Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Till Death Do Us Part

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 14:  Manny Pacquiao celebrates his 12 round TKO victory against Miguel Cotto during their WBO welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 14, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

I took Manny Pacquiao as my bride, had my love affair with Miguel Cotto, and left Miguel to sort things out with Manny.

With Manny looking like a total kung fu master in whooping Miguel - being on point with the footwork, timing, combinations and explosive power - things have come full circle.

I'm glad I ended my love affair with Miguel and came back to Manny.

It's now till death do us part, because I sense retirement is near for Pacman.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Manny Pacquiao is my wife

I wouldn't know from personal experience, but I heard that when married men have affairs, they usually return to their wives. Of course, this is assuming that their wives don't divorce them.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Manny Pacquiao and  Miguel Cotto pose for pictures during the press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel on September 14, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)

Manny Pacquiao has been my favorite boxer for over a year. So metaphorically, he would be my wife.

When Miguel Cotto fought through a horrible cut to defeat Joshua Clottey in June, he became my first man-crush. In other words, a love affair was born.

Sadly, with Pacquiao-Cotto on the horizon, it's time to end my affair with Cotto. I'm going back to Pacquiao, my wife.

Monday, November 9, 2009

When you had too much to drink

A little wine don't hurt nobody. It's when you drink too much that the problems start happening. For example :

1. You may think you're Tony Montana.

2. The girl sitting next to you at the bar may look like Paula Abdul.

3. You may drive under the influence.

4. You may spend hours looking for your keys, when they've been in your pocket all along.

5. You may be throwing up all night, begging for a second chance.

I also think that Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers had too much to drink on Saturday night.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'll cry when Juan Manuel Marquez retires

"Snakes" by Ol' Dirty Bastard
ft. Killah Priest, RZA, Masta Killa and Buddha Monk

After seeing the heart of a lion that Juan Manuel Marquez has when Marquez fought Floyd Mayweather, Jr., I've officially reserved my tears for the day when Juan Ma announces his retirement.

I'm of the opinion that a warrior's true heart is tested in the ring. After seeing Miguel Cotto will his way through a bad cut to beat Joshua Clottey back in June, I learned for the first time what a man-crush is.

After seeing Marquez fight through til the end of what was a one-sided beating at the hands of the bigger, faster, younger and more skilled Floyd Mayweather, I'm convinced that I'll cry for a man that I've seen only on TV.

If how Juan Manuel Marquez fights is conceptualized by the structure of the Wu-Tang posse cut "Snakes" from Ol' Dirty Bastard's solo debut album Return to the 36 Chambers (The Dirty Version), then Floyd Mayweather, Jr. would be best represented by "Hellz Wind Staff" from the Wu-Tang Forever double album.

Both Mayweather and Marquez are cut from the same psychological mold : hardcore, hard-working, hard-fighting and Jordanesque sons of guns. But Mayweather is about the refined presentation, while Marquez is about the rough, rugged and raw.

"Snakes" is a sparse, minimalistic cut energized by kung fu movie and soul music samples, with a strong drum beat. "Hellz Wind Staff" is similar in structure, with kung fu movie samples powering the flow of the song, and backed with a sleek bassline. If "Snakes" is the original rugged Wu-Tang sound, then "Hellz Wind Staff" is the polished, sophisticated epitome of RZA's signature.

In the end, the slicker, polished manisfestation of the hardcore warrior beat the rough version - easily. However, the less refined version didn't go down without giving it all he had.

Marquez was being peppered all night long by Mayweather's jabs and left hooks. It was staggering to see how much of a size - and everything - disadvantage Marquez had.

La Dinamita was knocked down in the second round by Pretty Boy Floyd's patented lunging left hook, and was battered, bruised and bloody throughout the fight. He threw everything he had, but he could barely touch the defensive master that's Money May.

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. knocking down Juan Manuel Marquez

But Juan Manuel Marquez never quit. He had nothing going for him before the fight and it showed in the ring. The raw quail eggs and urine didn't work. Hell, even his own brilliance was useless for the night.

But Juan Ma inspired at least one man who was watching the fight. Because I'm thorough convinced that I've learned how to shed tears for my hero.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Levels of Kung Fu Mastery (UFC 101/WEC 42 observations)

Who am I?

UFC 101 and WEC 42 over the weekend had some stunning moments, especially in their main events.

From Anderson Silva's backpedaling one-punch knockout of Forrest Griffin to BJ Penn's thorough domination of Kenny Florian on land, air and sea to Brian Bowles' barreling through Miguel Torres to capture the WEC bantamweight belt, these two events produced highlights that will never be forgotten.

With the main fights having been a minefield for matchups between fighters between different styles and levels of MMA mastery, watching UFC 101 and WEC 42 was like watching a great kung fu movie.

I did my best to categorize and describe what I see as the four levels of kung fu mastery.

1. Demigod : Has mastered almost every single skill in fighting. Toys with opponents, makes them pay for their mistakes. Capable of doing so with hands and footwork alone. Often untouchable and subliminally creative.

Footwork like Michael Jackson - fight becomes a dance. Throws combinations like a Street Fighter character. Watching a demigod fight is like watching Pai Mei school Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill 2. Hits with chi power and timing possible to have only through years of smart training and knowledge of self.

UFC 101/WEC 42 archetype : Anderson Silva

2. Legend : Has perfected most of the most important aspects of fighting (footwork, punching, grappling, takedown defense). High-level mastery of essential skills overrides shortcomings against fighter of lesser caliber. Dominates a lesser fighter's will. Possesses the finer skills that a master may not have (e.g. difference between jiu-jitsu of BJ Penn and Kenny Florian).

