Iceman: My Fighting Life

Everybody who wins a title now goes out and writes a book about their life. BJ Penn, Randy Couture, Forrest Griffin, Matt Hughes, and obviously, Chuck Liddell. I’m always curious to learn how guys like Chuck get to where they are, so obviously this one was on my reading list.

Everybody knows who the Iceman is. Even those who don’t follow MMA recognize the stare and the mohawk. It wasn’t long ago that he was still the UFC’s Light Heavyweight champ, is still considered by many to be the face of the UFC, and has recently retired from fighting and become the UFC’s VP of Business Development.

Overall, this was a fun read. If you go into it understanding that it’s from Chuck’s point of view, then it won’t leave you disappointed. It’s essentially a series of “There was this one time…” type of stories. Early in the book, he talks about the physical challenges he had as a youngster, playing high school football, wrestling, and obviously, fighting. He talks about his teenage years of karate, kickboxing, turning down his black belt, and…fighting.

What I found most interesting about the book was the inside view leading up to his early MMA fights. He has some great stories about flying down to Brazil for his second ever MMA fight against Pele (Jose Landi-Jons), his first UFC fight, the beginnings of his rivalry with Tito Ortiz, what went on during the very early days of the UFC, creating the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and even brags a little (a lot) about the girls that make it into his hotel room after his fights (“not bragging or anything, but it’s good to be the winner”).

You might not ever get the chance to kick back and have a few beers with Chuck Liddell during your lifetime, but that’s about what reading this book feels like. If you are a fan of Chuck, the UFC, or even just MMA, this is a really fun book, and a quick read.

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Volkmann vs. Obama: Fight Confirmed by UFC and White House

Most have now seen the video of Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann calling out Barack Obama for his next fight.  Just days after Volkman’s split decision victory of Antonio McKee, Volkmann was visited at his gym by one of Obama’s agents to work up a contract for the fight.  With celebrities like Brock Lesnar, Herschel Walker, and Jose Canseco making their way into MMA, it should be no surprise that the current President of the United States would want to join in on what has become the fastest growing sport in America.

Volkmann, a practicing Chiropractor, entered the UFC with an impressive 9-0 record, but stumbled in his first two outings against two very tough competitors in the 170lbs division, Paulo Thiago, and Martin Kampmann.  Since then, the 3-time NCAA All American made the cut down to the 155lbs division and has gone unbeaten in his 3 fights at that weight class.  Volkmann has some momentum behind him, and by the sounds of things in his interview with Ariel Helwani, this fight is more than just another chance to compete; it’s personal.

(Volkmann calls him out around the 3:00 mark)

Barack “Da Rock” Obama is coming into this fight undefeated in his MMA career.  Originally from Hawaii, where other such MMA standouts BJ Penn, Kendal Grove, and Chris Leben call home, the 6’ 1½” Obama seems as confident as ever going into the fight.

“Volkmann will wish he had Universal Health Care when I’m finished with him!  You asked for Da Rock, and you got him baby.  I’m going to introduce you to the Czar of Pain!”

Not known for getting into a war or words before a fight, Volkmann has stated that he feels a win over Obama will help get him one more step closer to the title, but did add that more than anything, he just wants to “knock some sense into that idiot.”

With 3 fights now at lightweight, Volkmann is quite comfortable with the weight cut.  Rumors had been going around that Obama had been struggling to make 155lbs, and had even resorted to skipping meals, but it has been recently revealed that “Da Rock” has begun work with Mike Dolce to get his weight down to 155 more easily.

Expect Obama to use his significant reach advantage to keep Volkman at the end of his punches, and try to put him away early.  We saw Obama go the distance with Hillary Clinton, but not with this kind of weight cut.  Volkmann will know that taking Barack Obama into deep water will be the path to victory in this fight, so expect him to try to close the distance, tie him up, and take the President down to the mat.

“I’m a chiropractor.  I know the healthcare situation is not good, but he’s making it worse.  So as a doctor, I’m doing this fight for all the other doctors out there.  Despite how much you see of him on the TV, we don’t have a lot of fight footage to use to look for holes in the Presidents game.  He put McCain away pretty quickly, so there wasn’t a lot we could learn from watching that one. ”

“I’ve got two new members in my Cabinet for you Jacob Volkmann, (raises fists) Death and Destruction!  You’re going to wish you had your own Secret Service to protect you when they close that cage door!”

