It figures the first episode I catch of The Contender is the one featuring and eliminating Najai Turpin, the fighter who later committed suicide by gunshot to the head. Not to be callous, but Najai came across as severely damaged goods. The lady on the show said he acted like "an animal that had been mistreated", and it seems she was exactly right.
â€œNajai wouldnâ€™t sleep on the bed at â€˜The Contenderâ€™ because he was so used to sleeping under the bed or in the closet for fear of various things between bullets and burglars and robbers and home invasions and the sort of things that no one on this call has had to deal with,â€? Burnett said.
The people behind the show have created a trust fund for Najai's daughter Anyae, who appeared to be the only thing in this world that made Najai happy. (Though it's possible a custody dispute over Anyae may be the root of his self-destruction.)
Aside from all that drama, though, the show is not half bad. The fights are super-produced, with tons of crazy camera angles, slo-mo, and sound effects. This is a little frustrating for "real" boxing fans, I think, but probably great for the average TV viewer.
I'll check it out again next week, for sure.