Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WEC 51 Preview

After UFC 119, I am 6 for 11 all-time (.545 winning percentage; good enough to make the NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference). If you’ve never seen WEC, they are a very strong organization and worth checking out. They are akin to watching a future’s game during the All-Star Break in Baseball. This seems to be a very stacked card.

Featherweight Championship: Jose Aldo (c) (17-1) vs. Manny Gamburyan (11-4)

According to www.Sherdog.com, they consider Jose Aldo the number one featherweight in the world. Yeah, not only that, they have him ranked as #3 in the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Right, #3. That’s behind Anderson Silva & Georges St. Pierre. (Excuse me for a moment to soak in all the awe.) That’s ABOVE Frankie Edgar, “Shogun” Rua & Rashad Evans. That means that you have a chance on free tv (Versus) to watch the number three fighter in the world. I think we have to go with Aldo. He hasn’t lost since 2005, with victories over the likes of Cub Swanson, Mike Brown and Urijah Faber (the face of WEC). Manny, I’d love to see you prove me wrong, but I think my gut tells me Aldo.

Winner: Aldo

Lightweight Fight: Jamie Varner (16-3-1) vs. Donald Cerrone (11-3)

This is an interesting fight. This is a highly anticipated rematch. Cerrone seems to be on a bit of a losing phase. Varner also has more to prove. Cerrone looks like an amazing physical specimen. But I see Varner taking this one home.

Winner: Varner

Bantamweight bout: Miguel Torres (37-3) vs. Charlie Valencia (12-5)

So we’ve got the VERY experienced Miguel Torres taking on Charlie Valencia. Don’t let the 37 wins fool you. Valencia has one more fight in the WEC than Torres. Torres is a former WEC Bantamweight champion and is ranked as the #5 Bantamweight. I think the fight is there for Valencia’s taking but I think Torres still has the upper hand. Part of me says this is where Torres begins his climb back up.

Winner: Torres

Featherweight bout: Chan Sung Jung (10-2) vs. George Roop (10-6-1)

The “Korean Zombie” debuted at WEC 48 to a very controversial split decision loss to Leonard Garcia. George Roop defeated John Polakowski with a broken hand to advance to the semifinals of the Ultimate Fighter Season 8 (Mir vs. Nogueira). I will be going for the Zombie because Roop defeated out one of my favorite Ultimate Fighter participants EVER. But my personal feelings aside, I think the Zombie will have something to prove. I don’t see Roop with the steam built up to overcome the zombie. Roop, the Zombie is coming for you.

Winner: Jung

Featherweight bout: Leonard Garcia (14-5-1) vs. Mark Hominick (18-8)

This is not the most inspiring fight I’ve ever seen on paper. Garcia’s last three fights are a decision victory most say he didn’t win, a draw to George Roop and a loss to Manny Gamburyan. I don’t see a lot lately that inspires me. Hominick has won 5 of his last 6. His career shows victories over Jorge Gurgel & Yves Edwards. My heart tells me to go with Hominick.

Winner: Hominick

Upset watch- While any of these are up in the air, I see Charlie Valencia as being probably the best chance.

Future stars to watch:

Zhang Tie Quan-a fighter from Inner Mongolia in China. We don’t get to see MMA fighters  from actual China, much less fighters who are 11-0.

Mike Brown-#3 Featherweight according to Sherdog. It is very likely that he could be getting the next shot at the winner of Aldo/Gamburyan.

Diego Nunes-#10 Featherweight according to Sherdog. An exciting Brazilian fighter, it looks like his star is on the rise.

For more on Beer, Women and Sports check out bigbadsportsdaddy.com

Thursday, September 23, 2010

UFC 119 Preview

Well, after Ultimate Fight Night, my predictions are 1 or 4 (not to mention thinking Palhares was going to rise up and be a star rather than calling for greasing while getting knocked out). So up coming is UFC 119. That show I seek my redemption. There is not the hype or the dream matches we would like to see, but on paper, this looks very interesting. I'm not running out to see this one, but it has some potential to be a great night of fighting.

Heavyweight bout: Frank Mir (13-5) vs. Mirko Filipović (27-7-1)

Frank Mir is one of the great personalities in MMA. Mir has done nothing more than fought for his survival, both in the octagon and off. Originally supposed to be Big Nog (Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira) in this slot, when Nogueira pulled out due to injury, the UFC only likes to replace with as good or better. Their "as good or better" was Mirko "Cro Cop." In case you don't know, Cro Cop is a nickname that came from him being in Croatia's special forces unit. (Speaking of, if this guy ever writes a book I'm camping outside the Barnes & Noble like kids do for Harry Potter books.) But this isn't story-telling. This is MMA, and until somebody proves me wrong, I'm going with Mir.