It also seems like no coincidence that the White House has recently begun talking about creating a department to oversee the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.  This department would remove the power of the individual states to regulate the sport, and give the Federal Government control of the Unified Rules.  Rumor has it that Steve Mazzagatti will be Obama’s appointed Czar of MMA.

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UFC 125 Post Fight: Why is Princess Leia Such a Bitch?

To say that I was a little excited about this event, is to say that Princess Leia could have been a little more thankful to Han Solo.  Before sleeping inside the steaming carcass of a camel or sending a Sith Lord careening helplessly into space, the dude flew a hot-rod Lincoln into a fucking Death Star and laid waste to more trained soldiers than John Matrix, only to discover that the Princess that he was saving was a bitchy, ungrateful, know-it-all who keeps telling him how to run his own ship.  Rather than show a little thanks, she just gets all bent because he would rather drop her off at the closest port and get paid than join her and her friends in some Anti Big Government activism.  Oh yeah, and he did it all with little more than a handgun while listening to her and her brother piss and moan.

Ridiculous movie analogy out of the way, this card delivered big (and yeah, I suppose Leia eventually came around too).

Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares: Baroni caught Tavares early and failed to capitalize on it.  Tavares rallied back and got the KO with a series of strikes in the last minute of the first round.  Referee Josh Rosenthal did an excellent job defending the single-leg as Baroni started getting up.  This puts Baroni at 0-2 since getting signed into the UFC again, which means the “New York Bad Ass” is looking for work elsewhere now.

My record for the night: 1-0

Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier: I actually didn’t give a pick on this one.  Grispi was originally set to fight Jose Aldo for the Featherweight Title on this card, so  most assumed Poirier to be the underdog in this fight.  Grispi was first pulled from a fight against Erik Koch in order to fight Aldo however, so this one was a coin toss for me.  Poirier upset Grispi, winning a dominating 3 round decision.

Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens: I picked Stephens here, and for 2 ½ rounds, Marcus Davis kicked his ass with superior boxing.  Going into the 3rd round, Stephens knew the judges gave Davis both of the first rounds, so he needed a finish, and at 2:33 of round 3, Stevens clobbered Davis with a single right hand, squarely on the jaw, that sent “The Irish Hand Grenade” falling unconscious to the mat.  He followed it up with a shot reminiscent of Henderson vs. Bisping just to make sure.  Like Hendo, this also won Stephens Knockout of the Night.


Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi: Is there anybody that’s more fun to watch than Guida?  This went down exactly how I thought it would.  Guida confused Gomi with what could be best described as African Tribal Moshing.  He seems to keep a rhythm in all of the chaos though, which makes me wonder what song is playing in his head while he’s out there.  Gomi landed a few glancing shots, but he just couldn’t make sense of Guida’s movement.  Guida took Gomi down and submitted him with a guillotine with 30 seconds left in the 2nd round, winning him Submission of the Night.  Guida keeps looking better and better since teaming up with Greg Jackson, and I can’t wait to see who’s next for “The Carpenter”

Still sitting pretty at 3-0

Nate Diaz vs. Kim Dong-Hyun: As expected,Diaz had a tough time keeping Kim on his feet, and Kim fought off submission attempt after submission attempt once he got Diaz to the mat.  Kim controlled Diaz with superior grappling for the first 2 rounds, which was enough to win him the decision.  Back in Pride, all of Diaz’s submission attempts may have actually won him these two rounds.  I had a real problem with this fight however.  Early in the 3rd round, Diaz landed a knee that dropped Kim.  Kim had a single finger touching the mat when the knee landed, so the ref gave Kim a few minutes to recover, calling it an illegal knee to a downed opponent.  Rules are rules, but calling this a “downed” opponent is bullshit, and Diaz should have won this fight.  Keeping a knee down to prevent your opponent from kicking/kneeing you in the face is one thing, but this was ridiculous.  Of course, if I had picked Kim in this fight, you bet your ass I would be complimenting Yves Lavine for what a fine job he did noticing the illegal knee.


Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva: Silva totally dominated Vera for 3 rounds.  Much of this fight was spent on the mat though, which did surprise me.  I called Silva winning it, but not in such dominant fashion.  Brandon Vera did walk away as the winner of the Best Broken Nose Ever award though.  Silva put on an excellent display of douch-baggery while having Vera’s back in the 3rd round.  After landing some open handed strikes to the sides of the head of Vera, he sat up and started slapping his back like a bongo drum.  I’m not sure what this means now for Vera though, as this was his 3rd straight loss.  If he gets cut from the UFC, somebody should put together a rematch with Vera and Keith Jardine.

