Archive for August, 2009

2009 NFL Season Wish List

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

As Labor Day nears so does NFL Kickoff Weekend.  On September 9 the reigning King of American Sports returns to give us another exhilarating 5 ½ months of pro football.  Like countless others on every Sunday and Monday from now till Mardi Gras I’ll be parked with loved ones on hand watching and talking football.  There is no shortage of storylines to be played out this NFL season but as always there are some topics that just…don’t…die.  Some need to be revisited while others are as old and pointless as crotch-less panties.  Regardless of where you lie on these stories that will dominate the headlines here are 3 things I would like to see happen this season:

It’s Best To Let A Dead Dog Lie

It seems like Michael Vick will be running forever from the dog fighting charges.

It seems like Michael Vick will be running forever from the dog fighting charges.

I know I’ll catch some flak for this especially the title and I know what Michael Vick did was a hideous not to mention immoral act but he did his time.  He paid his dues to society and currently paying them to the NFL as well.  What more do people want from him?  He lost everything: his money, his assets and not to mention 2 years of his life in the prime of his career.  Everyone deserves a second chance and he has his in the NFL.  Instead of really discussing how the Eagles are going to utilize him on the field, it merely serves as an opening point of discussion about how people are going to react to him wherever he goes.  We’ve all in a situation we fully regret.  We all know what’s it’s like to apologize a thousand time for something yet wish there was something we could have done to get past it all.  Michael Vick is in that same position.  Just the mere fact that a high profile celebrity athlete like Vick was convicted serves as a precedent when so many countless others walked away from arguably more revolting crimes.  I am not a fan of Michael Vick and never have been but I was glad at the overall warm reception he received at his preseason debut. I’ll be the first to say let the man play and get his life back together.  We all would want the same thing so we in turn should give it back to him.

For Brett Favre To Join The ‘Best Athletes Over 40 Club’

It will take longer to get used to seeing Favre in purple & gold than it will be for him to make an impact this season.

It will take longer to get used to seeing Favre in purple & gold than it will be for him to make an impact this season.

Time has never been kind to athletes.  We don’t like to see out heroes struggle in the twilights of their careers in a sport they once dominated.  Brett Favre’s reunion with Brad Childress in Minnesota has created a ruthless tremor in network stations and lockerooms alike.  There has been a mountain of speculation that the Kiln, MS’ favorite son has divided the players and his poor performance in his only preseason appearance amplified the negativity against him.  The talk about him needing to hang with teammates is ridiculous.  He’s only been there a little over a week.  How close would you be at a new job where 71% of the people who worked there were less that 10 years old when you first started out in the business?  He’ll be 40 years old this season and there is an obvious generation gap between him and his teammates.  It will take time to find that commonplace between them.  John Elway felt the same way in the last years of his career.  Like Elway, the place where Favre’s chemistry with them matters most in on the field and not off the field.  Plenty of legendary teammates didn’t get along so why is there pressure of what Favre ‘needs’ to do to relate? Favre commands the huddle and he always earns that respect from his teammates regardless of what they though of him personally.  Also Favre was playing well until his bicep injury surfaced.  He did play poorly down the stretch but he had good reason, which is why I am pulling for him to make another glorious comeback after many doubted his aging ability again.  Favre is the Randy Couture of the NFL and he will show everyone age is just a number when it comes to the most famous #4.  Just give him time.

Already Read the Story…Already Know the Ending

Unfortunately for us T.O is not satisfied with letting his play do his talking.

Unfortunately for us T.O is not satisfied with letting his play do his talking.

Please for all that is scared and good…. do not put a microphone in T.O’s face!  I know this is wishful thinking big time but how many times can we honestly listen to Owens bash another quarterback, organization, etc.?  It’s not a surprise anymore and regardless of what his pitiful reality shows is trying to portray him as, we all know he what he truly is.  There is no reason to cover an occurrence that has repeated every season since becoming the NFL’s premiere ‘look-at-me’ athlete.  We all wondered why Charlie Brown kept trying to kick the football out of Lucy’s hold knowing she was just going to pull it back which leaves me with the same astonishment about what the attraction is in watching a ho like Owens act like one.

There are more stories I would like to see go away but we can’t get everything we want so I would just be happy with these small requests.  With that being said, I’d like to add that I could do without or trade all three of these wishes for a black & gold Superbowl.  The French Quarter would burn to the ground in the likely record setting championship riots that would take place if the Saints won the Superbowl and it would be a small price to pay.  The city is still rebuilding so I think we can handle rebuilding the French Quarter for the sake of the Lombardi Trophy.  While I’m making wishes I might as well go for it all.

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Coming To A Theater Near You: PPV Boxing

Posted in Boxing with tags , , , on August 26, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
I don’t need to see this degenerate on the big screen.