Projected Winner: Mir

Light Heavyweight bout: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-3) vs.  Ryan Bader (11-0)

It's a good thing my wife is not doing this because she freaks out over Ryan Bader like tween girls freak out over Justin Bieber. Bader had a great season on Ultimate Fighter, after a great collegiate career in wrestling at Arizona State University. Little Nog is nothing to sneeze at with a very good amateur boxing career and a great record in PRIDE. But the last time I saw him at UFC 114, I saw him win a decision that I (and the crowd) did not agree with. While it was cool seeing Little Nog in The Expendables (which, yes, my wife pointed out), Bader is looking insane in the Octagon and has all the tools to defeat Little Nog.

Projected Winner: Bader

Welterweight bout: Matt Serra (11-6) vs. Chris Lytle (29-17-5)

A rematch of the Ultimate Fighter 4 finale, we have the winner Serra taking on the loser Lytle in a rematch. Lytle has an insane number of fights under his belt. Lylte, I see capitalizing on his 3-fight win streak. I'm sure he remembers losing the Ultimate Fighter season and I'm sure he will be hungry for payback.

Projected Winner: Lytle

Lightweight bout: Sean Sherk (33-4) vs.  Evan Dunham (11-0)

So we have Sherk a former champion taking on a rising star in Dunham. While Sherk is on a one-fight losing streak, Dunham is on an 11-fight win streak. And these aren't cupcake names you see here (Marcus Aurelio, Efrain Escudero & Tyson Griffin). This is the hardest one to call. I see it going 100 different times with 100 different outcomes. I actually say that Dunham wins. Sherk hasn't fought in 16 months. Be prepared for a little "octagon rust."

Projected Winner: Dunham

Lightweight bout: Melvin Guillard (24-8-2) vs. Jeremy Stephens (18-5)

As wowed as I am by the Dunham-Sherk fight, I am underwhelmed by this fight. Neither fighter really stands out to me. I'm going to say Melvin Guillard. He comes off hungrier to me. It's what my heart tells me.

Projected Winner: Guillard

Middleweight bout: C.B. Dollaway (10-2) vs. Joe Doerksen (46-12)

You read that correctly. 46 wins in his career. Dollaway is an interesting talent, but Doerksen has walked into the octagon/ring/whatever so many more times than Dolloway. It's true Dolloway looks like Matt Damon with really big gums. But Jason Bourne, he is not, nor do I think he will pull the victory on Doerksen.

Projected Winner: Doerksen

Heavyweight bout: Matt Mitrione (2-0) vs. Joey Beltran (12-3)

Another really weird one to call. Mitrione is so odd and bizarre. But at the end of the day, he's only been in two professional fights, defeating "the" Kimbo Slice and Marcus Jones (who is the nicest guy I live in total fear of). Beltran seems to have more experience, but Mitrione is completely unpredictable and loves to overcome when he's the underdog.

Projected Winner: Mitrione

The biggest potential surprise:
I see Little Nog calling on his many weapons and possibly pulling one on Ryan Bader. I also wouldn't be surprised to see Little Nog win in a decision.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nominated to leave the Human Race

I'm veering away from my usual MMA theme for something that really bothered me.

I get it, People. I really do. College football is a religion. I grew up watching my Aggies. I've changed favorite teams in every major sport at least once (and some I no longer have a favorite team at all) except for college football. I've been with my Aggies since I had that raggedy old jersey I wouldn't dress my dog in now.

But there comes a point when it goes too far. Matt Patrick of 95.3 in Mishawaka, IN (in Northern Indiana very close to South Bend, IN, home of some place called University of Notre Dame) went way too far.

For the video, click here:

This bothers me as a sports fan and a Christian and a human being.

Stuff happens. Being an Aggie fan for all of my life has taught me that there will be plenty of heartbreak when you watch sports (and yes, some of it even came at the hands of Notre Dame). Teams lose. Sometimes they win through questionable means, sometimes they lose through questionable means. This Matt Patrick fellow sounds like a whiny baby whose team lost and couldn't handle it. Have we discovered the yin to Armando Galarraga's yang?

