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18 September 2010

TUF 12: All Pants Are Off!

Put up a TUF 12 review, with fight by fight recaps and hyperlinks and whatnot, but then I woke up and I was sicker than ever. Fever and stuff.
So a few quick notes, then off to bed:
  • Alaskan fishermen, like farmers, blacksmiths, &tc., are not to be fucked with in feats of strength, endurance and will. I don't know much about this McKenzie fellow, but I know that people who do what they do build up a muscle that is dense and deceptively strong. Ex. Matt Hughes.
  • Dana White's opening speech to the guys had so many bleeps in it that it was meaningless and incomprehensible. Dana: either practice saying something, scripted if need be, that doesn't need to be censored, or find a way to broadcast with all the profanity (subscription uncensored material?)
  • Being the latest in a family of martial artists is a better background for mma and TUF than professional skateboarding. Mad props to skateboarders, way scarier to me than fighting, but these are different skill sets
  • On a series of shots in a montage to close the episode there appeared to be a confrontation between 2 of the still mostly anonymous meat-heads that results in an uppercut landing square on the jaw of the shorter, we'll call, gentleman. It looked like it hurt bad.
That's all I got. Next week I'll do something sooner and  deeper. I'll reference "Paradise Lost" in way that makes crickets cry.

15 September 2010

Welcome to UFN 22 Live Blog sans pants.

Fights on TV. Gotta love 'em. I'm a big time mma fan and I'm betting that I know more than most people, and have got enough to say about it that some of you are going to listen. And sometimes, I'm going to make stuff up: Nate Marquart once fought a Yakuza boss to a draw when Nate refused to pay tribute after winning the Middleweight King of Pancrase. BAM!

Live blogging'll start at about 5 or ten to the hour. I hope something crazy happens, that'll be fodder for the news, then this'll get picked up by CNN, and I'll be an instant MMA expert. Yeah. Expert.

Five minutes to showtime.
Rua v Machida 2 is on Spike. That was a short fight. Bigger before than during. Good Though. It looked to me like Rua was confident going in. He was moving forward and pressing. Machida got a pair of sumo take downs, but Rua reversed an won a big fight. Loved it.

Showtime! Live in Texas! RIP Mr. Rice?
So far Foster, Waldburger, Attonito, Branch, Kingsbury and Edwards all won on the undercard.
Still a lot of empty seats, but we'll see how that goes.
Goldie is at a Medium on the fake'n bake scale. I think Rogan is really excited about the bjj guys on the card

