Monthly Archives: June 2012

Why You Should Watch UFC 148: Silva VS Sonnen II

One of the biggest MMA fights of the year is taking place July 7th on the UFC 148 card in Las Vegas.  One of the longest running championship reigns in the UFC is being challenged.  Also the most charismatic figure in MMA  is in this fight.  UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva will defend his title against Chael Sonnen in their second battle.  Their first fight took place on August 7th, 2010.  It was an incredible fight and one of the best fights in 2010.  Anderson Silva was losing the fight going into the 5th and final round when he was able to submit Sonnen with less than 2 minutes remaining in the fight.  It was a fight that caused many to demand a rematch.

Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen at a press conference.
(Getty Images)

It has been almost 2 years since their first battle.  Many things have happened in the last couple of years to make it difficult for this fight to take place.  In 2011 Chael Sonnen was dealing with a legal battle involving fraudulent use of his real estate license from 2006.  That issue resulted in Sonnen losing his real estate license.  Almost immediately after that problem was over Sonnen had controversy with the California State Athletic Commission for using PED’s.  It was shown through urinalysis that Sonnen had elevated levels of testosterone during the fight on the 7th of August, 2010.  He was suspended and the rematch was put on hold.  He was recently cleared by the commission and the fight was finally scheduled.

Originally the fight was to take place in Brazil, in Silva’s home country.  The President of the UFC Dana White wanted to have the event held in a big soccer stadium in the country.  It would have made for great visuals and would have made the event very memorable.  Unfortunately the United Nations will be holding a convention in Brazil in July as well.  It was not in Brazil’s or the UFC’s favor to have both events there at the same time.  The UFC 148 show was moved to Las Vegas a couple of months ago to solve the scheduling conflict.

Chael Sonnen holds a record of 27 wins and 11 loses and has a good all around fight game.  Sonnen is not only an incredible fighter but also has the talking ability the world of MMA has never seen before.  He has cut some of the best promos seen in the UFC.  Sonnen has a very pro wrestling style of talking up the fights and that is what the sport needs more of.  It makes the fights feel like big events and is a very entertaining way of promotion for the events.  He is a one of a kind talent that could do very well as a champion for the UFC  and draw big PPV numbers.

Anderson Silva is a completely different man.  Silva is quiet and too himself, the language barrier does not help him being marketable in the US either.  Silva hold s a record of 35 wins and 4 loses.  He has been a UFC Champion since October of 2006 when he defeated Rich Franklin for the middle wieght title.   Silva is a great stand up fighter with good submission skills.  He has dominated most of his fights in the last 6 years.  There have been times however when matched up against lesser fighters where he has settled into a groove during the fight and not been very aggressive.  Sonnen showed in the first fight that he can get Silva out of that groove and make him fight.

Chael Sonnen pushing Anderson Silva to the limit during their 1st fight on August 7th,2010.
(Getty Images)

This fight will probably be the best selling fight of the year for the UFC on PPV.  Some are predicting more than 1 million PPV buys.  I expect it to be a great fight, maybe even better than their first contest.  I predict that Sonnen will win the fight via decision in 5 rounds.  No matter who wins we will have great stories coming out of this fight.  Either we will see Silva further cement his place as the best fighter in the UFC or we see their most charismatic champion ever.  I think Sonnen winning would be a better outcome for the UFC.  Sonnen has the potential to be one of their biggest PPV drawing buys since George St. Pierre and Brock Lesnar.  The time to find out who takes this rematch is almost here and the fans and the MMA world can wait for it any longer.

It’s Time For The Magic To Trade Dwight Howard

The NBA Draft is coming up this week and that means many story lines for many teams will take a twist through trades and picks.  The biggest possible trade story leading up to the Draft is will the Magic trade Dwight Howard away for some great picks or even top level players.  I have no faith that the Magic will take advantage of teams wanting Howard and wanting him now.   Teams like the Houston Rockets are trading players and moving up in the 1st round with 3 picks in the top 20 as of Tuesday.  Howard’s contract is up in 2013 and the Rockets want him prior to his contract expiring.  The Magic might have a good opportunity to do something about their “Dwight Drama”.