So if you mess with Notre Dame, you are messing with God? Where is that in the Bible? If Notre Dame is so sacred and protected because it's a "Christian" university, then why aren't more Christian universities better? TCU, ok, they're looking pretty good. Would SMU have suffered "the death penalty?" Would Baylor be the redheaded step-child of the Big 12? And don't get me started on where BYU would be. If God was choosing who would be national champions, don't you think the title game would have somebody other than Alabama and Texas? Also, you think God is powerful enough to strike down a head coach after a heart attack, but you don't think He's powerful enough to make Notre Dame win?

There's some people I don't like in this world: Erik Kuselias, Gary Oldman, Chris Brown, Kate Gosselin, Bill Maher, Sean Waltman, Glenn Beck, Brett Favre, Kanye West, LeBron James & PETA. I have my own personal reasons, they are my opinions and they are what they are. I may laugh when Brett Favre throws 3 interceptions. I got a kick out of it when Taylor Swift did a pretty mean Kate Gosselin. And I loved the episode of "Penn & Teller's Bull$%&@" where they pointed out that PETA practices euthanasia themselves in certain circumstances.  But wishing harm on another person? That's wrong. Nobody should ever have an audience again after saying something so ugly and despicable.

I don't do this often, but I think it is time to nominate somebody to leave the human race. And thank you, Matt Patrick for being today's nominee.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The UFC’s Hall of Shame

Do you remember what I said about Palhares before last night? Here, let me remind you:

“Every once in a while, a fight comes along where something just smells like it will be a star-making career night. I think this is one of those. But sorry, Nate, I see you being on the receiving end of this star-making night.  Palhares is 4-1 since starting with UFC, with wins over Jeremy Horn & Tomasz Drwal. I think the guy is on a roll and I think Nate is going to be the guy he rolls on.”

Yeah, that was smart. And by smart, I mean a humiliating mistake. So here is the fight as I remember it. Rousimar Palhares put Nate “The Great” Marquardt in his patented leg lock (which he has won 5 out of his 11 fights with). Marquardt slipped out of the leg lock. Palhares tells him to stop and tells the referee that Marquardt is greasing his leg. As Palhares is telling the referee this, Marquardt walks over, cold-cocks him and Palhares is out for the count.

Why this makes the UFC Hall of Shame:

1. Palhares, fighters do something called study their opponents. If I see that my opponent does a leg hook that is money, in my training I’m going to find every way I can to get out of that leg-lock. You remember when Tony Romo emerged and wreaked havoc on the NFL? It was because he was an unknown commodity. Nobody knew how to plan their game plans for him. Then something happened. More teams began to formulate their game plans for Tony Romo and, lo and behold, Romo could be handled. Palhares, you found somebody who was prepared for you.

2. Stuff happens. Fighters cheat. Groin kicks happen inadvertently. Eyes get gouged. Backs of the head get punched. Knees to fallen opponents get struck. If you believe this is happening, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. In the middle of the fight is not okay. If you were a more-rounded fighter, you would tell yourself, “I’m not going to be able to defeat him by submission. I’m going to knock him out by striking.” You want an example of it done right, rent UFC 52. There, Matt Hughes takes an inadvertent groin shot from Frank Trigg. The referee misses Hughes telling him about the shot. Hughes comes back to defeat Trigg in a first round submission. Between Hughes & Palhares, guess which one I admire this afternoon.

3. What made this worse was that the Fight Commission had checked him, as had the referee. There was no evidence of any grease “before or immediately after the match.” (http://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Marquardt-Stops-Protesting-Palhares-26902) So Palhares stands there with egg on his face and a claim that has no validity.

So congratulations, Rousimar Palhares. Welcome to UFC’s Hall of Shame.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

UFC Fight Night 22 Preview

Upcoming on September 15 will be UFC Fight Night 22. This will be the precursor to the new season of the Ultimate Fighter. (From somebody who lives and breathes by their DVR, this never goes the 2 hours. It always goes over. Record whatever comes after Ultimate Fighter if you want to see the episode.) Let’s break this night down fight by fight.

Middleweight bout: Nate Marquardt (29-9-2) vs. Rousimar Palhares (11-2)
Every once in a while, a fight comes along where something just smells like it will be a star-making career night. I think this is one of those. But sorry, Nate, I see you being on the receiving end of this star-making night.  Palhares is 4-1 since starting with UFC, with wins over Jeremy Horn & Tomasz Drwal. I think the guy is on a roll and I think Nate is going to be the guy he rolls on.

