Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Goooooooaaaaaal!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UFC Buys PRIDE

The owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championships have purchased Pride Fighting Championships, their Japanese—and main—competitors. Said UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta: “This is really going to change the face of MMA, literally creating a sport that could be as big around the world as soccer.”

Soccer fans from around the globe have already responded: “UFWhat?”

But Fertitta persists, albeit with mixed metaphors, “I liken it somewhat to when the NFC and AFC came together to create the NFL.”

And just as the AFC/NFC marriage came with a unification of rules, so too will the UFC/Pride merger. According to UFC President Dana White, Pride will adopt the same rules as the UFC—except for the UFC’s exclusive use of the Octagon, as Pride will continue to be fought in a boxing-style ring. But certain strikes, which were formerly legal in Pride fights, will now be banned—strikes like soccer kicks and knees to the head while one opponent is on the ground.

Said soccer fans around the world: “Soccer what? …I think he means futball.”

Rebutted White: “This is a sport and we’re going to follow the unified rules that were established in New Jersey and then in Nevada. It’s a sport—mixed martial arts—and the sport should have the same rules everywhere. As far as I’m concerned, if an organization doesn’t follow these rules, it’s not MMA. It’s something else, but that’s not MMA.”

Said FIFA President Sepp Blatter: “MMWhat? I thought we were talking about the same sport here? Clearly this isn’t football, or as you Americans refer to it, ‘soccer’. I want to make clear to football fans throughout the world, soccer kicks are still, and will always be, perfectly legal. It’s the Molotov cocktails that ought to go.”

Newsflash: Vanilla Ice Wishes It Was 1991 Again

On Yahoo's front page there's an article link that reads:

Ex-George Mason Stars Miss Limelight of Cinderella Run

Oh, you think? Click through and you find an article on the travails of the three top George Mason players, who of course are not good enough right now to make it to the NBA and are playing abroad, in war-torn areas and/or with shady teams that play hide n' seek with paychecks.

In truth, the article is engrossing, and does seem to make an oblique point about the plight of student-athletes, who--especially in football and basketball--see their schools rake in millions of dollars from ticket sales, bowl participation, and in many cases, off the student-athletes themselves. Reggie Bush gets dinged for arranging free rent for his family while a USC student, but how much money do you think he made from sales of his college jersey? The answer, of course, is $0.00.

I believe student athletes in the big money sports should be reimbursed for their efforts, not just through a stipend, but also some sort of deferred savings that equitably shares revenues and which could be awarded upon, say, I don't know, graduation. If Reggie Bush USC jerseys are selling like hotcakes, then Reggie Bush NFL jerseys probably will too. So maybe the money from his USC jerseys can be equitably distributed among his teammates. It's not free market, but it's better than what we got.

At the same time, however, articles like this miss the point entirely. You have a 1 in 16,000 chance of becoming a pro athlete. If you, like George Mason, make a magical run, that should be a HUGE highlight of your life. It shouldn't be the starting point for talking about how victimized you are for not making it further. Dude, the reason you aren't in the NBA is because nobody expected you to make it to the 2nd round of the Tournament, much less the Final Four. Be glad you made it, be proud of your accomplishments, but also be real. Prepare yourself for a non-professional athlete career, because there's a 99.99375% chance that's what's going to happen anyways.

I don't fault the athletes so much as the journalist for writing it, because his standpoint seems to be "It's not fair." He quotes an assistant coach for GMU, who says to one of the players, Lamar Butler, after the tournament: "You know how much money you made yourself?" And Butler's answer now, despite making $48,000 in the Czech Republic for six months work playing the game he loves, seems to be "not enough."

The answer that comes from me, however, is "$48,000 more than you would have if you lost to Michigan State in the first round."

For once, can we accentuate the positive? It's not fair that Lamar Butler is not the next LeBron James, but how is it fair then that I'm not the second coming of Jack Lambert?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Does Briggs to Skins Make Sense?

According to's Rumor Mill, the answer is no. But why? Not because of money, but personnel. According to the site:

With two big-money free agent linebackers -- Marcus Washington and London Fletcher-Baker -- already in the starting lineup, the 'Skins wouldn't be getting the best return on their investment in Washington, Fletcher-Baker, and Briggs.