Ross Pearson and Cole Miller are up first.
There's a lot of buzz about Pearson these days. I've heard a lot about his boxing fundamentals. I got Miller in this one, but he's going to have to create scrambles to get it done, or pull out some take downs against the stout Pearson.
You can't beat Bruce Buffer. He fists bumps Miller in the middle on the intro.
Pearson has Deam Amasinger, Tuf 9 Alumni in his corner.
R1: Pearson take centre, throws a leg kick. Some staring. They engage, trade shots. Pearson closes the distance really quickly, lands 2, but then Miller gets a leg. Miller keeps a clinch against the cage.
They separate and Miller pulls guard. He lets go. Great fight. Pearson is doing great landing from a distance. Weird b/c Miller has a big reach advantage. Pace is slowing coming down to the last minute. Miller is covering up better when Pearson comes inside. Pearson almost clinches, then remembers he's the striker here.They engage and trade to end the round. 10-10. Good fight Brewing.
R2: Meet in the middle. Trade. Goldie and Rogan are selling Pearson, sounds like it's coming from upstairs. Cole jumps in. Can't take him down in the scramble. Pearson isn't committing power. He's connecting more. Miller starts landing. Lands more. Lands scissor kick. Lands punches. Pearson down! Miller follows and goes for neck. Goes really fast and hard for the neck. Takes it, Pearson taps, it's over.
Miller came out harder and pressed as soon as he started landing a little. He put power into everything and landed a few really hard shots. When Pearson dropped to his knees Miller lasered in on the neck, didn't even think of going for a strike. Secured Pearson's left arm with his leg got the throat and it was done.
Talking to Rogan after he comes out hard against control wrestlers and control bjj guys. He says fight to finish not for points or the clock, "this ain't football," he says.
Next is Jim Miller v Gleison Tibeau. I got Miller in this. I take technique over size and strength. They always front load these broadcasts with commercials. It's been on for almost forty minutes and there has only been one fight.
R1: Miller takes center, starts pushing. They exchange. Tibeau initiating with combinations. Miller lands a leg kick, went for another and Tibeau took him down.Tibeau stands out of a stalemated guard, he dives in and Jim uses it to get up. Miller lands a good jab, Tibeau staggered. Collar and elbow tie up along the fence. Tibeau takes him down, Miller gets back up. Again clinched on the cage. Tibeau almost catches another kick. Miller shoots, and gets nothing but another clinch on the fence. They break off the fence and circle, a few strikes here and there. Mostly feints. Miller rushes, and again almost catches a kick. Miller is landing. Last 15 seconds, not much lands.
10-10, or 10-9 Tibeau on take downs. But he didn't do anything with them and Miller landed more strikes. 10-10.
R2: They circle. Miller lands a big left, and drops to a knee. Miller follows up going for the neck, like Cole did last fight. Tibeau is out of the woods, but looks drained from it. They clinch for a long time against the fence. Miller want to land that left again. Tibeau gets the double. Miller goes for a move and gets up in the scramble. Miller is moving forward, Tibeau isn't. Same goes, a few small exchanges. Tibeau gets the double. He's got Miller against the cage. He stands, then gets back into Miller's butterfly guard. The round ends like that.
Another 10-10. Miller did damage, and went for the finish, Tibeau got 2 solid take downs and held control.
R3: More circling. more exchanges. Tibeau lands. Tibeau pushes him against the fence in a clinch. Miller lands as they separate. Miller is pressing more. Miller lands a couple as his corner screams about Tibeau's shot. It comes and Miller stuffs it. Miller pushes him against the fence. Miller shoots. Has a single, doesn't look really deep. Crowd boos the stalemate. The separate and Tibeau shoots. Again Miller stuffs. One minute left. Ref separates them. Tibeau shoots. Miller pushes forward. 15 seconds. Miller goes for a knee. Tibeau
I give Miller the 10-9 round. He won the striking exchanges and stuffed the take downs every time.
Which means I give Miller the 30-29, razor thin decision. Has nothing to do with me picking him to win.
Judges are taking their time. Here they are. (30-27;30-27;29-28) for Jim Miller.
