Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Taking place from Lake Charles, La., Bellator 52 will feature four heavyweight quarterfinal matchups on MTV2, with Ron Sparks vs. Mark Holata, Neil Grove vs. Mike "300" Hayes, Thiago "Big Monster" Santos vs. Blagoi Ivanov and Eric Prindle vs. Abe Wagner all set for the card.
"We've consistently seen dramatic, explosive performances from our heavyweights and that's exactly what I expect in our Season 5 Heavyweight tournament," said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. "Neil, Ron, Eric, Mark, Big Monster all look to knock you out from the moment the first bell rings, so don't blink when this tournament starts Oct. 1 LIVE on MTV2 and in HD on EPIX."
Grove, who lost in the finals of Bellator's inaugural heavyweight tournament to current champion Cole Konrad, rebounded from that loss in July with a first round finish of Zak Jensen.
"This tournament is stacked with strikers this year, which will provide a stronger line-up and even more exciting fights than last year," said Grove. "I'm sure Cole is just as busy as the rest of us, preparing for battle against one of us, and I'm just excited to compete for another shot at the title, especially for a promotion such as Bellator."
The winner of this season's tournament will earn a shot at Konrad and the Bellator Heavyweight Championship sometime in 2012.
(Rear-naked-choke to the ankle: If done right, no can...
Foxborough, home of the well-krafted stadium at Gillette, has had an unwanted visitor named Irene this week. She has left chaos in surrounding communities.
Having come through like a harridan, the storm has left power outages in her wake. Large numbers of Foxborough residents are powerless.
Some Patriots living in the town are beginning to climb the walls, looking for an outlet that works.
Not Chad Ochocinco. He has now purchased a jar filled with 200 fireflies, looking to replace America’s reliance on unnatural energy with the power of the bug.
Because Ocho often refers to younger, novice associates with the nickname “Grasshopper,” derived from the erudite Buddhist priests of the old Kung Fu television series with David Carradine, it seems more than obvious he would prefer insects to electricity.
Ochocinco provides all the electricity anyone needs in the room, or stadium.
He has counseled teammate Julian Edelman to embrace the power outage and make adjustments accordingly.
Some parts of Patriot Nation remain in the dark. We are located in a neighboring borough and only found power restored late yesterday.
Ocho and his fellow footballers are now working on day four of the outage. Electricity has now proven to be the great equalizer of millionaire athletes and humble housewives. Without lights and cameras, there may be no action at Gillette on Thursday night.
The stadium itself has more than ample power, but the unfortunate fans that want to travel by roadways are at a distinct disadvantage. There are no traffic lights, working gas stations or food joints to keep the masses sated.
Football is a game of tough fans and tougher players. They certainly don’t want to admit that Irene has offered them a not-so-good night at the gridiron.
Public safety may take out the Patriots game. Nearly every resident in the town has no electricity, though the New England/NFL team seems to have received some extra attention.
No one wants to play the game in New York.
Slightly more than two weeks out from the event and UFC Fight Night 25: Shields vs. Ellenberger has suffered a couple losses to its fight card.
Mackens Semerzier and DaMarques Johnson are both out of their respective bouts due to injury. The UFC announced the withdrawals via its Twitter account on Wednesday.
Semerzier was slated to meet Mike Lullo in a featherweight contest, while Johnson had a welterweight bout on tap with Clay Harvision.
MMAWeekly.com has learned that Johnson has already been replaced by Seth Baczynski. There has yet to be a clear replacement for Semerzier.
Semerzier (6-3) had just rebounded with a win over Alex Caceres at UFC Fight Night 24 in March, ending a three-fight skid that almost saw him out of a job.
A cast member from the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter, DaMarques Johnson (12-9) has been bouncing between wins and losses in his UFC tenure. He most recently submitted to Amir Sadollah due to strikes at UFC Fight Night 24, and was hoping to bounce back against Harvison.
Baczynski (13-6) failed to fight his way into the fighter house on the eleventh season of TUF. He also lost his one fight in the Octagon, to Brad Tavares, at the TUF 11 season finale event. Baczynski has since won back-to-back fights outside the Octagon, earning the opportunity to step in on short notice against Harvison.
UFC Fight Night 25: Shields vs. Ellenberger is headlined by welterweights Jake Shields and Jake Ellenberger. Shields� manager and father, Jack Shields, passed away earlier this week. There has been no word, however, on whether or not Jake will remain in the fight.
Source: UFC Fight Night 25 Update: Semerzier and Johnson Out, Baczynski In | MMAWeekly.com (http://mmaweekly.com/ufc-fight-night-25-update-semerzier-and-johnson-out-baczynski-in)
Goddamn it. :icon_cry2
Sorry if this was posted.
The injury takes Krauss out of a fight with John Hathaway at UFC 138, and delays the 24-year-old even further after an already year long layoff. The 10-0 Krauss made his UFC debut last November, defeating Mark Scanlon by decision at UFC 122 in his home country.
"As you can imagine I'm absolutely devastated by wrecking my shoulder again, as well as the news that I won't be able to fight John," Krauss said. "I never had a serious injury in more than 10 years of competing in various combat sports. Training and competing is my passion. Having to sit out for eight months was a total nightmare and the prospect of fighting again this fall was my only silver lining on the horizon. Being on the shelf again now is just disheartening. I just hope I can make a complete recovery one more time and come back an even stronger Panzer in 2012!"
The UFC will likely look for a replacement for Hathaway, who would be returning for the second time in 2011. The 24-year-old bounced back from his first career loss with a win over Kris McCray in March.
UFC 138 takes place from the LG Arena in Birmingham, England on November 5, headlined by a middleweight bout between Chris Leben and Mark Munoz and airing via same day delay in the U.S. on Spike TV.
Link to Original Source Article
Penick's Analysis: This is very disappointing news. This was one of the best fights on this card, and I was really looking forward to seeing these two square off. It's a real downer for Krauss, especially after having been out for a lengthy amount of time rehabbing his other shoulder. Hopefully the UFC can find a solid replacement to meet Hathaway, but this card took a hit with the loss of Krauss here.