Why? Because a defense has three linebackers on the field roughly half of the time.

In the nickel and dime defenses, linebackers are replaced by defensive backs. Teams use the nickel whenever the opponent brings in a third receiver. Typically, that happens in second and long or third and more than three or four yards.

But wouldn't Briggs--known for his pass coverage ability--allow the Skins to keep all of their linebackers on the field in passing situations, making them a) better able to disguise their blitzes and b) able to counter a team trying to catch them in a certain "package".

I can see alot of reasons why Briggs wouldn't make sense, and they all add up to money. But I can't see how adding one of the league's premier all-around Linebackers is going to hurt the Skins on the field.

But what would really be nice is for SteelSkins silent partner Boss Hog, our resident Redskins fan, to weigh in on the subject.

This Week in Non-Sports News

Actor Jeremy Piven has a tip for his sushi waiter: “Watch Entourage.

The New York Daily News reports Piven has been blacklisted from restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa’s chain of sushi eateries due to his “boorish behavior” at one Aspen outlet.

According to a source: “He came in with a large group of 12 or more without reservations and asked for a table. It was a very busy night, but a table, although cramped, was provided,”

Don’t they know this guy makes or breaks careers with a phone call? Sheeesh.

The source added: “On his way out, [Piven] made a nasty comment to the manager: ‘Thanks for nothing.’”

Duh! This is Jeremy fuckin’ Piven we’re talking about! Cramped table? The nerve!

But the best part of the evening came when the waiter returned to collect his gratuity. Apparently, Piven “left a DVD of the first year of Entourage [for] one of the waiters,” alleges the source. “[An employee] ran up the stairs and hurled it at him as he was leaving.”

So much for the taste of sushi cooks. He could have at least waited until after he watched the iconic Episode 6: “Busey at the Beach.” Duh.

Always the consummate professional, Piven sent his rep out to counter, telling the paper, “I'm such a fan of Nobu and all of his restaurants. I had a great dinner at the Nobu in Aspen. As always, the meal was excellent and the service was great.”

Meanwhile, Piven’s PR team has released the hounds by floating a story to illustrate the actor’s approachability—complete with blatant product placement. According to the New York Post, Piven is a “well-mannered gentleman,” who recently demonstrated this by being the only Entourage castmember “thoughtful enough” to send a thank-you note to the marketing geniuses at Altoids for the gift package the cast received containing its new curiously strong chocolatey-minty offering.

Said Piven, “They’re delicious. Can’t stop eating them!”

And some things you can’t make up. It’s true.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Ben Roethlisberger: Kidnapping and replacement by android not to blame for his bad year.

Ben Roethelisberger took a stand and matured as a team leader last week, taking the blame squarely on his shoulders and making no excuses for his poor play last season even though, as was revealed today, he actually spent the whole 2006 season locked up in an overzealous Cleveland Browns fan’s basement, replaced by an android.
FBI agents revealed today that the motorcycle accident that almost killed Ben Roethlisberger was actually staged by a Cleveland Browns terrorist group, known as "The BrownOut", in order to kidnap him and replace him with an android. When the android experienced teething problems, an “appendectomy” was staged to fix the bugs. This android was cleverly engineered to only play well enough to make him seem like a groggy Ben Roethlisberger, and adhered to its Prime Directive: Keep the Steelers Out of the Playoffs.

Despite being held captive for months (where he notes he was well treated) and, in retrospect, not even taking the field during the 2006 season, Ben Roethlisberger takes full blame for the poor play of his android:

"You know what? I might have still had the same year," if there had been no trauma [or kidnapping], Roethlisberger said. "Who knows? I'm not going to look back and say, wow, this is what caused this and this is what caused that. There's no need for that. It's a bad year. It's going to happen. That's just the way it goes."

All in All, You're Just Another Brick in the Wall

LaMarr Woodley of Michigan won the coveted Lombardi Award for Top Interior Lineman in 2006, and got....umm...this:

It's interesting to note that LaMarr Woodley's draft stock is dropping, but even more so that it has nothing to do with him being arraigned on murder charges for hitting whoever awarded him this piece of crap over the head.

