Monthly Archives: August 2012

“The Fall Out” How Jon Jones Killed UFC 151

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones helped make history this past week.  It was not good history by any means.  The UFC was forced to cancel their September 1st show in Las Vegas.  Jones is completely responsible for this cancellation.  When his challenger went down due to injury on Thursday a wild ride began that did not slow down until Friday afternoon.

Jon Jones
(Getty Images)

UFC President Dana White was able to get a replacement in Chael Sonnen.  Jones would not face Sonnen with only 8 days before the fight.  Jones’ Coach Greg Jackson tried to take the blame for not letting his fighter take the fight.  With that situation Dana White was forced to cancel the show and blamed Jackson for being a “sport killer”.

The next option for the fight was Lyoto Machida.  Machida was due a title shot but not this soon.  It was announced that Machida would take the place of Henderson and the fight would be moved to the UFC 152 show on September 22nd in Toronto.  Machida later declined and the UFC went after another former champion to fill the spot.  That former champion was Shogun Rua, he too declined the fight.

With no other options for a main event fighter for Jones, Dana White chose UFC veteran Vitor Belfort.  Belfort accepted and the fight will take place on the UFC 152 show.   Belfort has great hands but does not have the genetic gifts that Jones possesses.  Belfort is much like a Dan Henderson type fighter in the sense that he is a dangerous veteran that could win but will likely lose.  This 24 hour period of insanity is a true low point for the UFC.

Traditionally when a fighter goes down due to injury the replacement is usually accepted by the remaining fighter.  Jones did not want to follow suit.  Because of this he will drive his appeal down with a fan base that does not really see him as a star yet.  Jones is a fan favorite for the hardcore MMA fans but not casual fans who are the ones that really make or break a star and a champion at the ticket window.  Jones has gone Heel (a pro wrestling term for bad guy) but he is doing it the wrong way.

MMA has had its share of heels through its history.   The most recent being Brock Lesnar and Chael Sonnen.  Both of those fighters know what they are doing with their characters and play the role well.  They make calculated moves that make themselves the bad guys but still marketable and appealing.  Jones does not have the personality or the where with all to be a true heel.

Marketing was stated as a possible reason Jones did not take the fight.  Jones was worried that he may not keep his hot streak alive and possibly lose and hurt his selling potential.  If that was his concern he would have taken the fight with Sonnen.  Even if he lost and came back to another title shot he would be in a better light and position than he is by not taking this fight.  Sonnen was the perfect opponent, he had not been training and would be moving up a weight class.  Jones on the other hand would be peaking for the fight still and would have had 3 months of training under his belt.  Now Jones will be know as the man responsible for destroying UFC 151.

There are many victims from Jones’ decision.  The Cable companies who promoted the fight and where counting on their percentage of the PPV numbers.  The UFC has also spent a lot of money promoting the fight, they even had a huge billboard at Times Square in New York City.  The fighters who will have to wait on a pay day because their fight has to be moved to October or even November.  The most hurt will be the fans who have spent their money to fly into Las Vegas, stay in a hotel  and wait to have their tickets refunded by the UFC.

Jon Jones will likely become a villain from this situation, which for most fighters could be a positive thing.  Not for Jones who needs to be liked.  He recently signed a deal with Nike and when it come to merchandise if you are not liked people will not buy you things.  Jones has a long road ahead of him, can he shake this situation?  Maybe, he could come out on UFC 152 and knock out Belfort and everyone will forget about this like it never happened.  It could be something that sticks with him his entire career and effects his earning and drawing potential.

Red Sox Ready To Dump $262.5 Million In Contracts

The Red Sox are finally ready to face reality.  That reality is that they need an overhaul to rebuild the team into a contender.  The Red Sox had been ridding the spending train for a long time now.  They won 2 world series titles in the last 8 years while spending crazy money.  This year will be the 3rd year in a row the Sox will not make the playoffs.  The Red Sox currently have a record of 60-66 and are 13.5 games back in the American League East.

The Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers are set to make a blockbuster trade at a time of the season you usually never see trades happen.  The deal would have the Dodgers receiving Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto.  While the Red Sox would receive the Dodgers top pitching prospects Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, offensive prospects Jerry Sands and Ivan DeJesus and current Major Leaguer James Loney.  The deal would free up a tremendous amount of money for the Red Sox, $262.5 million to be exact.  It would be a record contract dump trade.  It has been rumored as of Saturday that the Red Sox might be reconsidering giving up Adrian Gonzalez in the deal.  Gonzalez has been the best performing of the players that could go to L.A.  The Dodgers will be more accepting of a trade that includes Gonzalez.

The Red Sox would have no problem letting go of Carl Crawford who the team sign right before the start of the 2011 season.  Crawford had been a great star in Tampa Bay and the Sox gave him a 7 year $142 million contract.  Crawford had career low numbers in the 2011 season and has only played 31 games this year due to injury.  Josh Beckett is another star who’s time has come to go for Boston.  Beckett once was the best pitchers in the Majors but has now become a pitcher who might get you a win if your lucky.  Beckett has only won 1 game in his last 13 starts and appears to be on the decline in his career.  Its surprising but that is how things appear for Beckett still not at the dreaded 38 years of age where most pitchers fall off.

The Dodgers are ready to play big money ball and do it like other teams in their market have.  The Dodgers are a really good team and are only 3 games back from 1st in the National League West.  The Dodgers will be hoping that the change of scenery will benefit the players they will acquire from the Red Sox.  It likely could, it has worked for Hanley Ramirez who they recently required from the Miami Marlins.  The Dodgers are getting ready for September and a chase for the playoffs.  They look like a team that is going to be a strong contender if they make the playoffs.

Where do the Red Sox go from here?  That is an easy question to answer,  they go for the free agents available in the off season and develop their prospects.  With all of the freed up money they can pursue impact players that can start their franchise back on track towards the playoffs.  The team has a recent history of signing top free agents and this deal allows them to do it again in a way that has brought them success.  It is time for a fresh start for the Sox.  The prospects they would land in this deal would help their future just as much if not more than possible free agents.

Both teams have until the early afternoon on Sunday to finalize this deal.  It is very likely this deal will go down and when it does it will make history.  How much this deal will effect both franchises is the most interesting part of this deal. While the Dodgers could get a boost now while the Sox might be setting up a bright future in this trade.  Only time will tell how this story of the August blockbuster trade will end up.

“A New Day A New Fight” Jones to Face Belfort At UFC 152

On Thursday it was announced that Jon Jones would not be Facing Dan Henderson.  Lyoto Machida was set to be the replacement.  On Friday that all changed again, Machida passed on the fight with only4 weeks to prepare for the September 22nd show. Former UFC Champion Vitor Belfort will now face Jon Jones in the Main Event of UFC 152 in Toronto.

The UFC has done away completely with the UFC 151 event.  It will now be an event that never happened.  The Toronto show will keep the title of UFC 152.  Henderson pulling out was bad enough for the UFC now they have replaced his replacement for that fight.

Belfort is still a good fighter but not going to have a chance at defeating the defending Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones.  Belfort is not a big draw in the US and will likely not spark any interest in the US market for this PPV.  Jon Jones recently complained in an interview how he did not want to fight Machida again because of their lack of being able to generate big numbers on PPV.  Jones needs to face reality, that reality is he himself is not a big PPV draw.  This show will have horrible numbers that the UFC and Jones will just have to deal with.

“The Show Must NOT Go On” UFC 151 canned 8 days out

UFC President Dana White
(Photo By: Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Dana White made a decision he has never made before today.  In a press conference on Thursday White announced that Dan Henderson had suffered a partial MCL tear and was out of the UFC 151 Main Event.  Henderson was set to face UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones on September 1st in Las Vegas.  White did have a back up plan when Henderson went down, Chael Sonnen was willing to step in to face Jones.  Jones however refused to take on Sonnen with only 8 days notice.  White had no choice but to cancel the show.  He had no other fights at the ready or that were remaining on the card to justify a PPV event.