UFC 101/WEC 42 archetype : BJ Penn

3. Master : Understands the rhythm and spacing of fighting. Good at most aspects of MMA, and great at a few. Generally able to avoid direct hits from the junkyard dog but not the legend or demigod. Seemingly minor imperfections make him susceptible to upsets by bloodthirsty underdogs (e.g. Miguel Torres' lack of one-punch knockout power costing him against Brian Bowles).

UFC 101/WEC 42 archetype : Miguel Torres, Kenny Florian

4. Junkyard Dog : The scrapper. Possesses a rudimentary, but effective, skill set that's his meat and potatoes. Gets hit a lot in order to dish out punishment. Superbly conditioned and truly a live underdog. Describes most mixed martial artists fighting at the major league level.

UFC 101/WEC 42 archetype : Forrest Griffin, Brian Bowles

Although it's more likely that a higher level fighter would defeat a lower level fighter than vice versa, there are so many variables that happen all at once that an upset is possible at any given moment.

So whether you watch MMA to see poetry in motion, be inspired by human triumphs, or both, there's much beauty in a sport that seems so violent and bloody on the surface.

"Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bald-Headed Avengers

I like the fact that the three biggest names of this weekend's MMA events (UFC 101, WEC 42) have interesting hairstyles.

Miguel Torres, the badass from East Chicago, has a mullet and always shows up to fight.

BJ Penn and Anderson Silva are bald, and as I predicted in my preview of this weekend's mega fights, the two will come out with a vengeance after lackluster performances.

They will thus become immortalized as The Bald-Headed Avengers.

CULVER CITY, CA - MAY 30:  (L-R) Actors Natalie Martinez and Jason Statham present the 'Most Dangerous Man' to UFC fighter Anderson Silva onstage during the taping of Spike TV's 2nd Annual 'Guys Choice' Awards held at Sony Studios on May 30, 2008 in Culver City, California.  The show airs on June 22, 2008 at 10PM ET/PT on Spike TV.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

I'm not bald, but bald can be beautiful, as long as you forego the combover or wig. If you crop your hair or shave it all off, then women may even find it sexy.

Besides Penn and Silva, some cool bald-headed luminaries include Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Dana White, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Kingsley and my old basketball coach Izzi Metz.

Baldness need not be a handicap. In fact, it should not be.

Because baldness is a cosmetic condition - not a disease.

If cripples can master deadly kung fu in three years and strike down upon their enemies with great vengeance and furious anger, then you should never get down on yourself just because you're bald.

The handicapped from Crippled Avengers (one of the greatest kung fu movies ever) are what Masta Killa from the Wu-Tang Clan referred to as the "dumb, deaf(-mute) and blind" - as well as those without legs or arms.

The Crippled Avengers needed devices like invincible prosthetic limbs and mirrors as well as skills like sensitive hearing, tactile language and teamwork in order to get their revenge.

The bald need only a razor, hair trimmer, shaving cream and mirror to get the job done.

So while I'm not saying that BJ Penn and Anderson Silva wouldn't respectively kick Kenny Florian and Forrest Griffin's asses anyway, their aerodynamic chrome domes may enhance their kung fu.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Don't Play With Fire

In my previous piece "The Living Hell of Michael Vick - Repentance," I went over how Mike Tyson did nothing but play with fire during his boxing career and how disgraced NFL star Michael Vick is in good hands compared to Tyson's predicament.

Well, even Mike Tyson's fate as a young man was child's play compared to the totally sinister accomplishments of former UFC fighter "Lightning" Lee Murray : If Mike Tyson was a severely misguided young man, then Lee Murray was straight from hell, getting involved with gangs as a youngster and advancing to the highest levels of professional fighting and criminality.

Murray's long rap sheet includes being accused of almost beating a motorist to death during a fit of road rage, getting into bar brawls (including one in which he almost died from a stabbing) and of course, the $92 million dollar heist, in which he and some heavily armed buddies commando-raided a Securitas depot to accomplish what became Britain's greatest cash robbery ever.

courtesy of ESPN

I know it's f***ed up, but the only reason I'm sorry to see Lee Murray locked up in Morocco is that I would've loved to see him in a rematch against Anderson Silva, because the type of fighter that would whoop Tito Ortiz in a street fight and try to take Anderson Silva's head off in the cage is precisely the kind that belongs.

Sure, Murray got schooled by Silva in their Cage Rage bout in 2004, but he had his moments. He may have been outclassed but he wasn't outfought, in the sense that he tried his best to take the fight to Silva.

Just like Murray's been playing with fire his whole life, Dana White and Zuffa are throwing three of their world class fighters - Kenny Florian, Forrest Griffin and Brian Bowles - into the respective hellacious furies of three of the most dominant fighters in MMA in BJ Penn, Anderson Silva and Miguel Torres.

I love KenFlo, but he's fighting BJ Penn at the worst possible time. BJ Penn is pissed off as hell after getting his ass kicked by Georges St. Pierre, and it's not like everything's cool between him and Florian either.

If you want to get technical, Florian's got some nice Muay Thai and sharp elbows, but I don't think he punches very hard. He's got nice footwork, but so does Penn. I see Penn being able to counter almost everything KenFlo throws at him and more in the standup game.

Since Penn's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is even better than Florian's considerable ability in that area, Florian's best chance is to outmaneuver Penn in the clinch, but ultimately, I just don't see it making much of a difference when the two square off at UFC 101 on Saturday night (10 PM ET, August 8, Pay-Per-View).

Kenny Florian is a tough, resilient dude, so I don't think he'll get knocked out or submitted, but I see him getting singed by BJ Penn via unanimous decision.

I see something similar happening to Forrest Griffin against Anderson Silva in the co-feature of UFC 101.

If you bet on Silva to lose against Griffin because he didn't look too good against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites, I fear the woe that will come upon you.

The Anderson Silva that we saw against James Irvin will come alive.

Forrest Griffin is not going to play possum just to avoid getting knocked out, which is precisely why I think Anderson Silva will knock him out on Saturday.