Arsene Wenger is in a mad scramble. He is exhausting every last avenue to solve a talent issue with his club. Clint Dempsey is now being targeted, and it would be the perfect transfer for a humiliated side.
On Sunday, a fearsome and unrelenting Manchester United highlighted every last blemish on Arsenal. While the defense gave the most worry to supporters, the offense lacked the spark that you would expect from a top-tier club.
Goal reports Arsenal has their eye on Fulham standout, Clint Dempsey. The American has had his issues, but they have been largely relegated to his play at the international level. With Fulham, Dempsey has been sublime.
He was the leading goal scorer on the club last year with 13. His approach is exactly what Wenger would enjoy on the pitch. Dempsey is an attacking midfielder that serves to spread the field for forwards on the wings.
He also has a flare for the dramatic as was seen in his late goal over Juventus in the Europa league. What Dempsey brings is an unheralded player that will win over supporters the second he hits the pitch.
He works for every last ball, and will soon be a fan favorite as he is in Fulham.
Wenger has been all over the place. Looking for defenders and forward to supply depth as the team competes in the domestically, as well as in the Champions League.
Dempsey is a rare target that makes a load of sense. It is any wonder why his name hasn?t been mentioned with this side before. There is no argument that Wenger needs far more than one midfielder to solve their woes. Dempsey is a big step in the right direction though.
As the dealine looms, it seems desperate times have resulted in very intelligent measures.
Unbeaten German prospect Pascal Krauss has pulled out of his November-scheduled bout against John Hathaway with a shoulder injury, just a...
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Sometimes it's impossible to know how a card is going to play out. Sometimes it's easy. Like, when the UFC goes to Brazil and has about 42 fights that feature Brazilians facing off against overwhelmed non-Brazilians, you just pick all the Brazilians and move on. Unless of course one of those Brazilians is a striker who is vulnerable to the overhand right, who made his name by beating Sokoudjou, Cantwell, and Marshall, and is facing off against an angry Bulgarian who throws nothing but overhand right hands of course.
So really all one had to do was to pick Brazilians, Bulgarians, and French-Canadian-Haitians, and one would then ace the contests for UFC 134. Jason Lyon and yours truly Rich Hansen both followed that strategy to go 12-0 for 78 points apiece in the UFC 134 Confidence Picks Game pool. And since the tie-breakers didn't break the tie, both Lyon and I will be taking part in a three way dance at UFC 135.
And since I'm big on offering spoiler alerts, let me just say that either Lyon or I dominated the betting pool and will be trying to become a double champion at UFC 135 on September 24.
That's the lead. Read on for the details.
CONFIDENCE GAME RESULTS
As stated above, your ever so humble author went 12-0 at UFC 134, as did Jason Lyon. Since the tie-breakers were unable to break the tie, both Lyon and I will be challenging new champion Avery Clarke at UFC 135.
Clarke scored an impressive 65 points, missing out on Brendan Schaub for 10 (Schaub isn't Brazilian), Luiz Cane for 2 (Cane isn't Bulgarian), and Ian Loveland for 1 (Loveland isn't a French-Canadian Haitian). Cane's 65 point showing was enough to take the crown away from the now-former champion Brent King.
King scored a relatively meager 46 points, missing on Schaub for 11, Griffin for 10, Cane for 6, and Fisher for 5. and 8-4 record is respectable under most circumstances, but it wasn't enough to defend is Confidence Picks title. Congratulations to Clarke, Lyon, and of course to me myself and I.
BETTING CONTEST RESULTS
Oh Mr. Chris Knight, you broke my heart. You won the betting pool at UFC 133, and had the Brady Bunch name and the hotter than hot ex-wife thing going. And rather than taking the title from Chris McCann, who might I add was ripe for the picking, you submitted an invalid entry and were disqualified. You can't just place 2 different $500 bets. Reading is Fundamental, my friend.
So as a result, Chris McCann has defended his Betting Contest title by simply submitting a valid entry. The $200 bet on a -270 Erick Silva was merely gravy.
Congratulations, Mr. McCann. You may have defended your title at UFC 134 by walkover, but it's going to be a hell of a lot harder four weeks from now when you defend against yours truly, Rich Hansen.
That's right. I'm going to be insufferable(er) for an entire month now! I saw three bets that I loved, and I bet them hard. Yves Jabouin is +165? I'll take Jabouin at +165 against anyone but Dominick Cruz. Nogueira, +200, in Rio, against a season 10 TUF finalist? Yes please! Thiago Tavares is only a 2:1 favorite against The Artist Formerly Known As Spencer Fisher? Oh, that's tasty.
So get ready McCann. I'm coming for your title. Unless of course a lay an egg, in which case I might tone down the schtick 42 notches or so, give or take.
CONFIDENCE GAME POOL
Rich Hansen, Jason Lyon: 78
Kubi: 75 ? not bad, sir.
Mark Bunce: 68
Shaun Louis: 67
Kevin Seng: 66
John Hickman: 64
Erik Nell, Jason Thompson: 63
Simon Kerry: 62
Skarz, Chris Knight: 61
Michael Roberts, Daniel Moore, Chris McCann: 60
Mike Jensen, Dionicio Ortiz: 59
Danny Mellor: 58
Jason Binder, Christopher Moore: 55
Jamie Penick, Clay Burley: 53
Bam White: 52
Shawn Ennis: 48
Leland Lawson: 46
Cambo Nelson, Casey Vaccaro: 43
Brian Fuller: 42
Anthony Sinnott: 36
Phillip Irvin: 35 ? Okami for 12? For shame, sir.
