UFC at the ACC

December 12, 2011

Fight Night, UFC 140 Round-up Style:

1. Featherweight bout: Canada Mark Hominick vs. South Korea Chan Sung Jung [Jung defeated Hominick via KO (punches) at 0:07 of round 1].

Mark Hominick is best remembered for his performance at UFC 129 in April of 2011, the first ever UFC night in Toronto. People remember him for the heart he showed, and that enormous welt on his head that the other guy gave him. Unfortunately, this fight is best described by Canadian Mark Hominick’s words after the fight, “I’m sorry.” Chan Sung Jung, known as “The Korean Zombie,” knocked Hominick out in seven seconds. That ties the record for the fastest fight in UFC history. In an effort to pay respects to Canadian customs, “The Korean Zombie” also apologized.

2. Welterweight bout: Canada Claude Patrick vs. United States Brian Ebersole [Ebersole defeated Patrick via split decision (29–28, 28–29, 29–28)].

Ebersole employed heavy doses of “dirty boxing.” This is easily the least exciting tactic I’ve seen. Hey, I’m just going to lean up against you and sneak in punches here and there, but mainly I’m not going to let you do anything. Usually fighters use it to get something, but Ebersole was just cool with the leaning and the minimal action. This bout was littered with failure, making it difficult to judge. Ebersole repeatedly failed to take down Patrick. Patrick’s countless attempts at choking Ebersole were to no avail. The Canadian Claude Patrick lost the split decision.

3. Light Heavyweight bout: United States Tito Ortiz vs. Brazil Antônio Rogério Nogueira [Nogueira defeated Ortiz via TKO (strikes to the body) at 3:15 of round 1].

A dude sitting near us was unnecessarily loud when cheering for Tito Ortiz. Everyone at the bar had to listen to him explain to his girlfriend why Ortiz is so fantastic. Apparently, it was Ortiz’ upper body. Antônio Rogério Nogueira has a twin brother whose fight would follow. Nogueira knocked Ortiz down and stayed on top of him for a good minute, where he pounded on the ribs (upper body) of Ortiz. Likely after a few broken ribs, the ref stopped the fight. Dude was much quieter after that.

4. Heavyweight bout: United States Frank Mir vs. Brazil Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira [Mir defeated Nogueira via submission (kimura) at 3:38 of round 1].

The other twin, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, fought Frank Mir next. It is startling how similar his name is to his twin brother’s. It is safe to say that their parents probably dressed them the same for a prolonged period of time. This fight was spectacular. Nogueira had control of the fight, knocking Mir off balance and taking him to the ground. Mir took the punches and manoeuvred out of several different holds, to somehow emerge from all the grappling with Nogueira’s arm in a compromising position. Mir proceeded to snap Nogueira’s arm, ending the fight. The UFC broadcast couldn’t help but show the arm break, over and over again. People stopped looking at the monitors that circled the bar.

5. Light Heavyweight Championship bout: United States Jon Jones (c) vs. Brazil Lyoto Machida [Jones defeated Machida via technical submission (guillotine choke) at 4:26 of round 2].

Jones enjoyed a 10-½ inch reach advantage over Machida. Everything Machida did was described as “karate-like.” Machida had been studying Karate since he was 3. Machida’s quickness allowed him to get close to Jones, land blows, and still duck any counterpunches. Jones kept his composure. In the second round, Jones forced Machida to the ground and pinned him down long enough to land an elbow in Machida’s forehead. The gash on Machida’s head was so big that they paused the fight to let the doctor’s examine the injury.

When the fight resumed, Jones knocked Machida down while simultaneously taking a blow himself. That was the difference in the fight. When Jones landed his punches, it would hurt Machida. But Machida wasn’t hurting Jones. With Machida still wobbly, Jones punched and kicked Machida to the wall of the cage. Jones sneaked into a chokehold and it took the ref a long time to realize Machida was no longer resisting. The ref told Jones to let go and Machida’s body parts fell on top of each other with gravity holding them together.

–When he’s not watching grown men fight, Umar Saeed covers the endless battle between money and people on his website: www.umarsaeed.ca/

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The Boxing Diary

November 13, 2011

Summer of 2010:

“Manny Pacquiao. Man-Neee…Pack-Keee-Yaa. Manny Pacquiao,” he kept saying the name but I didn’t recognize it. My friend then told me Pacquiao had a record of 51 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws, and that he is considered as one of the top fifty boxers of all time. I asked him the obvious question: Didn’t we, as a society, stop thinking boxing was important around the time when Don King ran out of ways to invent hype?

I’m not trying to be irreverent. I grew up on ESPN classics, from the epic heavyweight triangle (Foreman – Ali – Frazier), to Sugar Ray Leonard, to No Mas, to the utter domination of Mike Tyson. But boxing lost its casual fan fare when Mike Tyson got out of jail to fight some chump named McNeely and what was the most hyped fight in years turned out to be the production of Don King’s imagination. Tyson proceeded to lose to Holyfield, bit the ear, and the rest is very boring history. More than that, boxing never bothered to anticipate or even acknowledge competition from its more primal counterpart: Ultimate Fighting.