Vera's Busted Face

Photo Credit: SBNation


Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann: I was least confident with this pick.  Stann’s last fight wasn’t just an un-televised preliminary fight, it was an un-televised prelim on a free fight card on Versus.  He went from that fight, to a co-main event in a PPV.  To me, this was for one of two reasons:

1.       Leben did the UFC a HUGE favor stepping in to replace an injured Wanderlei Silva and fighting twice in two weeks.  Not only that, but it ended up being one of the most exciting back and forth battles of the year.  Maybe the UFC gives him a guy who also likes to stand and throw punches, but isn’t quite the same caliber of fighter, confident that Leben will win, setting him up to coach the next season of TUF against Wanderlei, assuming Chael Sonnen cannot actually coach.

2.       Joe Silva clearly saw something in Brian Stann’s last fight that showed him that Stann was ready to fight a vet like Leben, and made it happen when Stann asked for it.

Clearly the latter was the case, which should be no surprise.  It’s a win for the UFC either way though.  If it turned out that Stann wasn’t ready for a guy like Leben, then they have Leben as a TUF coach who would be great for ratings.  If Stann did pull off the win, it makes for a  great story, and he’s a great poster boy for one of their biggest sponsors, the US Marine Corps, not to mention that our guys in the military are a big audience for the UFC.  Maybe we’ll even see Wanderlei vs Stann as TUF coaches.  After seeing this fight, I might even pick Stann in that fight.


Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard: Edgar retains his belt via a draw.  Maynard had Edgar rocked bad in the first round, dropping him multiple times.  Edgar proved he has the heart of a champ though, and came back to win the 2nd round decisively.  The 3rd round was very close, and was the only round in the fight that Maynard actually got a takedown on Edgar.  I still gave the round to Edgar, but only 1 judge agreed with me.  The fourth round easily went to Edgar again, and the fifth, although not as close as the 3rd, was still a very close round, and 2 judges gave it to Edgar.  48-46, 47-47, 46-48.  The champ retains his belt.  Both fighters got their win bonuses, and also Fight of the Night.  Edgar, Maynard, and Yours Truly were all disappointed by the judges calling it a draw, but nobody is more disappointed than Anthony Pettis, who will now have to wait for his title shot, as these guys are going to get an immediate rematch.  I’m going to go ahead and call it now though, Edgar will win the next one decisively.  I’m curious to see if he’s actually started getting a little respect though, and perhaps isn’t the underdog going into the rematch.  Nah, who am I kidding, if Frankie Edgar was fighting my little sister they would still put him down as an underdog.  She kicks like a mule, but c’mon, what does this guy need to do to gain a little respect?

All in all, I was 5-2 with my picks.  How did you do?

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UFC 125 Breakdown

I might be more excited about UFC 125 on New Years Day than I was about Christmas. There are a ridiculous 13 Fight of the Night awards that have gone to the guys on the main card, and 3 of those were Fight of the Year.. This card is so stacked that half of the Preliminary card should be on a main card!

Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi: This could be a main event fight for me. Both guys are so exciting to watch, both have won a Fight of the Year, and are fairly evenly matched, though I give Gomi the edge on his feet, and Guida an edge on the mat. We may see Guida going back to his wrestling a bit more in this one and getting some takedowns. Gomi has great knockout power, as he showcased in his last fight with Tyson Griffin, but Guida has an amazing chin, and you just can’t tire him, or knock him out. This should be quite a battle, and Guida will get the W.

Nate Diaz vs. Kim Dong-Hyun: Honestly, why don’t the Diaz brothers have their own reality show yet? Diaz will look to keep Dong-Hyun at bay with his jab, and will have his hands full trying to do so. Dong-Hyun will work for the take-down, and will have his hands full when he gets to the ground. This is a really tough fight to guess, but I’m going with Diaz. He’s a scrapper, and knows how to pull it off and come back from getting an early ass wuppin.

Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva: This is another fantastic matchup of two highly skilled strikers. Vera knows that he’s gotta win this fight. He’s lost his last two, and had his face broken by Jon Jones in his last fight. I’m curious to see how Vera comes out in this fight and if he fights like he’s fighting for his spot in the UFC, or if his last loss makes him hesitant to exchange with a guy with the power that Silva has. Vera also hasn’t fought in almost 9 months. Silva is still sitting at 14-2, with the only two losses of his career to guys who have held the UFC belt (Machida and Evans). Silva has been out for a year since his rather unexciting loss to Rashad Evans, who spent 15 minutes laying on top of Silva. I give this one to Silva.

Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann: Chris Leben is another guy that you simply do not want to miss. If you are not a Leben fan, then you were simply not watching MMA this past summer. Leben got a Knockout of the Night award for his finish of Aaron Simpson, after Simpson gassed himself out from kicking Leben’s ass. Two weeks later, Leben steps in to replace an injured Wanderlei Silva, and got Fight of the Night, beating Akiyama by letting him tire himself out punching Leben in the face. It’s not often that I jump off of the couch yelling during a fight (OK, that’s a lie), but this was like watching Rocky and Clubber Lang slug it out at the end of Rocky III, and it went right down to the end of the 3rd round before Leben somehow pulled off a Triangle Choke on Akiyama. This will be Brian Stann’s second fight since dropping down to Middleweight, and is coming off of his recent Fight of the Night win against Mike Massenzio. Leben is known more for his jaw than his technical skills, but it’s entirely possible that he out classes Brian Stann in this fight. Count on this one being a battle. Leben wins this one.

Rockyama - (photo editing: Shane Burditt)

Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard: The first time Edgar fought BJ Penn, and took his title, he was an enormous underdog. I’m not going to pretend I said he would win, but I said everybody was severely underestimating him. The second time they fought, he was STILL the underdog, and then was even more dominant in that fight. Gray Maynard, at 10-0, has been long overdue for a title shot. One of those wins of his was over Frankie Edgar. As Gray Maynard puts it, he’s been just walking through the competition to get here. Once again, Frankie Edgar is the underdog in this fight. Three things to consider though, are that

  1. Gray Maynard hardly “walked” through the competition. The last time he finished a guy was in 2007. The 7 fights since then have all gone to the judges. 2 of the last 3 were split decisions, so one of the 3 judges thought he lost those two fights.
  2. Frankie Edgar beat BJ Penn decisively. Then Edgar beat a pissed-off and hungry BJ Penn, even more decisively. BJ. Fucking. Penn.
  3. Edgar will come in with a better game plan. Maynard is a blunt instrument, and his game is going to be the same as it has been in his last 7 fights that got him here: get the takedown, and hold him on the ground.

Maynard’s game plan has been working for him this far, and it worked against Edgar the last time they fought, but I think he’s fighting a very different Frankie Edgar this time. In their last fight, Edgar edged out Maynard on their feet, but Maynard practically took Edgar down at will. If Maynard tries to stand with Edgar, he’s going to eat a lot of jabs. He may get some takedowns in the early rounds, but as the fight gets into the later rounds, it’s going to tip further and further to Edgar’s favor. I’m calling it another Frankie Edgar upset, and he will hand Gray Maynard his first loss.

Those are my picks. Guida, Diaz, Silva, Leben, and Edgar. Think I’m wrong? Wholeheartedly agree? Post your picks in the comments. To get the ball rolling, I asked my brilliant, and beautiful wife Heather for her picks (before letting her read my breakdown). Heather watches all of the fights, makes the best buffalo chicken dip in the world, and has a wicked overhand right. Trust me.

Here are Heathers picks:

  • Frankie Edgar is more awesome then Gray Maynard.
  • Brian Stann. Because he is from Scranton, PA and I love The Office.
  • Thiago Silva. He’s got a meaner face and Vera’s got a broken face. So yeah, Silva.
  • I pick Nate Diaz, because he reminds me of any number of guys I could find at a state fair in Vermont.
  • Clay Guida, because he’s metal. (and never fails to fight while swimming in a pool of his own blood)

Now post your picks. Or else.

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Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell Officially Retires With A Big Announcement

Here is the official video (thanks to where Dana White announces Chuck’s official retirement and some rather big news regarding the former Light Heavyweight Champ.

Tito Ortiz.  Randy Couture.  Vitor Belfort.  Wanderlei Silva.  All legends of the sport, and all title holders at some point in ther career, that met defeat in the form of Chuck Liddell’s right hand.  We fans will surely miss you Chuck.

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6 Reasons GSP Wins, and Koscheck Loses at UFC 124

UFC 124: Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck

The Martial Artist vs. The Jock

One thing that is certain this Saturday night, is that all of the world will be booing Josh Koscheck.  Kos has done a great job of painting himself as THE heel of the UFC.  He claims to be a really nice guy off camera, and I even have a friend who trains at AKA that says he’s a really down to earth dude.  But let’s be honest, Kos is a prick, and come Saturday night, even Josh Koscheck’s mother is going to be booing when he makes his walk down to the octagon.

