This weekend was a very big weekend for UFC as they held their UFC 100pay-per-view eventin Vegas, and though I’m not sure of the numbers they did, I’m pretty sure it was rather successful. All I know is that a lot of people I know who had never watched any UFC before in their lives were watching it on Saturday night and everybody has been talking about it since.
Still there’s no doubt that the sport is looking for a way to get even bigger and more mainstream. While I’m not sure how Brock Lesnar’s antics after beating Frank Mir will help or hurt the sport, there is one way I know that would be a sure fire way to increase the amount of pay-per-view buys from folks who don’t normally watch MMA. Put Shaq in the Octagon. He wants to be there, and so far, Dana White isn’t ruling it out.
(Note: SbB Senior Writer Tuffy couldn’t find a taker for his kidneys (though they are lovely ones, at that; quite pert), so he pulled up to UFC’s beach blanket beatdown at Mandalay Bay Beach for the simulcast for this report.)
Admittedly, it was a tough sell for some people. One person stopped us on the way in to ask if we, too, had spent $50 mistakenly expecting to walk into the arena of the most-touted event in UFC history and somehow found ourselves on a beach like we were Leo DiCaprio. Others (clearly comped) mocked those around them for dropping a wad of cash on a TV show when they could have “gone to a bar”.
For those people, we could only nod solemnly as we would for those who feel they’ve outsmarted the system by cruising the same three-block stretch for an hour to find a parking spot with a half-filled coin meter. Some people cannot be taught. Like Brock Lesnar, for example. Boy ain’t right. (Which reminds us… has someone checked in on his wife? Has she been flattened into crepe-like proportions?)
The Manny Ramirez Traveling Salvation Show hit a snag last night in New York, thanks to an umpire with a hair trigger. Well, it’s hard to call anything about John Hirschbeck’sfifth-inning ejection of Ramirez “hair trigger,” since it took roughly 15 minutes seconds from when Hirschbeck rung Ramirez up on a called third strike to when he tossed Ramirez from the game for throwing his helmet, bat, elbow guard, cleats, socks and jock strap into the air in disgust.
Manny didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal, since “I was playing only five innings, so I was leaving anyway.” Which came as news to Dodgers manager Joe Torre. Not that it mattered much - with Ramirez going 2 for 4 with three RBI and Clayton Kershaw throwing six shutout innings, the Dodgers cruised to an 8-0 win over the Mets. But it did give Los Angeles residents driven nutty by the Michael Jackson Circus a chance to remember the other, ridiculously overblown media circus in town.
If you are a college football fan who hates the current BCS system, you had reason to celebrate yesterday as Sen. Orrin Hatch ordered up a can of whoop-ass with a side of hash on the football elite during a congressional hearing about the college football playoff system, and the Senate cafeteria was all out of hash. Specifically, he said that “the Justice Department ought to be looking at this” because he believes the system violates antitrust laws.
(Play the BCS off, Keyboard Hatch.)
Which is great, until you realize that Hatch was the only member of the subcommittee on antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights to actually attend any significant portion of the hearing. But there were plenty of junior staffers there, fresh out of college and probably the only people outside of Hatch and Barack Obama who care about college football in Washington D.C.
Also, you have to understand that Hatch is from Utah, where the majority of the state is still steaming about the undefeated Utes being left out of the BCS Title Game last season, so there’s certainly an element of “playing it up for the home constituants” going on here. So you basically had Hatch grilling the President of Nebraska University, who was acting on behalf of the BCS Backers, which is kind of sad when you realize that Nebraska is roughly one zillion percent less likely to play in a BCS Title Game in our lifetimes than Utah.
Meanwhile, you might remember a small link we had yesterday about U.S. National Soccer Team midfielder Michael Bradley being suspended following a red card and subsequent confrontation with a referee at the end of the team’s shocking 2-0 win over Spain in the Confederations Cup. And it turns out that he will be suspended for three games, although it’s perhaps the weakest three-game suspension in sports history.
Ever get mad when a pitcher receives a five-game suspension for his part in a brawl, which only means that his next start gets pushed back one game? This one is even worse. FIFA has suspended Bradley for three games, all right - three games that he was never going to play in. The suspension will be served during the group play stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is convenient for Bradley since he’s not on the roster for the tournament.
Which means that Bradley will be available for the U.S. next game that matters, a World Cup qualifying match at Mexico on August 12. Somewhere in Mexico City, a Mexican senator is preparing a special committee hearing.
