White: UFC “[Doesn’t] Need Blue-Chip Sponsors”

Main Entry: dis·pa·rate
Pronunciation: \ˈdis-p(ə-)rət, di-ˈsper-ət, -ˈspa-rət\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English desparat, from Latin disparatus, past participle of disparare to separate, from dis- + parare to prepare

1 : containing or made up of fundamentally different and often incongruous elements
2 : markedly distinct in quality or character

UFC ring sponsor logos
(Some of UFC’s many sponsors on display.)

An enterprising young cameraman representing ULTMMA.COM (we assume the ULT stands for “ultimate” and that it’s not an acronym for, like, “unitards, leotards, and thongs”; that would be a horrible development for the sport) caught up with MMA head honcho Dana White down in Arizona recently. During the 5-minute interview, which was only mildly profane and thus White at his most subdued, White claims (among other things) that he and UFC don’t need “blue-chip” sponsors. That he was only in Arizona to attend a finance convention doesn’t seem to affect such a statement. Video of the interview (NSFW language) is after the break.

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Speed Read: Another Ivanovic Bust At U.S. Open

Back in January 2008, the Australian Open finals featured Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova in one of the most eagerly-anticipated women’s tennis matches ever. Sharapova won the match, but it seemed like the sport was set for one of the hottest - in every sense of the world - rivalries in recent memories.

Ana Ivanovic

Now flash forward to last night. While a Bedazzled Sharapova (more on that in a minute) started her comeback from shoulder surgery with an easy straight set win over Tsvetana Pironkova, Ivanovic continued her freefall into oblivion by getting bounced by unheralded Kateryna Bondarenko. That makes a tidy zero titles for Ivanovic this year and no appearances past the fourth round in any major - and another early round exit from the U.S. Open after last year’s shocking loss to Julie Coin in the second round.

Ana Ivanovic Topless Photo

(Ana Ivanovic in happier times…for everyone)

It’s not just that Ivanovic lost - at times, she looked absolutely lost, seemingly unable to do something as simple as throw the ball into the air correctly during her serves. Call it the tennis equivalent of Rick Ankiel’s pitching yips, although more attractive to watch if just as awkward. Ivanovic took to burying her head in a towel during changeovers, which is probably what a lot of fans wanted to do after watching her stumble to defeat.

Maria Sharapova

Meanwhile, Sharapova was confident and poised in her easy victory. Her tennis game looked great, while her outfit … let’s just say it looked like something you might have seen in a teen dance competition in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1987. And not to go Mr. Blackwell on your here, but honey, Cher called from 1975 and she wants her beaded headband back. Unless you are planning on belting out a rousing version of “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” after winning your next match - in that case, it’s all yours.

Sharapova said that her outfit was “inspired by the architecture of New York.” Which is a perfect transition to talk about one of the other great metropolises of the Americans: Saskatoon. Because FACEOFF.COM says that one of the bidders for the Phoenix Coyotes has already booked five dates at the Credit Union Centre (the Madison Square Garden of Saskatchewan) to hold games there if they get the team next season.

Downtown Saskatoon

(There really is nothing quite like Saskatoon in December…)

Which leads to the question: what other events would possibly be happening in Saskatoon so you would need to save the date? A quick look at the Credit Union Centre event schedule shows a lot of minor league hockey…and not much else. Somehow I think that the arena would be willing to postpone the Saskatoon Blades vs. Moose Jaw Warriors showdown for an NHL game.

A partner for Ice Edge Holdings said that the team would be playing most of its games in Phoenix and not moving to Saskatoon permanently, which is too bad: it would be great to see NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman get an involuntary eye twitch every time he tries to explain how having a team in Saskatoon is good for the league.

Finally, Adrian Beltre returned to the Seattle Mariners last night after learning a valuable lesson about wearing a cup while playing third base on August 14 - as in “for the love of all things good and holy, wear one!” You might remember that Beltre thought his testicle had “exploded” after taking a scorching drive to the crotch.

