeated start in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Peek specifically lauded Texters import Richard Howell.
“Their import is a great fit,” he admitted. “Whenever you have an import coming in to a PBA team, the way they fit and the way they’re used, and the import knowing his role is so important.”
“With a one-round robin, you can’t afford to have any mess-ups. You can’t afford to keep changing imports because you’re not gonna win,” added Peek, who believes the Texters have what it takes to go all the way in the import-spiced conference.
“Based on watching them play, particularly their defense and their rebounding, I think they have a really excellent shot at winning the championship — and I’m not just being biased.”