BETTING CONTEST POOL:
Rich Hansen: an extremely impressive $4515.00
$500 on Jabouin for $1325
$250 on Nogueira for $750
$50 on Tavares for $74.39
$200 parlay on Jabouin, Nogueira, and Tavares for $2365.61
$500 on Nogueira for $1500
$150 on Jabouin for $397.50
$200 parlay on Rua, Barboza, and Nedkov for $931.76
Jason Lyon: $1583.08
$300 on Nedkov for $780
$300 on Rua for $415.38
$200 parlay on Thiago, Spider, and Rua for $387.69
Christopher Moore: $1551.13
$500 on Rua for $692.31
$200 on Nogueira for $600
$200 on Barboza for $258.82
Brent King: $1500
$500 on Nogueira for $1500
Mark Bunce: $1418.46
$400 on Barboza for $517.65
$200 on Palhares for $261.54
$200 on Rua for $276.92
$200 parlay on Spider, Barboza, and Acantara for $362.35
Congrats to Mark for hitting on all of his bets, which is a rare feat. But when the shortest bet you make is on a -260 favorite, you're never going to win this game.
John Hickman: $1200
$400 on Nogueira for $1200
Shawn Ennis: $1130
$200 on Nogueira for $600
$200 on Jabouin for $530
Kevin Seng: $900
$300 on Nogueira for $900
Avery Clarke: $838.62
$300 on Assuncao for $466.67
$250 on Tavares for $371.95
Bam White: $765.38
$300 on Spider for $350
$300 on Rua for $415.38
Dan Moore: $756.62
$100 on Nedkov for $260
$100 on Thiago for $120
$200 parlay on Thiago, Palhares, and Alcantara for $376.62
Shaun Louis: $636.92
$300 on Thiago for $360
$200 on Rua for $276.92
Danny Mellor: $600
$200 on Nogueira for $600
Connor Thomas: $600
$200 on Nogueira for $600
Jonah Goodman: $600
$200 on Nogueira for $600
Dom Farr: $600
$200 on Nogueira for $600
Jamie Penick: $576.11
$200 on Assuncao for $311.11
$100 on Jabouin for $265
Jason Binder: $530
$200 on Jabouin for $530
Simon Kerry: $520
$200 on Nedkov for $520
Jason ?Goat? Thompson: $325
$125 on Nedkov for $325
Dionicio Ortiz: $311.11
$200 on Assuncao for $311.11
$100 on Jabouin for $265
Leland Lawson: $265
$100 on Jabouin for $265
Casey Vaccaro: $155.56
$100 on Assuncao for $155.56
Brian Fuller, Cambo Nelson, Michael Roberts, Clay Burley, Anthony Sinnott: $0
Performer of the Night:
Goat of the Night: Anthony Sinnott was the only player to pick fewer than 7 fights correctly, going 6-6 on his picks for a second-worst point total of 36 points. Combine that with the fact that all of his bets were losers, and we have our goat. While I have no doubt he'll do better at UFC 135, for this event, he's standing on a tree stump and eating grass.
During a video chat with fans at UStream, White said the UFC does "like the idea" of that matchup, and should both agree to the fight, it could potentially come this year.
Franklin was supposed to return to action earlier this month at UFC 133, but when his opponent Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was forced out of the card, and there wasn't a suitable "big name" replacement, Franklin pulled out of the event as well. The former UFC Middleweight Champion is 3-3 over his last six fights, alternating wins and losses in fights at light heavyweight and 195 lbs.
Ortiz stepped up earlier this month on that UFC 133 card to face Rashad Evans in the main event after Phil Davis suffered an injury, taking an extra payday after earning his first win in nearly five years when he submitted Ryan Bader in July. However, Evans was the superior fighter, and handed Ortiz his first stoppage loss since being finished by Chuck Liddell at UFC 66.
There's nothing definite on this fight just yet, but it's a bout the UFC has their eyes on, and if it takes place it could be a very entertaining fight between two longtime veteran fighters.
Penick's Analysis: This is definitely a fight I'd like to see for both guys. They each get a well known name as an opponent, and regardless of how their past fights have gone a win is equally as important for them. If the UFC can put it together, it immediately make a good addition to any main card, and it's a fight that could be quite good as well. Without a ton of other options, it's quite possible this is the fight that fans get later this year from them.
[Rich Franklin art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
Statistics : 2305 Topics || 22712 Posts Last post by batangastig
There's been some speculation as of late that the Tennessee Titans might look into trading Chris Johnson away instead of making him one of the highest-paid players in the NFL.
Even though the two sides remain very far apart, there's no way the Titans trade away the face of their franchise.
Johnson is the main draw right now for Titans fans with the exception of Jake Locker, and losing Johnson would squash any hopes of being a competitive team in the near future.
However, the Titans can gain the upper hand in this holdout situation if they don't give into Johnson's demands before the regular season starts.
Johnson is holding out as long as he can until he feels that it's hurting himself financially. Missing preseason games probably doesn't qualify for that.
For the Titans, they can show they mean business by starting the regular season without him. That may seem crazy, but the Titans start off with Jacksonville, a team that isn't exactly what you would call the class of the AFC.
Rookie running back Jamie Harper has been coming along nicely in training camp and the first three preseason games. He has a touchdown in each of the three games he has played for the Titans , and has displayed some great downhill running abilities.
Meanwhile, the Titans still have Javon Ringer, their draft pick from 2010. Ringer proved to be valuable when he got the opportunity to do so last season.
Head coach Mike Munchak has also said that the team would likely add a veteran running back as well.
Let's be honest here, barring something extremely crazy happening among the AFC's elite, the Titans are probably a season or two from making a serious run back into the postseason.
They can afford to call Johnson's bluff with the two running backs they have because there's not a lot of high expectations for them as a team anyway. Roll the dice and see if this team is capable of being competitive without Johnson for a game or two.
If the Titans were to start the season with a win over a division opponent without Johnson, it could be a huge statement that Johnson is at least somewhat expendable.
The Titans could use the Jacksonville game to see how their team would look in the future if they do decide to trade Johnson at some point.
Now I'm not saying that it's in the best interest to lose Johnson. He's one of the best athletes in the NFL, but at the end of the day he's still a running back that has a short shelf life. The money he's asking for is ludicrous and could paralyze the organization in a number of ways if they give in.
Johnson makes the Titans a better team, no doubt about it. However, hindering the organization's future financially to win a couple more games in a season that's probably going to finish short of the playoffs anyway is not worth it.