Jones will now defend his title on September 22nd at what was to be UFC 152 in Toronto.  The Challenger will be former Champion Lyoto Machida.  Jones and Machida have fought previously with Jones taking the victory in the second round with a guillotine choke.  Machida was originally set to face the winner of the Henderson VS. Jones fight but now he gets his title fight right away.

While the UFC has canned a show that had a place and a date without fights scheduled, they have never cancelled a show that had a card set up already.  With injuries and fighters pulling out of fights being the reality of today’s MMA this will continue.  This is a horrible thing to happen right now for the UFC.  They are already having issues with FOX over ratings and the fights they provide FOX.  Their PPV numbers have also been trending downward over the last couple of years.  The injury bug has become out of control in the last year and a half, by far one of the most annoying things a promotion has to deal with.

Something needs to be done and done quickly to stop these things from happening.  The UFC must devise a training plan that all fighters must follow.  The best way to do this would be limiting the days and hours the fighters are allowed to train before a fight.  The business will not last at the level it has been at if this continues for even a couple of more years.  If the sport won’t regulate training the UFC sure the hell should.

“Get Smart” Trivial Sports Facts #1 (Baseball)

Everyone who is a sports fan wants to appear smarter and more knowledgeable than anyone else.  Sports provide so many historical moments and stats.  I will bring you closer to the high level of sports learning you seek.  I will do all of the hard research so you  can become the ultimate sports fan. Each edition will be on one particular sport.   You may know some of the events but I will open your eyes to something about them you may not yet know.   I bring to you the 1st edition of “Get Smart”  So let’s get started.

Joe Dimaggio’s 56 Game Hit Streak

In 1941 Joe Dimaggio had  56 straight games with a hit.  This record still stands in 2012 and is widely considered the most elusive of all sports records.  The final and 56th game of the streak occurred on July 16th against the Indians at Cleveland’s famed Municipal Stadium.  The pitchers in that game were Al Milnar and Joe Krakauskas, Dimaggio went 2 for 4 and scored 3 runs.  The great streak came to an end one day later July 17 in a game also against the Indians.

Joe Jackson And The Throwing Of The 1919 World Series

In 1919 one of the worst happenings in the history of Baseball occurred.  The heavily favored Chicago White Sox threw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.  The truth came out two years later that some of the White Sox players were involved with gamblers and payed off to lose.  In 1921 eight players from the White Sox were found guilty of intentionally losing the series and banned from baseball for life.  The most notable of those player was the sure Hall Of Fame candidate “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.  Jackson is considered one of the best short stops to ever have played the game.  The puzzling fact of Joe Jackson’s involvement in the throwing of the Series are his stats.  The stats Jackson had in that series do not look like that of a man that was intending to lose.  Jackson batted .375, had 5 runs scored, hit a home run and batted in 6 runs.  Jackson played no different than he usually did at the plate and made no critical fielding errors.  It has been said that he was aware that the games where fixed but did not actively participate in the plan. We will truly never know if he was involved but if you judge it by the numbers the answer looks like he was not.

The Beginning Of The MLB Draft

The amateur draft has a history of good picks by teams but it has a even greater history of players not panning out.   It is the least popular of the drafts amongst casual sports fans.  The die hard baseball fans look forward to it every June.   The first ever MLB amateur draft took place in 1965.  The first team to pick was the Kansas City Royals, who selected outfielder Rick Monday from Arizona State University.  Monday went on to play 19 seasons and retired in 1984 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Monday had a career batting average of .264, 271 Home Runs and 775 RBI’s.  He was also a World Series Champion with the Dodgers in 1981.  After his playing career ended he moved on to Broadcasting.