Dwight Howard on draft day 2004 after being selected with the 1st overall pick by the Magic.
(Getty Images)

The Story of Dwight Howard and the Magic has been a complicated one.  The Magic drafted Howard out of high school in 2004 with the 1st overall pick.  Howard over the years has developed into one of the best big men in the game and has had some success with the team.  Howard led the Magic to the 2009 NBA Finals where they were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games.  The Magic have been contenders in the Eastern Conference for the last few years in large part to Howard.  Dwight Howard has however also brought a lot of controversy to Orlando with his talent.  He had a very public feud with the Magic’s former Head Coach Stan Van Gundy.  It got really ugly during last season and Van Gundy was fired earlier this summer.  Howard also brought drama near the trade deadline when he was not signing his clause to come back for his final year of his contract.  He ended up signing hours before the deadline and the Magic did not trade him.  It was a smart move for the Magic to put the pressure on Howard and to not trade him at the time when a trade for him would not yield enough in return for the Magic.

I say the time to pull the trigger is on draft night.  The Magic could possibly be offered some really good deals and should strongly consider every one they receive.  The Magic need not look to far into their past to be reminded why they should get rid of Howard before his contract expires.

In 1996 Shaq left the Magic for the Lakers in a similar situation where the team was not willing to give him exactly what he wanted and headed elsewhere.  Shaq left and the Magic had nothing to show for it, they would have gotten a mega trade if they would have just looked around instead of fooling themselves that they could resign him.

Dwight Howard has made it no secret that he would like to play for the soon to be Nets of Brooklyn or for the Dallas Mavericks.  The relationship between the Magic and Howard is just too volatile for it to continue.  The Magic for a long time have been fooling themselves again that like Shaq that they can resign the star.  I think there is no way he would sign with the Magic again even if the money was right.  Howard is an awesome talent but he is just not going to stay with the team any longer than he needs to. The Magic cannot afford to have Howard leave and get nothing in return.  He is too good of a talent and a player of his caliber could yield players that could build this team for the future. The Magic owe it to the city of Orlando and their fans to send Howard packing.  So as the saying goes “THE TIME IS NOW!”

A College Football Playoff Is No Longer A Dream

One of the biggest sports stories of the year and possibly the last decade happened today.  The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Presidential Oversight Commitee signed the documents that will remove the BCS System and put a 4 team tournament in its place.  It was the most hotly debated and demanded topic in the history of college football.  Even the President of the United States weighed in with his opinion on the subject.

The BCS is soon to be gone, good riddance.
(Photo by: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The BCS lasted for 14 years and was created to settle the controversy created by the bowl system that was formerly in place.  The previous system would have team play their final games of the season in bowl games that a lot of the times did not help their case for being #1 and National Champions.  The BCS was supposed to bring order by having the top 2 ranked teams battle it out to crown a National Champion.  It however created a lot of controversy instead.  There have been many teams over the years that have gone undefeated and still were out of the championship game.  There was also a lot of corruption with the BCS Executives taking advantage of the system and wrongly using money to fund parties and put in their wallets.  So the BCS can die a horrible death and rot as far as most football fans are concerned.

Up until now football was the only NCAA sport that did not have a tournament to crown it champion.  In fact the NCAA has not endorsed one single BCS champion as being their champion.

The 4 team tournament system will start in 2014.  That means that we will have two more BCS years but essentially the BCS is dead after that.  The fans of college football all breathed a sigh of relief today knowing that the end of a horrible system is soon to be gone.

The new tournament will be a breath of fresh air for college football.  I do however feel that the tournament should expand to at least 8 teams but hey you have to crawl before you walk.  At least they are giving it a go.  The tournament will mean more excitement and drama not only during the final games but during the season when teams will be fighting to get in.  Sure, there will still be some controversy about some teams not getting in but at least you will have a semifinal and a final to let the teams battle it out.  The way college football is set up with so many teams and many great ones will mean that only the best teams will play for the National Championship.