The Titans have to protect their future interests by calling Johnson's bluff. I can't see Johnson sitting out a whole season by leaving an offer on the table that would make him the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
This is a classic situation of a player looking to break the bank way before he actually deserves it. Larry Fitzgerald broke the bank, but he did so with way more credentials than Johnson can claim.
Fitzgerald has played seven NFL seasons, with six of them being Pro Bowl worthy. He helped take his team to a Super Bowl when no one expected it.
Most importantly, he plays wide receiver which is a position that generally lasts way longer than a running back.
Comparing what Fitzgerald got to Johnson's holdout is comparing apples to oranges. They're nowhere close to being on the same level in monetary terms.
When Johnson begins to make his decline in a few seasons like every running back does, Fitzgerald will most likely still be catching 80 to 90 balls a year.
Johnson will give in sooner or later and be satisfied with being the highest-paid running back in NFL history, but right now he's testing the waters to see if he can basically hit the jackpot. The Titans can't make it that easy. They need to play hardball if Johnson wants to play hardball.
I recently wrote up my season preview for all 30 teams (which you can check out here), and you might be a bit surprised to see where I placed the Isles. I think they can make the playoffs, but whether or not they do so will be dependent on the moves they make (or don't make).
Goaltending is, far and away, the biggest issue confronting the Islanders right now. Some people might think the team has lots of depth at the position, because after all, we have three quality 'tenders, right?
We have no clue what to expect from Rick DiPietro. His health is always in question, and even when he's at 100%, he's been inconsistent and has played anything but mistake-free hockey. Al Montoya was impressive in his short time with the Isles last season, but whether or not he can handle 40-50 starts remains to be seen. And of course, Evgeni Nabokov may not even be here past training camp, even though he may very well be the best goalie on the current roster.
Training camp should provide us with some answers, but for now, I'll remain skeptical.
Personally, I think Nabokov will shake off the rust and emerge as the starting goaltender. Out of the three goalies under contract, he has been around the NHL the longest, has the most playoff experience and the most impressive resume. If he can get his act together (and that's a relatively big "if"), he's the optimal choice for Snow and Co.
He might not be on the best of terms with his fellow teammates, but mistakes can be admitted and people can forgive and forget. If he's willing to act within the best interests of the team, I'm sure things can work out for Nabby and the Islanders.
The other major issue confronting this Islander team is on defense. There's just not a whole lot of depth here right now, and unless Garth Snow engineers a trade for a top-four D-man, that will continue to be the case.
Of course, the Isles are still under the cap floor, so they'll have to make some moves before the season starts. Whether or not those end up being the right moves will be subject to later evaluation and/or criticism.
Speaking of salaries, Josh Bailey doesn't have one right now. The two sides have yet to agree on a new contract, and Bailey is the only Islander player still unsigned.
This tells me two things (and either or both could be the case):
1. The Islanders want to give Bailey a two-way contract, in case they need to send him down to Bridgeport (AHL) again, while Josh and his agent haven't the slightest interest in such an offer.
2. Garth Snow is actively trying to trade Bailey, and is perhaps waiting on a "sign and trade" type deal, or perhaps just the right one.
Either way, the relationship between said player and the team doesn't look so healthy right now. I could be wrong, but that's just the way I see things. With Ryan Strome coming aboard as early as next season, it's hard to see where Bailey fits on this roster, as I've said before. He's literally the fourth-best center on the team once Strome gets here, and Josh Bailey is not meant to be a fourth-line center, nor does he have the grit and tenacity of a checking-line forward.
It's that time again, and, per usual, things are always getting more and more interesting in Islander Country.
Comments are welcome.
Wimbledon Finalists Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova struggled out of the gates at the US Open, proving there is no favorite on the women's side. Sharapova battled back to defeat Heather Watson in three sets. For Kvitova, she's already been sent home.
Wimbledon knocked favorite after favorite out of the bracket. Caroline Wozniacki and the top seeds put their vulnerability on display and opened the door for Sharapova and Kvitova to emerge from the field to compete in the final.
The US Open is already proving that it will be equally as difficult to predict. There is no surefire favorite, though Wozniacki certainly has a decent chance. We can't look at the Wimbledon finalists as the players to beat, as one is no longer in contention and the other had to survive a 1st-round scare.
The bracket has been blown wide open again. With the Williams sisters being shoved to the wayside in the seedings, we could be seeing marquee matchups as early as round three. They are the bracket busters nobody wants to play and given the uncertain status of the favorites, they could make a deep run.
There is no telling who will emerge victorious from the women's side. It's only round one and the No. 5 seed has already been eliminated. Other early-round surprises are inevitable and given the way the last grand slam transpired, it's the dark horses in this tournament that may be more enticing to watch.
For players like Marion Bartoli and Jelena Jankovic, this is a tournament where they could find themselves making a late run. A couple of big wins and they could find themselves outlasting their more highly touted competition.
The favorites slipping up once again was expected. Clearly, we didn't have to wait very long for the first big-name casualty at the US Open.
"The footage allegedly shows 19-year-old Nicholas Barsoum being forced to the ground outside the club and beaten before a security vest is shoved in his mouth.
He's then taken to the basement and allegedly punched in the groin and kicked in the head for another 15 minutes.
The footage allegedly shows 19-year-old Nicholas Barsoum being forced to the ground outside the club and beaten before a security vest is shoved in his mouth.
He's then taken to the basement and allegedly punched in the groin and kicked in the head for another 15 minutes"
Ivy bar bouncers 'gagged, beat' teen patron (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/8291678/ivy-bar-bouncers-gagged-beat-teen-patron)
Statistics : 1053 Topics || 76344 Posts Last post by UrijahBieber
Statistics : 109 Topics || 1101 Posts Last post by sobeaffliction
Monday, August 29, 2011
Date: Sep 10, 2011
Location: Atlantic City, New Jersey
Venue: Ceasars Atlantic City
With the countdown to the end of the 2011 summer transfer window already begun, teams look to make their final moves and get the team they will compete with for the first half of the season. Many clubs have already bought early, bought up their side and are comfortable with the players they have.
