Category Archives: Sports

The latest on Kobe: bad word, even worse excuse

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According to ESPN, Kobe Bryant has been fined $100,000 for mouthing a gay slur during a game after he was called for a technical foul. After attracting the ref’s attention by calling him by name, Kobe is then said to have mouthed the words “f**cking f*ggot.”

What is worse about this incident is the half-*ssed apology he issued for his outburst.

What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.

Well, then. I guess that makes it alright, because you did NOT mean to call the ref a homosexual in an unflattering light.

But wait a minute. If I was an NBA player frustrated at a ref for calling me for a technical foul, would it be OK if I called him a “f**king n***er” as long as I said later that I “should not be taken literally?”

I would hope not.

Hey, I’m not trying to crucify you for a mistake, Mr. Bryant. We all make mistakes. And God knows I am GLAD I don’t have a camera on me all the time, capturing every screw-up I make.

But here’s a tip: if you do something wrong and you’re called on it…apologize. Fully. Don’t offer excuses or try to explain it away. Just say yeah, I did it, and I’m sorry.

You may be a billionaire. You may have more money sitting in the change tray of your Hummer than I will make this year. But until you learn how to handle yourself as a gentleman, you’ll never get the respect you deserve for your ability to put a ball in a hoop.

Superbowl XLV and Brett Favre

A couple of days ago, I posted that I could not be less interested in seeing the Steelers and the Packers. After all, I have never liked the Steelers…and a Bears fan rooting for the Packers may well find himself in a psychologist’s office.

However, despite what I said, I will be interested in the Superbowl. Because of one particular pain-in-the-ass player named Brett Favre.

In his first season with the Vikings, Brett Favre claimed the Vikings were the best team he had ever played on. Including the 1996 Superbowl champion Packers.

I believe his motivation for this claim did not arise from an objective point of view, but instead because he had a need to stick it to the team that didn’t automatically give him back his starting QB spot the first time he decided to “unretire.”

Aaron Rodgers had spent three years on the bench waiting for his chance to be a starter in the NFL. During the 2008 training camp, Aaron Rodgers was preparing to lead the Packers as a starter when Brett Favre and the team announced that Rodgers would have to compete for a job that was already his.

I will not recap the rest of the mess that has become the Brett Favre saga, but suffice it to say that he did everything he could to destroy the reputation of the team he had helped build for the better part of a career.

Fast forward to…right now. Brett Favre has retired, again. Aaron Rodgers is representing the Packers in a Superbowl in a season that the Favre-led Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs shortly after training camp.

And all I can say is…good for you, Packers. This Bears fan will be rooting for you to put a nail in the Favre saga once and for all.

Category: Football, Other NFL, Sports

Baroni Released by UFC

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According to Versus.com, the UFC has released Phil Baroni, AKA The New York Bad-Ass.

When I read this on BloodyElbow.com, nothing could have made me happier. Neither I nor m’girl care for this guy because of his persona inside the ring, including the introductions at UFC 125 when he put his sunglasses on just for Bruce Buffer’s pre-fight introductions. However, the video below (an outstanding interview by Ariel Helwani) reminds us that everyone’s human.

Like him or hate him, Phil Baroni works hard to compete in MMA, and was obviously heartbroken even before his (expected) release from the UFC. I may not root for you, Phil, but you have my respect. God bless, and hope to see you back in the UFC soon.

Category: MMA, UFC

Hockey makes Bubba feel old

I am sitting here recovering from a cold and watching the Canadiens / Senators hockey game. All of a sudden, I am feeling really, really old.

Some sports do not change much. Baseball, for instance, has had relatively few baseball teams move, and the rules have been fairly constant. The biggest change I can remember is the designated hitter in the American League, and that was adopted in 1973.

Hockey, on the other hand, has changed a lot. As the almost-forgotten sibling in the family of major league sports, the NHL has had to make many changes in their attempt to make the game more palatable for Americans with bad eyesight and an intolerance to spend energy learning a game they did not grow up playing.