For decades the college football scene has needed a tournament and the fans have been demanding it.  For a very long time it appeared that we would never see a tournament in college football.  Now everyone can sleep easy knowing that the light is at the end of the tunnel.

Lebron Is Not Free From Scrutiny Yet

Lebron James with the one prize that eluded him for over 9 years.
(Photo By: David Dow/Getty Images)

So the craziest thing happened on Thursday night, well maybe it was not so crazy after all.  Lebron James and the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship over the Thunder.  James who is one of the best players in basketball captured his first NBA Title.  It should be no surprise that he won a ring but for many it is.  James has had many ups and downs during his 9 year career and had 2  failed Finals opportunities.  It was what he had done in those 9 years that made a lot of fans skeptical.  He should a lot of immaturity and also made a lot of bad decisions when the pressure was turned up.  He was able to overcome all of that but he still has not won the hearts of many.

Lebron showed how much he had grown up during this playoff run.  He not only had his best playoff games and stats ever but he also handled the loses and the dealings with the media better.  Now of course James is not the only player on the Heat but he is their focal point and as he goes so does the team.  The Heat are a talented group with two other superstars in Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade plus a good cast of supporting players.  They can win without James but need him to win it all.  He came through big during this post season and we should be seeing more of this in the years to come.

The “James Haters” are still out there and they are showing everyone that they are not going anywhere.  In many ways James created a lot of this himself.  He turned a lot of people off during his time in Cleveland with his behavior during their failed post season runs.  His biggest offense would have to be the way he left Cleveland and let the world know where he was going.   In a live prime time special James from a Boys and Girls Club in Ohio told the world he would be going to…Maimi, really?  James may never let that one down.

Most of James’ faults in the past could have been put away with the Heat capturing the NBA Championship on Thursday.  Except there is one more thing lingering around.  When he went to Miami in 2010 the Heat had this ridiculous pep rally event to show off James and he said something that will haunt him probably until he retires.  The great Lebron told the fans of Miami that they were not only winning 1 championship but 6.  Yeah he really said that.  Whether that will happen is unlikely but even if it was he made a bad move by saying that.  Because he said that it takes away from every championship he will win until he reaches that number.  The anti-Lebron fans and media will not forget that anytime soon if ever.

Lebron has accomplished great things in the league and has finally got the championship monkey off of his back.  He still has a ways to go to clear his image.  If he continues to mature and wins another championship or two it is possible the haters will disappear.  If he doesn’t then Lebron will be remembered not only for his incredible talent but also being known as the most polarizing player in the history of the NBA and maybe even professional sports.

Lebron VS Durant, Who Will Take The Title?

Kevin Durant (Left) and Lebron James (Right), two of the NBA’s best take to the court to see who is the best in the NBA Finals.
(photo by: Troy Ballard/Getty Images)

Tonight Game 1 of the NBA Finals takes place tonight. The Miami Heat will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City. Two of the NBA’s best player will match up in the same position in the same series for the greatest prize in all of Basketball.

The Heat have gone through the playoffs with some minor issues but did not really have a problem until the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. The Heat ended up taking the series in 7 games. Lebron had a incredible game 6 in that series where he scored 45 points and had 15 rebounds. Lebron proved a lot of the critics wrong that said he can’t win an elimination playoff game. The series with the Celtics has prepped the Heat and Lebron for their battle with the Thunder.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder have also had a good playoff run this year. The worst situation they were in was in their Western Conference Finals series against the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder were losing the series by 2 games to 0 until they kicked things into gear and won the next 4 games to take the series. The Thunder impressed by taking the series from a very tough spurs team that was undefeated until they matched up with the Thunder. Kevin Durant is the leader of the Thunder and has been one of the best in basketball for the last couple of years. The Thunder want to show the world what they have on the big stage and they will get their opportunity tonight.