But what makes the dying embers of the transfer window the most exciting is those teams that think the player that is the answer to all their problems still lie out there.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are the early leaders of the Premier League pack. They have handled business in their first three games and to no one’s surprise are living up to their status as favorites to win the league.
But to sustain this kind of success throughout the season is the real mark of a championship side. All four have already made headlines with their signings thus far, but when you are playing the high stakes game of big time football, it is never enough.
All will be looking to get an advantage over the other in the first half of the season and create a gap the others cannot close. To do so, they will make deadline deals to strengthen and improve their already quality sides.
Here is one player each team could get that would greatly improve their chances of glory come May.
– Below is another bizarre Matt Hardy video posted about a month ago.
We all know them. Some of their missions are to get automatic satisfaction. Others are for a good cause. You may even be one yourself.
Yes, we are talking about bandwagon fans.
Bandwagon fans are headaches, fair weather fans, sometimes even calling themselves one for a good reason. These next 15 teams of 2011 have seen their share of bandwagon fans, but before we start, let's lay down some parameters to give ourselves a definition of what a bandwagon fan really is.
A bandwagon fan is someone who...
-Starts following a team, claiming them as "their team" in the beginning of or amidst a playoff run.
-One day decides to be a fan of theirs because of a monster deal they made, guaranteeing them success.
-Pulls for a team because they feel sorry for them or wants them to win for a good story.
-Picks a team to root for randomly while having no geographical background or reason to root for the team (ex. living in Chicago and rooting for the Diamondbacks, even though you have never lived there nor know anyone in the organization and/or state).
I hope we see eye to eye on our definitions of bandwagon fans, because you are about to see the list of the biggest bandwagon teams of 2011. Enjoy.
Silva needs to defeat Yushin Okami at UFC 134 this weekend before anything comes to fruition, but UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said on Wednesday that he'd "love" to do that fight on Nov. 12.
For his part, Henderson is still a free agent following the completion of his final fight in Strikeforce in July when he took out Fedor Emelianenko in the first round. However, while his manager says he hasn't signed anything yet, the prospect of fighting "The Spider" for a second time is one that would get the 41-year-old to return to the middleweight division.
"He's open to going back [to the UFC]," said his manager, Aaron Crecy, in an interview with MMAFighting.com. "And to face Anderson, that's probably the only fight he'd consider at 185. If they offered it, I'm sure he'd accept that, but that's my own opinion."
The two longtime veterans met back in 2008 in a unification bout between the Pride and UFC titles at UFC 82. Silva submitted Henderson in the second round of that fight, and has still yet to be defeated in the UFC.
Link to Original Source Article
Penick's Analysis: If it's a title fight Henderson wants upon his return to the UFC, this fight with Silva is a lot easier and more likely for the UFC to put together than a fight with Jon Jones at light heavyweight. If he's willing to make the drop and this fight comes together, this would certainly be a big-time rematch on free television, and could help make a splash on Fox in the very first UFC event on network television. I'd be all for it if the fight comes together, but Silva still needs to win on Saturday night and the UFC needs to come to terms with Henderson before they can move forward.
[Dan Henderson art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
By visiting www.ufc.com/ufcundisputed3 between now and September 30 at 12PM PT, fans can vote on one of five fighters to grace the cover: UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones or UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.
Also, by voting, fans 21 and older in the United States and Canada can be entered into a sweepstakes to win tickets to a future UFC event.
"Letting fans vote for the UFC Undisputed 3 cover athlete is a unique way for us to connect with our extensive worldwide audience of UFC fans, fighting game enthusiasts and more casual sports followers," said Danny Bilson, Executive Vice President, Core Games, THQ. "We look forward to seeing if Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre or Cain Velasquez has what it takes to grace the cover of what will be the most invigorating MMA videogame release to date."
"We are excited to let fans choose the cover athlete for UFC Undisputed 3," UFC President Dana White said. "Frankie, Georges, Anderson, Jon, and Cain are five of the most popular athletes in our sport and each wants to be on the cover. We love making our fans a part of the process and we'll leave this one up to them."
Free Card. Need some peeps to watch it with.
COME TO THIS CHAT ROOM -...
Forrest Griffin and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira should both consider retiring.
Look, I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do—especially guys who could squash me as easily as I hit the snooze button in the morning. I’m not saying that these two legends should retire, but only that they should both consider it, for different but equally compelling reasons.
Fight careers end in one of two ways: Either a fighter chooses to retire or retirement chooses the fighter. In the UFC, retirement often comes in the reaper-like form of a feisty bald guy with lots of T-shirts. He either cuts you like excess baggage, or if he really likes you he makes you an offer you can’t refuse.
I’m speaking of course about UFC president Dana White. When Chuck Liddell’s time came, White wrangled the former champ into accepting an ambassadorial position with the company (vice president of mumbles, I think) in exchange for turning in his four-ounce gloves.
When Mark Coleman’s time came, by contrast, the legendary fighter hadn’t wiggled close enough to the corporate bosom to receive a company post, and he was unceremoniously dropped from the roster following his UFC 109 main event loss to Randy Couture.
Both Griffin and Nogueira are of a stature in the UFC such that they’re assured work with the company as long as they want it—just not necessary in the cage. Nogueira is one of the most decorated and legendary heavyweights in MMA history and has been an irreplaceable ambassador for the UFC and MMA for years. If it wasn’t for Griffin, meanwhile, and his historic fight with Stephan Bonnar in the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 Finale, the UFC might still be $60 million in the hole, or a distant memory.
When it comes to retirement, as with cage fighting, its better if you don’t leave your fate in the hands of others. Chris Lytle may not have won a championship belt, but he set a high water mark of his own in the life priorities department when he walked away from the game, still healthy, on his own terms, while still at the top of his game.
Couture’s farewell party wasn’t quite so perfect, having been spoiled by Lyoto Machida’s impromptu dental work. Still, Couture’s decision to retire was the right one, at an appropriate time and on his own terms.