I estimate that somewhere around 1979 or so I became a hardcore hockey fan, making a date with my 13″ black and white television to watch Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night during the season. I even watched games in French when I did not like the game being broadcast in English on channel 4. Here are some of the changes I have seen in the last 31 seasons:

  1. Teams have moved around. A lot. The Winnipeg Jets are now the Phoenix Coyotes, the Quebec Nordiques are the Colorado Avalanche, the Hartford Whalers are the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Minnesota North Stars are now the Dallas Stars.
  2. Expansion has brought ice to a lot of places that normally do not see it. Teams that were not around in 1979 include the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Atlanta Thrashers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Ottawa Senators.
  3. Noticeable rule changes have altered the look of the game. I remember Guy LaFleur, among others, with their hair flying in the wind as they skated back and forth. In 1979, any new NHL player had to wear a helmet, with veterans being able to choose if they wanted a lid. While I understand the safety issues, players have become faceless to me…appearing like homogeneous robots.
  4. Another rule change is the installation of nets behind the ends of the rink, preventing pucks from flying into the crowd. I have attended a lot of games where people have been hit, because they were not paying attention to the game. The death of a girl in Columbus, OH at an NHL game was the sad reason they finally installed the  much-needed safety devices.
  5. I remember a lot of face-offs generated by players trapping the puck along the boards with their skates. No more, move the game along guys. Goalies also used to shoot the puck into the crowd to force a face-off; cannot do that anymore unless you want a delay of game penalty. They also cannot roam behind the goal line as freely as they used to; if you wander out of the trapezoid, that’s another penalty.
  6. Passes going over 2 lines, shootouts, and faster re-starts have all made the game a lot faster and fun to watch for fans.

The NHL has worked hard to attract fans and make the game more enjoyable. While I appreciate their efforts, remembering all the changes makes Bubba feel like a grumpy old curmudgeon.

Category: Hockey

Dana White and ESPN

Bloody Elbow reports that Dana White was unhappy with ESPN for reporting UFC 120 results before the fights were broadcast on Spike TV. I really hate spoilers for events, so I agreed with Dana.

Initially.

However, let’s think about this for a minute. As a UFC fan, I was ecstatic when ESPN started reporting results, because their reporting added legitimacy to a sport that is still in its infancy compared to other major league sports.

So, now the UFC is a legitimate sport. And a conflict arose because the results were reported by ESPN as they occurred. Dana was upset because this spoiled the Spike telecast, which was tape delayed.

My question is, Dana, if you want the UFC to become a legitimate sport, why are you tape-delaying events? No other sport does it. Even NHL matches in Europe to start the season are broadcast live at 9:00am.

The solution is NOT to complain about ESPN. The right thing to do, sir, is to broadcast the event live. If you want to run it again during prime time, go right ahead.

But complaining about ESPN, a powerful network with the ability to add or remove legitimacy to your sport, is not going to be productive.

Category: MMA, Sports, UFC

ESPN: No live MMA events in foreseeable future

In the Wednesday MMA Live chat, Jon Anik states there is no plans to air live MMA events on ESPN:

While ESPN UK does air some events, not going to happen for us Yanks anytime soon.

Category: MMA, UFC

UFC 118 at the theater

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M’girl and I usually watch all the UFC events. Sometimes we stay home and order it on PPV, and other times we go out – usually to a sports bar. Thanks to MMA Roundup, we got free tickets to see UFC 118 at the AMC Theaters at Westgate.

I will talk about not only the fights, but first I want to review the experience of seeing UFC in the theater. It was a unique experience…an experience I will probably not repeat unless some changes are made. NOTE: these changes need to be made by Fathom Events and possibly the UFC. These issues are not the fault of AMC.

The first aspect of this I did not care for is the lack of an undercard. For this fight, there were a couple of fights before the PPV shown on Spike. However, the theater did not show these fights. Instead, they showed the countdown show that previously ran on Spike and Directv’s 101 Channel. I believe most of the other people there had seen it before too, because almost everyone was talking to their friends.

I would have liked to seen the undercard live at home, but then I would have been late to see the main card. The theater was about 60-70% full, and showing up at 7pm PDT would have meant sitting in the front rows (blech). We recorded the undercard on our DVR, but didn’t get to see those fights until after we got home from the PPV.

The next consideration about going to the theater is money. First, even though our tickets were free, if we were to purchase them we would have spent $30. The hi-def version at home is $54.95, so the savings for two people would have been about $25…until we figure in the cost of food and drink. The candy, popcorn, and sodas we bought was $21…negating the savings we would have had. It is true that we could have done without the candy and popcorn but drinks were still needed (about $13 for drinks alone). But figure in any more than two people and it would be cheaper to stay home and order it. I do not see reduction of ticket prices as a possibility. I do not think a cheaper price would entice me to do it again, and the theater has to make their money. Since the UFC event takes about 3 hours, the theater should be compensated for about the price of two movies.