Now we are joined via satellite by Frank Mir. Frank Mir is on the company line, really technical analysis of Cro Cop. He says he's two or three wins from a title shot. I like Mir a lot, but I hate his hair.
Aww fuck. Now we get Goldie and Cro Cop. Cro Cop "feel good. Not young, but condition is good." Seems like a really nice guy. Almost treating it like a phone call.
Efrain "Hecho en Mexico" Escudero v. Charles Oliveira (or Charles "Aloe Vera" as goldie says) Escudero came in 4 pounds over and gives up $$ to Oliveira before we even get started.
R1:  Charles a lot taller and longer. He comes out throwing big kicks. Escudero takes him into a clinch on the cage. They stalemate and ref breaks them up. Oliveira presses, lands a hard leg kick. Oliveira looks legit. He shoots, Escudero defends well and reverses the clinch against the cage. Oliveira is the aggressor though as they come off the cage. Escudero is throwing in the exchanges, looks close with power. Oliveira almost crane kicked himself into Escudero's right hand. They are circling around the centre without engaging. They exchange, with nothing landing. Oliveira mixes munches with knees and kicks. Oliveira shoots again, but resorts to pulling guard. Efrain in close chest to chest in half guard. Oliveira gets full guard with 10 seconds left, but Escudero lands 2 elbows.
I give it to Oliveira, 10-9. But it was close. I could see someone going the other way.
R2: Oliveira takes cetre. He throws first. They are slower, but still on springs. Escudero lands a counter when Oliveira shot, but doesn't seem to have hurt. Oliveira gets the single and the trip. Escuderoa gets the back, then gets up in the scramble. Oliveira punches to the gut. Muay Thai clinch. Oliveira lands a jumping double knee. Escudero reverses and clinches against the cage. Escudero is on his heels responding. Oliveira with the teep. Olievira is landing lots of kicks to the legs and body. They scramble a little in the last minute. Escudero closes the distance and Oliveira goes for a throw but misses it, then they both stand right up.
I give it to Oliveira again, 10-9 on strikes and pushing the pace.
R3: Oliveira lands a punch to the balls, short break.
Oliveira is still in charge. He can't get in close enough to finish, but he is in charge. Escudero clinches against the cage again. Oh. Big knee to Oliveira's balls. He is down hard. Sitting in the corner against the cage with his hand down his pants. They restart after some prodding from the ref that Rogan doesn't like. Oliverira presses they bounce off the cage into Oliveira's guard. Escudero stands and Oliveira goes for the standing Rear Naked Choke. Gets it. Had the right arm trapped with his legs, like a crazy spider hunched on his back. Big time finish of a fight he was dominating. Fuck yeah.
Escudero shakes his head as Buffer starts the official decision, he looks almost indignant.
There's like three guys in Palhares' dressing room with jeans on, an no shirts. Like they knew that they would be on tv so they decided to go full Macho.
Nate "The Great" Marquart v.Rousimar "Toquinho (Treestump)" Palhares is next, in the Main Event!
Herb Dean in charge. Don't want to take any chances with the 'risky' Palhares I guess.
R1 They meet in the middle. Palhares tries to catch a leg kick, then goes in with power punches. USA chants as they stare and feint more than throw. Palhares is pressing. Less than 2 minutes in there's little action and the boos start. Nate launches a combo, grsazing. Palhares come in with punches then chnages levels and shoots. He gets the take down. and they scramble, Nate goes for inverted triangle, and they scramble. Palhares gets to north south, then he goes for a leg. Marquart pulls right out, and Palhares points to Marquart's foot and leg and waves his hand at the ref. Nate dives in with a right and connects. He goes in and follows up with punches. The ref stops it and calls a TKO for Nate. Palhares is pissed, he thinks Marquart's legs are greased. Rogan sees it and sounds excited.
They're in for the Official Decision. Stop at 3:20 of R1 by TKO for Nate Marquart.
That's the first thing Rogan asks about, they say the ref checked, the doctor and the comission people all checked and he's clean. He wins fair and weird. Palhares should have waited until the end of the round and then said something. You got to pay attention in there.

