Archive for December, 2009

2009 Female Fighter of the Year: Gina Carano

Posted in MMA with tags , , , on December 31, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

Gina Carano was the cornerstone for women's MMA in 2009.

The 1st thing that comes to mind when reading this is how can I say Gina Carano is the Female Fighter of the Year when she lost her only fight in 2009 to Cris “Cyborg” Santos?  The answer is simple.  I chose Carano as the best 2009 had to offer is because she was women’s MMA in 2009. Also for the victory that it was for the women, to headline a major MMA event, could have never been realized without Carano.   As one of the biggest MMA success stories in ’09, Strikeforce:  Carano vs. Cyborg, it was easily one of  the most historical events in history as well .  She didn’t have the best year in the cage but her contributions outweigh anything else her peers accomplished this year.

Gina Carano made women fighters marketable to corporate America with her Pepsi endorsement which aired on Superbowl Sunday.

Thanks to Gina Carano, women’s MMA reached the pinnacle of the sport and it came at a heavy price.  Facing a beast of an opponent,  Carano willingly sacrificed valuable training time by enduring the smothering exposure that came from a heavy promotion built almost exclusively on her own star power.  No athlete in the world meant as much to their gender’s success in sport like Gina Carano. She dealt with unforeseen and astronomical pressure in making her title fight with Cyborg a success.  Until her Elite XC debut in 2007, no one cared or fully accepted women’s MMA until she broke into the spotlight.  The stark contrast in the two women was media bliss but it was Carano who sold the fight with a perfect blend of uncanny skill, tons of charisma and of course her movie star looks.  Had she had nothing to offer as an athlete it would have been declared a desperate novelty act, but Carano was as good as her billing and when it mattered most Carano delivered on all fronts.

Carano had the championship within her grasp against Cyborg.

Carano had the championship within her grasp against Cyborg.

A back-and-forth battle derived that had a packed house at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA standing on their feet for the bout’s entirety.  It was an all-action fight thatprovided more action than most of the guys did in their own encounters. Had a quick knockout occurred then the sport would have died right there and then, but now women like Erin Toughill, Marloes Coenen and champion Cyborg Santos now have the opportunity to showcase their skills to grander audiences without fear of repercussion. Carano put up a good fight and could have beaten her stellar opponent proving that she was not the next Anna Kournikova.  She is championship material and the world fully accepted women’s MMA due to her brave performance.  Paving the path for future stars is the greatest courtesy one can execute for their sport.  When considered what has transpired for women’s MMA it’s hard not to mention Carano’s name.  It’s an superlative achievement and justifying her as the best of 2009.

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2009 Fighter of the Year: Georges St. Pierre

Posted in MMA with tags , , , on December 31, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

No one had a resume in 2009 like Georges "Rush" St. Pierre

As we enter the last year of the decade, it’s time to look back at the best of 2009.  In combat sports, fighters only compete about twice a year.  For those few times a year where we are fortunate enough to witness the best at their craft, it becomes the rare opportunity to evaluate who is truly the very best.  In 2009, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre emerged as the man on top of the MMA mountain.

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St. Pierre pummeled Penn to end a 3 year debate of who is better.

Naturally there will be a few detractors claiming Anderson Silva was the year’s best or even “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko.  It could not be further from the truth as neither man engaged in two mega matches like GSP did in 2009.  At UFC94, GSP faced an old and dangerous foe in “The Prodigy” BJ Penn.  Their 1st encounter in 2006 resulted in a split decision in favor of GSP and the rematch was as highly anticipated as any rematch in recent memory.  GSP and Penn are MMA’s two most well rounded athletes who neutralize each other in many ways to make for a very compelling match up.  Unlike Anderson & Fedor’s foes in ’09, BJ Penn can be found on virtually every Pound for Pound list.  Georges St. Pierre smashed Penn from the opening frame until Penn’s corner mercifully stopped the beating at the end of Round 4. The victory further distanced GSP from the rest of his peers.

GSP bullied "The Pitbull" and established himself the best of 2009.