“Let’s Get Rowdy” Rousey Defeats Kaufman Via Armbar

Much like a pro wrestler has a finisher so does female MMA fighter “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, the armbar submission.  Rousey is a former Olympic bronze medalist in judo and comes from a tradition of judo, her mother also being a judo practitioner.  Trained by the great “judo” Gene Lebell and training with the Diaz brothers in California.  Rousey has ascended to the top of womens MMA in less than a year.  Rousey has a 3-0 amateur record and a 6-0 pro record, all of the victories came via armbar submission with the latest victory coming Saturday night.

135 lb Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
(Getty Images)

Rousey the 135 pound Champion defended her title against challenger Sarah Kaufman.  Many thought Kaufman’s experience and striking ability would be a tough challenge for Rousey to over come.  There was nothing difficult for Rousey in this fight.  She took Kaufman down early and got the submission victory at 54 seconds.  Rousey has only had one fight that went longer than one minute.  That fight was against Miesha Tate when the fight went 4:27, Rousey claimed the title in that March fight with an arm bar.

The next fight for Rousey will most likely be against former champion Cyborg Santos.  That would be an intriguing fight and would likely be a great one.  Santos striking is the best in womans MMA and we already know what Rousey is bringing to the table.  It could be the highest rated women’s MMA fight in History.

Rousey is very popular and her popularity will only get greater with her submission victories.  Not quit as popular as Gina Corano was a little over 3 years ago when she was on top of the division, Rousey is getting close to that level though.  The myth could grow to the point she may reach the level Mike Tyson in the 1980s.  The only thing that might hold her back has nothing to do with her fighting but rather how she acts outside of the cage.  She does not carry herself like a superstar, Rousey comes across more as an everyday person in interviews.  If she continues her demolition of the women’s division superstar appeal may not matter.  The eyes of the MMA world will be on her even more in her next fight and we will have to see how she handles all of the attention.

Cleveland Sports “The Heartbreaking History”

My friend George, who is the biggest Browns fan I know came to me with an idea for an article.  The idea was to cover the negative history of sports teams in Cleveland.  I took that Idea and turned it into what you are about to read.  George, this is for you brother!

Cleveland has a history of bad luck and heartbreaking defeats when it comes to its sports franchises.  From the “Fumble” to Lebron’s “Decision”.  There have also been some incredible times for Cleveland’s sports franchises, however the bad far out way the good.  Cleveland is a city that loves it’s sports, unfortunately sports gods do not care for Cleveland very much.  I am going to take you on a trip through the history of Cleveland sports.  So sit back, relax and revel in Cleveland’s sorrows.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Michael Jordan celebrating the “Shot”
(Getty Images)

The Cleveland Cavs have had many Horrible season.  The team has held the franchise record for most loses in a season with 67, twice.  The first came in their inaugural season of 1970-71 and the second  during the 1981-82 season.   The team made a strong run in 1989 only to fall hard to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.  The game became known for the “Shot”, it was the final game in round one of the Eastern Conference playoffs.  The moment was considered one of the greatest clutch moments in the history of Michael Jordan’s career.  It was one of the worst moments in history of the Cavileers.  The Cavs have never won an NBA Title, not even with the great Lebron James.  The team has only made one trip to the NBA Finals, in 2007 the Cavs were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 4 games.  The City has Lebron James to blame for one of their many horrible moments.  In 2010 Lebron had an ESPN special live from a Boys and Girls Club in his home town of Akron, Oh.  Many thought because of the location he would be announcing that he would be staying in Cleveland.  He instead announced he would be taking his talents to South Beach and play for the Miami Heat.  That infamous broadcast is known as the “Decision” The City was in an uproar and Lebron jerseys were quickly being thrown away and even burned in the streets of the City who’s heart he broke.  The team followed up the “Decision” with one of the worst seasons in the history of the NBA.  The team lost a record tying 26 games in a row in the 2010-11 season.  The Cavs are 2 years removed from that fateful night and have never been able to get over it.  The team may be destined to dwell in the sadness that is Cleveland sports forever.