After all these issues, we then sat down to enjoy the show. The audio was only coming out of the front speakers when it started, and seemed to improve as the night went on. By the start of the first fight, the audio was one of the positives about the night.

Seeing the fights on the big screen was probably the best part of the experience. Seeing the fighters about 2-3 times actual size was a nice touch, but it was almost too big. At the end of the evening, I would have to say that I am glad to see fights on a screen this size, but I think I prefer the HDTV at home to the big screen. I have watched IMAX 3-D movies with no problems, but watching this type of event on a screen this large this close was a little dizzying at times.

I know this has been a negative review of seeing UFC at the theater, but I believe there is an audience for this. The best audience for this would include: younger people that do not have access to the event at home, people not interested in drinking alcohol while watching the fights, and people that don’t have a lot of friends interested in UFC. I just don’t fit into these groups.

That being said, let’s talk about the card.

The first fight was Marcus Davis and Nate Diaz. Since Bubba has a wee bit o’ Irish in him, I was rooting for Marcus “Irish Hand Grenade” Davis. The first round was fairly even, but turned bloody when a large gash opened up over Davis’ eye after what appeared to be an accidental clash of their heads. The cornermen patched up the cut as much as possible in between the first and second rounds, and after a doctor examined it they continued fighting. It was at this time that Diaz appeared to find his range and landed the better shots. Between Diaz’s strikes and the blood draining into his eye, Davis steadily weakened until Diaz choked him out in the third round. Some question the speed (or lack of speed) of the stoppage as Davis appeared to pass out from the choke about 10 seconds before the ref stopped it.

Next up was Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard. The winner of this fight had previously been promised a shot at the lightweight championship, adding a little more importance to the bout. This fight went to the judges after three rounds, and Maynard won convincingly after taking Florian down repeatedly. This was not the most exciting fight of the night but still interesting.

Demian Maia and Mario Miranda were up next. Maia’s last fight with Anderson Silva was still fresh in everyone’s mind, and expected him to come out fired up. Maia controlled the fight to a unanimous decision after three rounds, but couldn’t finish Miranda, another well-schooled BJJ student. Miranda’s counters to Maia’s submission attempts were nothing less than spectacular, but Maia’s skills were too much of a match for Miranda to gain any momentum.

I think it would be safe to say that no one outside of Boston was watching for either of these fights, though. The moment we were waiting for was finally here: James Toney v Randy Couture. Toney chased Dana White around the country, begging for an opportunity to show that boxing was where the skill was, and the UFC was full of a bunch of chumps. The trash talking continued long after the bout was finally signed, and included Toney dressing up a Couture action figure with an evening gown and purse.

But now was the time for the trash talking to stop and the fighting to start. Couture repeatedly said he would not box Toney, but would take him down and beat him up. Well, Couture could not have predicted it any better. The initial single-leg takedown attempt failed, but seconds later Toney was on his back, receiving the good old ground and pound from the UFC hall of famer. After 3:19 of the crowd chanting “Randy” and “UFC”, Toney either tapped out or begged the referee to stop the arm triangle and the one-sided beating he was enduring. In a post-fight interview, Toney declared that his ground game was “alright”. I know it’s a tired cliché, but between his manner of speech and the self-evaluation of his skills, he clearly acted like a boxer that had taken one too many hits to the brain.

After the fight, Dana White declared the boxing experiment officially over and declared there would be no more boxers fighting in the UFC. Thank God.

It is a little hard to believe that Toney/Couture was not the main event, but that honor was reserved for the UFC Lightweight Championship, a rematch between the former champion BJ Penn and the new champion Frankie Edgar. Many fans, myself included, expected Penn to come out swinging, ready to retake the championship from Edgar. But Penn wasn’t the only improved fighter after having his title taken away. Edgar came out of the dressing room looking more like Clay Guida, displaying the same type of bouncy energy Guida is known for. Edgar moved from side to side in an unpredictable manner, causing Penn to never find his rhythm. Edgar repeatedly took down Penn, and assumed control of the fight for all five rounds. Going into the fifth round, his corner was heard saying “do not let this guy take even one round!”

Knowing that Penn still had great BJJ skills, Goldberg and Rogan emphasized the importance of not letting up; good advice knowing how Anderson Silva beat Chael Sonnen after being dominated for four and a half rounds. By continuing to pressure Penn until the end of the fight, Edgar escaped that fate and won a unanimous decision, 50-45 on every card.

Overall, the card was entertaining, and I’m glad we saw Toney get his butt kicked after all the smack talk. However, I don’t think I’ll be seeing any more fights at the theater.