—–flashback to July 2007——–

You should watch this 60 minutes video on the emergence of Mixed Martial Arts (or Ultimate Fighting) for three reasons:

  • I find it fascinating that the sport struggled to gain popularity on television because it was too bloody. So they gave it some rules, added some padding and a scoring system and suddenly gruesome fighting became a legitimate sport. The reality is even when there were no rules, the best fighters (Royce Gracie) were the best because they were technically fantastic, not because the lack of rules favoured them. The rule changes aren’t for the fighters – they’re for us so we can draw that line between savageness and civility.
  • Dana White and his partners put $2 million into UFC and now it’s potentially worth a billion. He scoffs at Fox for not recognizing the potential because he made more money on pay per view. Last night, Fox showed the feature UFC fight on regular cable TV for the first time. Fox probably paid Dana White several times more than what he was initially asking years ago, when they rejected him.
  • It features one of the legendary Gracie brothers, and you will hear a story that will tell you exactly why this family is legendary.

——————————

November 2010

60 minutes was featuring Manny Pacquiao. He is not only considered the best boxer in the game, but he’s an idol to his people, an aspiring politician and a musician (but a musician in the same way Shaquille O’Neal was a rapper). It’s clear there has never been a boxer like him and that I really like 60 minutes.

October 2011

I keeping seeing the same poster: Manny Pacquiao v. Juan Martel Marquez III. They’ve fought twice before, with Manny winning once and the other fight a draw. Marquez clearly has what it takes to beat Manny. This third fight is expected to be decisive, since they are both strategically and physically familiar with each other. The best boxer should emerge.

November 12, 2011 – Fight Night

6:00 pm – I text Steve and ask him if he’s briefed on the Pacquiao fight. He tells me that this is the third time that they are meeting. I’m not impressed since it says that on the poster.

10:00pm – The bar is standing room only, everyone’s rooting for Manny and HBO makes a connection between Manny’s national background, Joe Frasier’s recent death and the “Thrilla in Manilla,” a legendary boxing match between Frasier and Ali. I imagine how amazing it would have been to have watched boxing during that era: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Larry Holmes and Joe Frasier (compact and explosive, the original Tyson). Nobody can doubt that Manny, all his fame, what he does for his country and his pop-star qualities are good for boxing. But what boxing currently lacks is talent in the heavyweight division. That’s the sort of thing that draws even the casual fan. I would describe the current state of boxing as track and field in the Olympics, but without the 100m dash.

Midnight-ish: They went to the judges after twelve full rounds. It was a decision that the vegas crowd booed, I questioned and Steve shrugged at. Marquez laughed to himself, as if to say, “how many times do I have to beat this guy in order win the fight?” The announcers explained that the judges awarded Pacquiao the decision because he threw and landed more punches, which was true. But when Marquez landed punches, they were packed with power. Stylistically, Marquez wasn’t a lead-with-my-jab kind of guy like Manny. Marquez was a counter-puncher, and apparently boxing’s scoring system doesn’t discriminate when it comes to punches. I’m thinking boxing needs some kind of conversion ratio, like every three jabs equals one cross. Would there be no sudden death overtime? Are they going to schedule a fourth fight now? We left the bar not quite sure about what we had seen.

Somewhere else during the Pacquiao fight: Cain Velasquez, the existing heavyweight UFC champion put his title on the line against Junior Dos Santos. The UFC’s heavyweight division has been extremely competitive for several years now. A minute into the fight, Dos Santos landed a vicious sweeping right cross and knocked out Valasquez, to become the new UFC heavyweight champion. People who saw that fight weren’t confused about what they had seen.

–When he’s not watching grown men fight, Umar Saeed covers the endless battle between money and people on his website: www.umarsaeed.ca/


So you want to watch rugby, but you’re a wimpy North American…

November 6, 2011

The field looks chaotic.  Carry the ball across the line to score 5 points, kick the ball through the uprights for 2 or 3 points; but where is the ball?  It is under the bodies.  The whistle sounds; why?  It is often difficult to tell, and not just for novices.  Learning rugby can be confusing and even overwhelming, although it seems as simple as most sports when broken down.  The biggest difference between rugby and North American sports is that you pass the ball backwards not forwards.  Canadian comedian Rick Mercer recently spent some time with that country’s team just back from the world cup and nicely explained and demonstrated the basics.

The Rugby World Cup began in 1987, though the Six Nations Championship, centered in the United Kingdom, started back in 1883.  The World Cup is one of the largest sporting events in the world, and the tournament lasts about two months. The first month is pool play and the second month is the playoffs.  20 teams make it to the World Cup of the 93 teams around the world with an official ranking.  This year both the United States and Canada made it, though Argentina was the only South American team (they made it to the first round of the playoffs before being beaten by New Zealand). There are many teams from Europe, some from Africa and many from Oceana. Canada has only once made it to playoff round in 1991.

When they land, you find out what the helmets and ear-wraps are for.

The Rugby World Cup tournament is organized into 4 pools with 5 teams in each. The first two teams in each pool advance to playoffs. However, there are also advantages to coming third in the pool. This had been the Canadian goal, which they were not able to meet, in part due to Tonga’s upset win against France (the French advanced anyway to finish second in the tournament). Both Canada, ranked 13th,  and the United States, 17th, are expected to make it to the next world cup. There should also be a chance for some north American players to get more experience on the world stage with the introduction of sevens rugby into the Olympics set for 2016.

Hopefully there will be some time devoted to showing the games on North American television. TSN did a good job with coverage this world cup in Canada, playing not just Canadian games and the playoffs but many of the regular pool play games as well.  In the small little pre and post game shows the commentators were optimistic about the future of rugby in this part of the world. In a culture where sport does seem to flourish hopefully there is room for one more.  After all, big league rugby has never had a ‘work stoppage.’  That’s for whiny, sniveling . . . well; not rugby players.

Kira Burt is a working towards a Masters Degree in History and a full-contact pick-up game.