Adrian Beltre nutcracker

After sitting out a few weeks (and probably getting some counseling for his lingering trauma issues), Beltre was back, and the Mariners decided to have a little fun at his expense. Ken Griffey Jr. had said he had the “perfect” music for Beltre’s first at-bat, and the person in charge of the songs being played over the PA delivered. Our own Scott Sepich was at the game, so I’ll pass along what he relayed to me:

“I was at the Mariners-Angels game tonight, and in Adrian Beltre’s first at-bat since coming off the DL, the music they played for him when he came to the plate was the “Nutcracker Suite.” A few of us in the press box caught on, but I’m not sure that the crowd got it. I thought it was pretty brilliant.”

Brilliant, indeed. In case you need further proof, the SEATTLE TIMES game blog not only mentions the musical cue but has audio of it as well. While I find it ironic that Ken Griffey Jr. - a man who once suffered a season-ending groin injury while fielding a fly ball - thinks that Beltre’s situation is hilarious. But it was a good choice of music, certainly more subtle than what I would have selected.

  • SPORTS HERNIA seems to think that David Wright’s new mega-helmet makes him look like Dark Helmet or The Great Gazoo. Personally, I think that he should be paying royalty money to Mark Kelso for infringing on his “dorky guy in a giant helmet” trademark.
  • David Wright

  • If there was one team in the NFL that had to be screwing the fans over by selling tickets directly to scalpers, it had to be the Washington Redskins, right? Too bad they can’t do the same thing with Six Flags tickets to prop up sales numbers.
  • Your nightly NFLPA train wreck update: the Department of Justice is confirming that they are investigating collusion claims by the union’s former HR director. She says that former player representative Troy Vincent had illegal meetings with Roger Goodell and Texas owner Robert McNair where he divulged classified information. Troy Vincent had a trouble keeping information private? That sounds strangely familiar.
  • Ladies, Rafael Nadal is playing at the U.S. Open in see-through shorts. Why can’t we get this technology in the women’s side of things (except for Serena Williams)?
  • Sometimes being a”football hero” takes on a different connotation: Kaleb Eulls, a star player at Yazoo High in Mississippi who has committed to Mississippi State, is being praised after disarming a 14-year-old girl who pulled out a loaded semi-automatic weapon on a full school bus.
  • Former Kentucky basketball star Edward Davender has been arrested as part of a ticket scalping scam involving Wildcats basketball tickets. If convicted, he could be sentenced to work for the Washington Redskins.
  • Adam “Pac-Man” Jones and Charles Rogers on the same CFL football team? Can someone please tell me how I can get Winnipeg Blue Bombers games on TV here in the lower 48?
  • Andy Roddick is less than thrilled with the U.S. Open trying to clamp down on players Twittering because they are concerned about players giving up “inside information.” Roddick’s retort (via Twitter): “you would seriously have to be a moron to send ‘inside info’ through a tweet.”
  • Anheuser-Busch plans to switch sports advertising tactics, targeting specific beer brands with demographics based on major sports. Bud Light to be linked to the NFL, while Budweiser will feature heavily in MLB advertising. No word on if Natural Ice will now be the Official Beer of Competitive Binge Drinking.
  • If they are going to start sending people to jail for 30 days for socking an opposing coach at a baseball game for 8-year-olds and then swinging a bat at people trying to break it up, then I just don’t know what baseball is anymore.

Best song for a player returning from a “bruised testicle”:

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Colleges To Budweiser: Don’t Show Us Your Cans!

If the the earth was struck tomorrow by a giant meteor and the only liquids that survived the fiery ball of doom were Bud Light and some rancid pond water from the Everglades, I think I’d choose … um, exactly how many snakes are in that pond water? Realizing this, Anheuser-Busch has come up with a relatively new promotion to boost sales, marketing Bud Light cans in the colors of college teams.

