Mayweather-McGregor: A corporate bailout, not a fight

I’m certainly not the first person to tell you I won’t be watching Floyd Mayweather box Conor McGregor tonight. It’s one thing to watch Randy Couture pummel James Toney in the co-main event of a strong UFC card. It’s another to shell out $99.99 to watch a UFC fighter who’s third, at best, in the current pound-for-pound rankings of a down period for MMA taking on a boxer who, for all his personal flaws, knows his craft about as well as anyone ever has. McGregor isn’t even the UFC fighter who would bring the most entertainment value to a freak-show … Continue reading Mayweather-McGregor: A corporate bailout, not a fight

How Kimbo Slice and MMA challenge our notions of celebrity and humanity

Written in the wake of a dizzying weekend of MMA news, with one of the sport’s top journalists (Ariel Helwani) temporarily losing his UFC credentials and one of the sport’s most famous figures (Kimbo Slice) passing away suddenly. Source: How Kimbo Slice and MMA challenge our notions of celebrity and humanity | Sport | The Guardian June 7, 2016 Continue reading How Kimbo Slice and MMA challenge our notions of celebrity and humanity

MMA writing: 2008-2015

Selected pieces on mixed martial arts — all USA TODAY except as noted: Issues Aug. 4, 2015: Is the UFC turning into Rollerball? (The Guardian) July 12, 2015: Huge night for McGregor, Lawler and UFC 3.0(SportsMyriad) May 25, 2012: UFC, MMA wrestling with testosterone issues March 28, 2010: State of New York still not submitting to MMA advances March 10, 2010: In mixed martial arts, hitting the head can hurt the fist Sept. 15, 2009: UFC president tries out softer stance in business matters July 7, 2009: UFC’s early beginnings packed more than punch May 7, 2009: New York still fighting … Continue reading MMA writing: 2008-2015

Covering MMA: Fascinating, frustrating, never dull

One of my projects for this year is to wrap up a book on my experiences covering mixed martial arts. I promise it’ll be a fun read. So I was happy to see SI’s terrific media reporter, Richard Deitsch, hosting a roundtable of MMA journalists. He got a good cross-section — people are very much “in” the UFC orbit (Heidi Fang, Ariel Helwani) and those who are “out” (Josh Gross). It’s a unique environment. I’ve never covered another sport that handed out copies of Playboy featuring an employee. I’ve rarely found athletes in other sports who’ll just chat, though that’s … Continue reading Covering MMA: Fascinating, frustrating, never dull

Back in the podcasting game

The new SportsMyriad podcast features me ranting about the U.S. women’s soccer roster, curling, Rio 2016 prep, youth soccer getting too serious, and of course, the bizarre lawsuit filed against Ronda Rousey by a guy who apparently lives at White Castle. [spreaker type=standard width=100% autoplay=false episode_id=7519994] Please let me know what you think. Yes, it goes too long — future podcasts will either be shorter or will have an interview segment. Continue reading Back in the podcasting game

MMA fighters: Please don’t fight for your family

Marion Reneau is just the latest MMA fighter who says she’s fighting to support her family / give her family a better life: UFC women’s bantamweight contender Marion Reneau, who is pushing 40, started MMA in her early 30s to help finance her son’s college fund.(From MMA FIghting) Let’s take a look at the money available in the UFC … UFC 189, one of the biggest cards in history, paid most of its fighters $10-15K to fight, plus the same amount as a win bonus. (Conor McGregor made a bit more. Just a bit.) Reneau was actually on a lower … Continue reading MMA fighters: Please don’t fight for your family

Huge night for McGregor, Lawler and UFC 3.0

The UFC couldn’t have picked a better night to unveil its new look. Let’s face it — the UFC of a few years ago was big but a little predictable. Georges St. Pierre would take people down at will or methodically jab them to a pulp. Anderson Silva would dance around a little and win with a Matrix-style move if he was interested or win methodically if he was bored. Brock Lesnar would take someone down and pound them with the giant ham hocks he calls fists. The stars faded, and the UFC seemed to be fading with it. A … Continue reading Huge night for McGregor, Lawler and UFC 3.0