Griffin is the fighter with the heart and talent that will motivate to The Spider to bring out his best, and we all know what happens when Silva steps up to the plate.

Once Anderson Silva has worn out Forrest Griffin with his pressure and strikes from unexpected angles and rhythms, expect him to finish with a stoppage victory in Round 3.

Lastly, I hate to sound so dismissive of yet another gifted contender, but I don't think the well-rounded game of Brian Bowles is nearly good enough for the well-rounded game of Miguel Torres when Bowles challenges Torres for the WEC bantamweight title on Sunday August 9 (9 PM ET, Versus).

Both Torres and Bowles have heart and guts, so may the best man win : Miguel Torres via submission in Round 4.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Brock Lesnar-Sable Sex Tape

* Credit for Sable (Rena Mero Lesnar) pictures used in this piece go to the Ottawa Sun, via SLAM! Sports.

First McMahon Million Dollar Mania Winners Announced

Somewhere, Vince McMahon must be laughing.

That's because his secret agent Brock Lesnar beat the crap out of Frank Mir at UFC 100, securing a sinister foothold for McMahon in the WWE.

Lesnar's post-fight celebration and interview with Joe Rogan was pure WWE. The monster taunted a battered Mir who could barely stand straight and gave the booing crowd two middle fingers. Cameras caught him foaming venom at the mouth like a satisfied werewolf that had just devoured its prey.

Brock Lesnar then proceeded with some immortal lines :

"Frank Mir had a horseshoe up his ass, I told him that a year ago. I pulled that son of a b***h out and beat him over the head with it."

The Evil Empire is officially upon us. If sports fans hated the Yankees, Red Sox, Lakers, Cowboys, Miami Hurricanes, Shaq or Kobe, they've seen nothing yet. At least in front of the cameras, Brock Lesnar is the grumpiest trash-talking, inhumane, arrogant son of a b***h alive.

Lesnar is the sports world's Satanic villain and makes Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco look like saints in comparison. Off the top of my head, I can think of only Pacman Jones who has rubbed fans the wrong way more than Lesnar has.

However, I thank Brock Lesnar. Due to his ability to play the role of supervillain to perfection, the UFC is that much more fun to follow. He makes me want to rewatch all the Star Wars movies that I've seen and watch all the ones I haven't because this emerging force is not only massive, but dark.

UFC 100 - Frank Mir v Brock Lesnar

This dark force has demolished one of MMA's most beloved heroes in Randy Couture and another very likable, classy, talented fighter in Frank Mir.

This dark force enjoys so much playing his persona that he'll train and fight like a maniac to protect and further it.

This dark force is so powerful that there's no way Shane Carwin or Cain Velasquez are overcoming it if and when they get a shot.

This dark force will be in power for a time being.

Many fans will be restless, because they won't want to put up with Lesnar's talking about his Coors Light-drinking and wife-banging.

To that, I say, If you can't avoid it, enjoy it.

Enjoy Lesnar's reign, because nothing lasts forever, and when he's gone, we'll be clamoring for another villain like him.

Enjoy Lesnar's reign, because we sometimes need evil to recognize good, and when that hero comes along, we'll appreciate him that much more.

Brock Lesnar promotes his sex tape with Sable.

Sable, In Bed With the Devil

I think Lesnar is vulnerable to an accurate, slick and powerful puncher. He's huge, but it hurts everyone to get hit in the face, and I caught fleeting moments of Randy Couture and Frank Mir inflicting a little pain on the big guy.

But it won't be easy.

From a conventional theoretical standpoint, to beat Lesnar, a heavyweight fighter must possess the hands of the Klitschko brothers, the fighting spirit of David Haye, the jiu-jitsu of Frank Mir and the wrestling of Georges St. Pierre.

The heavyweight fighter can't expect to outwrestle and overpower Lesnar, but he must be nimble and tough enough to counter Lesnar's strengths and punch him fast, hard and accurately in the face and go for the kill when he smells Lesnar's blood.

People don't realize how hard it is to develop hand-foot coordination : Chances are Lesnar will never become a good standup fighter, no matter how hard he tries, and someone who can take advantage of that will become the first Brock Lesnar Killer, the Luke Skywalker of MMA.

And when that hero comes along, fans of freedom will no longer have to watch Lesnar talk even more smack about Frank Mir to his friends in the locker room.

Nor will they have to listen to an advertisement about the upcoming Brock Lesnar-Sable sex tape.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How Vince McMahon robbed Brock Lesnar's soul

Whether you're talking about instant replay in baseball or mustard on Polish sausage, some things in life just can't be undone.

Here are five examples :

1. Even though they played for other teams in the latter parts of their careers, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen will always be remembered as Chicago Bulls.

2. Shaq and Kobe divorced after a tumultuous eight-year marriage in La La Land, but by virtue of their three-peat (along with the nature of the relationship itself) with the Lakers, the two future Hall of Famers will always have their names tied together.

3. Even with the Onassis surname, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis will always be John F. Kennedy's wife.

4. No one will ever forget Julio Iglesias' being once married to Isabel Preysler.

5. Elvis Presley never got over Priscilla.

Likewise, Brock Lesnar will always be Vince McMahon's UFC operative.

Although it's been more than five years since he last wrestled, Brock Lesnar is still WWE in terms of persona. He was a bad ass villain back in the WWE, and he's a bad ass villain in the UFC.

He may be fighting for real now, but with his humongous frame and freakish athletic ability, Lesnar is larger than life. He smashed Heath Herring and Randy Couture to become UFC heavyweight champion in just his fourth fight. Add his signature trash talk and what you have is Godzilla, a monster whom many people will be rooting against at UFC 100.

Enter Frank Mir.

If Brock Lesnar is the ultimate MMA supervillain, Frank Mir is the ultimate superhero.

