Critics of mixed martial arts like to dismiss the sport as a kind of savage alternative to professional wrestling. They listen to blustering loudmouths like UFC’s Dana White and hear a young Vince McMahon, or they see UFC champion and former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar and see…well, Brock Lesnar. The confusing (to outsiders) revolving doors of MMA sanctioning bodies doesn’t help, though that’s actually par for the course in a young and growing sport.
One way to combat those misconceptions is through reaching out to the public and showing that MMA fighters aren’t just ‘roided-up pro wrestlers and that their sport is legitimate. It’s an ongoing process, and one that got a boost when Tito Ortiz recently announced his return to UFC after a lengthy feud with White. Ortiz appeared with fellow UFC fighter Matt Serra on a Philadelphia TV morning show to banter with the host. In a display of journalistic excellence, the host was more concerned with the fighters getting naked than anything else.
(Video after the jump.)
Several sources in Philadelphia are reporting today that a 22-year-old named David Sale was beaten to death outside of Citizen’s Bank Park last night, just as the Phillies were wrapping up a 14-6 victory over the Cardinals. Sale was apparently a member of a bachelor party that got in some sort of altercation inside of McFadden’s, the bar attached to the stadium.
Members of the bachelor party and another group characterized as a “bar tour” (pub crawl?) were kicked out of the bar around 7:00 p.m. for fighting, but everything turned much uglier once it got outside. And now, Philly police are on the cusp of arresting multiple people in connection with the killing, which they say was committed without any weapons other than fists and feet.
Skip Bayless has made his name by throwing out brash declaratory statements that tend to be pretty inflammatory. His lived up to that reputation earlier this week on ESPN’s “First Take” (formerly “Cold Pizza”, before that conceptual nameplate was killed off ritualistically), when he said that Dallas Mavericks fans were engaging in “Philly-style behavior“.
Evidently it has something to do with Mark Cuban insulting Kenyon Martin to K-Mart’s mother — and Cuban’s apologizing a day later — and the ejection of Carmelo Anthony’s fiancee, LaLa Vasquez, with Vasquez refusing to back down from her claim that Dallas fans are racists.
Not surprisingly, that left proud Philadelphians pretty upset, considering that the insinuation was that they were completely rash and uncivilized. So the city struck back today on Philly ESPN radio host Mike Missanelli’s show Tuesday afternoon.
Remember last April when some guy claimed that Marvin Harrison shot him near a Philadelphia garage owned by the NFL receiver? Yeah, it turns out that this guy might not be so reliable.
Dwight Dixon, who claims Harrison shot him in the hand, was convicted today of making false statements to police surrounding the incident and sentenced to six months probation. It’s not clear exactly what statement got Dixon in trouble, but at various times he claimed he was either assaulted by random street toughs or shot by an unidentified man outside the garage. Then, he settled on pointing the finger at Harrison.
If Philadelphia fans were having a bad day dealing with the aftermath of yet another Eagles collapse, it’s probably getting even worse for Delaware County, the suburban Philadelphia site of the city’s new MLS team. According to the DELCO DAILY TIMES, the Delaware County Council finally approved the sale of $28.6 million in bonds — an investment that will cost the county $1.77 million annually in interest — to help fund its half of F.C. Philadelphia’s new stadium. The entire stadium will cost $115 million, but that’s a whole different issue of over-the-top spending. Normally, the approval of the bonds would be good news, but given the fact that we also learned this afternoon that ESPN is pulling out of its weekly Thursday night television deal with the league, that $28.6 million+ investment might be worth a lot less sooner rather than later.
(Ben Franklin loves soccer, but we think he would have admonished this deal.)
So what does that mean for the league? It means that its franchises are being downgraded by ESPN, which can only hurt their relative sale-on value. Add to that the league’s crippling salary cap, anemic attendance figures in all but four or five cities, and a general creeping feeling that its quality is abysmal on the global market, and the MLS is looking more and more like a dead-on-arrival league.
Let’s recap: Suburban Philadelphia residents just spent some $30 million, plus $1.7 million annually, to build a hulking stadium for a club that may hardly have a viable league by the time the stadium is done. Oh, and the park is miles from the city, without public transportation. Talk about a bad idea.
This is kind of a tailgating post, but it’s also a post about a new sport that I think has quite the future. Ground zero for the spread of beer can jousting — do I even have to tell you? — is Philadelphia, more specifically the parking lot outside Lincoln Financial Field.
(Close but not quite.)
The rules of the game are simple. Drink ten beers. Duct tape said cans together. Find equally drunk friend. Hop on his back and ride your valiant steed toward victory (Video of these mighty warriors after the jump).
It’s day two of the Siege of Philadelphia, and though most phone lines to the beleaguered city are down, we are receiving scattered reports of unthinkable horrors being perpetrated. Like one man who decided not to loot a store directly, like most normal people, but to rob a bank and spend it on Phillies gear.
(This man was one of the most law-abiding citizens last night).
From the DAILY NEWS comes the tale of this Rhodes Scholar who allegedly held up a bank, then drove to a Modell’s Sporting Goods store and was arrested leaving the store with armfuls of Phillies merchandise.
The saddest part about this isn’t that the store was on the same street as the bank, or that he dumped the stolen cash in a trash bin after buying what he wanted. The saddest part is that he made his transactions yesterday morning, long before any World Series gear was on sale. Enjoy that NL Championship shirt, dumbass. Maybe you can trade it for a couple of smokes at Eastern State Penitentiary. (Full report from the war zone, after the jump)
The scourge of the Ernie Banks statue’s missing punctuation, like other tragedies, has led to a review of the state of sports statues across America to ensure the shame and pain of misused or abandoned punctuation will never befall our sports heroes again.
As part of that national volunteer effort (no doubt sponsored in part by FEMA), KENN.COM BLOG checked on one of the linchpins of the sports statue scene in America: the Rocky statue. What he found will chill you to your very soul. Small children, those who are expecting, and librarians should turn away at this time.
Another mangled apostrophe has been discovered. In an indictment of the Philadelphia school system, fictional boxers, and HGH-abusing actors everywhere, the Rocky statue tells us that Rocky stands for “the great city of Philadelphia and the brotherhood of it’s people”. “It’s.” Not “its”. The brotherhood of it is people. Oh, the heartbreak.
$115 MIL TO BUILD FOR AMERICA’S 7TH FAVORITE SPORT: The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER passes around the idea of a new $115 million soccer stadium for the City of Brotherly Love:
The Pennsylvania legislature is being asked to kick in $45 million in state funds to help build a home for a potential Major League Soccer team.Investors are looking to place the new digs on riverfront land in the nearby town of Chester. It would be following in the footsteps of other MLS clubs planting new fields in suburban areas. The L.A. Galaxy calls neighboring Carson home, while the Chicago Fire set up shop in suburban Bridgeview
Is such soccer spending a wise investment? Just ask Steve Winter, whose company helps promote D.C. United:
“It still is America’s fifth sport. Or sixth if you throw in NASCAR. Seventh if you throw in lacrosse.”
And it would be just one more sports franchise for Philly fans to get flustered over.