Wow. Good card with a lot of good finishes. I liked it a lot.
Leave your comments below. It's my first go and I want to be able to do it better.
And keep a look out for my TUF 12 review tomorrow.

UFN 22 Picks and Notes

UFN looks to me like a strong show on free tv, a show for the hardcore fans and bjj aficianados. Palhares and Oliveira are top shelf Jui Jitsu players and I'm looking forward to both their fights.

Pickin' winners is hard in mma but I'm going to give it a shot, and I'll follow up the card with a review based on these picks. Maybe I can learn from the many nasty posts sure to follow.

Post your picks, or attack mine. I'm a little over 50% since I started keeping track and that's not bad, as far as I'm concerned. Anyways, you know better you say so, and you tell me why.

Main card

* Middleweight bout: Nate Marquardt vs. Rousimar Palhares
I have Palhares winning via submission due to heel-hook in R2. I'm a big fan of Marquart and Palhares but in this case I think Rousimar will be able to pull off the sub. His only UFC loss was to Dan Henderson in a fight I scored a draw. I don't think Marquart has the wrestling to keep this where he needs it to be to win.
Side note: Marquart has the best finishing combination in UFC history; UFC 95 against Wilson Gouveia, Flying right knee-strait right-left body kick-left head kick-right head kick-left spinning back elbow-right hook-left knee.
* Lightweight bout: Efrain Escudero vs. Charles Oliveira
Both guys are young and hungry. I like strong, technical bjj, and I'm taking Charles Oliveira
* Lightweight bout: Jim Miller vs. Gleison Tibau
This one's easy. I was sitting next to a guy at UFC 118 who said he trained with Jim Miller, and he said that Jim was looking really good. Yeah, I take Jim 'cause sometimes that's the best 'ya got. Probably a gullitine, catching Tibeau coming in on a double. Round 2?
* Lightweight bout: Ross Pearson vs. Cole Miller
These are my picks, dammit. Miller, submission, uh, omaplata. Yeah. Round 3.

Preliminary card
*Lightweight Bout: Yves Edwards vs. John Gunderson
* Light Heavyweight bout: Jared Hamman vs. Kyle Kingsbury
* Middleweight bout: Tomasz Drwal vs. Dave Branch
* Middleweight bout: Rich Attonito vs. Rafael Natal
* Welterweight bout: Anthony Waldburger vs. David Mitchell
* Welterweight bout: Brian Foster vs. Forrest Petz

Being Sick is a Reminder

All of us are dying every second that we are alive. Which is simply to aknowledge that everyone dies sometime.
When you're sick though, either bad sick, like the big C, or not bad sick, like cold and flu, you are reminded of that. Humbug and boo hiss.

14 September 2010

Wrestling & MMA Redux

The battle between wrestlers in MMA and some fans is more elemental than I thought, and I learned something about myself with that sudden realization.
Olympic Style Wrestling is what happens when you have successive generations of refinement and scientific examination of the methods and their efficacy in controlling another person's body with nothing but your own. Moves are tried countless times in the gym and competition, with useful ones kept and fancy or low-percentage maneuvers dismissed. The goal in wrestling is to put the opponent on his or her back. There are no points for flash or style or damage, just points of control.
Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitstu, and most importantly MMA, however, has the singular goal of making you opponent quit or causing so much damage that he or she can no longer defend themselves. There are points for control, yes, but the point is not control. The most successful and the most entertaining combatants are creative, innovative and aggressive in their practise; the ones who treat it like the art it is.
I discovered that it is not that I am against wrestling, it is that I see this form of combat as art, not science. I am not anti-science either, but I know my skills lie in art and it's creation and consumption. I enjoy creativity in the cage a lot more than success.
Wrestlers that convert to MMA have been training for most of their lives to get a person on his or her back, but I need more than that. I need them to advance position and land strikes or secure submissions.Wrestling is an essential part of the sport that I love, but it should never be the end of a participants skill. It is a place to start from, or a skill to augment others, but as long as high-level wrestlers think that control is enough, wrestling will carry with it the ire of fans. Myself sometimes included.

12 September 2010

Moonsault off the Fat Guy Indeed

I cut my teeth on Pro Wrestling. Wrasslin' actually, of the Stampede variety. I liked the Luchadors the most, them and the hicks who just went for it. Smaller guys loaded up on fame and balls the size of grapefruits (pre-steroid, presumably) putting on a stage show with all the pomp and circumstance barns, bars and high school gyms can muster.
This is the place where Carnival and Competition and Scripted Drama meet and bite and claw and hit each other over the heads with folding chairs, and then they bleed and die and are covered in saw dust so the next show can roll in with a fresh crop of Sports Entertainers.
These days there is a fog covering the glow of the industry. The fallen stars are piling large in the recent past. Mixed Martial Arts is feeding the vicarious lust for violence and TV formats are changing to deal with new media and the Internet. It won't ever go away, but it's now a relic and diminishing. It's doing a moonsault off a fat guy, and look, he's with child.