Mir's career is a story of human triumph : Mir rose to the rank of heavyweight champion in the UFC but broke his femur in two places and tore all the ligaments in his knee in a motorcycle accident and struggled to make a successful comeback. However, he turned his fortunes around with three straight wins, including victories over Lesnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and is now interim heavyweight titlist. When he enters the Octagon against Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir will be fighting to become undisputed champion.

You know, another Frank Mir victory would make for the ultimate Hollywood script, but I just don't see it happening this time. Brock Lesnar has gained more big-time experience since he got caught in a kneebar in February 2008, and has demonstrated that he can apply his wrestling pedigree to control fights, like he did against Herring.

Moreover, Lesnar's athletic strengths lie where Mir's weaknesses are. Mir would punish a lesser fighter from a distance with his boxing and kickboxing, and give him a little room and he will submit you. But Mir is kind of stiff and slow in terms of raising and lowering his body, something Lesnar executes flawlessly with lightning quick precision.

Frank Mir showed against Nogueira that he can throw his hands a little, but would his lateral footwork and high-low movement be good enough against a charging Lesnar who can drop foes with a single punch or takedown? I personally don't think so, and I see Mir becoming another Herring, getting taken down or dropped early and being on the receiving end of a claustrophobic smothering and senseless pounding.

I predict that Mir's corner will throw in the towel after three rounds.

I love the whole good guy vs. bad guy thing going on in UFC 100. I don't think I need to tell you, but for Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves, GSP is the hero and Alves the villain.

Alves is huge, and struggles to make weight at 170. His Muay Thai is devastating, his timing impeccable and his counterpunching overlooked. Alves' robust head protects him from knockouts, his takedown defense from wrestlers and his purple belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from joint locks. He's the ultimate juggernaut, the Sagat that barricades GSP's quest to master himself through the martial arts like Ryu did.

I get a feeling that GSP-Alves will turn out to be somewhat similar to the karate fight between Major Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) and Chunjin (Henry Silva) in the classic film The Manchurian Candidate (1962).

Thiago Alves puts so much pressure on a fighter with his striking combinations and counterpunches so well that GSP will have to fight the fight of his life to get away with a win. Luckily for GSP, he has his meticulous training and study habits, leaving no page unturned, so he'll be ready.

St. Pierre will be hurt. He has shown that he can be hit - and hurt - by fighters not nearly as powerful as Alves, so he'll take a beating, no matter how prepared. But GSP's dedication to the art of fighting and conditioning has made him a fine ring general with the ability to control fights with either his boxing or wrestling. And he'll avoid just enough direct hits to leave the fight with his senses intact.

So while I think Thiago Alves is too strong and skilled for Georges St. Pierre to finish, I foresee GSP using his sweet science, wrestling and cardio to dictate the flow of the fight and earning a split decision on the judges' scorecards.

Now we've come full circle.

Everyone on the UFC 100 card is a Dana White fighter, literally and figuratively, but Brock Lesnar is still a Vince McMahon guy. Lesnar's propensity to play the bad guy may have come naturally, but it was McMahon that recognized the wrestler's talents and made him world famous and rich.

Brock Lesnar steadfastly denies ever having used steroids while in the WWE, but he did say that he was "brainwashed" by the WWE lifestyle of having to play a character in the script.

That - in essence - was the equivalent of Vince McMahon programming Brock Lesnar so that Lesnar would continue to promote the WWE with his bad ass style long after he left.

That - at its heart - was the equivalent of Vince McMahon robbing the soul of Brock Lesnar by having Lesnar play the villain when the lights, cameras and action come on - even for unscripted fights.

It's just like how Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) was "dry-cleaned" by Communist agents to carry out their sinister plans upon seeing the Queen of Diamonds while "passing the time by playing a little solitaire" in The Manchurian Candidate.

And that is how the fates of Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar will forever be intertwined.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Brock Lesnar, GSP and Co. gangbang the NCAA

* Credit for photos used in this piece go to Club Jenna

Jenna Jameson passes the torch to the NCAA.

You know what UFC 100 reminds me of?

It reminds me of a big porn flick, with Brock Lesnar, GSP and Co. as the big-you-know-what porn stars and the NCAA as the porn starlet who can take it all like a superwoman.

The whole dynamic makes the NCAA look like, as Tony Montana from Scarface would say, "a great, big p***y, just waiting to get f**ked".

That's because when the lights go on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay and your TV screens, these muscular pornographic actors mixed martial artists are all going to take turns f**king the s**t out of Jenna Jameson the NCAA.

When Brandon Jennings skipped college ball to play professional basketball in Italy, he told the NCAA to go f*** themselves. When Jeremy Tyler announced that he was skipping his senior year of high school to hoop it up for pay in Europe, he told the NCAA to go f**k themselves.

And when Darnell Goodman prefers to talk about "butt naked drinking nights" rather than football when asked about his college days, he's telling the NCAA to go f**k themselves.

shout-out goes to Global Sports Fraternity

But basketball and football are big-time NCAA sports; wrestling is not.

And when products of small-time sports are gangbanging you in the rear, that's when you know that you're really getting f**ked.

We all know that Brock Lesnar, who headlines the UFC 100 card, was a two-time All-American wrestler and NCAA heavyweight champion at the University of Minnesota. Dan Henderson, also a main event fighter, was a good enough college wrestler for Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State to become a two-time Greco-Roman Olympian.

And Randy Couture, whom Lesnar beat to become UFC heavyweight champion, was a three-time NCAA All-American and two-time runner up at Oklahoma State.

What Lesnar, Hendo and Couture all have in common is that they could barely make a living with wrestling, until they entered the world of professional fighting or wrasslin'.

I think the violent and brutal nature of MMA will eventually put a limit to how big the UFC is going to get (and it probably won't become as big as the WWE, much less the NBA, NFL, MLB or soccer), but it's still going to get big nevertheless - and provide more opportunities for folks with wrestling, boxing or martial arts backgrounds to make a living.