He’s going into the fight as the biggest underdog on the card, and I’m here to explain why, giving you 3 reasons Koscheck will lose, and 3 reasons GSP will win.  For Kos, we don’t need to look any further than the 3 fights he has had over the last year:

1.       Frank Trigg – Trigg left the UFC in 2005 after back to back losses to, then champ, Matt Hughes, and GSP.  He then went 7-2 fighting in smaller promotions (losing to Carlos Condit and Robbie Lawler), returned to the UFC after a 4 fight win streak, and faced Koscheck in his first fight back.  Koscheck TKO’d Trigg in the first round, then Trigg fought Serra and got KO’d, again in the first round, and Trigg is back to the smaller promotions.  From this, we can deduce that Kos has better skills than guys who aren’t good enough to fight in the UFC.

Koscheck 3 Stooges

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk

2.       Anthony Johnson – Anthony Johnson fought better than Kos in this fight.  During the fight Kos took an accidental poke in the eye.  There was a lot of controversy around this, but honestly, it helped Koscheck to recover from getting rocked.  Koscheck then proceeded to very deliberately open up his hand at the end of a punch so that he could poke Anthony Johnson in BOTH EYES, Three Stooges style.  Josh barely won this fight, and until all of the slaptstick, Johnson was winning.  I don’t want to take anything away from Anthony Johnson, but this was a hard fought battle, against a guy who wasn’t even a contender.

3.       Paul Daley – Kos took Daley down at will.  Kos would probably take me down at will too, because I have roughly the equivalent of Daley’s experience wrestling, which is very little.  After the Johnson fight, I wanted to see Kos on the wrong end of one of Daley’s Tyson-esque left hooks, but it seemed about as likely as Couture losing to Toney.  From this, we can deduce that Kos can wrestle better than guys who can’t wrestle.

Now, here are the 3 most important reasons GSP will win this fight:

1.       Thiago Alves – Alves defeated Kos by stuffing his takedowns, and landing leg kicks.  GSP put on a clinic against Alves in Alves’s very next outing.

2.       Jon Fitch – Fitch, a training partner of Koscheck, has beaten both Thiago Alves, and Paulo Thiago, who both defeated Koscheck.  GSP dominated Jon Fitch.

3.       Josh Koscheck – Let’s be honest, GSP took Koscheck down at will during their first fight.  It’s been a long time, and both fighters have improved, but since their last fight, GSP has spent 3 years fighting against whoever was the toughest possible opponent in the Welterweight division.  Koscheck has spent that time putting together a 6-2 record, and the only time he faced another top contender (Thiago Alves) he lost.  No, Paul Daley was never a top contender, despite being billed as such.  Not to knock Hazelett, but a win over him doesn’t make you a top contender.  Ask Josh Koscheck.

There won’t be as much wrestling this time around.  We’re going to see GSP utilizing leg kicks, and picking Josh apart on his feet, and he isn’t going to go for a takedown unless he’s going in for the kill.  You heard it here first.  Think differently?  Let me know!

Oh, and I just got confirmation that my superhuman powers of deduction were successful in picking who the next two coaches will be for the next season of TUF, but I’m not telling, it’s a secret! OK, fine, it’s Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva

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America’s Real Favorite Pastime

Here is the game.  There are only two teams.  The Red Team, and The Blue Team.  One team has control of the game on each turn.  At the end of each turn, the team that has collected the most voters gains control for the next turn.  Each team needs to get voters, while doing what they can to make sure the other team doesn’t get voters.

Both teams have roughly an equal amount of voters as a base.  They are voters that each team will automatically have, no matter what they do.  The real goal then is to get the largest number of the remaining voters.  There are many different strategies in this game, as some decisions will gain you one small group of voters, but lose you another.  What has become one of the more common strategies though, is to grant your team more power over the game when it’s your turn.

Some of the games most prominent players have utilized this strategy to great success.  It is, however, a shortsighted maneuver as eventually, it becomes the other teams turn again, and you then hand over to your opposing team that newly created power.  The team who’s turn it is not, will always put up a great fight against the increase in power, but will rarely do away with that newly created power when it’s their turn again and they have the ability to do so.

The first problem with the game though, particularly this most popular strategy, is that it is almost always played for the benefit of The Team, and not necessarily The Voters.  Eventually, with this strategy, one team will have enough power to “win” the game.  The game is then over, and one team is left in total control.