Not to rest on his laurels, at UFC’s centennial event St. Pierre would face #1 contender Thiago Alves.  The larger and hard-hitting Alves had many believing it would be the end of the GSP era in the welterweight division.  Georges St. Pierre would prove his doubters wrong again through five brutal rounds. He punished Alves with a perfect mixture of boxing, wrestling and a nice dose of ground and pound.  Alves was a bigger threat to GSP than any of Anderson or Fedor’s challengers were to their respective reigns.  Even the pulled groin muscle GSP suffered in the 3rd round wasn’t enough to prevent him from steamrolling through Alves.  He took Alves’ best shots that lay to rest any concerns regarding his chin.  Immediately following the final bell, a bloodied and battered Alves raised St. Pierre’s hand paying homage to 2009’s king of MMA.

By trouncing a future Hall of Famer and the baddest welterweight other than himself, St. Pierre’s brilliance in 2009 has made him virtually peerless in MMA’s most talented division in the sport’s most competitive organization.  He continues to be a great ambassador for the sport and a model for MMA’s future.  It cannot be denied that he is, without doubt, the runaway choice for Best Fighter of 2009.

2009 KO of the Year: Dan Henderson KO of Michael Bisping

Posted in MMA with tags , on December 31, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

Dan Henderson's massive right to Michael Bisping's jaw left a powerful impact to all who saw it.

If you saw it then you’ll never forget it.  If you missed it, you checked it out afterwards either online or on Sportscenter.  Wherever you were when you saw Dan Henderson’s highlight reel knockout of Michael Bisping, surely it made you jump out of your seat.  Henderson’s overhand right from hell on Bisping not only was the KO of the year but one of the absolute best of all-time.  Henderson also added a little “Hollywood” flare to the KO went he into Mortal Kombat mode and finished Bisping with a flying right hook.  Knockouts are the most exhilarating moments in sports and Henderson took our breath away with this one.

NFL Throwdown Week 16

Posted in NFL with tags , , , on December 29, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley
  • Thanks to Ryan Longwell’s blocked kick and Adrian Peterson’s ongoing fumbling issues, the road to Miami for the NFC goes through New Orleans.
  • Everyone can jump off the Vince Young bandwagon now.  He’s been average at best when facing the conference powerhouses.  Furthermore it was disgusting to watch the Chargers’ secondary let Chris Johnson run by them for a 30 yard score in garbage time.  When chasing a record those numbers should be earned and it slightly waters down the terrific season compiled by Johnson.
  • The Bengals clinch their 2nd playoff berth in 20 years by claiming the AFC North title in their victory over the Chiefs.  And I thought the wait at the DMV was bad.
  • The Cowboys finally put an end to their December woes.  Now not only do they find themselves fighting for the NFC East title against the Eagles in the season finale, but also the possibility of being the #2 seed.  Somebody up there hates me.
  • The Eagles squeezed out a win over the Broncos in a back & forth battle to remain the hottest team in the NFC.
  • Not far behind the Eagles are the Green Bay Packers who may have closed the book on Matt Hasselbeck’s career.
  • The Steelers suddenly have woken up and gained that sense of urgency to save their season.  Apparently they only want to beat the good teams in the league.
  • If only Randy Moss had not pissed and moaned all season, the Patriots could have finished with a much better record.  With Brady and Moss on the same page again they once again look like the team no one wants to face again.
  • The Saints put on a pathetic display for a team trying to lock up home field advantage.  They do not deserve home field advantage and the Superdome will be the best place for any visiting NFC team in the playoffs.  Who dat say gonna git dem Saints back to their winning ways?
  • Jim Caldwell pulled the Colts’ starters with a 15-10 lead to rest them for the playoffs.  Although the 2nd string couldn’t sustain the lead and the Colts lost the pursuit for perfection.  Whether it was a bad decision or not is questionable, but the Colts earned the right to do what they felt was the higher priority.

    Manning all but locked up a record 4th MVP award by honorably coaching 3rd string QB Curtis Painter in the latter part of Sunday's game.

  • Garrett Hartley is the loneliest guy in New Orleans after missing what could have been the game-winning kick.

Indy Fans Should Stick It

Posted in NFL with tags , , , , on December 28, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

Curtis Painter did what he could and it was perfectly fine even if the cretins in the stands failed to realize it.

