Bellator has scooped up a number of fighters in recent years that the UFC has decided to not re-sign to new deals, including Matt Mitrione, Benson Henderson, Rory MacDonald and Phil Davis, and fighters in the twilight of their careers like Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen, who just headlined Bellator 170, and Wanderlei Silva. Now on Superbowl weekend it has been announced that Ryan Bader has signed with Bellator. With Bellator now having also just recently signed possibly the most popular heavyweight in MMA history Fedor “the emperor” are they going to be real competition for the UFC?
In my opinion UFC like any sport needs it’s big name players and right now the only big name player is Connor McGregor and he is trying everything he can to have a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, which will be a big money fight and continue to keep him out of the UFC octagon.
Leagues start and fail, teams organize and form only to disband later, some become successful and a part of the American fabric (Green Bay Packers, Boston Red Soxs, Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs) and then are the teams that move to different cities or regions, but they at least change their mascot names for example Tennessee Titans, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins among others.
Still others not only change cities but keep the former name.
Before they were the Oakland Athletics, they were the Kansas City Athletics for a while after moving from Philadelphia also known as the Athletics.
Baltimore Colts moved in the middle of the night to Indianapolis.
New Orleans Jazz were an NBA expansion team in `1974 that drew dismal crowds even though signing local LSU legend Pistol Pete Maravich, eventually moving to that great jazz music capital of Utah (sarcasm included freely), at least change the team name. Utah Jazz makes no sense.
Los Angeles has had several pirated teams in their city. The Dodgers moved from Brooklyn that actually was in reference in those people that “dodged” the trolley cars, how many trolleys in LA? The Rams were moved from St. Louis which stole them from LA, which had actually relocated from Cleveland of all places. The Lakers were born in Minneapolis during the George Mikan era and eventually moved to LA (seriously, need a name change here). How many lakes are in LA?
The Washington Nationals at least changed their name when they moved from Montreal, for Washington Expos doesn’t inspire patriotism does it? Ah, Washington, which has had three different teams start there, the original Washington Senators were as the saying goes “First in War, First in Peace, Last in the American League” woeful for many many year until they up and moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Twins. But the politicians said they couldn’t be without a team, so the started another team that same year 1961, and came up with a catchy name “Senators” but this time they are least hired Ted Williams as a coach, and they last 10 years before moving to Dallas and becoming the Texas Rangers.
Atlanta Braves were the Milwaukee Braves before, most people forget that they moved to Wisconsin from Boston where they were the poor brother of the Red Soxs. On the basketball side, the Atlanta Hawks used to be a very good championship contender each year in St. Louis before moving in 1958.
New York Giants (baseball) bolted the same year as the Dodgers taking Willie Mays and putting him in the San Francisco outfield. In the same area, the Golden State, aka San Francisco Warriors, moved from Philadelphia along with Wilt Chamberlain in the early 60’s.
An injustice that still several of my Minnesota buddies will not recognize is when their beloved Minnesota North Stars that they grew up upped and left the hockey crazed state for greener pastures of Dallas, where at least they dropped the “North” part of the name.
Which leads us to Arizona’s voice in the National Football League, the Cardinals. Whom as most probably know moved from the football graveyard of St. Louis in 1988. What most fans do not know is that the Cardinals were one of only two teams (Chicago Bears) that were charter members of the NFL that is still in existence, but not in St. Louis, the Cardinals actually started out in Chicago from 1920-1960.
The team actually won two NFL Championships, both while they were in Chicago.
During the 1950’s the Cardinals only won 33 games and were mostly forgotten in Chicago being the fans gravitating to the Bears (yep, they used to be good) and attendance was horrible, they finally left and moved to St. Louis.
So let’s change some team names when we move, take a page out the Tennessee playbook, how about changing the name of the Los Angeles teams both the Dodgers and Lakers to say. Los Angeles Monarchs (classic regal name for the basketball team) and the baseball side how about the Los Angeles Cougars?
Does art imitate life? There was actually a Rudy from the film with the same title. There was a Jackie Robinson as in the movie “42” , and there was a Texas Western in the movie “Glory Road” though they are now called UTEP, but there was not a Hickory Huskers a Indiana farm country team from the movie “Hoosiers” .
I was visiting the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (east of Indianapolis if ever in the area) , was admiring all the displays of great Indiana High School and College basketball players (Larry Bird, Steve Alford, Rick Mount, etc.) when one of the older employees there ask me “Did you like the movie Hoosiers?”, duh! but I replied “Of course, one of my all time favorites”, she replied “Well the actual gym where the movie was filmed is only 15 miles from here if you have the time and are interested”, say no more, I’m on my way.