Cleveland Indians

The Indians lose to the Marlins in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series
(Getty Images)

The Indians are one of the teams that have been successful at times but have had more bad seasons than good ones.  The team has two World Series Championships.  The first came in 1920 and the most recent was back in 1948.  The Indians have added to the cities history of heartbreak over the years.   From 1960-1993 the team never made the playoffs and spent most of their seasons in last place.  In 1995 the Indians were one of the best teams in the MLB, until they made it to the World Series and lost to the Braves in 6 games.  The team made another trip to the World Series in 1997.  The tribe lost the series to the Florida Marlins in a devastating late inning Game 7 affair in Miami.  The team has been through countless rebuilding periods, all with no success.  The team was even featured as lovable losers and misfits in the major motion picture “Major League”.  The Indians are only second to one other team in the city of heart break, The Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns Earnest Byner seconds after the “Fumble”
(Getty Images)

The city’s most devastating stories and moments have come from their football team, the Browns.  The team had early success in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  The Hall Of Fame Quarterback Otto Graham led the team to ten straight championship games with the Browns winning 7 of them.  The team found great success with Hall Of Fame running back Jim Brown.  Brown played with the team in the 60’s and 70’s and established himself as one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL.  The 1980’s brought the team some success. Led by their young quarterback Bernie Kosar, the team made it to the AFC Championship game twice.  Both meetings were against the rival Denver Broncos and their superstar QB John Elway.  The first of those championship meetings came in the 1986 AFC Championship game.  The Browns were leading the Broncos and had them pinned down on their own 2 yard line with 5 minutes and 11 seconds to play.  John Elway was about to show the world that he was one of the best of that era with the “Drive”.  Elway led his team all of the way down the field to score a touchdown and tie the game at 20-20.  The damage had been done and Cleveland lost the game 23-20 in overtime.  The “Drive” took place in Cleveland but that wasn’t the last quotable game to take place at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.  In the 1987 AFC Championship Game the Broncos came into town again.  This time the Browns dominated the Broncos for most of the game and looked to be the AFC Champions.  Then the unthinkable happened again, this moment was to be known as the “Fumble”.   With the game tied 30-30 Kosar and the Browns were on the Broncos 8 yard line with 1 minute and 12 seconds left on the clock.  Kosar took the snap and handed the ball off to running back Earnest Byner for what looked like and open touchdown run.  Out of nowhere came the Broncos defensive back Jeremiah Castille who stripped Byner of the ball. The Broncos took the intentional safety and ended up scoring a touchdown with less than a minute to play in the game.  The Broncos defeated the Browns by a score of 38-33.  The city of Cleveland has never fully recovered from the “Drive” or the “Fumble”.  In 1995 The Browns played their final game in Cleveland before owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore to become the Ravens.  Modell claimed that he moved the team because he was losing money and could not keep the team the city without a new stadium.  He petitioned for a new stadium for years and saw a new ballpark go up and a new arena be constructed while he was left without tax payer support and a dilapidated stadium.  The Browns would return in 1999 as an expansion team but still had rights to the history of the team unlike other cities who lost their teams and history like Houston.  The “new” Browns have only made it to the playoffs once.  There was hope for the team with new ownership to turn things around in 2012.  The Browns were shut out of the playoffs for another season this year.

All of Cleveland’s major sports teams have gone through hardships. The Browns are by far Cleveland’s most heartbreaking team with a history that will not let the fans of Cleveland rest easy.  Any time something goes well for any of their teams disappointment is sure to follow.  Maybe one day the sports gods will treat the great fans of Cleveland to some success and happiness.

*UPDATE*

The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to become NBA Champions for the first time in their history.  They also ended the decades long championship drought for the city of Cleveland.  This event was aided by LeBron James returning to Cleveland in 2014.