How old is too old to fight?

Jordan Breen raises a question along those lines on Twitter today, linking to video of a dreadful performance by MMA/kickboxing veteran Gary Goodridge and wondering how promoters can keep trotting him out into the ring. The fight’s horrible — opponent Catalin Morosanu seems to enjoy landing shots at will through the first round but later seems reticent to hurt the poor guy any more than he already has. You can almost hear Howard Cosell vowing to quit covering the sport. In other recent Senior League fighting, Ken Shamrock keeps competing on ever-smaller stages, and Jake Rossen asks at ESPN how … Continue reading How old is too old to fight?

Time to transition to a post-FIFA world? (Or World Cup, anyway?)

The FIFA World Cup bid process long ago descended into farce long ago. BBC’s long-threatened Panorama investigation, released a couple of days before the Big Bid Vote, is stark but not really surprising. We’ve all known for a while that we’re not dealing with angels here. The program is still worth watching. Andrew Jennings makes it entertaining — too much so, at times. And you can see two amusing highlights: Doesn’t the FIFA Executive Committee room look like some sort of bunker that should be populated by James Bond supervillains? A Dutch lawmaker’s accent turns “situation” into “shituation.” I found … Continue reading Time to transition to a post-FIFA world? (Or World Cup, anyway?)

Settling all MLS dilemmas in one easy fix (maybe)

The big issues coming out of MLS Cup weekend, among the media and the hard-core supporters (most of whom are “media” in some sense, even if it’s just a prolific Twitter habit) were: 1. This game is ending far too late. Fans are leaving, and no one’s going to make deadline. And maybe they should revisit the whole neutral-site idea, anyway. 2. 10 teams in the playoffs next year? Really? 3. Hmm, the league is considering the formation of a committee that would study the idea of forming a task force to do an in-depth look into asking its competition … Continue reading Settling all MLS dilemmas in one easy fix (maybe)

Biathlon team surprises

Last year, biathlete Haley Johnson got a few World Cup points. This year, she isn’t going to the World Cup or IBU Cup. In February, Wynn Roberts got a start in the Olympics. This winter? No slot on the team. Such is the harsh, unforgiving world of sports that don’t attract mountains of money. Most of the spots on the team were determined by trials. Jay Hakkinen, who has had a long career with a few top 10s along the way, is taking the early part of the season off. Continue reading Biathlon team surprises

Is MLS too physical?

This is a story I worked on through much of the MLS season, but the timing to run it was never quite right. I just updated a couple of figures and posted it here instead.

Early in the MLS season, a couple of league coaches were tired of hearing that their teams were playing a bit rough.

“If you want to avoid contact, I would suggest badminton or curling or chess maybe,” Philadelphia coach Peter Nowak told the Delaware County Daily Times.

“If you want me to bring a lot of ballerinas I will,” then-Toronto coach Preki told TSN.

But players and coaches can’t agree on whether MLS is a “physical” league. One reason for the lack of consensus: They’re not really sure what “physical” means or how “physical” play affects the game.

Continue reading “Is MLS too physical?”

The big MLS playoff and schedule announcement

As you may have already heard, MLS announced two things Sunday night to coincide with MLS Cup: 1. They’re looking into a change in scheduling to align with the international calendar, which in many parts of the world means an August-May league calendar — with or without a split season, with or without a winter break (well, with — Garber concedes the league won’t be playing in January or most of February). What has actually been decided along these lines: Absolutely nothing. Could be split season, could be Bundesliga-style, could be nothing. 2. They want to go to 11 teams … Continue reading The big MLS playoff and schedule announcement

‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Season 12, Episode 10: Kos keeps talking

Should we really root for Michael Johnson over Alex Caceres? No doubt Caceres has had his annoying moments, but after seeing Johnson flip out over a pretty harmless kitchen-sink prank and falsely blame Caceres, the sympathy meter might flip toward Bruce Leeroy a bit.

Kyle Watson, probably the most polished of the four quarterfinalists we’ll see in action tonight, trains with GSP, who must have spent most of the morning squeezing into an Under Armour top. Or maybe it’s just paint.

Watson will be up against Team Koscheck’s Aaron “English” Wilkinson, who has shown a lot of heart and surprising skill in getting this far. The American vet attempts some trash talk having to do with fish and chips. What are you saying about ordering fish and chips, Kyle? You come say that to my face. I outweigh you by quite a bit. Probably because … I eat a lot of fish and chips.

Fight starts early in the episode, with Steve Mazzagatti reffing. Watson quickly gets Wilkinson down, where Watson should have a decided advantage. Wilkinson does well to tie him up and work for the escape. Watson isn’t doing much, and Koscheck justifiably yells for Mazzagatti to stand them up. Wilkinson gets to his feet on his own, but only for a moment. Watson takes his back and sinks in a secure body triangle with two minutes left to work for the rear naked choke. It only takes a minute.

“How many rear naked chokes have my team …,” says a disgruntled Koscheck, who now has just one fighter, Nam Phan, left in the competition.

Continue reading “‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Season 12, Episode 10: Kos keeps talking”