‘The Ultimate Fighter,” Season 12, Episode 9: 1-1

After a brief glimpse at the house in which Sevak asks fellow Armenian Sako (“Psycho”) to avenge his loss to Jonathan Brookins, we go to the gym, where Georges St. Pierre tells his team they’re scaling back training. No hard-core sparring. No exhaustion. He wants to work on their tactics and keep them fresh and hungry for their fights. Like most of GSP’s training ideas, it makes perfect sense, especially when the typical Ultimate Fighter contestant gasses in the first round in the midst of such an intense schedule.

Koscheck trains Psycho to avoid giving up his back and getting caught in a rear naked choke. Easier said than done — the choke is usually the end result of being beaten up.

Back at the house — specifically in the yard — Brookins chats with Nam Phan, crossing team lines to talk about how humble they are compared to all the cocky dudes in the house at the pool table.

We go quickly to the fight after the first commercial break. Herb Dean is our ref. They touch gloves, and we’re off.

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A modest MLS playoff proposal

Complaints about the MLS playoff format are as much a part of the American soccer landscape as chants about pies are a part of the English scene. Beneath the hysteria over New York or Salt Lake winning a geographically imprecise conference title, some of the complaints are legit: – Hosting the second leg of a two-leg series is a middling advantage after a long season. – Colorado finished seventh in the league and yet will host a conference final. The league likes to give everyone a home game and put an emphasis on elimination games rather than extended series. Great, … Continue reading A modest MLS playoff proposal

2012 medal projections: Old Cold War battles, Jamaica heat up women’s running

Olympic athletes don’t just show up out of nowhere in an Olympic year, except maybe in a few secretive nations. Next year, we’ll have world championships in virtually everything, giving us a good chance to project what might happen in 2012.

We’re not waiting until then. We’re setting up some projections now, then revising as new results come in. It’s FiveThirtyEight with less math and no Rasmussen.

Today, it’s …

ATHLETICS: Women’s running events

We’re not Eurosnobs. Really. But isn’t “athletics” less awkward than “track and field”?

Besides, the marathon uses neither a track (except at the very end) or a field. And the shot put can be held anywhere.

The year’s top performances for each athlete are given in parentheses, but remember that some top athletes (Usain Bolt springs to mind) didn’t put much emphasis on running in a year with no Olympics or World Championships. (Source: IAAF)

We’re going to split this into running events and non-running events, then split it further by gender. We have a lot of ground to cover.

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Defending Koscheck: The “standing up for his guys” theory

Steve Cofield at Yahoo shows one of The Ultimate Fighter‘s extended clips to defend Josh Koscheck’s spat with medic/”male nurse” Brad Tate, saying Tate mocked one of Koscheck’s fighters over his accent. Full post with video is here. That defense would be a little tighter if Koscheck hadn’t been spending so much of the season mocking Georges St. Pierre’s accent and yelling that he’s never going to lose “to a French guy.” At the end of the video, Koscheck offers a sincere apology. The rest of the video, though, casts Koscheck in a better light. He wants to be the … Continue reading Defending Koscheck: The “standing up for his guys” theory

‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ Season 12, Episode 8: It’s a trap!

We open with a training session for Georges St. Pierre’s team, which seems a little deflated by the fact that Dane Sayers won’t be in the wild-card fight.

Dana White defends the decision, saying Marc Stevens is the better fighter and the obvious pick. This despite his lightning-fast loss to Cody McKenzie through a colossal tactical mistake and technical failure.

Maybe losing quickly is a good strategy, though. His win in the prelims and his loss by guillotine were brief, so he’s had all the benefits of training with little of the damage from fighting.

As threatened, we get another chapter in the feud between Josh Koscheck and Brad Tate, a paramedic with GSP’s team.

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Why the Washington Freedom should not collapse

Forgive me for going personal in this post, but it’s important to trace the history here: A few times in the five-year gap between the WUSA and WPS, I made the trek out to the Maryland SoccerPlex to see the Washington Freedom, still kicking around and keeping the name and flame alive for women’s soccer in the region. In 2004, they were an exhibition team playing against more structured teams such as the W-League’s New Jersey Wildcats, who featured WUSA stars Kelly Smith and Marinette Pichon. By 2007, they were in the W-League with a strong mix of WUSA vets … Continue reading Why the Washington Freedom should not collapse