After about 25 minutes I pulled up outside of this very unassuming old school brick building, with no cars around, I walked up to the door and it opened, though no one was around, finally I made my way into the actual gymnasium to see and smell the sweat history that accrued there, in awe, I was woke up back into reality by the voice of one of the tour directors whom asked me if was a fan of the movie. He proceeded to take me around the whole place, locker rooms, the benches where certain portions of the movie was filmed and even let me shoot some baskets.
But though no Gene Hackman, Hickory Huskers, or Jimmy Chitwood, this story is mirrored and based off the true story of 1954 Milan High School out of the state of Indiana.
Milan High School = Hickory Huskers had an enrollment of 161 was the smallest school to ever win a single-class state championship title in Indiana which until 1997 threw all the schools into one tournament, no matter the size, and most very small school teams would be ecstatic to make the regional finals. But in truth, the 52′-53′ Milan team actually made the final four of Indiana High School championships , losing to South Bend South rather badly. This was their coach Marvin Wood (Gene Hackman) first year at the school, so his second year with four returning starters was much anticipated. They did not disappoint. Going 19-2 during the regular season, then winning sectionals, regional’s and semi-state where they beat Indianapolis Crispus Attucks and their star player and future Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson 65-52 before going to the final four again.
In the final four this time they first beat a big school out of Terre Haute, before playing 5 time state champion Muncie Central in the championship a real nail biter decided on a last second shot from Bobby Plump (= Jimmy Chitwood) whom hit a 14 ft last second shot to give them the title and immortality portrayed in Hoosiers.
One of not only all time favorite sports movie, one of my top ten all time movies of any genre. Along that same vein, combining sports and movies I have my own top ten, how does it differ from yours?
Ronda Rousey’s UFC Return Trended Over 1M Buys, But 2016 PPV Sales Dominated By Conor McGregor.
Brock Lesnar was the top draw for UFC at one point and then Ronda Rousey but 2016 shows that the Conor McGregor is the biggest UFC draw in history.
The question now is who will Conor McGregor fight when he returns at the end of 2017? Almost anyone is willing and wanting to fight him as it is a guaranteed big money fight.
As Conor McGregor best said himself, “Everyone wants to fight me because they become an immediate millionaire once they do.”
The last question is will Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor box? That could be the biggest money fight in history.
Many young boys grow up emulating their favorite players in the back yard. If you grow up in a college town then your favorite player usually is the best player on a college team. Every juke, one handed catch or deep pass is emulated in the back yard. Unfortunately, there is a new move to add to the mix. Missing the bowl game.
Leonard Fournette from LSU, Christian McCaffery from Stanford and Jabrill Peppers from Michigan all announced they would be missing their respective teams bowl game. Fournette and Peppers claimed an injury but neither of them were career threatening. While none of them expressed a fear of injury in the bowl game who could forget watching Jaylon Smith from Norte Dame getting carted off the field in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. What else can be surmised from their absence.
Each of these players teams are at different prestigious bowls, but everyone of these players are the undisputed best player on the team. The Jaylon Smith injury cost him millions of dollars but he still received 4.42 million dollars. In a recent interview he stated he still would have played. Personally, I could never imagine not playing in the teams last game of the year. How can you work all year and then just walk away. These players let down everyone else and the majority on their team do not make it into the NFL.
Jabrill Peppers – Michigan lost 33 to 32 against FSU. Peppers did not play because of a hamstring pull. This would be the easiest injury to claim with the hardest to dispute. Michigan had the lead with 36 seconds left and a ineffective FSU QB with a 50.9 QB rating threw a touchdown to win the game. Do I believe in my heart that Peppers could have made a difference, absolutely!
Christian McCaffery – Stanford won 25 to 23 over UNC but it took Stanford to the 4th Quarter to gain the eventual lead. Bryce Love the back up, carried the ball for 115 yards. With no disrespect to Love, what would McCaffrey have accomplished. We will never know. McCaffery should go in the first round and he can hope he has a career as long as his father.
Leonard Fournette – LSU handled Louisville 29 to 9 and the back up Derrius Guice ran for 138 yards. Fournette had missed 4 games but his loss could have had a huge impact to the Tigers. Louisville had been explosive against teams and had put 63 on Florida State.
For people who say that schools profit off of the players, please review the costs of tuition. This is free for almost 85 players and their first job is getting an education. This should help them after their on average 3.3 year NFL career.
Oh yeah, I just remembered that Jack Youngblood played in the 1980 Pro Bowl on a broken leg. Based on the new normal that will rarely if at all ever happen again.
