A modest proposal on The Ultimate Fighter’s format

Still working on my book, and I’m to the point of comparing different tournament formats that have been used over the years in The Ultimate Fighter. The show has a few issues: 1. Overkill. With one weight class and the fights to get in the house, fighters can have five fights — more, if they use the “wild card” format of the past. 2. Good fighters out in first episode. The “fights to get in the house” are exciting TV, but they sometimes lose good fighters like Che Mills and Ryan Jimmo before they set foot in the house. 3. Bad … Continue reading A modest proposal on The Ultimate Fighter’s format

The Ultimate Fighter Live (TUF 15), halfway: Somebody needs a tickle!

Yes, I’m a little late with last week’s recap. And yes, the headline is a shoutout to The Mr. Men Show. But I’ve also decided that recaps aren’t really getting it done in this new live era. The Ultimate Fighter is no longer a soap opera that evolves through the weeks, with storylines carefully laid out by the editors and producers. It’s more like an ant farm. We check in once a week to see what’s changed. And so far, the answer is “not much.” The only fighters getting consistent screen time are Mike Chiesa, for his good sense of humor … Continue reading The Ultimate Fighter Live (TUF 15), halfway: Somebody needs a tickle!

Paul Riley’s WPS supergroup

I don’t have anything profound to add — just wanted to share the list of players that I received via press release, and it’s a little too long for Twitter. This group is training with Riley this week and will participate in Headers for Hope, a charity tournament. Player (Current team/previous team) Michelle Betos NY Fury (WPSL Elite)/Boston Breakers (WPS) Estelle Johnson NY Fury (WPSL Elite)/Philadelphia Independence (WPS) Nikki Krzysik NY Fury (WPSL Elite)/Philadelphia Independence (WPS) Brittany Taylor NY Fury (WPSL Elite)/Sky Blue FC (WPS) Jen Buczkowski Chicago Red Stars (WPSL Elite)/Philadelphia Independence (WPS) Allie Long NY Fury (WPSL Elite)/Paris … Continue reading Paul Riley’s WPS supergroup

The Ultimate Fighter Live, Episode 5: Tickle me emo

Which ’80s comedy movie villain is Dominick Cruz? It’s driving me crazy because he really dials it up this week. He tries to get Sam Sicilia to narc on his good friend and training partner Michael Chiesa, figuring that a good betrayal on top of a guy’s dad passing away would be a good thing. Then he plays doctor, diagnosing Chris Tickle’s foot.

It’s really amazing how TUF coaches fancy themselves as doctors. More than once, a coach has said a guy is faking, only to find out later that something really serious has happened.

Chiesa apparently will be fighting one of his roommates. But he’s easygoing about it, as he is with nearly everything. “As long as you don’t reach out in your sleep and strangle me,” Chiesa tells Jeremy Larsen.

After Cruz gets on Tickle’s case again, possibly with some justification this time, he tells us he knew Larsen growing up. They drifted apart later, but they seem to have good rapport now.

Continue reading “The Ultimate Fighter Live, Episode 5: Tickle me emo”

Single-Digit Soccer: The parity problem

Sports are inherently meritocracies. At some point, you simply can’t make every player equal. When I scan the U8 league for the season ahead, I see quite a mixture. A lot of kids have been playing indoor soccer together in the winter. Then you have the kids with everything ranging from a general indifference about soccer to actual developmental challenges. So are these players evenly scattered across the league? Well, not exactly. I don’t think there’s anything nefarious going on. Sure, I’ve heard a few stories in various clubs in which crafty parents and coaches gamed the system to put … Continue reading Single-Digit Soccer: The parity problem