I don’t need to see this degenerate on the big screen.

Fresh off a disastrous weekend for boxing that saw heavyweight promoter Golden Boy Promotions virtually stack the entire deck against an opposing lesser promotion’s fighter now boxing is pimping out yet another bad idea.  What bad timing too.  Over the weekend lightweight contender Paulie Malignaggi was robbed of a decision over Juan Diaz in which everything was put in place to work against him.  Immediately following the announcement Malignaggi & HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman voiced their displeasure on air about the absurd politics that plagues and diminishes their sport.  Now in the wake of the tragedy that was Diaz’s gift decision, Richard Shaefer of Golden Boy Promotions has announced that the upcoming Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight on September 19 will be showing at your local movie theater for the admission price of $15 a shot.  This is an old school way to attract viewers by renewing a concept that was abandoned decades ago.  Broadcasting high level fights in movie theaters is nothing new but hasn’t been done since the late-70s to early-80s.  Now I’m no math wizard but if you have say five guys chip in for a $50 pay-per-view fight at someone’s house that would be $10 a person in between them.  If those same five guys go the movie theater to watch the same PPV then those saps will end up paying $75 total.  Keep in mind you will not be in the comfort of someone you know or your own home.  You will not be able to drink alcohol in the theater and not to mention will not be able to control the noise level inside the theater.  It also won’t give you the vibe a fight at a bar will give you.  It sounds cool when you first hear it but it doesn’t make much sense.  Not even if you are just looking to get out of the house because you can always go by someone else’s house.  The only point to this is to line Oscar De La Hoya’s already golden pockets with more gold and to give Mayweather more breathing room in the bear hug of the IRS.  They’ll get their money regardless so why do something that doesn’t make much sense other than to those who truly benefit from it like DLH and Mayweather?  I mean really?  Really?  To each his own but I’m just saying….

Women’s MMA is ‘The Gina Carano Show’

Posted in MMA with tags , , , on August 26, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
Gina Carano can smile knowing the best has yet to come for her and her young career.

Gina Carano can smile knowing the best has yet to come for her and her young career.

In the aftermath of her historic fight against newly crowned Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Champion Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos, Carano may become a bigger star than she was in the build up of her championship bout with Santos.  A promotional error on Strikeforce’s part was the decision not to feature more potential opponents on the card as well as not signing more talent prior to the match, like newly recruited Erin Toughill, to showcase as a contender for the winner who ultimately became Santos.  It is clear to me that since the official announcement of the overall success of Carano vs. Cyborg was the biggest event in the company’s history, including Frank Shamrock’s highly touted loss to middleweight champion Cung Le, the most intriguing storyline the company can possibly pitch is the comeback of Gina Carano.   Almost the entire event of Carano vs. Cyborg was pushed on Carano’s star power.  She is a proven draw and the Nielsen Ratings System proves that.  Now Strikeforce is basically grasping at straws trying to find a opponent for Cyborg in the meantime while Carano picks up the pieces all the while preserving the vastly skilled, yet virtually unknown, 10-year veteran Toughill as a later attraction.

Toughill (10-2-1) is a likely opponent for both Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg.

Toughill (10-2-1) is a likely opponent for both Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg.

The fight itself received mixed reviews regarding the quality of technique involved but no one can deny the excitement the duel brought.  Carano can receive credit for that too for putting up a much better fight than what was predicted.  In doing so Carano also showed she has the ability to win but as Toughill claims, was unable to capitalize on good opportunities to win the fight due to nerves due for the enormous pressure Carano faced in the moments building up the fight.  With that being said this writer believes that knowing what to expect from Cyborg will make the rematch that much more interesting.  With each fight working her way back up to an eventual rematch against Cyborg people will be glued to see it all unfold.  Throwing Toughill into the division gives Strikeforce the Ali, Frazier & Foreman of women’s MMA with Carano mirroring Ali as the people’s champion.  Like Ali, even without the belt Carano will be the star attraction for the sport.    Gina Carano may no longer need to single-handedly carry the sport of women’s MMA but she will because she is that big of a star.  Her one million watt smile will light up people’s tv screens but when they do they’ll see her exceed her much hyped expectations.  That is the make of the people’s champion and that is Gina ‘Conviction’ Carano.