The second problem is far more important, as it is arguably the cause of every other problem in the game.  The Base Voters, that each team knows they have automatically, are the games most rabid fans.  They follow the game intently.  They watch it on TV, listen on the radio, and read it on the internet.  They talk about it with other voters who are fans of the same team, while sporting t-shirts and bumper stickers of their favorite players.  They have a favorite team coming into it, and stick behind their team  regardless of whatever decisions they are making.

Most other Voters don’t pay close attention during the regular season, they only tune in for the big game at the end of the season, and pick a team.  And yet, they are the Voters that actually decide who’s turn it will be for the next season.

All joking aside, this is the REAL problem with what politics has become in our country.  It’s been turned into every other sport.  It’s little more than the Red Sox vs. the Yankees.  Most people already know which party they are going to vote for before they even know who they are voting for.   They go into it already having a favorite team, rather than looking at voting records or credentials.

How do we fix it?  Pay attention.  Not to the opinionated talking heads in the news.  Not to what you hear candidates say to the press.  Not how opponents try to make a voting record look.  Look at a candidates actual voting record, and past the surface of a bill that was voted for or against.  Look at what a candidate has done in their past.  Look at their experiences.  Don’t be a Base Voter.  Be an Other Voter that follows things intently.  Most importantly, don’t get caught up in the team rivalry.  Don’t go into it with a favorite team.  When considering anything that gives the Fed more power and authority, remember that it’s very likely that somebody you didn’t vote for will be in control of that new authority in probably just a few years.

Now get out there, and play ball.

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The Suburban That Saved Christmas

We’re selling our Suburban, and as I’ve said before, I love writing Craigslist ads.  I’m posting here as well, as the ad will eventually expire.

It was as wintry a Christmas as the Greater Seattle Area had ever known. It’s Christmas Eve, and the snowmen are keeping a vigilant watch over your now silent neighborhood. You settle down into your comfortable old recliner, and watch the snow continue to fall heavily out your window, as you slowly sip the steaming mug of cocoa in your hand. You sigh a deep, happy sigh, looking down at your wool socks, and thinking about how cold your feet were earlier while shoveling the driveway and walk. As you recline back, you look past your feet at the blaze now burning in the fireplace, and your toes wiggle thankfully.

The warmth of the cocoa in your belly, and the dancing of the flames has you drifting into sleepiness. In that dreamy land, between asleep, and awake, you hear a voice far off. You open your eyes fully, realizing that you had just nearly fallen asleep, and wonder if you had actually heard a voice, or dreamt it.

You listen intently.

After a few minutes, you realize that you were simply dreaming, and you begin to lift your mug toward your lips, and there it is again! This time you are sure of it. You set your cocoa down, and get out of your chair. It certainly came from outside, so you get closer to the window, and listen again.

Very faintly, you hear the voice yell just a single word. Did he say help? It didn’t quite sound like it, but just in case, you head for the door. You slip on your boots, coat, hat, and mittens that you had left over the heater earlier to dry. You open the back door and the wind nearly blows you back into the house. With some effort you get out the door, and close it sharply behind you.

Squinting through the snow and wind, the first thing you see is the large snowman in your neighbor’s yard. You laugh a little, thinking it likely that even a snowman might be the one calling for help in weather like this. Your thoughts are interrupted by the sound of the voice again. This time, you hear it very clearly.


It’s actually coming from far behind your house, out in the ball field. You press on slowly, purposefully, fighting against the wind, and the deep drifts of snow. The voice gets a little louder now.

“Again now, PULL!”

The wind has created such a mess of snow that it’s impossible to tell now if it’s still falling, or just being tossed about relentlessly. As you get closer, you begin to see a figure, and a very dim red light. He cries out again, in a booming voice “Put your back into it you bunch of Doe’s! PULL!”

It’s just then that the rest of the figures become clear, and you stop dead in your tracks. You know you must be dreaming. You must still be lying there in your recliner, with a cup of hot cocoa and a warm crackling fire. There in front of you, is a half buried sleigh, and the heads of 7 reindeer, and none other than Santa Claus himself, attempting to get his sleigh out of a huge drift of snow. The roar of the wind is drowned out by the pounding of your heart in your ears.

A sharp gust breaks your trance, and you begin to move closer and yell “Hey, do you need a hand?”