Today, Nogueira now has a chance to go out as gloriously as Lytle did. With a dramatic finish of a young punk who had the audacity to call him out, Nogueira would have a career—and a retirement—to be proud of.
Griffin, meanwhile, has the less glamorous opportunity to go out more like Couture: for the right reasons, on his own terms and after getting the tar beaten out of him by some Brazilian striker. While the Lytle-style ending would clearly be preferable to Couture-style, Griffin would still be able to hold his head higher than he would, say, after a few more KO losses when White nudges him into a Liddell-style retirement.
After “Minotauro” outgunned a trigger-happy Brendan Schuab in Rio, few are currently arguing he can’t hang in the UFC heavyweight pack. Nogueira, at 35, is not even as old as teammate Anderson Silva, who you may have noticed is still at the top of his game. But in “Nog” years, Minotauro is a lot older. Since the time he was run over by a truck as a kid, Nog’s life choices have brought him an uninterrupted stream of bodily punishment.
And despite his resilience, Nogueira has little chance of scaling today’s heavyweight food chain. Certainly his brutal KO at the hands of Cain Velasquez seems more forgivable now that we’ve seen what Velasquez has done since. But the fighters at the top of the division are pushing hard to evolve their skill sets while Big Nog has been stuck in rehab for his dual hip replacement, a trend that seems like it could continue.
If I were Nogueira (a comically big "if"), I’d give my body a much deserved vacation, enjoy my new hips (Brazilians reportedly know how to do this) and phase gracefully into being a trainer. Or a politician. Or an actor. Or a UFC ambassador. Or just hang out on the beach and play soccer. He has all the money and glory a prizefighter could want.
Griffin, at only 32 years old, is atypically young for retirement talk, but when you’re talking about a fighter who’s strongest asset may be his ability to take punishment, you can assume his body has near Nogueira level of mileage on it. During the week before the fight, when he wasn't complaining about being in Rio, Griffin had an almost Zen-like aura to him that nearly made me second-guess my pick of Mauricio Shogun. Looking back, that peaceful quality of Griffin’s may have been an expression of his grim determination that “this shall soon pass.” He also could have been thinking about home.
During the fight, while he was getting beaten senseless by Shogun, Griffin’s wife entered the early stages of labor with their first child back home in Las Vegas. That kind of impending life change can wreak havoc on your entire camp, but even without this new distraction, the odds are long that a questionably motivated Griffin re-conquers the light heavyweight division. Since losing his belt to Rashad Evans in late 2008 at UFC 92, Griffin’s only wins have been senior circuit members Tito Ortiz and Rich Franklin.
By Griffin’s own admission his game hasn’t progressed, and few would argue that. He seems to have lost the fire to evolve, as the top echelons of the sport demand. He’s financially secure, with a job waiting for him at the UFC if he wants it. What does he have to gain by getting fed to the young lions or beating up more old men?
While Griffin’s second fight with Shogun might not be the most desirable way to end a career, from a future job security perspective today could be a wise time to leave. In a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, Dana White made it clear he’s well aware of Griffin’s impending fatherhood, as well the fact that Griffin really didn’t want to be in Rio at all. If Griffin were to go out on such a note of service to the UFC, after playing an integral part of the momentous and successful UFC 134, and after helping save the company’s ass in 2006, Griffin would easily have college tuition paid for as many children as he cares to have.
Is either one of these warriors ready to hang 'em up? Probably not. But I’d bet more on Griffin than Noguiera pulling the plug at this point.
However, if neither one will accept my suggestion to hang 'em up, I do have an alternative: Have them fight each other, and the loser goes home.
This Saturday Husky Stadium is going to be filled with rabid fans who have been salivating to see the new Washington team all summer.
With Jake Locker gone and Chris Polk injured, there are murmurs of unrest from the Washington fanbase.
Luckily for the Dawgs, there is more than enough talent to take on the Eastern Washington Eagles. New quarterback Keith Price has a well-stocked offensive arsenal to help make plays happen and minimize the hole that Locker left behind.
Polk may be injured (his damaged meniscus will keep him out of the opener but he should return soon after), but sophomore Jesse Callier and redshirt freshman Deontae Cooper will give Washington some fresh legs to run the ball. When Price needs to throw the ball, wide receivers Devin Aguilar, Jermaine Kearse and touted freshman Kasen Williams will provide three big targets for the new quarterback.
Eastern Washington is no slouch for a lower division team. In a recent poll by the Sports Network they were once again the No. 1 ranked football team in the NCAA championship subdivision. Not to mention that the Eagles have 15 returning players out of 22—call me crazy but that is no small feat. And despite losing their star running back Taiwan Jones to the NFL in the fourth round, Eastern Washington can still pack a punch with dynamic returning quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell leading the attack.
However, I have to give this one to Washington due to the fact that they are still riding their four-game winning streak at the end of last season, one of which was their win over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. Also, coach Steve Sarkisian is really hitting his stride in his third year as Washington’s head coach.
Get ready Dawg fans…the Huskies are ready to explode into the 2011 season!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Tight End is one of the more enigmatic positions for fantasy team owners. Some people prefer to draft them much earlier than others, while some merely don?t seem to worry too much about the tight end position, focusing on the more ?sexy? positions.
If you are a fantasy owner who falls into the former category, you may want to pay attention to the three tight ends I have listed below. Due to a combination of natural talent and favorable situations, all three find themselves in position to have breakout seasons in 2011 for their respective teams.
Jared Cook-Tennessee Titans: Jared Cook had a stellar end to the 2010 season. In his last three games, Cook caught 15 passes for 196 yards and touchdown. Not to mention, the team didn?t re-sign Bo Scaife this offseason, opening the door for Cook to become the team?s full time tight end next season.
Cook stands at 6?5?? and weighs 248 pounds, but he has the speed of a wide receiver.
Jared Cook should prove to be a frequent and reliable target for Matt Hasselbeck this season in Tennessee.
Jermaine Gresham-Cincinnati Bengals: With Terrell Owens and Ocho Cinco out of town, Jermaine Gresham should become a top target in Cincinnati next season.