Hogan Not Acting Like A Hero

Posted in Wrestling with tags , , , , on August 25, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
Can hulk Hogan tell who is kissing him these days?  Left: Jennifer McDaniel - Right:  Brook Hogan

Can Hulk Hogan tell who is kissing him these days? Left: Jennifer McDaniel - Right: Brooke Hogan

Does this picture freak anyone else out?  A relationship between father and daughter is a special but Hulkamania is running a little bit too wild these days dating his daughter Brooke’s body double.  The picture above was taken from a recent concert in Miami for Brooke’s comeback that aired on Brooke’s reality show “Brooke Knows Best” in which Hulk Hogan made a special appearance.  After seeing this I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut anymore.  I want to be fair to one of my childhood heroes but the more I see this unfold the more it wigs me out.  From Brooke taking a peek at her father in the shower at a spa to the Hulkster applying sunscreen to Brooke’s derriere now has Hulk crossing into something disgustingly bizarre.  Sharing an intimate moment with a Brooke look-alike is body slamming the fantastic reputation Hogan built for himself as pro wrestling’s eminent figure along with all his charity work.  Hogan is a good person and unquestionable a great father in many respects but he needs to leg drop his sickness with some professional help.  Ugh, Hogan say your prayers, eat your vitamins and get straight because one father to another: lusting on your daughter is just plain sick.

Mayweather Prepared To Put His Money Where His Mouth Is

Posted in Boxing, MMA with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
Never at a loss for words, what will Dana White say when Mayweather bests his UFC103 card?

Never at a loss for words, what will Dana White say when Mayweather bests his UFC103 card?

The ongoing debate of which is the better combat sport boxing or mixed martial arts it may be the hottest topic since Coca-Cola Original Formula vs. New Coke.  Well maybe not like that since Coca-Cola Original Formula blew away New Coke but since the argument was sparked there have been two men who’ve balked at the other’s claim for their respective sport since the talk began to realistically take shape.  In one corner you have the UFC President Dana White and in the other corner boxing big mouth Floyd Mayweather Jr.  On September 19 fans will have to choose one of the two when Mayweather’s comeback fight goes head-to-head with the UFC103 live on pay-per-view.  It will be the day where both sports take their first literal shots at one another.

Mayweather is known as “Money” for his boisterous bragging about walking around with $300K in his pocket at any given time.  Ironically, “Money” is in desperate need of some as he currently owes $6.4 million dollars to the IRS, his homeowners’ association and even the garbage man is looking for unpaid monies from Mayweather.  I mean what kind of guy doesn’t pay his local garbage man?  Going back to boxing was his only option as he overestimated his popularity despite recent stints on Wrestlemania and the popular “Dancing With The Stars”.  Never looking to possibly blemish his perfect record, Mayweather hand selected Juan Manuel Marquez for his comeback opponent to build his market value with an eventual dream matchup with current pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao in 2010.  Mayweather may be a very talented yet overrated, racist, loudmouth jerk but he’s certainly no dummy.  He is well aware that without an Oscar De La Hoya in the opposite corner he will not make the money he desperately needs. So Mayweather went on the onslaught against MMA to build up his own fight and even booked his date the same night as the UFC 103 PPV card.  Dana White has gone on the offensive by announcing that Spike TV will be airing a full hour of the UFC 103 undercard commercial free which will broadcast during Mayweather’s undercard.  Mayweather vs. Marquez is being met with a collective yawn but Rich Franklin vs. Victor Belfort isn’t exactly stirring much excitement either. 

MMA is the more explosive sport at the moment fresh off the success of its centennial event in July.  Dana White had a golden opportunity to shut up the boxing critics who either fail to see the threat MMA is or know that their sport is endangered.  Yet properly spacing out its elite talent provided a scheduling conflict for the UFC to better challenge Mayweather’s comeback.  UFC100 is the 6th highest selling PPV fight card which is extremely impressive considering that boxing has had a 100 year head start.   In the past ten years boxing has eclipsed the 1 million PPV buy mark 4 times and MMA has done it 3 times in 7 years which is remarkable considering the relative youth of the sport and more recent mainstream acceptance.   Boxing has more stars at its disposal and thus the undercard for Mayweather-Marquez may rival the UFC103 undercard but main events sell fights.  Mayweather is a bigger draw than Franklin and he knows this therefore that could very well be the reason he decided to change the date for his fight and not the bogus injury report from his camp.  Then following Monday, when the rough estimates of PPV buys begin to roll in, White and the rest of the MMA loving fan base will have to endure Mayweather said he told us so.  That may be more painful than Brock Lensar’s ground and pound but White isn’t going to take that lying down so hopefully he can rebound quickly to finally give Mayweather his much anticipated 1st loss.  When that happens then boxing will no longer be able to avoid the revolution that is mixed martial arts.  That is when we all win.

