The Ultimate Fighter 20, Episode 10: No talk, just fight

Previously on The Ultimate Fighter … Hey! Do you remember Jessica Penne? Yes, she’s a pretty good fighter. MMARising puts her 12th in the global pound-for-pound rankings. She’s seeded fourth in the tournament on The Ultimate Fighter. Oh, you didn’t remember she’s on the show? Well, she is. No, really. And she’s fighting fifth seed Aisling Daly, another fighter you might have known before the show but haven’t seen as much this season except to learn about her battle with depression and her love of her Irish training partners. In other words, we have actual grown-ups fighting this week. People who aren’t … Continue reading The Ultimate Fighter 20, Episode 10: No talk, just fight

The final word on the Soccer Culture Wars, more or less

This post is not a reversal of my retirement from the Soccer Culture Wars. I would see it as encouragement to others to join me in retirement. We’ll need to be clear — the Wars include some reasonable debate topics, especially those related to Jurgen Klinsmann, someone I would see as an underachiever at this point in his reign as U.S. Soccer national team coach and semi-official overseer of all things. But they also include promotion/relegation discussions that devolved into personal attacks around 2009 or so, and there they remain. So the past couple of weeks have seen a confluence … Continue reading The final word on the Soccer Culture Wars, more or less

The Ultimate Fighter 20, Episode 9: Mean girls

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The last season of The Ultimate Fighter I recapped in full was Season 16. Remember Shane Carwin? But I’m inspired. Season 20 — all women, all contenders, a title belt on the line — is terrific. The fights are more intriguing that what you’ll see on some UFC pay-per-views these days. I can’t wait to see Rose Namajunas take on Joanne Calderwood. Not because of their staredown. Because they’re great fighters with good personalities. Even the reality aspects of Season 20 have been better than many past seasons. Sure, the house has divided into cliques — as it … Continue reading The Ultimate Fighter 20, Episode 9: Mean girls

Unsolicited advice for the UFC

When a UFC fight card coincides with a Bellator fight card, the choice should be obvious. And yet it’s not. The UFC has the talent — by my quick count, 83 of the 90 top-10 fighters in the Sherdog rankings. At USA TODAY/MMA Junkie, which ranks 15 per class but only ranks men (come on, guys!), it’s 101 out of 120, and no non-UFC fighter ranks higher than seventh. But Bellator, now under the leadership of Strikeforce founder Scott Coker, is going in a new direction that cleverly stakes out a couple of niches. If you don’t believe me, listen to Kid Nate … Continue reading Unsolicited advice for the UFC

The delusion of Adrian Peterson’s defense (w/Hope Solo note)

Adrian Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, just issued one of the most specious arguments ever uttered on cable television. And that’s saying something. Hardin complained that the NFL was trying to punish Peterson beyond what the legal system already did. There’s “no precedent” for such a thing, Hardin said. I’m sure that statement came as a surprise to: – Any employee ever fired for flunking a drug test. – Any employee ever fired for verbally accosting a co-worker. (I actually got a job that way. Someone totally flipped out and got fired, and I moved into his position.) – Richard Nixon. … Continue reading The delusion of Adrian Peterson’s defense (w/Hope Solo note)

Dear Soccer …

With apologies to Lori Lindsey … It’s not me. It’s you. Don’t look surprised. I really don’t know how you could have thought I was in the mood to endure any more of your cruelty. You remember a couple of weeks ago. The indoor soccer game in which one team outshot the opposition by something like 40-20 and lost 10-9. Then an outdoor scrimmage (thanks to your cousin, Nature, for the lovely fall day) in which a bunch of players suddenly figured out the joy of passing, making beautiful runs and playing as a team. Yeah — they lost 3-0. Simple goalkeeping … Continue reading Dear Soccer …

‘Enduring Spirit’ epilogue: Thoughts from Diana Matheson

Here’s proof, once again, that soccer karma doesn’t exist: Through the Spirit office, I asked several players (not all, so don’t go accusing people) a few follow-up questions about the 2014 season, thinking I would publish a short epilogue to the tale of their 2013 season, Enduring Spirit. The epilogue didn’t come to pass, and I wound up passing along what I had gathered in a blog post providing a snapshot of the team at a late-season practice. The one player who responded was Diana Matheson. And now she’s hurt. Again — no such thing as soccer karma. She responded before … Continue reading ‘Enduring Spirit’ epilogue: Thoughts from Diana Matheson