Back in the day, if you were a wrestler, you couldn't just ignore school. There were few realistic options for you to make a good living with a wrestling background.

But the rise of the UFC and MMA is changing all that. Young men will see the success that ex-wrestlers like Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley are having and will try to take the most direct path to success off of their wrestling skills.

I don't necessarily foresee the emergence of a professional wrestling (not wrasslin') league that acts as a feeder to the bigger MMA organizations like the UFC or Strikeforce, but there's a good chance that the kids who would've otherwise went to college to wrestle would be joining an MMA gym to groom their overall fighting skills - because that's where the money is.

"Criminology" by Raekwon ft. Ghostface Killah
from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx

Wu-Tang knows not to f**k with Sosa; does the NCAA?

To make it even worse for the public relations machine of the NCAA, the skill set one possesses can vary so much from fighter to fighter that someone with dreams of succeeding professionally and financially doesn't even have to have a formal, dedicated wrestling background.

Sure, coming from a wrestling background is probably the fastest way to succeed as an MMA fighter, but there are also things called wrestling for MMA (i.e. what Georges St. Pierre is doing) and counterwrestling (i.e. how Thiago Alves and Anderson Silva stuff takedown attempts), so a talented high school wrestler with a knack for fighting can tailor his training to his needs and strengths.

Also, he can get a head start professionally while not having to go to school just to get a scholarship just to extend his wrestling career.

That's just another reason the NCAA is f**ked.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Groupies that keep you up all night

NBA Draft logo

In the evening of Thursday June 25, 60 young basketball players will be initiated into the highly exclusive basketball fraternity known around the world as the National Basketball Association. Players and their families, friends and business associates will be celebrating.

So will the groupies, hangers on and leeches and whoever is determinted to make a quick buck or 15 minutes of fame off of those potential millionaires.

That's not to say that the players - when many inevitably mess up - will be without blame. In fact, with their impressionability and lack of control, they're ultimately responsible - and even more to blame - for their mistakes than the so-called cash money grubbers out in the market.

Take, for example, Dirk Nowitzki. Even the Great White Hope of our generation couldn't withstand the advances of the even greater Cristal Taylor, she of the fraudulent schemes and 1,001 aliases.

If Dirk Diggler's ultimate professional goal was to have a wildly successful NBA career and eventually win a title, Cristal's was to have a wild time with Dirk and eventually get her hands on some of his riches. If Cristal is indeed pregnant with his kid, as she has insisted, then she would've achieved her objective even better than Dirk has.

(UPDATE: According to prison medical records released to Dirk's attorney, Cristal is not pregnant).

Dirk, in the process, whether it was his intention or not, ended up selling his soul.

Let's not kid ourselves. Groupies and nuthangers are the least of the worries for the newly minted members of the NBA. The real enemy is within, and when the young draftees sign over their rights to an NBA team, what will result for most is a vicious cycle of broken dreams and emptiness.

Groupies : The Least of a Player's Worries
courtesy of Global Sports Fraternity

Basketball being a team game, it takes a much more complex combination of factors coming together to help a player succeed than in an individual sport like boxing. Not only must the player be good himself, but his set of skills must match his teammates' and his coach's system, in order for him to contribute. For that reason, it's infinitely more important in team sports for the franchise to have an unyielding vision of success.

Unfortunately, most NBA teams are mediocre to downright bad. And most young players will be joining these teams.

There's nothing more damaging to a young NBA player's career than being surrounded by coaching and managerial impotence. If a groupie approaches you, you can at least try to resist the temptation. If you manage to make some illegitimate babies, at least you can pay child support with the money you make.

But to an NBA player, his franchise is his life - and a club that can't offer life to its constituents could spell death to the baller's career.

I still follow the NBA Draft, but don't get into it like I used to. The reason is that much of it's ultimately nonsense. What matters in the end is the top-down vision of an owner, not how talented an individual player is.

This has applied and will continue to apply to anyone. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant were beneficiaries who sold their souls to the right buyers. Rather than living day-to-day, trying to score big game to secure their next big payday, these icons were provided enough by their clubs so that they could concentrate on becoming champions and ambassadors.

Most others weren't so lucky - and we'll see if fortune follows the talent of precocious youngsters like Blake Griffin, Ricky Rubio and Brandon Jennings.

For their own sake, I hope guys like Griffin, Rubio and Jennings turn out to be like Liu Kang, who was able to team up with two helpful protagonists, Sonya Blade and Johnny Cage, to avenge his brother's death and loss of soul to the evil Shang Tsung in the movie Mortal Kombat.

I want to see a great general manager or head coach implement his vision one element at a time, rather than see a run-of-the-miller watch over his back and impose his job insecurity on a young prospect. The latter is like building a new town without a development plan, and hoping the next new edifice will bring salvation to your city.

Because ultimately, the transaction of souls takes place on the streets, not in the churches.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Between Man-Crush and Love

You may have felt the fear in Miguel Cotto's eyes, but don't call him a coward.

You may have sensed the anxiety in Miguel Cotto's body language, but don't call him a wuss.

You may have seen Miguel Cotto's blood dripping out of his eyebrow, but the fight wasn't over.

You may have seen Miguel Cotto running away from Joshua Clottey to wipe the blood off his face, but don't say he wasn't a warrior.

The fear, the tension, the pain, the blood and the flight?

That's what it means to be human.

The Courage?

Simply Superhuman.

For the first time in my life, I truly understood what a man-crush was when I saw Miguel Cotto fight nine rounds with a severe cut over his left eyebrow to win a split decision over Joshua Clottey.

For the first time in my life, I truly understood what a man-crush was when I saw Miguel Cotto complete his long comeback from a vicious beating at the hands of Antonio Margarito - possibly with loaded gloves - by overcoming a crucible almost as brutal.