It took 48 seconds for Amanda Nunes to destroy Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 last night.
In my opinion Rousey is done.
She is a legend. What else is there left to prove?
Her coach and her team have her convinced she is a boxer but judo is what made her invincible in the octagon. If she chose to stay in UFC she would need to get a new coach and a new team.
What is next for Rousey? Full time in Hollywood or professional wrestling as she has already appeared in WWE at Wrestlemania.
People “troll” Rousey on social media this morning but they forget her and her alone brought women into the UFC and she is and was one of the greatest draws of all time in MMA if not the biggest draw ever in MMA.
UFC on Fox Fight Night main card breakdown:
Mike Perry vs Alan Jouban
Perry is undefeated. 9 fights, 9 knockouts.
Good start in Round 1 for both fighters, both men landed good shots.
Good Round 2, Jouban knocks Perry down with a punch to end Round 2.
Round 3 is over, pretty much all Jouban. This one is going to the judges.
The official decision, judges score it:
29/28, 30/27, 30/27.
Brad Pickett vs Urijah Faber
This is Faber’s last fight. He is retiring and will definitely be a future UFC hall of famer.
All Faber in Round 1. I’m am surprised the referee did not stop the fight at the end of Round 1. It easily could have and in my opinion should have been stopped.
Round 2 was all Faber. Very dominant performance by Faber so far.
The fight goes to the judges. This fight was all Faber.
All 3 judges give it to Faber.
Sage Northcutt vs Mickey Gall (co-main event)
This should be a great fight. After destroying CM Punk Gall called out Northcutt. This fight futures 2 of the UFC’s most rising stars.
Great Round 1.
Northcutt lands some good shots in Round 2.
Mickey Gall wins by submission!
Winner: Gall (rear naked choke)
Great Ronda Rousey promo shown. Friday December 30 th is the huge return! Weird to have a PPV on a Friday but I can see why they wouldn’t put it on New Years Eve. Nunes says she will retire Ronda.
VanZant vs Waterson (main event)
Waterson chokes out VanZant in Round 1.
Wow! That surprised me.
Fight 1- Meek vs Mein
Awesome round 1.
Looks like Meek possibly broke a rib in round 1. Ouch! He is tough and fighting through it.
No sense of urgency in Mein in round 2.
I thought it was a great round 1, rounds 2 and 3 were all Meek. Meek won by decision, 29 – 28 all 3 judges.
Fight 2- Kennedy vs Gastelum
Good round 1.
Kennedy has a black eye on his right eye.
Big round 2 for Gastelum.
Gastelum wins by TKO in round 3.
I’m surprised as I definitely expected Kennedy to win. Gastelum looked lose and fast, in my opinion his best performance since winning the Ultimate Fighter.
Fight 3- Swanson vs Choi
Choi is undefeated in the UFC and is on a 12 fight win streak.
Excellent round 1, this is the best fight of the night so far in my opinion.
Round 2 was one of the best rounds I have ever seen. This fight alone was worth ordering the pay per view tonight.
Unbelievable, fight of the year in my opinion.
The fight went 3 rounds and is going to the judges.
What a crazy fight!
Scorecards are 30/27, 30/27, 29/28.
Swanson won by unanimous decision.
Winner: Swanson (there was no loser in that fight)
Awesome Ronda Rousey promo shown for UFC 207 on December 30 th.
Nunes vs Rousey is the fight I am most looking forward to this year.
Fight 4- Cerrone vs Brown (co-main event)
Very good round 1. We definitely have a fight here.
Back and forward exchanges in round 2.
Matt Brown’s face is a bloody mess.
This is a close fight.
Cowboy Cerrone just won with a perfectly placed head kick knock out in Round 3. First time Matt Brown has been knocked out cold.
That was Cerrone’s 19 th UFC win (tied for second of all time with George St Pierre).
Fight 5- Pettis vs Halloway (main event)
Interim featherweight championship fight.
(Winner fights Jose Aldo to unify the belts).
Max Holloway is on a 9 fight win streak. He also has most significant strikes landed in UFC history.
Good start. Very even first round.
Pettis has a cut on his right eye.
Halloway knocks down Pettis in round 2.
Pettis is walking Halloway down.
Pettis attempts a take down at the end of round 2 but Halloway defends it. Pettis told his corner inbetween rounds 2 and 3 that he broke his hand.
Low blow from Halloway to Pettis to start round 3.
Max Holloway finishes Anthony Pettis at the end of round 3 by TKO.
Winner- Halloway (and now interim featherweight champion of the world).
Overall this was a very good fight card, way better then I had expected. Next week UFC on Fox is a good card as well.