Category: MMA, UFC

James Toney and MMA

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After seeing a live chat today (http://www.mmafighting.com/2010/07/28/chat-live-with-james-toney/), I have a better appreciation for him. Here’s a quote from that chat:

Everybody has this misconception I don’t like MMA. I love MMA. I love Georges St. Pierre, I love Rich Franklin, I like BJ Penn, I like Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans, I like a ton of these guys. I don’t have a problem with those dudes. MMA is a great sport.

Turns out that Toney isn’t arrogant because he disrepects MMA; he is just full of himself. UFC 118 is gonna be fun to watch.

Category: UFC

UFC 116: Pre-event thoughts

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Dana White has been both lauded and criticized for the way he promotes the UFC. However, he stated in an interview that people have been waiting for years to see a heavyweight title bout with the potential that Lesnar/Carwin carries.

Like him or hate him, he is exactly right.

I grew up watching boxing, and remember watching some of the fights with my dad. It wasn’t my favorite sport at the time but I enjoyed the contests, and looked forward to some of them. Sugar Ray Leonard, Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini, and some other fighters I can’t remember right now put on some impressive bouts.

However, boxing has become irrelevant. I can’t remember knowing or actively caring about a boxing match. Outta sight, outta mind. Dana is making sure this fate doesn’t happen to the UFC anytime soon.

Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin are two trains with heavy locomotives on the same track heading toward each other at 100 miles per hour. You know the collision is gonna happen, and you can’t wait to see which train is left standing. OK, maybe you aren’t that keyed up about it. But if you’re a UFC fan, a boxing fan, or even a mild sporting fan…the more you  know about this fight, the more you are anticipating it.

For those of you that do not already know, Brock Lesnar is a former WWE wrestler that switched to MMA in 2007. Because of his size and quickness, Lesnar managed to fight for (and win) the UFC Heavyweight Title in his fourth MMA fight. Some were upset because Lesnar got a title fight so quickly, and others (myself included) are not cheering for him because of his brash, often offensive outbursts about his opponent.

Most UFC fighters have great respect for their opponents, and in a world often short of true sportsmanship these fighters have gained a lot of followers. Brock, however, has chosen a different road. Because of his antics, he doesn’t garner as much respect as maybe he should.

Say what you want about the man, but his ability, athleticism and desire cannot be questioned. The improvement in Brock’s game has been tremendous, and if he loses tonight at UFC 116 it will not be from lack of training.

Shane Carwin, on the other hand, is well-spoken, well-mannered, and appears to be a true sportsman. Not only has he won all 12 of his fights, but every fight has ended with plenty of time left in the first round.

The train wreck created by these two men is gonna be intense.

Some other things you need to know about this fight:

  • Brock is fighting for the first time in about a year due to a severe bout of diverticulitis. Ring rust may be a factor.
  • While Lesnar looks like a huge beast (and he is), Carwin’s glove size is bigger.
  • Lesnar won the NCAA Division I wrestling championship in 2000. Carwin won the NCAA Division II wrestling championship the year before. Lesnar is greatly downplaying Carwin’s Division II championship. While I am sure there is a difference between the two in skill levels, I am not sure it is going to matter in 2010. Remember when Lesnar got caught in a heel hook from Frank Mir? A world-class wrestler on top of his game would never have been caught in that hold.
  • Lesnar is a favorite right now in Vegas (odds -145/+125 as of right now) but has lost ground over the past month when he was as high as -200 (http://www.bestbetufc.com/ufc-odds/ufc-116-odds/).

I am calling this one for Carwin. Mostly because I want him to win, but also because I believe his style is much more controlled than Lesnar’s. Brock will come at you like a raging bull but Shane has been very patient and methodical in his victories. Funny to say that about a guy that hasn’t needed any more than one round to put away his opponents.

If you don’t wanna drop the money on PPV ($40+), find a sports bar that will show the fight. BWW and Hooters usually shows UFC fights.

We are visiting some of my wife’s friends from school right now…so not sure how we are going to catch the fights. If we don’t see them tonight, we will catch it later from home.

If you have never seen the UFC or haven’t seen it for years, this is the fight to catch.

Category: UFC

Dana White: “I will cut Anderson Silva”

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Whoa.

Pulled from MMA Roundup’s Facebook feed.

Dana White on Jim Rome is Burning: “if he ever acts like that again in the ring, I will cut him. I don’t care if he’s the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, I don’t care if he’s the middleweight champion. I will cut him.”

Category: UFC