DEUCE OF DAVENPORT knows that the only thing better than Erik Estradadrunkenly butchering “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during a Cubs game is him giving an interview in the booth during the game that somehow works in child porn and Ron Jeremy. A master class in awkwardness in two parts: First the singing…
…and then the interview:
Lance Armstrong has moved to within a second of the yellow jersey after his Astana team cleaned up during a team stage during the Tour de France. Which I’m sure no one in America cares about, but it has to be irritating the French more than a canceled Jerry Lewis movie marathon, and that’s always a good thing.
When playing for Russian side CSKA three years ago, Yuri Zhirkov didn’t take the advice of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to learn English. Which is a problem, since Abramovich signed Zhirkov to a a huge deal on Monday, and the winger will have to deal with struggling to communicate with his teammates.
When GM Joe Dumars fired Michael Curry as head coach of the Detroit Pistons, he claimed that the team needed a more experienced hand at the helm. Which makes it curious why he eventually decided to give Cavaliers assistant John Kuesterhis first crack at an NBA head coaching job. Couldn’t have anything to do with both Doug Collins and Avery Johnson bailing from the gig? But Kuester has been a head coach at Boston…University, which is close to the Celtics, right?
Another depressing sign of the economic times: the NBA salary cap will decrease next year for only the second time in 26 years. The cap number next year is $57.7 million, down almost one million dollars from last year. So when Dwayne Wade lashes out at the Miami Heat for failing to land a big free agent again, they have a ready-made excuse.
Reports are circulating that Mike Krzyzewski is going to be coming back to coach Team USA at the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Because as he showed in Beijing, he clearly could handle coaching with limited talent.
In case you were wondering if there was any bad blood between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir ahead of their heavyweight title unification rematch, CAGEWRITER answers with a resounding “yep” after watching the two trade barbs during the “Countdown to UFC 100″ on SPIKE. Also, Lesnar thinks the referee of the first match is an idiot, and really, really hates doors.
Meanwhile, if you were curious, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is still insane. He’s not crashing an SUV with his name and picture on it after a wild car chase this time, but SPORTS RUBBISH says he is dry humping unsuspecting reporters during interviews.
Interesting news about “aspiring rapper” Keith Norfleet, the ex-boyfriend of Sahel Kazemi. Not only was he the person who picked her up after she was popped for a DUI in Steve McNair’s car, but he also emailed a local newspaper the following: “Pretty interesting news about our golden boy McNair…You would be pretty amazed at the fact of who he was actually with, which I really don’t think his wife would like it too much either.”
UFC 100 is coming up, and with it, a mea culpa. I didn’t give MMA its due. I thought it was a fad. But the premier promotion is up to their 100th event with no signs of slowing, and I have to admit that at this point in time, MMA is healthier than boxing.
So, as someone less than immersed in the scene, I have to wonder if MMA fans aren’t disappointed in the main event for what’s being billed as UFC’s “biggest event ever.” Brock Lesnar, he of three career UFC bouts and a background in fake fighting, is your UFC heavyweight champion and main event headliner. Does this piss on everything MMA’s worked so hard to become? Read more…
As multi-sport athletes go, perhaps few have been as prolific - even if just on the fringes - as Brock Lesnar, the Minnesotan Man-Mountain. He got his start as a truly fearsome heavyweight wrestler in college before participating in, at varying times, MMA, the WWE, and even training camp with the Vikings as a defensive tackle.
(We would make jokes aboot the whole “yeah boot Minnesoota” thing, boot we can’t shake the feeling that he’s standing right behind us.)
Clearly, lots of credit needs to be given to his physique; who else can claim such a varied career in sports at such a young age? And to be fair, Lesnar does give plenty of credit to said physique, although we’re beginning to wonder if maybe the credit’s getting a little bit misdirected.
If you don’t know Frank Mir, it’s a good time to get acquainted, because the next time you see him he may be a soggy puddle of humanity slowly spreading across the canvas. That’s because Mir, so far the only MMA fighter to beat Brock Lesnar, is in line for a rematch; and he’s riling up the beast.
(Yes, this is a picture of Lesnar beating the crap out of a man who says he’s not afraid of Lesnar.)
And to clarify, Lesnar has won a fight by submission. According to the official results, he won the submission by repeatedly pounding his opponent in the face until the opponent gave up. I wonder if Mir’s already thinking about claiming he was misquoted…
IRISHWHIPFIGHTING.COM reports that ex-WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar will face former champ Frank Mir at UFC 81, a match that may end up headlining the pre-Big Game event.Lesnar’s first foray into the fighting league resulted in a 69-second squash of Min Soon Kim. Meanwhile, Mir has gone 2-2 since a motorcycle accident in 2004, with both losses coming as first-round knockouts.
This contest could be a blowout, and possibly a harbinger of how things will go the next day between the Patriots & Cowboys in Arizona.