Tag: UFC

Making Sports Great Again: It’s Time!

 

“Welcome to this oasis of freedom.” — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

The UFC has led since the earliest days of the latest novel coronavirus and the pandemic. Always focused on real safety and on connecting fighters with audiences, Dana White and the company immediately designed protocols to stage events with everyone tested. From the earliest days, they were clear that there was no money in partially filled venues. Keep it on video or go big. Finally, Florida is getting a chance to shine as the first location to return to true normality.

Observations on the Masters Tournament Sunday 2021

 

crossed golf clubsFirst, it is still proudly the Masters in 2021. It is still the Masters in Georgia in 2021, and the course and clubhouse are not festooned with self-abasing slogans. I am only a very casual fan of sports, prefer high-level mixed martial arts to most other professional sports, and yet enjoy watching a good final round of golf played by the best in the world. This Sunday afternoon, after three preceding days of play, a Japanese man stood at the top of the leader board, with four men tied four strokes back. As they all turned onto the back nine, Hideki Matsuyama was holding or extending his lead one hole at a time. This was compelling viewing, versus the not-so-earnest politicized nonsense being put on by basketball and baseball organizations.

I say not-so-earnest because the NBA courts are now missing the big bold signs signaling supposed virtue. They seem to be back to trying to pay their massive salary overhead with commercial sponsors’ branding. The college basketball courts still had the false premises “UNITY” “EQUALITY” painted in bold all caps on their sidelines for the NCAA basketball tournament. My read of the signs on the two levels of men’s basketball is that the NBA players, who entirely control their league, have declared mission accomplished. Their parlor pink comrades are in full control of the national government, which was the whole point of the past year’s posturing. Never mind that President Trump was objectively better for black Americans of every economic level and showed more real respect for black citizens than the party of Xiden and the KKK ever has. The vanguard of the proletariat gets paid in every “people’s revolution.”

But let’s not spoil a perfectly good Sunday afternoon with the antics of the super-rich. Let’s enjoy a really great walk unspoiled by athletes striking political poses instead of balls.

Kayleigh Crushes Them

 

Kayleigh McEnany Beast ModeKayleigh McEnany took the leftist jackals of the press corps down to the canvas repeatedly and unleashed devastating rhetorical fists and elbows. The jackals cannot help themselves, anymore than the scorpion on the river bank. Monday, August 31, we witnessed a work of art.

Ladies and gentlemen! Set down your beverage and prepare for the main event with the reigning, the undisputed women’s flyweight champion of the political world. In the words of Bruce Buffer: “Iiiiiiits Tiiime!”

It’s Tiiiime … Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!

 

Professional sports started breaking free from the COVID-19 craziness this past weekend. UFC led the way, followed by a more timid, painfully politically correct NASCAR. Meanwhile, the boys of summer looked to be dropping the ball again, Major League Baseball likely losing bigly in a squeeze play between the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and National Football League. Between the NASCAR messaging and UFC, I’ll likely be watching UFC, not NASCAR, this year.

“It’s . . . TIIIME!” 

Beauty Goes Beast-mode

 

The opening moments of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s second press conference called to mind a dominant mixed martial arts fighter taking down her opponent in the very first exchange of a championship bout. Since the UFC rules provide for championship fights of 5 five minute rounds, it was fitting that McEnany closed out the briefing in just under 25 minutes. I thought of women’s featherweight and bantamweight champion Amanda “Lioness” Nunes, but then thought that, in terms of style, Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko was a better analogy.

What on earth am I talking about? Mixed martial arts have become just that, taking successful techniques from all unarmed “pure” combat sports. You may recall that an Olympic judoka, Ronda Rousey, established women’s place in the UFC. You may not know that she was ultimately driven out of the sport by effective strikers, ultimately dispatched to big time wrastlin’ by Amanda Nunes’ devastating combination of punches and Brazilian jujitsu takedown and grappling defense.

Rousey, you see, never learned a few basic wrestling moves, called “takedowns.” That is, she was always looking for a standup flip or throw rather than “changing levels,” dropping under her opponent’s fists to drive her shoulders through the thighs or hips. This is called “shooting,” as the fighter are dropping and driving forward or at an angle with the full power of your rear leg. From that move, she can get into all sorts of striking or grappling attacks. Here is what that basic move looks like on a training mat:

Diaz Doesn’t Dope

 

Nate DiazThis is not a political story, in the party-politics sense at least. It is a story about protecting your reputation in the face of bureaucracy, modern corporate calculations, and the 24/7 cable sports and social media environment. The protagonist is one of two brothers who have fought professionally for practically their whole lives, and who are now reaching the age cruel to combat sports practitioners. In considering the latest tale of Nate Diaz, brother of Nick, we might find generally applicable lessons. In that sense, maybe you could take it as a parable for the politics of our day.

Nate Diaz officially weighs in at a very long and lean 170 pounds in the UFC. He has won 22 of his 33 professional fights. He fought his way into the UFC, out of other lower-level promotions, by winning the Ultimate Fighter 5 tournament. He is known as a working-class brawler from the rough part of town in Stockton, California, yet his victories break down 5 knockouts/ 12 submissions/ 4 decisions. That is, he is more likely to win choking or manipulating an arm until his opponent taps out, surrendering to avoid serious damage. At the same time, that mixture of wins and losses points away from ever being a fair-haired boy in the organization.

The Diaz brothers have always been known for playing the rebel; the “don’t give a [redacted]” fighters. This matters to our tale. Nate Diaz has also been known for fighting clean, long before the UFC teamed up with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for a rigorous anti-doping regime. Nate has been vegetarian for a very long time, and he has that super-lean look all the time. He occasionally eats eggs or seafood, but these fit within the broad category of “vegetarian” practice and mean he is not exposed to the flesh of animals fed or injected with growth chemicals. He runs, really runs, all the time, so has endurance to burn. It can be the fifth five-minute round in a championship or main event and Nate Diaz can come out of his corner with a blur of hands and feet striking from all angles. This matters to our tale.