The ill-bred fans of the Indianapolis Colts missed the memo.  It read that there are 31 other cities who wish their teams were in the position their Colts were in earlier today.  Not since the infamous Cleveland bottle throwing incident in 2001, have I witnessed such idiocy from a home crowd.  The decision to boo the team for passing on the perfect season shows how blind they really are.  Curtis Painter is a 3rd string quarterback on a team who is the favorite to win the Superbowl.  He is a man trying to make a living in a game where he has had less action than the ball boys at Lucas Oil Stadium.  He is a 3rd string quarterback that played with a 2nd string offense simply because winning the Superbowl is more important than chasing perfection.  Just ask Tom Brady.  A perfect season is a tough task to accomplish and the Colts learned from the 2007 Patriots team.  A perfect season loses its luster if doesn’t end with a Lombardi Trophy.  Resting starters now gives the team a much better chance of being showered in confetti on February 7th.  Furthermore, Painter didn’t deserve it.  Having the opportunity to play quarterback in the NFL at any given time is a privelage.  It is an honor that should be celebrated.  What does anyone expect given his situation?  Facing a the best pass defense in the league with a 2nd string O, the odds were immensly stacked against him.  The bottom line is that he tried his best and it was good enough for his team.  Therefore it should be ok by anyone else as well.

NFL Throwdown Week 15

Posted in NFL with tags , , on December 22, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

Jerome Harrison ran past the great Jim Brown with his record breaking performance against the Chiefs.

  • Unlike in seasons past, the Colts’ success this season seems different this year.  With another exceptional game in the books, the Colts reached another level and no one is even close at this point.
  • The Saints suck.  Their luck finally ran out against the Cowboys.  Time to panic in the bayou with the injuries piling up, the secondary getting lit up every week, the abandonment of the running game….
  • Randy Moss must have been listening because he came to play in the Patriots win against the Bills.
  • If you didn’t know the Cleveland Browns’ Jerome Harrison was before this week, you sure know him know after his 286 yard/3 touchdown performance in a game for the ages against the Chiefs.
  • Brett Favre refuses to get benched, loses the game to the Panthers (2 of their last 3 altogether), blurs the hierarchy of the team, possibly gift wrapped home field advantage to the Saints and now will force his 40 year body to play the season through as this Vikings’ #2 seed, once a lock, is now in serious jeopardy.
  • The AFC playoff picture is as tight as a duck’s asshole and that’s watertight.
  • In an aerial assault that saw almost 900 yards of combined passing, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers put on a passing clinic in a game no one will ever forget.  Too bad there had to be a winner.  It may have been the win the Steelers needed to get back in the hunt thanks to Mike Wallace’s ridiculous game-winning catch.

The mad bomber, Ben Roethlisberger, let it air out for 503 yards to keep the Steeler’s playoff aspirations on life support.

NFL Throwdown Week 14

Posted in NFL with tags , , , on December 16, 2009 by Dallas O'Malley

Santonio Holmes: "What the hell is going on here?"

  • Can it get any worse for the defending champion Steelers after losing to the Browns?
  • The Saints are making barely escaping with wins a bad habit.
  • Just when you started to doubt the Vikings they prove the loss against the Cardinals was a fluke.  Beating the Bengals was a strong statement heading into the playoffs
  • The cancer known as Randy Moss is infecting the Patriots once potent offense. In fact, 8 of Tom Brady’s 11 interceptions have come when targeting Randy Moss.  It’s only a matter of time before this situation gets really ugly.
  • The Dolphins are the most resilient team in football right now.  They refuse to go away.  By trouncing the Jaguars, the Dolphins are rewriting the playoff picture.
  • The race to 2,000 yards continues as Chris Johnson has tallied up 1,626 yards in 13 games.  Johnson needs 480 yards in the next 3 games (160 average) to break Erick Dickerson’s 25 year old record.  Hopefully he falls short.
  • Nothing new from Decembers past as the Cowboys got stampeded again.
  • Chargers and Eagles are looking like the teams no one wants to play in January.
  • Peyton Manning is unstoppable this season and the Colts are looking like they have no peer in the AFC.
  • The West is far from won as long as the 49ers have anything to say about it.

Fresh back from a concussion suffered 2 weeks ago, DeSean Jackson is emerging as the most explosive receiver in the game right now.

Alex Smith has everyone talking about the 49ers once again.