This is a very intriguing match up between the Thunder and Heat. The most intriguing aspect has to be Lebron VS Durant.

Durant is the young player that keeps getting better every year and with in no time could be the best player from year to year. He and Lebron were neck and neck this year for the MVP trophy of this season. Durant is a player that in no time will be a mega star.

Lebron is an incredible player and will probably go down as one of the top 10 players ever in the league. Lebron has caused a lot of criticism with his falling apart in games when he needs to step up. He has also never won an NBA Title yet, many thought it would be a short time before he won a title when he was drafted in 2003. Oh yeah, Lebron also pissed off the city of Cleveland and a nation of basketball fans when he left the Cavs in 2010 to play for the Miami Heat on a super team with 3 big stars. The Heat lost in 6 games to the Dallas Mavericks last year in the same NBA Finals.

Can Lebron win his 1st NBA Championship? Can Kevin Durant win his 1st also and defeat the great Lebron and the Heat? We will find out pretty soon. I think this will be a very close series. I think that Kevin Durant and the Thunder can take this series in 6 or 7 games. I feel Lebron will not take the title for another year in a row. He just does not have the heart and I don’t know if he will ever take a ring home. Durant is going to amaze a lot of fans and the sports world this series. He will probably take his 1st title and show that he is the new big superstar once and for all. It is just a matter of time before we see how it all unfolds. It will be a series to enjoy no matter what happens.

The Kings Cup

The Kings Game 2 star Jeff Carter celebrates with hockey’s most prized trophy the Stanley Cup.
(Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Kings shocked the sports world during this NHL postseason.  At a time when NHL coverage on the news and sports channels usually takes a back seat to what is happening in the NBA’s postseason,  the Kings had all of the attention.  On Monday night the Kings won Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the New Jersey Devils. It was   their first Stanley Cup trophy in the franchises 45 year history.

It was an amazing year for the Kings who began the year with not very high expectations.  Some figured they could make the playoffs but no one had any idea what was about to occur when the season kicked off last Fall.

The Kings had an average regular season finishing with a record of 40 wins, 27 loses and 15overtime loses.  When April started and the final games before the post season were about to be played many thought the Kings would not even qualify for the playoffs.  Well they did but barely and got the placed in the playoffs as the 8th seed.  The Kings faced off against the 1st seeded Vancouver Canucks and shocked the hockey world by taking the series in 5 games.  It was their first time making it out of the first round since 2001.  The Kings then swept the 2nd seeded St. Louis Blues and the hockey world started to think, maybe these guys are for real.  It was confirmed when the Kings took game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Phoenix Coyotes by a score of 4-3 in overtime to advance into the Finals.  The Kings made history during this incredible playoff run by being the first 8th seeded team to beat both the 1st and 2nd seeded teams in the playoffs.

There were high expectations for the Kings by the time they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals.  They were so dominant and seemed to breeze through the first 3 rounds.  The Kings did not lose any road games during the first 3 rounds of the NHL postseason.  The Kings had about a week off before the Cup was to begin.  Some were worried they might lose the momentum they had built up in the previous month of play.  Momentum ended up not being a problem for the Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Stanley Cup Finals started on May 30th between the Kings and the Devils.  Game 1 took place in New Jersey and the sports world was on the edge of it seat to see if the Kings could keep up their incredible run and capture the cup.  The Kings took game 1 in overtime by a score of 2-1 with a goal from Anze Kopitar.  Game 2 was a similar story when both teams were tied 1-1 after 3 periods.  The Kings received a goal from Jeff Carter to win the game 2-1 over the Devils.

Games 3 and 4 took place in L.A. at the Staples Center.  The Kings would blow out the veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur and the Devils 4 goals to 0.  As game 4 approached it looked like the Kings would get the sweep and make NHL History not only for their playoff run but their Finals run as well.  With game 4 came disappointment came with a 3-1 lose as the series would then head back to New Jersey for game 5.

Game 5 was another disappointment with a close 2-1 lose.  But the good news was that the series was headed back to L.A. for game 6 and the Kings were only 1 win away from the Championship.