With rookie Andy Dalton likely to be the Bengals? opening day starter, Gresham could very easily become a ?crutch? target for the young quarterback.
Ed Dickson-Baltimore Ravens: With Todd Heap leaving Baltimore this offseason for sunny Arizona, Ed Dickson should get ample opportunity to shine in 2011. Anyone who has followed the Baltimore Ravens the last few seasons knows the team maximizes its production at tight end better than other teams. Remember, Heap, who made two Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams, established himself as one of the game?s best tight ends playing in Baltimore.
The Chicago Bulls made huge strides last year, and they were in position to make another run this season.
The lockout, though, potentially throws a few roadblocks into the Bulls' way.
Of course, many teams will be facing the same issues, but it will need to be seen how the Bulls bounce back after only being this squad for one season.
"We call Andy "champ" like we call developmentally disabled animals "champ." Good boy, Andy, good...
As even the most sequestered Subway Alumni knows by now, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish open at home on Sept. 3 against the South Florida Bulls.
This Bulls team is picked by several relatively sober sports pundits as the favorite in the Big East, and for good reason.
USF is coming off an 8-5 year with a bowl win over Clemson. They have a third-year QB back in B.J. Daniels, along with six of their top seven receivers and five of their top six running backs returning.
It’s Florida...the offense is athletic, talented and dangerous. They run like deer and hit like trucks.
South Florida’s 22nd-ranked defense returns all but one player in a deep and veteran secondary, two of three vicious linebackers, and a stud nose tackle in Cory Grissom, weighing in at 335 cheeseburgers. One of the linebackers has just been reinstated after a two game suspension for eating his own mother.
Leading this group into his second season in the Big East and straight from the hallowed loins of ND coaching legend Lou Holtz is up and coming head coach Skip Holtz...and by all accounts, he is a chip off the old block.
All the elements are there for a big upset. This team is a budding dynasty flooded with talent and sound coaching; people tell me with a couple breaks, this team will make more noise in the BCS than a high school marching band trying to outplay a heavy metal band at a construction site full of screaming babies.
In answer to the learned pundits across our great country, I call bullsh*t.
Let me explain.
USF is Coming Off an 8-5 Year With a Bowl Win Over Clemson
People say, “Hey Dan, USF broke through in 2010 with eight wins in an AQ conference.”
Know what I say? Big damn deal.
The Louisville Cardinals finished 7-6 overall, 3-4 and tied for sixth with South Florida in a terminally crappy Big East. USF won 24-21 in overtime. Welcome to South Florida’s signature Big East win.
“But Dan, they were 4-0 non-conference, they are a force!”
The big non-conference win? A 23-20 overtime win over 7-6 Miami, and we all saw what a pillow fight that can be.
The rest of those eight wins? A veritable murderer’s row: 6-5 FCS Stony Brook, 4-8 Cincinnati, 4-8 Rutgers, 4-8 Florida Atlantic, and 2-10 Western Kentucky.
That big time bowl win? Try a 6-7 Clemson squad that finished 86th in the country on offense.
Rumor has it Boise State was busy bitching that South Florida had an easy schedule.
Oh, and those five losses? Four teams that beat USF in 2010 had five losses; West Virginia had the best record of all their opponents at 9-4. The trend being everybody that was a little better than mediocre beat the Bulls in 2010.
My 89-year-old mom and four of her sisters got six of the fat ladies from her Sunday night Bingo crowd and went 9-4 against the same schedule. It would have been 10-3 if they didn’t get hosed on a late holding call in the Swamp.
The Offense is Talented and Dangerous.
Yes, the Bulls have third-year starting QB B.J. Daniels, along with six of their top seven receivers and five of their top six running backs returning…and they all range from just bad to outright putrid.
This scoring juggernaut returns only five starters from a pathetic group that finished 85th in scoring, 71st in rushing, and 101st in passing in 2010 against mediocre competition. Nothing like starting off terrible then getting gutted by graduation.
The good news is the Bulls had 19 teams that threw the ball worse than they did last year, they didn’t fumble much, and their logo looks cool.
In 2011, South Florida loses three of their top linemen, their top running back and their top receiver from an offense that stunk so bad you could stuff human hair in a dirty diaper and light it on fire to improve the smell.
The top returning running back is Demetris Murray, who rushed for all of 542 yards last year. USF is actually hoping two transfers will give the anemic running attack a boost.
Colorado transfer Darrell Scott transferred because he couldn’t get playing time at Colorado, and Dontae Aycock is a 5-9, 224-pound transplant that Auburn redshirted then dismissed for violation of an undisclosed team rule.
My first point here is that nobody that can play football in the history of college sports has ever been dismissed from an SEC football team without being driven away in cuffs.
I mean really, dismissed for violation of an undisclosed team rule? How can anybody get dismissed from Auburn? Is that even possible? And who knew they actually had a team rule? I shudder to think about the third-degree felonies that must be pasted all over his rap sheet to pull that one off, but I digress.
And third year starting QB B. J. Daniels? Daniels is half a foot shorter than Terrelle Pryor with good wheels and the decision making of, well, Terrelle Pryor, except he’s not surrounded by 10 five-star athletes to cover his ass.
Yes he’s that bad. The junior threw for 1,685 yards with 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2010. At 164 yards per game he didn’t throw it much, but when he did, he threw it to the defense. And yes, he’s athletic...so athletic his long run in 2010 was 16 yards.
But a passing offense can’t be that bad without help. The Bulls’ leading returning wide receiver is Evan Landi with all of 27 catches for 366 yards.
Solid numbers, if you’re a tight end. Case in point --- Notre Dame had two Tight Ends with practically the same stat line:In 2010 Kyle Rudolph 28 Rec 328 yards in six games and his replacement, Tyler Eifert, had 27 catches for 352 yards.
The real hopes for improved receiving is riding on WR A.J. Love coming back from a blown ACL; he had all of 26 catches for 489 yards in 2009. A 500 yard a year sixth year senior with a rag for a knee is the savior of your passing game?