For example, people buying Budweiser in or around the University of Colorado would find the product in black-and-gold cans. The University of Wisconsin, red and white. The University of Arizona, Captain Morgan in a brown paper sack. The usual. Bud is calling them Fan Cans. But the universities themselves are not amused. Read more…

Erin Andrews Gets Caught In A Cosby Sandwich

Erin Andrews spends the NFL Draft surrounded by Cosbys (Quan & Dr. Bill, respectively), and hilarity ensues.

Erin Andrews Bill Cosby Quan Cosby

(Can’t you just feel the excitement?)

Jacoby Ellsbury steals home, Red Sox steal three straight from Yankees.

• It seems that NASCAR won’t be happy until somebody gets killed.

• Beer pong? Budweiser wants in on the upcoming table tennis craze.

Kobe wanted complete creative control over Spike Lee’s day-in-the-life documentary about him.

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This Volley’s for You, Ping Pongers: Bud Wants In

There’s not much worse than hearing nonsense about your favorite fringe sport not getting enough “respect”. You don’t want respect for your sport!  You want to lock the doors and shutter the windows when you start getting “respect” because that’s when the marketers and advertisers start sniffing around your beloved activity and determining the best way to suck the life force out as quickly as possible.

ping pong bikini girls

(Best of three synergistic cross-promotional opportunities, anyone?)

Sorry, ping pong; the last paragraph totally isn’t true.  There’s nothing but good that can come from finding out that Budweiser (via their new owner, InBev) has been sniffing around your sport because “Bud Light is a fun brand” and they’d love to be associated with your tournament and ESPN wouldn’t mind broadcasting the finals because this might be an inroad to China’s consumers they love the game.

Run!  Grab your paddles and run for your lives!

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Free At Last: A-Rod’s Divorce Deal Finally Settled

• Attention, ladies! (And Derek Jeter & Madonna!) The legal wrangling has been put to rest, and A-Rod is now a free man!

Alex Rodriguez waving Cynthia

(“Toodle-oo, Toots!”)

• The NBA fines Michael Beasley $50,000 for his role in the Mario Chalmers -Darrell Arthur marijuana mess. Boy, he must feel like some a dope.

• A large 800-pound animal was seen roaming the streets of New York City, and that’s no bull. (Well, actually it is.)

• We flush out video of George Brett sharing some bowel problem stories with spring trainees.

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Want to Support Your School? Buy More Beer!

We imagine it must be terribly difficult to support college athletics in the state of Hawai’i. The cost of energy in that state requires unique responses, but even those don’t lower the costs enough. Recruiting is a nightmare, oddly enough, with quality athletes only appearing on campus after unfortunate events require them to seek shelter on Hawai’i’s shores.

Budweiser for a quarter

(Do it for the children, won’t you?)

However, we admit we didn’t expect this: the Anheuser-Busch bottler in Hawai’i, a “platinum-level” supporter of UH athletics, has initiated a promotion to donate a quarter from each case of beer sold on the islands to refurbishing and rebuilding UH athletic facilities so they can keep a coach every once in awhile.

Boys and girls, you’re not binge drinking at college; you’re holding a fundraiser! Now raise up that beer bong a little higher.
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UFC One-Ups Elite XC-CBS With Budweiser Deal

Darren Rovell of CNBC has news that rocked the MMA world today. Less than 24 hours after MMA organization Elite XC closed a deal to air fights on CBS, UFC announced a sponsorship agreement with sports advertising behemoth Anheuser-Busch.

Beer And Fighting Go Together

Rovell: “UFC announced a deal with Anheuser Busch as Bud Light will become the new exclusive sponsor for the UFC. The brand will be featured on the Octagon center mat and on the vertical bumpers beginning with UFC 84 in Las Vegas on May 24.

For those of you not in the sports business know, this is a much bigger deal than the Elite XC-CBS partnership. Read more…