Predicted winner: Palhares

Lightweight bout: Efrain Escudero (13-1) vs Charles Oliveira (13-0)
I am a proud member of Team Escudero, so my ability to be impartial is a little tiny. This is only Oliveira’s second fight in the UFC (though in his first fight he won submission of the night). I had the privilege of watching Escudero on Ultimate Fighter Season 8 and seeing him live at UFC 103. I think the rocket is strapped to Effy’s back, and he will take off.

Projected winner: Escudero

Lightweight bout: Jim Miller (17-2) vs. Gleison Tibau (21-6)
I want to like Gleison Tibau. I think there is something to be said for his experience (UFN 22 will be his 12th fight in UFC). But I look at Jim Miller. There are not a lot of notable wins, but the only two losses he’s had are against Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. Might this be the night he advances into a new plateau? Tibau would take him up a notch. I think Jim Miller does it.

Winner: Jim Miller

Lightweight bout: Ross Pearson (11-3) vs. Cole Miller (16-4)
Ross Pearson in English. Ross Pearson won a season of Ultimate Fighter where half his opponents were English. English fighters are tough. If Ross Pearson won a season of Ultimate Fighter where half the opponents were English, that makes him really tough. It looks like Cole Miller has a pretty rich history in UFC. I just think Pearson can defeat you on a lot of different levels. If he can keep out of Cole Miller’s submission holds, I see Pearson walking away with this one via decision.

Winner: Pearson

There are several fighters of note on the prelims:

Rich Attonito-guy looked incredible on Ultimate Fighter 11 and, more specifically during the finale. Guy is a monster and I see him being around this sport for a long time.

Brian Foster-Here you have a guy who got into MMA to channel the anger from his brother’s death. If this isn’t a guy you want to root for, check yourself for a pulse.

The biggest potential surprise:
Cole Miller. If he locks in a hold, he could pull it off.

Monday, September 6, 2010

UFC and Christianity: Friends or Foes?

“How should we as Baptists regard the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)? Simply put, we should hate it.”

And thus begins an article by Adam Groza, the ”vice-president of enrollment and student services at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.” (Nice picture by the way. Did they forget to say, “Cheese?”)

(for full article, see http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=33627)

To give a little background on myself, this November, I will have been a Christian for 17 years. I could go on a Paul-like rant, but I will give you the condensed version: Bible Drill for 3 years, memorized 75 verses before 7th grade, could name the books of the Bible backwards and forwards, spent 2 & a half years with Life Action Ministries as a children’s worker and Lighting Technician. I could go on about the number of verses I have memorized in my life, but that’s between me and God. Just take heart that I know what I’m talking about and where I come from.

“Psalm 11:5 says, “The LORD examines the righteous and the wicked. He hates the lover of violence.” This is a hard verse for at least two reasons. First, it does not say that God simply hates violence, but rather, that God hates those who love violence. Second, it confronts our culture’s lust for violence, a lust which many Christians indulge rather than reject.”

Ok, first of all, I have a very big problem with the phrase “God hates.” I don’t know about your god, but mine with the big “G” does not hate. Even if you were right, God would be saying “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” I LOVE the UFC, and I’m pretty sure that God does not hate me. If you want a hating "god," go hang out with Fred Phelps. I hear he’s got some things to say.

Second of all, I guess you don’t watch boxing, football, basketball, baseball or hockey. Even in tennis, NASCAR and golf, athletes can lose their tempers and turn to violence. So according to your logic, if you have ever been to one of those sports, you have been just as guilty of somebody attending an MMA event.

“What exactly are people paying to see? MMA and UFC offer a simple formula. Two people are put in an enclosed or confined space, usually an octagon cage, and fight until one of them is deemed (by the referee) too injured to continue or “taps out”, meaning he just can’t take any more beating. Fighters wear minimally padded gloves which lead to more blood, and those bloody images are then used to market the sport.”

To say that UFC/MMA operates by a simple formula is like saying that basketball is a free-throw contest, or pitchers in baseball only throw fastballs or golfers only use one kind of club. It shows this fool with a plank in his eye knows nothing of the sport and is forgetting about the plank in his eye while trying to get out our speck.