For the first time in my life, I truly understood what a man-crush was when Miguel Cotto simply fought on although he could've sent the fight to the judges' scorecards. After all, he had knocked Joshua Clottey down at the end of the first round with a hard jab and was leading on points. I agree with Large from No Mas that courage and toughness is such a part of Cotto's existence that calling it a night likely never even crossed his mind.

WBO Welterweight Fight: Miguel Cotto v Joshua Clottey

I know how it feels to love a woman. I know how it feels to love family. But maybe love is love. The man-crush I felt from watching Miguel Cotto didn't feel all that different from when you give your heart and soul to a woman or family.

Maybe I felt the man-crush on Miguel Cotto because his warrior heroics inside the ring and class outside are values that I try to live by.

Maybe I felt the man-crush on Miguel Cotto because I admire the way he triumphs over his frailties through honest perseverance.

I could finally understand with my heart and soul why Puerto Ricans go crazy for their hero.

But maybe love is love. When you love a woman or family, you accept the whole : the good and bad. You don't expect it back from them, but you're willing to take the ultimate sacrifice if it means saving them. When things go well, you want them to have all the joy. And when things don't, you want to spare them all the pain.

Miguel Cotto may or may not get a chance to fight Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather, Jr., much less beat them. He may even get his ass handed to him.

What I do know, though, is that he'll fight with all his heart and soul. He has shown throughout his career that he loves his profession, his fans and the Puerto Rican people too much not to.

And no matter what happens, I'll always thank Miguel Cotto for showing me for the first time in my life what a man-crush is.

"Can't We Be Sweethearts" by The Cleftones

Saturday, June 13, 2009

How to snag a hottie

The Legendary Ass of Victoria Vannucci
Victoria Vannucci's butt is stuff of legend.
from Hombre Argentina May 2009

Like I mentioned in my previous piece, Miguel Cotto is a tough hombre. The same applies to his upcoming opponent Joshua Clottey.

And Vanessa Vannucci (who is getting featured repeatedly on HotNonPorn.com) is a super hottie from Argentina whom many men the world over would love to get into the pants of :

Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey may not be vying for the attention of Victoria Vannucci, but they might as well be, because stepping into the ring to face off an opponent ready to take your head off at any moment is the ultimate test of manhood.* And manhood is what women like.

I can see the girls going crazy for Cotto even if he weren't a fighter. His intense, wordless, minimalistic demeanor makes him a mysterious tough guy. He's got class.

In the somewhat publicized fight between Cotto and his uncle Evangelista, Miguel Cotto didn't kick Evangelista's ass until said uncle threw a cement block at him and ended up smashing his 2009 Jaguar. And this uncle punched Cotto in the face and followed him home to fight some more after the initial scuffle. And he refuses to talk about the incident in public, saying it's a family affair. That's called self-control.

I don't think Joshua Clottey would be as popular as Cotto, but he'd do fine with the ladies nevertheless. He seems to have a quirky and unintentionally funny way of subtly expressing himself and that's a good thing to have.

How would things go inside the ring though? Who will the dime called the WBO welterweight title choose? What must Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey do to snag the hottie?

Perhaps what I think is Clottey's quirkiness manifests itself in his game. He's got a 5-10 reach at a height of 5-8 but his best weapons are his tight left hook and uppercut. He steps in and out of range with his high guard in place in case he gets hit. He could circle and utilize his long-range weapons (jab and cross) better. His fighting is counterintuitive, but he's a top welterweight who's fighting for a title on the eve of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, so something has to be working right for him.

Cotto doesn't fight counterintuitively, but he's a mystery inside the ring as he is outside : Such a tough guy but not the best ring general; all about business but not a great defensive technician; an aggressive attacker with just enough boxing skill to not have to rely entirely on brawling.

Between quirk and mystery, I'd have to take the mystery on this one. Miguel Cotto's reach is just 5-7, but at least he circles and jabs. At least he moves laterally and puts together nice combinations. Joshua Clottey is like a poor man's Winky Wright with that high guard, but I can't see him scoring enough points to best the Puerto Rican hero. Cotto is no Paul Williams, but at least he's ferocious when on the offensive. Against a methodical Clottey, that and his decent boxing will be enough to get him a unanimous decision victory.

Not only will Cotto get his wife (WBO belt), he will also get his mistress (the proud pro-Puerto Rican crowd).

Victoria Vannucci's bush

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sexy Piece of Ass

* Credit for photos used in this piece go to Hombre, via Foro De Mujeres Famosas Argentinas.

Amazing Argentine Ass of Maribel Fernandez
Amazing Argentine Ass of Maribel Fernandez

"Sports Guy" Bill Simmons, one of my favorite sportswriters, said recently about beloved Boston Red Sox first baseman "Big Papi" David Ortiz's decline :

Beefy sluggers are like porn stars, wrestlers, NBA centers and trophy wives: When it goes, it goes. You know right away.

Well, this isn't about porn stars or wrestlers or NBA centers or trophy wives. This is about the decline of some of the most exciting fighters in MMA, the sport's sexy pieces of ass.

In particular, this is about how this weekend's Strikeforce and WEC events were metaphors for the end of the eras of several trophy wives of MMA that provided thrills to MMA fans for the last few years.

For three years, Urijah Faber was one of the more recognizable faces of MMA, dominating his peers with 13 straight wins. He was the face - and future - of WEC.

His rabbit-out-of-the-hat moves, relentless pressure and flashy personality made him a world class fighter who was as celebrity as a featherweight mixed martial artist could get.

Then, it's no surprise that even after getting dropped and pummeled by Mike Brown at WEC 36, Zuffa decided to give Faber the benefit of the doubt.

They went ahead with his rematch against Jens Pulver, although both were demolished at the same event. The company also promoted Faber-Brown 2 via a Urijah-oriented campaign, although it was Brown who had looked impressive in his title reign.