11 September 2010

Are MMA Fighters too good?

Back when MMA was NHB (No Holds Barred) and The Heavyweight Champion of the World was the Ultimate Fighting Championships Champion, or even the Superfight Champion, it had something that it doesn't have anymore: Real People. Maybe not real, and certainly not people living in reality, but everyday people. Fat guys, skinny guys, bodybuilders, power lifters, truckers, arm wrestlers, ninjas, sumo wrestlers, mullets, mysterious martial artists whom often turned out to be more art than martial, and the guy who played Random Task from Austin Powers. There was the sense, if not the actuality, that anyone could show up early to the arena and make it on the card.
There wasn't a lot of skill to be had, and often one or two guys on the card took up most of what was there, but there was a perverse sort of parity, or safety in their innocence in the ways of face punching. They would land obscene blows, but without the training they lacked power; without skill their intent and heart didn't do the damage that it could have.
That is not to say people didn't get hurt, in fact there were some pretty cavalier actions regarding the health and safety of the fighters, but think what would happen if Jon Jones of today entered UFC 1? (If Jon Jones of 1993 entered UFC 1 he'd have been 6 years old and somewhat less competitive)
What we have now are some of the finest athletes in the world, with state of the art fitness and nutrition and years of combat sports experience. We have Anderson Silva dodging a former world champion's punches like he is moving through air and his foe is moving through water, and we have Jon Jones breaking orbital bones with single, precise elbows and we have Demian Maia and Fedor and GSP and everyone else doing what they do at the peak of human achievement. What we have is the best, but is it better? Are the gains in athleticism worth the losses in identifiability and raw human exhibition? Is human chess better than Human Cock-fighting?

10 September 2010

Seems to be cool to talk about Wrestling and MMA

It would be absurd to argue that there is no place for wrestling in MMA. It is one of the core skills that all participants need to train. Whether it's Dan Hardy saying that lay-and-pray tactics(where a superior wrestler takes an opponent down and maintains control and prays that he/she gets the victory) or Nate Marquart saying that people just need to train harder in wrestling, no one is having the debate that needs to be had: should athletes be required to seek the finish, that is press with strikes or aggressive grappling on the feet, and/or improved position, submission attempts or significant strikes while on the ground? Should aggressiveness be mandated and enforced by refs and judges?

First we have to look at the rules as they exist. Click here for the copy of the New Jersey State Control Board  Mixed Martial Arts Unified Rules of Conduct that I am using.
Rule 13:46-24A.13 deals with judging criteria, and tries to objectively direct judges as much as possible. It clearly dictates that grappling must be scored based of effectiveness and aggressiveness, not one or the other but both. Take downs, reversals, positional improvements are all weighed.
Getting a take down and sitting in guard is not effective nor aggressive grappling. Holding someone in the clinch in a stalemate against the cage is neither aggressive nor effective. It's not that fans don't want to see grappling, it's that fans don't want to see athletes rewarded for stalemating in positions and acting passively.
Nik Lentz v. Andre Winner could have been a draw because Lentz's grappling was not effective, nor was he aggressive. The reason he was awarded the decision was positional control and his edge there was so slight that I do not feel it met the requirements of the current rules.
The same argument extends to fights like Anderson Silva v. Demian Maia; the last three rounds Anderson was comically passive, flagrantly so. Were I refereeing I would have given more stern and more often warnings and should his conduct continue I would have deducted points. Maia was coming forward slowly, Silva was moving backward constantly.  You can just be a better fighter, you have to fight a better fight.

So, as far as organizations go, cash bonus's and main card fights are the best means they can use to keep potentially boring fights off the screen. If you have a fighter who wins every fight you give him, but looks awful doing it, then you bury him and whoever is unlucky enough to take that fight. "Too bad John Fitch, but we won't put you on TV until you at least make it look like finishing is on the menu." 
As far as judges go, recognize stalemates as draws instead of 'positional control', and feel free to give out 10-10, 10-8 and 10-7 rounds. Don't be afraid of a draw if that's what you're seeing.
And as far as fighters go, from bell to bell both fighters are constantly obligated to pursue the end of the fight. This is not new, these are the rules as they exist.