“Those who pay to see the fights also pay to see “octagon girls,” scantily clad eye-candy between bouts…”

Ok, let’s talk about “The Octagon Girls.” Arianny Celeste is an insanely beautiful woman, as are Rachelle Leah and Chandella Powell. I believe Logan Stanton and Arianny were the Octagon girls for UFC 103 in Dallas and those cameras do not do those women justice. Apparently, this minister has never seen or been to a live event. The women do nothing in between bouts except drink water bottles, sit with towels on their laps and wave at the camera when the cameramen walk by. Their sole purpose is to walk around a big card to remind us what round it is. Would my mother (the school teacher) send them down to the office to get more clothes? Yes. Do they do anything provocative? Not really. There are worse jobs for women in sports. Yes, Arianny Celeste is planning on doing Playboy this year (whereupon all men are wiping their brows in pre-faint poses). Do I approve of everything Playboy does? Would I want my daughter doing that? Of course not. There’s worse jobs out there in sports.

This pastor makes it sound like these women do full body stripping in between fights. This is anything but the case. The women are well-respected and well-treated.

“They are a sinful amalgam of blood lust and female objectification that reflects our cultures growing desensitization to the inherent value of human life.”

Do you want to know where the “growing desensitization to the inherent value of human life” started? Look in the mirror. Look in the collective mirror of the body of Christ. Look at what we’ve done through the years. The Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, genoicide in the Americas, the “Christianization” of other cultures we called “being a missionary.” What about the present? I bet if you spent as much time praying for the attendees off MMA events as you did criticizing them, the world might be a different place.

“The Bible does not condemn all acts of violence. The Father sacrificing the Son is redemptive, like sacrificing oneself in defense of some innocent person or one’s country. In contrast, caged fighting is violence for the sake of violence and profit and as a vehicle for lust. In Genesis 6:13, God announces His plan to destroy all flesh “because the earth is filled with violence.” Some things, such as the love of violence, Christians simply cannot redeem.”

Watching UFC does not make me LOVE violence. I love sport. I love the concept of two guys fighting in the octagon where there must be a winner. If you want to talk about violence, why don’t we talk about the genoicide? How about the homosexual rape? How about the daughters getting their dad drunk enough that he can impregnate them? You want to embrace the Bible? Guess what? We get to embrace that too. Ecclesiates 3:8 says, “A time of war and a time of peace.”

“No doubt Christian MMA and UFC fans would argue that their sport leads to evangelistic opportunities. This same argument is made by those who drink alcohol at bars: You get the chance to witness.”

Really? This is lame. Who uses that excuse? I go to the bar so I can witness? Sweet, why don’t I go to the strip club so I can witness? And you get even more witnessing time if you do a lap dance. Let me go ask my wife how she feels about that…

As I put iodine on my black eye, the writer continues, “In section XVI of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) it says that Baptists must seek peace. Paying for entertainment violence is the opposite of seeking peace and violates the Scriptures reflected in the BF&M.”

After most, if not every fight, the fighters touch gloves and hug. Do I want my kid taking in those values? Absolutely. There’s a sponsor called “Jesus Didn’t Tap.”


Check out their site. That’s a person who understands MMA and its founding principles. I’ve been to my share of churches. I also have been to a UFC show. Between the people I’ve met at churches and MMA fights, I think I’d be more comfortable having an MMA person watch my daughter than a church person. When was the last time you heard about an MMA fighter molesting a kid? People are going to read this and say, “This guy is a Christian?” Yes, I am. But I learned a LONG time ago that I was not perfect. In the light of all eternity, whether somebody goes to an MMA event is a lot less important than where their heart is and their relationship with Jesus.

“Baptists oppose alcohol because it leads to drunkenness and because of its degenerative impact on culture: being linked to abuse and other societal ills. UFC and MMA market violent video games and UFC branded clothing to youth. Another sign of the barbaric effect on culture is that women are now fighting in UFC and MMA styled matches.”

This one really bothers me. Baptists oppose alcohol? Really? Before you speak about what I oppose, can you maybe consult me? I have a problem with alcohol that leads to drunkenness. I also have a problem with drinking that leads to you being “mastered” by it. There is nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation. I’ve known people light years ahead of me spiritually that drink more than I do. Me personally, I choose not to drink. I believe that based on how I have become addicted to other things in the past, I would easily be addicted to alcohol. But if my wife drinks a margarita or my sisters-in-law have an apple martini when they go out, as long as it’s not to excess and as long as they don’t drive home, there is no Biblical sin.

You have a problem with women fighting MMA? You must not like the WNBA either or anything else that gives women equal footing.

“Though I speak with the tongue of men and of angels I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.”

1 Corinthians 13:1

Throughout this pastor’s article, all I ever heard was judgment and hate. Let’s not forget why God put us on this earth.