It's all good. Zuffa made the right decision. In spite of his second loss in a row to Mike Brown, in which Brown dominated the high-kicking, back-turning California Kid with his methodical boxing, high guard, clinch- and mount-punching, Urijah Faber is a world class fighter who is not washed up.

Due to the foundation he has laid down over the years, as long as he can beat guys like Jose Aldo and Leonard Garcia, Faber will stay in the hunt. Hell, I'd even like to see him in catchweight fights against explosive fighters like Miguel Torres or Clay Guida.

It's just that Urijah Faber's reign as top dog of the WEC and MMA's featherweight division is officially over.

It's just that if the foreplay-sex-cuddle Mike Brown couldn't answer his porno flick audition judges' doubts even after he convincingly defended his title against Leonard Garcia, he left no doubt as to his manhood by unanimously decisioning the porn star-esque Faber in their rematch.

It's really sad to see a fighter go. In other sports, a washed up athlete just stinks. In combat sports, he gets brutally knocked out or beaten down.

To a man, to get his ass kicked by another is the ultimate blow to his ego - and perhaps that's why a downed fighter continues to fight to regain lost glory. Although it becomes clear he must retire, he continues to fight, subjecting himself to a vicious cycle of beatdowns, damaged pride and dead brain cells.

After what happened to them at Strikeforce on Saturday night, I would advise Andrei Arlovski and Scott Smith to get out of the fight game at their earliest convenience.

I thought Arlovski would put his boxing training under the tutelage of Freddie Roach and Michael Moorer to good use, but he just stood in front of Brett Rogers, neither jabbing nor sidestepping. All Arlovski's weak low kick did was piss off Rogers to the point where The Grim wanted to rip The Pitbull's head off, which he did in 22 seconds.

Scott Smith's gutsy way of fighting looks sexy on TV, but as he found out once again against Nick Diaz, it doesn't do any good for his career or senses.

With a Roy Jones-like stance Nick Diaz picked Smith apart on his feet, teeing off on his head with jabs and body with shovel hooks. One third-round body shot in particular dropped Smith, setting up Diaz's fight-ending rear naked choke.

As Andrei Arlovski and Scott Smith found out, flashy power and trading blows make fighters popular, but in the end, coming up short on the guile department is a surefire career path to becoming trophy wives : spouses who're treasured mostly for their sexy asses.

Te quiero, papi.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Evolutionary Dead End

Those whose best interests clash with yours will whack you.
from Casino

Music : "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals

Different people have different styles. Different people come from different backgrounds. And different people have different interests and are placed in different circumstances.

Sometimes, different people co-exist. Other times, there must be a clash of civilizations - like when you put two gladiators inside a cage.

The intrigue behind this Saturday's (June 6) Strikeforce event (10 PM ET, Showtime) is the clash for the survival of the interests of the fighters and camps in the top 3 fights on the card :

1. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu via Jake Shields : When Royce Gracie first appeared on the MMA scene, he confounded fighters and fans alike with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It worked for a while, but MMA has evolved to the point where being a one-dimensional submission specialist gets you knocked out. Hell, you even see BJJ experts like Jorge Gurgel choosing to slug it out rather than take the fight to the ground.

Jake Shields represents a highly evolved form in the continuum of the Gracie school of fighting, having a rudimentary striking but one of the most advanced grappling arsenals in MMA. His "strikes" are nothing but paws to feel out the distance between himself and his opponent and set up his takedowns.

Shields' takedowns happen in the blink of an eye, and once he gets his opponents down, he passes guard and mounts like he's teaching white belts. He pounds from up top, but again, these punches are nothing more than setups to his submissions.

He may not be well-rounded, but Jake Shields has shown more than enough ability to take care of himself with grappling/wrestling alone, like he did against Paul Daley.

To the hardcore MMA fan, Shields is beautiful to watch, but I have a feeling that Robbie Lawler will use the coming opportunity to show that Jake Shields' method of fighting is merely an advanced form of an evolutionary dead end.

Lawler has great takedown defense and wrestling, and if Shields continues to fail to take him to the ground, Shields will have less and less endurance to counter Lawler's powerful strikes and deftness in the clinch.

The experience was mesmerizing while it lasted, but I think the legend of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu ends when Jake Shields gets knocked out by Robbie Lawler in Round 3 of their Strikeforce bout.

2. Andrei Arlovski : If Arlovski loses, this is pretty much the end of the road for him, as a knockout by Rogers will be the nail in the coffin of his glass chin.

Luckily for The Pitbull, he hits hard himself, and has improved his boxing tremendously since he started training with Freddie Roach. Having had more time to work with Roach - and preparing himself for his professional boxing debut in the process - he can probably take care of the one-dimensional Rogers with his hands and footwork alone.

Brett Rogers has knockout power but no technique; Andrei Arlovski - who gave Fedor Emelianenko quite a challenge before launching an inexplicable flying knee - is way above Rogers' head in just about every important MMA element (boxing, kickboxing, overall MMA skill, conditioning).

I expect Arlovski to get a feel for Rogers in the first round, then get a TKO victory over Rogers by the end of the second after taking him to school. He will save his career and buy himself time until his boxing skill develops enough to cover for his weak chin.

3. Scott Smith : Win or lose, Smith entertains. Unfortunately, he brawls and takes tremendous punishment even if he wins, like he did the last time against Benji Radach.

Fortunately, Scott Smith's fight against Nick Diaz will give him a break. Although only 30, Smith's days as a fighter are already numbered. He won't beat Nick Diaz either, but getting outboxed and then submitted in the second round by the light-punching jiu-jitsu expert will extend will restore about two fights to the career that was shortened by the wars with Lawler and Radach.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Between Legitimacy and Invisibility

"2 Legit 2 Quit" by Hammer

Hammer. Vanilla Ice. Coolio. Naughty by Nature. Dr. Dre. Snoop Dogg.

