A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this reality show claims to center on rising talents trying to make their name in the world of mixed martial arts, the real stars of the show are the celebrity "team owners" (mostly hip-hop superstars) who lend their names to the show and end up with far too much screen time. Despite its name, not nearly enough of the show actually takes place in the ring. Women have a very minor role, and the few who do appear wear very small costumes as they mark the start of every round. There's also some swearing and typical reality show trash talk.
What's the story?
IRON RING follows a fairly standard reality show format. Twenty fighters, all rising stars in the world of mixed martial arts, are competing to win $100,000. The twist is that they're all drafted onto one of six teams, each of which is managed by a celebrity "team owner," including boxing legend Floyd Mayweather and hip-hop stars Ludacris, Nelly, Dipset, T.I., and Lil John.
Is it any good?
Though the owners add some star power to the show, they also tend to outshine the athletes. Instead of showing the fighters training and fighting, the producers give the celebrities far too much screen time to talk about the fighters. And since only one of the managers has a background in the ring, few of their comments offer much insight into the sport, the athletes' individual strengths and weaknesses, or the matchups. Though clearly fans, in the end the musicians have little to say other than "man up."
And they're not the only ones. The coach yells it, too, and even the announcer gets into the act, telling viewers that the athletes will need to "man up" if they expect to succeed in the competition. Too bad the show spends so much time telling viewers how tough things are going to be that there's hardly any time left to actually show the athletes fighting.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of martial arts. What's the appeal of TV shows and movies about this sport (which, since it combines several types of unarmed combat, can look like a violent and brutal free-for-all to the untrained eye)? Do you think gladiator-style sports can be too rough or too dangerous? Why do people like to watch physical confrontation, either in the ring, in action films, or even street brawls? Also, what value do you think the hip-hop stars bring to the show? Would you watch if they weren't on it?