Eight heads turn in your direction at once, and it stops you again. After a moment, you see him turn his head back to his fleet, and mutter “…can’t get the sleigh out of a little bit of snow without a muggle here to help you out. Wait’ll the elves get a load of that!”

“What happened?” You ask.

Santa looks down at you from his sleigh, “Well, as you can see, instead of the usual 9, I’m down to 7 this year. Economy being what it is, I had to cut back somewhere.”

Sure enough, you look down the line, and 7 there are, with the red light coming from the front of the pack.

“Where are the other two then?” You ask.

“Well,” Santa says “You know what they say, nobody likes a skinny Santa.”

You ponder this for just a moment, before realizing what must be done. “I’ll be right back!” You yell, and then turn to run back towards your house. The excitement and adrenaline carry you with twice the speed that you arrived there with. As you begin running, you hear Santa again “That’s great, you know he’s just going to get his phone now. At this time tomorrow we’re going to be all over Facebook!”

You burst into your house, and spilling snow all through your kitchen you grab your keys and head to your garage. There, shining gloriously before you, is your 2003 Chevy Suburban. You know that there isn’t a moment to spare, Christmas is at stake. You throw a chain into the back, and sit down in the cockpit. You run a hand across the dash. To the untrained eye, this is just another SUV. You know though, that this is not any truck, it is The Flying Dutchman. You turn the key, and 8 angry cylinders roar to life. At 96,000 miles, it’s feats are legendary. Other SUV’s are speechless in its presence.

The garage door is open, and the garage is now fully engulfed in the storm. The Dutchman quakes in anticipation. You press the button for 4×4, shift it into D, and let the big dog eat. The great green monster plows through snow drifts unfazed, like a battleship in rough seas. In a moment you see the faint red light again, and in a great explosion of snow you erupt into the field where the team lay stranded.

You pull to the front of the pack, open your door, and step out onto the running board, holding the luggage rack with one hand. The wind whips your hair as you stare back across the scene. The entire pack, even Santa himself, are awestruck by the presence of you, and The Flying Dutchman.

You leap from the truck, open the back and grab the chain. In a flash the chain is attached to the back of the truck, and the front of the reigns. With the Dutchman now leading the team, you open the door, stop, look back over your shoulder and say simply “Hold on”

Years of traveling in his magical sleigh couldn’t prepare Santa for his next ride. The Dutchman yanked them from the drift like a string of rag dolls, and for a moment, the reindeer were more dragged than they were aided out of the snow. They were struggling in the deep snow to get airborne again, so you cranked the wheel left to create centrifugal force. You spun them around full circle only twice before they began climbing further and further into the air. Just as you felt that the Dutchman might not be able to take any more, the chain broke free.

You looked out your window to see the sleigh, and the reindeer go careening off uncontrollably into the night air. You smiled when the dim red light seemed to right itself, and you heard faintly, over the low, soft growl of the Dutchman “Ho Ho Holy $#!*” You smiled, knowing that you, and The Flying Dutchman had saved Christmas.

Does that sound about right?

“Yes Officer, that’s exactly why the ball field is all torn apart with my tire tracks all over it.”

“Well, nice work son. The city, no, the world thanks you. I only have one other question though, those are fairly new tires and all, but even still, how did you make it through all of that snow?”

“Oh, you see, the guy I bought it from even threw in chains for the tires at no extra cost!”

“Well, god bless him, and god bless you for buying it. If you hadn’t bought The Flying Dutchman, there might not have been a Christmas this year.”

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First Latino UFC Heavyweight Champion?

All of the hype being built around Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar was that Cain would be the first Mexican Heavyweight Champion in the UFC.  Now, I understand that they do what they must to sell a fight.  The UFC is probably not as guilty as some other promotions who have tried billing Kimbo Slice or Fedor Emelianenko as the best fighters in the world, but this one is close.

Problem 1: Cain Velasquez is technically not Mexican, he’s American.  He was born here, so like all of the rest of us born here in the US, he is descended from immigrants, but not himself an immigrant.  He is and American, of Mexican descent.

Problem 2: Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez is half Puerto Rican, and half Mexican.  Ricco was actually there that night cornering Tito’s fight as well.

Where it gets even better is in the post fight press conference.  A reporter asks Cain how he feels about being the first Latino Heavyweight Champion.

Problem 1: Ricco Rodriguez

Problem 2: Frank Mir

I get it though.  Some fighters sell their own fights.  Remember Chael Sonnen?  With a guy like Chael, or Rampage, or even Lesnar (you know, when he was still a heel) the UFC can just kick back and enjoy the show with the rest of us.  Those guys don’t need he UFC’s marketing to help promote their fights.