In the days before political correctness, this offense would have been called “retarded.” In more progressive times, they are more accurately referred to as “really retarded.”
South Florida’s Defense is Damn Good
Yes, as with any Holtz team, the Bulls are much better defensively than offensively, but when you line up against the offenses they played, it’s pretty hard to get excited about the Bulls’ 2010 accomplishments.
This team gave up 38 to Florida’s 43rd-ranked scoring offense, 30 to Cincinnati’s 57th-ranked offense, 26 to Clemson’s 86th-ranked team, and 27 to Rutgers’ 101st-ranked squad. All scored well above their season average against the Bulls.
Other than Florida and Cincinnati, there wasn’t an opposing offense on their schedule that ranked in the top half of the country.
The promoter for a professional hot dog eating contest inadvertently screwed up a travel schedule and gave eight fat guys and a 92 lb Korean woman the same slate and they finished 18th in the country in defense before the NCAA could correct the mistake.
When you get rid of the outstanding defensive efforts to pad the defensive stats against Stony Brook, Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic, this defense is not nearly as intimidating as my mom when she finds out the whiskey is gone.
Speaking of gone, so are five starters: three of USF’s front four, as well as a stud linebacker and a DB.
Whereas I am not nearly so blind as to say USF doesn’t have athleticism and experience on the defensive side of the ball, this is not an SEC defense.
It’s not even a Pitt defense. It’s a defense we saw four or five times last year with a more inexperienced offense and did just fine.
The Skip Holtz Myth
Be honest with me, if Skip Holtz had a last name of Smith, Jones or Van Chickenstein, would we even be talking about him?
He led Connecticut in its pre-Division I days to seven wins a year and a less-than-impressive 34-23 overall. At most major college programs he would have been bagged or if the budget was tight just tolerated. He had a losing season two out of the five years he was there and won more than 8 games one time - which landed him the East Carolina job.
Holtz is not pre-FBS Brian Kelly at Grand Valley State tinkering around in a secret football lab with his dangerous and diabolical theories that produce a 118-35-2 monster. He’s a seven win a year guy that has the good fortune to log a nine win year when a horribly stagnant East Carolina program happens to need a more visible coach --- and Skip Holtz has also the good fortune to have the last name of Holtz.
The Holtz-led East Carolina Pirates battled through that always rugged Conference USA schedule to register seven and a half wins a year and check in at 38-27 for five years of work. He had one losing team and never won more than nine games in any year, which was still pretty mundane but good enough to land him the South Florida job.
You already know what I think of the degree of difficulty for his eight wins at South Florida last year.
Skip Holtz is 2-3 in FBS bowls and rounds out at 80-55 (59 percent) for his career against very marginal competition.
It’s fairly interesting that former USF Head Coach Jim Leavitt and his 94-57 (62 percent) coaching record (all at USF) got booted after his 8-5 record in both 2008 and 2009.
For his career, on the field Skip Holtz’ FBS offenses have been pedestrian to bad at best, and his defenses have put up great stats against bad competition and bad stats against good competition, and played a lot more bad teams than good teams.
Look, I loved Lou Holtz ever since I saw him take a charge in a Bookstore basketball game, but Skip is no Lou Holtz and he’s done next to nothing to distinguish himself as a player on the college football coaching scene.
There is nothing guru-like about Skippy.
Baby Holtz seems like a good guy with a middling coaching resume that tends to support the obvious fact he is a slightly above average defensive coach and a more than slightly below average offensive coach...making him exactly a little less than average, no more, no less.
Lou Holtz Jr. he is; Knute Rockne Jr. he is not.
Notre Dame vs. South Florida on Sept. 3
Despite all the hype and all the danger signs everyone is waving, South Florida is the 2010 Purdue opener with a much crappier offense and a little better defense
With much better offensive personnel in 2010, South Florida had a seriously hard time scoring on anybody that wasn’t blind or drunk, and had a particularly hard time with defenses that opted to play 11 men at a time.
Things will not go well for them against an improved Irish defense.
On defense, South Florida played against one top 50 offense in 2010 and gave up 38 points, and didn’t see a single offense all year that has the combination of size, speed and experience of this year’s Irish.
Notre Dame returns eight starters, including an All-American wide receiver, two experienced QB’s, their top running back, almost their entire Oline, and a boatload of experienced backups on offense that will be able to handle a veteran secondary and a couple good linebackers.
And if I have to pick between Brian Kelly and Skip Holtz for one game, I think Brian Kelly has shown me a hell of a lot more than Louis Leo Holtz, Jr.
“So Dan,” you ask, “What’s going to happen on Sept. 3?”
Giving more credit to the USF defense than they probably deserve, and looking deep into my Pilsner glass:
2010 ND 23, Purdue 12.
2011 ND 23, South Florida 12.
Purdue Part Deux.
"We're talking to Overeem," White said (transcribed by MMAMania.com). "When everything fell apart, you guys heard me come out and say, 'We can't do business with these guys the way these guys want to do business,' meaning his management. Well they've changed their opinions on how they can do business with us, so now we can."
White is, of course, talking about the breakdown in talks with Golden Glory, which subsequently led to the release of Marloes Coenen, Valentijn Overeem and Jon Olav Einemo from Zuffa-owned promotions. However, Overeem was never released as had initially been reported, and was in an exclusive negotiating period with the UFC after the final fight on his Strikeforce deal was expedited when he refused a semifinal Heavyweight Grand Prix fight on Sept. 10.
With Golden Glory going back on the issue of Zuffa paying fighters directly, as White claimed was the initial hang up, both sides expressed interest in talking with one another. Now that appears to be what they are doing.
Penick's Analysis: I think we'll see Alistair Overeem in the UFC either by the end of this year or the beginning of 2012. If they can come to an agreement on compensation there's very few reasons why Overeem shouldn't be in the organization, and it makes the most sense for him to be plugged in against a top opponent in the Octagon. Hopefully they can flesh things out in negotiations and make this a reality, but at least they are definitely talking at the moment to begin that process.