MMA judging: A modest proposal

What should be valued most in MMA judging? Supposedly, it’s some mix of striking, grappling and Octagon control, but the definitions seem elusive to fans and losing fighters. (Winning fighters, of course, always find some way to interpret the scorecards.) MMA fans and writers have many pet solutions for tweaking the judging process. This one attempts to give some idea of what should be valued the most. 1. Working toward finishing the fight – 60% This includes both grappling and striking. A good solid submission attempt would count roughly the same as a punch or kick that stuns an opponent. … Continue reading MMA judging: A modest proposal

‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Season 12, Episode 5: Nam better

Josh Koscheck’s team has lost three fights, so he’s serious now. He brings in American Kickboxing Academy teammate Jon Fitch. Then he makes reference to his team’s lack of balls. Foreshadowing the Axe ad later in the broadcast?

Back at the house, Michael Johnson is doing laundry. Alex Caceres confesses that he put bleach in Nam Phan’s fabric softener. Fortunately, Johnson’s laundry is rescued in time. Johnson’s still pissed.

Team GSP brings in Jean Charles Skarbowsky to teach Muay Thai. GSP warns his team that JCS isn’t like other guys. Not in those words exactly — that’s Michael Jackson’s Thriller. JCS, we’re told, sleeps only three hours a night, then gets drunk and comes into the cage to beat everyone up. Fortunately, no one’s hurt.

Back in the house, Caceres is playing pool and musing to Jeff Lentz, his tournament victim, about his lack of popularity. Lentz suggests that he ease up. Caceres says he has to be who he is, borrowing heavily from Popeye, Edie Brickell and Smash Williams.

Fight selection: GSP sends Spencer Paige, who looked good in a tough prelim, against Phan, the most experienced guy in the field.

Continue reading “‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Season 12, Episode 5: Nam better”

Does the USA need a “No. 10”?

David Hirshey critiques the U.S. MNT with a lament for the bygone days, which never really existed in the USA’s case, of a “No. 10” playmaker directing the team. From Ives Galarcep, we get a very different reading — the USA fared well in the 4-2-3-1 set-up that seems so common worldwide these days. The 4-2-3-1 doesn’t rule out a “No. 10” — the midfielder at the center of the “3” line could be that guy. But all three of those midfielders are likely to see a fair amount of the ball, and the best playmaker need not be in … Continue reading Does the USA need a “No. 10”?

‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 12, Episode 4: Maturity rocks

The questions heading into tonight’s episode:

1. Will the latest Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres housecapades include anything we haven’t already seen in the preview?

2. With Caceres and Michael Johnson winning but not looking dominant, who’s the favorite?

3. Will Josh Koscheck give up on trying to prank Georges St. Pierre by himself and turn to Ashton Kutcher for help?

We start with a fight replay and GSP telling his team, in that wonderful French-Canadian lilt, that his guys are going to make him have a heart attack.

Mike Tyson is still hanging around, and he talks to Team GSP about confidence. He and GSP then resume their campaigns for “Nicest Guy in Combat Sports” with an exchange of compliments. Never thought you’d hear that about Tyson, did you? Not 15-20 years ago, anyway.

Continue reading “‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 12, Episode 4: Maturity rocks”

WPS Best XI and the evolving U.S. women’s national team

As I puzzled over my ballot for the WPS Best XI, announced today, something strange occurred to me. I couldn’t justify putting many U.S. national team veterans on the team. It’s not that the team is completely foreign — only Marta, Ali Riley (U.S.-born), Kelly Smith and Christine Sinclair hail from other countries. (Side note: Marta is the only player on the Best XI who didn’t play U.S. college soccer.) We’re simply seeing other players emerge. Here’s a quick comparison: PLAYER 2008 Olympics 2010 WPS Best XI Current USWNT camp Abby Wambach, F injured Yes Yes Cat Whitehill, D injured … Continue reading WPS Best XI and the evolving U.S. women’s national team