These are some of the artists that I listened to when I first started listening to hip hop music back in the early to-mid 1990's. Being a pre-teen and teen, I just listened to whatever was popular at the time - and enjoyed it.

As time went by, I started listening to "harder" acts such as Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Biggie, Boot Camp Click and Nas. I dug into hip hop's glorious past, incorporating classic material from legends such as Public Enemy, BDP/KRS-One, Gang Starr and Main Source into my listening regimen.

I didn't eschew mainstream hip hop like the Fugees or Jay-Z. But I fell in love with the underground, including acts like Company Flow, Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Jedi Mind Tricks, Prince Paul, DJ Shadow, Dan the Automator, The Roots, Common and Jurassic 5.

Just as my taste in music evolved, so has the way I observe MMA. When I was first exposed to MMA, the only names I knew were Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Fedor Emelianenko, Big Nog - just the famous ones.

Urijah Faber represents the still-not-completely-dead youth angst that was dormant in my heart and soul when I became a hardcore follower of MMA.

I loved his bravado, flash and balls-out style of fighting. I liked Faber for precisely the reasons that he's a beloved fighter.

However, my much wilier, savvier current self - the type that now prefers a fighter like Lyoto Machida - thinks Mike Brown is too good and too legit for Faber to take his lost title back from. (WEC 41 : June 7 @ 9 PM ET, Versus).

It's not that Faber isn't world class; I still like the man, but Mike Brown is that good. You'll find hundreds of people with the same name in the phonebook of any major city in the US, but this guy stands out with his intelligent way of fighting.

While Faber can box, wrestle and handle himself on the ground, Brown just has a way of delivering non-telegraphic power punches without wasting much motion or energy. He carries this efficiency over to the wrestling and ground games.

Nothing has changed for WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown.
courtesy of WEC

Brown defended his WEC featherweight title by beating the crap out of Leonard Garcia. Before that, he smashed Faber himself to take his belt. And before he smashed Faber, he unanimously decisioned Jeff Curran to earn the opportunity to challenge Faber.

As Brown says in the Brown-Faber 2 preview video above, what more does he have to do?

Although it's hard to expect Mike Brown to dominate The California Kid as he did the first time, I think his efficient strength and strategy will carry him to a unanimous decision win over the flashier Urijah Faber in their rematch.

Perhaps then, will Mike Thomas Brown finally be able to win some legitimacy in the eyes of MMA fans and observers.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Letter to Shaq's Groupies

Dear Groupies and Hangers On of Shaq,

If you want to see Shaq this weekend, you may want to check out the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night, May 23.

Although I haven't personally confirmed this "intelligence" with the Big Diesel himself, he's been making way too many headlines for his MMA training and enthusiasm over the past couple of weeks.

You may know better than I do, but about two weeks ago, Shaq's MMA instructor was on ESPN talking about what it's like to train Shaq. After that, Shaq vouched for UFC president Dana White's uncanny marketing sensibility in an episode of E:60.

And if that were not enough: Most recently, Mr. White himself appeared on ESPN and answered questions about Shaq and his MMA prospects.

Come on! That's way too much Shaq Fu coverage for Shaq's not being at UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida! Besides, he won't have anything else to do, since his Phoenix Suns didn't make the NBA Playoffs.

So if you want to have Shaq's baby or get some spending money from the Big Daddy, be there at UFC 98. Doors open at 4 PM PT and the first bout starts at 4:45 PM.

The fight is going to be televised live, so if you want your 15 minutes of fame, this opportunity is not to be missed.

Be there!


Dr. HotNonPorn

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What it means to be a badass

"Badass" is hard to define but you know it when you see it. Being a true badass is about being tough but not macho and supple but not soft. Being a true badass is about embracing your weaknesses but not being consumed by them. And a true badass knows when to talk and when to walk.

In my opinion, an example of a genuine badass is UFC fighter Lyoto Machida. He's got some bad ass tussle, but most of all, he knows how to stay calm before the storm and unleash an absolutely vicious killer instinct during it. Choosing to live my life in that fashion, it's something that I relate to - and that's why he's officially my new favorite MMA fighter.

courtesy of Sherdog

While looking for photos to insert into my columns, I noticed for the first time the scars on Lyoto Machida's face - namely, on the left side of his forehead and bridge of his nose. The scars didn't jump out at me, but they told me a story of what it takes to become a badass.

It was mentioned during the UFC 94 broadcast that due to his hit-and-run style, Machida is the least beat up fighter in UFC history. He also happens to be undefeated in his professional career. However, what the scars say is that during his formative years of becoming a fighter, he got his ass beat bad by whomever he was fighting or sparring.

Obviously, The Dragon stuck with it - and adapted. While he learned to be tough, he also learned to be smart, and thus we see the Lyoto Machida of today - a true badass.

Jairo Miguel, the Spanish bullfighter who almost lost his life in a goring when he was 14, is already a badass. Perhaps even more so than Lyoto Machida, because his life is much more in danger than Machida's when he steps into the bullfighting ring.

"Baby Bullfighters" on ESPN E:60

Put your personal opinions about bullfighting aside - because an ethical debate on the rights of animals and children this is not. Although you can never fully put your faith in what a teenager says, if his will to bullfight is truly his - and not his parents' - then the kid is well on his way to becoming a badass.

Those big scars that Jairo got from the bull's horns will fade with time and treatment, but what will only grow is his spirit. You learn as you live, and although he got gored again in his comeback fight, it's obvious that Jairo learned his lesson the first time around.

He'll only get better as he refines the footwork, technique and killer instinct that will make him a master bullfighter - and preserve his life in the ring.

P.S. We all have different views on what a badass is. Some may prefer the blood and guts types like Chris Leben, but mine are best exemplified by fighters who combine a great knockout punch with grace and guile like Lyoto Machida or Jairo Miguel.

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