Game 6 brought an incredible blow out victory.  The Kings goaltender Johnathan Quick was named the series MVP for his great play during the Finals.  Quick also had a great postseason overall winning 16 games and only losing 4 over the month and a half playoff season. The Kings defeated the Devils 6-1 and sealed their place in NHL History as one of the most surprising champions to have ever come out of the NHL postseason.

This Stanley Cup victory will never be forgotten by the hockey world or the sports world for that matter.  The city of L.A. needed this victory at a time when the Lakers and Clippers both were knocked out of the NBA Playoffs early.  The city of L.A. got red hot over the Kings outstanding postseason run.  Many casual fans that disappeared when Wayne Gretzky left the team for the Rangers in the late 90’s were back.  The American Hockey scene needed this victory as well.  This could spark excitement and push the sport even further in the American Culture.

The Kings are as they proved a very talented and young team that could dominate the NHL for years to come.  I know that many fans will be waiting for next season to see if the Kings return to their 2012 playoff form.  But until then we should acknowledge how great of a team this was and how much of a story book playoff run this 2011-2012 Kings team had.  Long live the Kings!

NHL History That May Go Unseen By Many

The L.A. Kings and the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals
(Getty Images)

The L.A. Kings are charging through the Stanley Cup Finals this week.  The Kings are up on the New Jersey Devils by 3 games.  The Kings have the chance to sweep the Devils in game 4 on Wednesday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.  If the Kings win the Stanley Cup they will be known as one of the greatest playoff teams in the history of the sport.  It has been an improbable run for the Kings but they have shown everyone what they can do on the ice during this post season.  A sweep would make the 2011-2012 Kings story and legacy even greater.  The unfortunate thing about game 4 is that many fans will not be able to watch the broadcast and will miss seeing NHL history made on live television.

Game 4 of the Cup will be aired on the NBC Sports Network (NBCS).  NBCS is in far fewer homes than most cable networks.  The first 2 games of the Stanley Cup aired on the main NBC Network, if needed games 5, 6 and 7 will also be on the Network channel.  Due to scheduling issues games 3 and 4 were relegated to the fledgeling sports network.

Late last year the NHL signed a 10 year deal with NBC.  It was a good deal for many reasons.  It will bring more nationally televised games to the American audience.  Weekly hockey nights air during the season.  The playoffs also receive great coverage between the NBC family of networks.  The down side is what we are witnessing this week.  One of the most important games of the series for both teams will largely go unseen.

This television deal is however a lot better than what was previously in place for the NHL.  Most of the games were televised on VS. which this year became NBCS.  The problem the NHL had on the VS. Network was that many fans did not get the channel in their homes.  Even though there has been a name change there has not been a big increase in homes that receive the channel.  At least the NHL does get a lot of games on National TV now via the main NBC Network.

The NHL had better television deals in the past that catered to the national audience.  During the 90’s the NHL had a deal with FOX and covered the NHL and the Stanley Cup Finals very well.  Probably the best deal they have ever had in the US was with ESPN.  Even though ESPN is a cable network, it has a very wide reach and many people have access to the channel.  The NHL also received a lot more coverage on the networks flagship show Sportscenter.  The NHL’s relationship ended after the 2003-2004 season.  ESPN has cut a lot of hockey coverage in the past few years.  Hockey has seen a drop in popularity in the US due to the way the television coverage has been in the last 7 years.

I understand that television deals are a very complicated thing.  Their however is no reason why the Stanley Cup finals should not be carried in it entirety on the NBC Network.  The NHL needs to get this situation changed so it no longer happens.  The early parts of the NHL Playoffs can and should be on all the networks under the NBC umbrella, not the Stanley Cup Finals.  It is a great tradition with a even greater history and should be treated as such.

If you get NBCS in your home, I suggest you watch and enjoy the greatness of the Stanley Cup Finals and the story of a great Kings team.  If you don’t get NBCS there is only one thing you can do,  Wait for the highlights.