On the other hand, you could add together the personalities of Cain Velasquez, Nate Marquardt, Gray Maynard, and all of Team Black House, and still have about half as much excitement as Al Gore on Oxycodone.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Cain Velasquez, but I’m also a fan of the T-800, and like Cain, it’s not because of it’s winning personality, but because it’s an unstoppable bad-ass.

The UFC knows that they need to work harder to promote guys like Cain, and not to the hard core fans.  Anybody who follows the sport closely knows that you don’t want to miss any fight of Cain Velasquez.  They need to promote the fight for the people who aren’t already planning on buying every single pay-per-view, and I suppose that they just figure that those aren’t people who will notice that Frank Mir and Ricco Rodriguez are both of Latino descent.

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UFC 121 Post Fight

If you read my last post, you know how I called each fight, and nearly all of them went down how I expected:

Jon Madsen vs. Gilbert Yvel: After the fight, if you went to the UFC website, they posted a video interview of Jon Madsen after his win, and gave it a headline that read something about Jon Madsen displaying that he’s not just a one-dimensional wrestler… Madsen gets a double-leg, and throws haymakers at Yvel’s arms while Yvel covers up his face until the ref stops the fight.  Maybe they just meant when you compare him to… Jake Shields?  What was truly sad though was the complete absence of any sponsors on the trunks of Gilbert Yvel.  Talk about being defeated before you even enter the ring.

Chris Camozzi vs. Dong Yi Yang: I haven’t had a chance to see this fight, but Camozzi came through with a split decision

Patrick Cote vs. Tom Lawlor: Like I said, Cote just doesn’t have the eye of the tiger, and Lawlor dominated him for all three rounds.

Court McGee vs. Ryan Jensen: If you weren’t already a fan of Court McGee before this fight, you gotta be now.  Jensen looked like he had McGee out classed in the first round, but then McGee just kept getting stronger the deeper into the fight they got, before finishing an exhausted and beat up Jensen with an arm triangle in the 3rd round.

Brendan Schaub vs. Gabriel Gonzaga: Schaub didn’t get the TKO that I said he would, but he battered Gonzaga in all three rounds.  I thought Schaub would end up the winner during TUF 10, and he really does look better every time he fights.  I’m excited to see who he fights next.  Frank Mir’s name has been thrown out there, and that would certainly make for an interesting fight.

Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill: Hamill out wrestled Tito and beat him up for 3 rounds.  Tito did look good though, you know, for Tito.  He didn’t talk about how injured he really was in the fight, but instead spent all of his time at the post fight press conference talking about how most athletes would be retired after all of the surgeries and things he’s been through.  Whatever stops the tears Tito.

Diego Sanchez vs. Paulo Thiago: Sanchez took a beating in round one.  I don’t know if Paulo said something about his mother, or called him a chicken, but Diego came out PUMPED UP for round 2.  The whole fight turned around after that, and Diego looked like the aggressive “Nightmare” that I remember from his earlier fights.  This one got Fight of the Night, and rightly so.  Watch this fight if you get a chance.  I thought Thiago had this one, but Diego not only proved me wrong, but made me a fan again.

Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann: Shields pulled off a split decision in his UFC debut, and only barely.  I wouldn’t have been upset if they gave it to Kampmann.  Shields apparently cut 20 pounds in one day to make weight for this fight, and it showed.  Joe Rogan’s cheerleading for Shields in this fight only just stopped short of “My, that Jake Shields is a handsome man, don’t you think Mike?”  Shields has some work to do if he’s going to hang with the top of the 170 division in the UFC.  He’s got great takedowns, and is good at getting dominant position, but against another great wrestler like GSP, or Kos, he’s going to need to bring more than just that.

Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez: All jokes about the beard aside, this one seemed pretty obvious.  Lesnar is clearly outmatched on his feet with a guy like Velasquez, and his wrestling isn’t enough alone against another talented heavyweight wrestler.  If Lesnar deals well with his fall from the top of the mountain, I think he is still going to get better, and we’ll be seeing him fighting for the title again.  He’s fast, has big knockout power, and obviously great wrestling.  I think Lesnar’s problem right now is still simply inexperience.  You can be unstoppable in the gym, but when somebody with as much power as Velasquez, or Carwin starts connecting punches, it’s a whole different world from the gym, and it takes an inexperienced guy right out of their game.

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