Carano Backlash Unwaranted

Posted in MMA with tags , , , on August 21, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
Despite harsh scrutiny from the blind media, Carano did land her shots on Cyborg

Despite harsh scrutiny from the blind media, Carano did land her shots on Cyborg

It has been almost a week since the monumental Carano-Cyborg fight and the critics continue to deliver Gina Carano another beating in the aftermath of the fight.  I’m a firm believer in that people tend to focus more on finishes than the fight itself.  The severe backlash on Carano’s performance, in my opinion, proves this.  The negativity has been pouring in since the fight labeling the MMA star a farce and another exposed overrated talent of the now defunct Elite XC.  One Yahoo writer even declared that Carano “was beating prostitutes and house wives up until she fought Cyborg”.  Since being handed her first professional loss the pundits continue to question her record & accomplishments.  This is truly sad to me because Gina Carano is the deserving star she has become and this is why:

1)  Gina Carano fought legitimate MMA competitors.  Elite XC was a bad MMA outlet but it was no Tough Woman Contest by far.  Elite XC did in fact overspend and badly manage their product but the fact remains that Gina Carano faced women from the same talent pool as Cris “Cyborg” Santos had fought herself.  Cyborg was running through her opposition as well and just because last Saturday night she was the better woman in the cage does that warrant all of Carano’s victories to be “set ups”?  Promotions have always wanted desired  results from its fights and even the big bad UFC has rendered these ugly habits in their attempt of long denying Lyoto Machida his title shot.  They are not exempt from this poor practice either but why would any promoter build up a star like Gina Carano, whose crossover appeal is without peer at the moment, set her up only to fail against a vastly superior athlete when the returns on their investments would be much more plentiful if Carano would have won?  Think about it.  Carano’s record is no less watered down than Cyborg.  Both women fought the same skill levels in the same promotion.  If you’re going to question one then why not both?

2)  Gina Carano doesn’t owe anybody anything.  It today’s greedy sports world the viewing public apparently have developed a sad demand for their favorite athletes to meet all of their impossible and ridiculous bids. From the moment the fight was announced everyone was hoping it would exceed the billing as an entertaining all-action fight which it was and Carano fought a good fight.  She delivered on all her promises.  When the fight needed attention it was OK to use Gina to build up the event without even thinking of questions her faults, weaknesses or  laurels as a fighter.  I have no problem with her not conducting a post fight interview.  She fought, she lost, remained in the cage (quite emotional understandably so since the weight of the moment was almost extensively on her shoulders), waited for the official announcement then congratulated Cyborg by handing her the inaugural Strikeforce Woman’s 145lbs. championship belt.  She did more for the sport and the fans alike then say Forrest Griffin did after pulling a Roadrunner exit following his loss to Anderson Silva or Ramage Jackson’s drunken police chase after losing his title to Griffin.  She acted like a professional more so than some of the bigger men stars and the last time I checked that’s all should be expected out of a prize fighter.

3) Carano may have lost but she fought a good fight and had chances to win the fight.  As the underdog no one expected Carano to be able to handle Cyborg’s wrestling yet Cyborg was stuffed on almost every take down attempt and in fact Carano was able to put Cyborg down more so than what was expected.  Carano befuddled even Cyborg herself who’s much feared jui-jitsu saw failed heel hook, kimura and arm bar attempts.  Carano remained calm and bested Cyborg submission attempts.  I’m also willing to bet my next born that Cyborg never envisioned herself on the ground with Carano on top in the mount yet that is exactly what happened.  In a severe tactical error, whether it was too much respect for Cyborg’s BJJ or too much confidence in her own Maui Taui, Carano allowed Cyborg to stand which cost her greatly.  Cyborg actually was the one who “fought like a girl” in the sense that she tried several times on clawing Carano’s eyes out.  If if you ever had your eyes attacked you know you can’t see very well immediately after.  The referee did a poor job of limiting Cyborg’s roughhousing tactics which is neither an art nor a discipline but mere street fighting.  MMA is mixed martial arts; not back alley scrapping.  Carano scored with kicks and jabs when there was distance.  People are quick to say that Cyborg walked right through them but jabs and leg kicks are used to establish distance, tempo, control & scoring.  Carano also stunned Cyborg on one of her hooks but in the end Cyborg got in close and overwhelmed Carano with her strength.  There is no shame in that.  There is nothing wrong with losing to Cyborg and it should be recognized as so especially after fairing much better than what the odds-makers and pros predicted.

The double-edged sword dealt to Carano is to be as beautiful as she is and be as deadly as the media would like her to be.  It is sad that in this day and age it’s simply not good enough to “play a good game” anymore.  If Ray Lamotta would be living today there would be no way he would be the star and Hall of Famer he became after losing 5 of 6 fights to Sugar Ray Robinson.  Carano is the real deal and the rightful star of the sport.  She is the ambassador the sport needs and she will bounce back.  She is still the star of women’s MMA and will knock out all this criticism  just as quickly as it was dealt.  Janet Jackson said “what have you done for me lately”.  Well Carano did everything she was supposed to do except to win and that’s OK by me.  She can still kick my ass so why am I to criticize?