09 September 2010

Starbucks Coffee and the Decline of Good Taste

I bought a new coffee cup yesterday. There are things I like about it and things I don't. The bottom unscrews and there are six slots for the Starbucks type single serving instant coffee powders. I also bought six of those. The way I figured it is my work doesn't have either a coffee maker or a decent cup of coffee within walking distance, so if all I needed was some hot water, then that would be good, and with the powder being measured for the line drawn on the inside of my cup I could consistently have a decent cup of coffee wherever there was water and heat in the same place.
And then this morning I tried one. Don't get me wrong, it tasted like a starbucks coffee, more or less. While I was drinking it, I was satisfied, even pleased at the ease of the process for the result. That is why this is so insidious. It's not that the product met or exceeded the norm in quality of coffee, it is that they somehow lowered my notoriously high standards to the point where an imitation, at best half the depth and richness of a truly good cup of coffee, brought a smile to my face. Humbug! They got me!
The worst part is I have a good quality coffee maker and good quality coffee beans, and I could make a good pot of coffee. But then I'd have to clean it and blah and...

If we continue to accept less in terms of quality and more in terms of quantity and convenience we will have simultaneously lowered our quality of life and raised our destructive environmental footprint. When a person makes something, assembles something, designs something or fabricates something of quality they gain something intangible, a sense of personal worth and dignity that warms and enriches the soul like a full-bodied, well-roasted and supremely brewed cup of coffee.

08 September 2010

You know what grinds my goat? Yard signs

Meta Level: When I see words I read them, it is an instinctual reaction to a present stimulus. I get upset when some one carelessly tosses words into my view, let alone screaming for my attention on front yards and windows and bumpers everywhere. If you are going to do that you better do it in a place that is allowed and for a reason or with an artful hand, to reward my eye with a message worth taking in, cogitating on, and finally judging . A political yard sign or bumper sticker gives me nothing to cogitate but their name, party affiliation and colour palate. They are a waste of time, money and resources; a toxic form of garbage and litter that serves no purpose nor holds any value past its election date.  They, in fact, serve only one purpose, as far as I can fathom: they give people a way of feeling like they are participating in the electoral process, like rooting for a team at a local sporting event. Rah! Rah! Rah? What the heck?
Signs don't vote, they don't change anyone's mind and they don't make a lick of difference, except as a way of seeing who's campaign can pee the furthest. You put a person under that yard sign, walking in a place that people walk, or talking to people wherever there are people who can vote, and you have something with power. You size that sign up to wall size, billboard size, house sized if you got a place to put it, and you have something with power.
Someone gives me a campaign to run not one person gets one sign until they or someone they know has put in a shift on the phones, on the computers or on the pavement, where every election can, was and ever will be won.
Do you get a yard sign every election? Then I am talking to you! Get involved if you really support a candidate. Go to their meetings and make the  calls they ask you to make. It's not that hard, it's much more rewarding, and it will genuinely improve the quality and quantity of support for the candidate you believe in. It actually wins elections.

Why The Lack of Pants?

Some fellow said something about liberty and death and wanting some or all of both. I don't know about that, but the liberty to go pantsless has always appealed to me. Don't worry my junk and I observe all neccesary laws and customs inre: decency and such, but when and where it is appropriate you will find me indulging in options that are not pants.

And then there's David Letterman. His production company is World Wide Pants, or some such absurdity. If he is pants then I am not pants. I like Letterman though. Just throwing his absurdity back into the zeitgeist.

Hereafter you find rants and raves, ground goats, stinging rhetoric, the most astute mma insight to be found and sometimes a lovely poem. Oh, and I have a mad thing for America's Funniest Home Videos et al, so there will be references and links to people falling down and getting hit in the junk with junk.