Note how it is placed offcenter, you know...because it's a work of art!

BLOGGER'S NOTE: It's not even marble! It's a block of granite. Good luck pawning this off, LaMarr!

Friday, March 23, 2007

You Gotta Love Sports Illustrated

As Peter King transforms into a younger, uglier Larry King (Scroll down to item "10.i" here for the hilarity), the magazine is busy catering to a younger audience with a TV Blog, which is apparently being written by a 15 year old girl. On March 15, we read:

Let's get this out of the way up front: I adore Friday Night Lights. after my roundup of episodes 1-17 last week, some readers assumed otherwise. Oh, no. I admire its originality and willingness to stick to side plots -- Jason Street would simply go away in any other network show. I love that football action is secondary, but that football philosophy is everywhere. I respect that I can relate to the storylines, or at least try to...But it really pains me to not know what comes of Tyra and Tammi's new friendship. ...No, really.
Then, on March 23:

I don’t actually remember much more than one football-relevant scene -- it ended in a bad Dazed and Confused flashback. Plus, I’m over the Riggins-neighbor storyline. And the Street-tattoo artist storyline. And the Tyra-Tami Taylor storyline.

Oh, too many storylines now, making your pretty little head hurt? What, you don't care about Tami and Tyra any more? No, really? Did they tell everyone at school you were a lesbian? Meanwhile, on the sports side, we are privy to the following astute analysis from Don Banks on the NFL Draft:
Quinn wants to be a Brown, and as much as Cleveland needs a quarterback for the future, it's hard for me to imagine that they could hold the third pick and not come away with either of the top two passers or the best prospect in the draft (Johnson). If Browns owner Randy Lerner green lights a QB pick, general manager Phil Savage and coach Romeo Crennel shouldn't take a must-win-now approach.

It's hard to imagine, Don, because it's mathematically impossible. If Cleveland wants one of the top 3 pick #3, it will get one of them.

Geez, where's USA Today when you need them?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

“The Grasshopper”…no wait! “The Bad Accountant”…no wait!

A Cage Fighter’s Guide to Nicknaming

So you wanna be a cage fighter, huh? You’ve ditched your tighty whities in favor of some baggier shorts. You’ve beat up your little brother dozens of times. You even got an original theme song picked out for your introduction (well, okay, it’s AC/DC’s “Thunder Struck”). Now all you need is a good nickname.

Here are some general rules for selecting a good nickname, based on the successes and failures of some UFC veterans (as well as a few other jokers):

Successful Nicknaming

There are a ton of great nicknames out there, so you might want to consider these sure-fire
nicknaming trends:

1. Don’t pick a nickname

You just can’t pick on fighters like Matt Hughes, Forrest Griffin, Royce Gracie, Evan Tanner, Hermes Franca and Jon Fitch for choosing stupid nicknames. Why? ‘Cause they never did (plus, they’d kick your ass). When in doubt, don’t nickname yourself.

2. Pick a nickname that rhymes with your last name

If you’re lucky enough to have the last name of Doneslusher, feel free to go with Nate “The Bonecrusher” Doneslusher, but most of us aren’t that lucky. Others are, like Marvin “The Beastman” Eastman, Matt “The Terror” Serra (pronounced “Terra”) and Mike “Quick” Swick—who is badass enough to back up his nickname with multiple first-minute knockouts. Just don’t go overboard, like Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine. And just be careful if your last name is Bussy.

3. Pick a nickname from another language

Never mind what it means, your American fans won’t know the difference! You think anyone knows what Marcio “Pe De Pano” Cruz means? Probably “bringer of pain” or something like that. Or Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga? Probably something about how he can squeeze your head off with a triangle choke. Who cares what it means—this is America! Our names don’t mean shit!

4. Ditch your first name entirely and replace it with a nickname

You think “Rampage” Jackson allowed having a pussy first name like Quinton keep him down? No! He just dropped it and replaced it with a better one. Or what about Renato “Babalu” Sobral? Who cares if his nickname means “Cuban dance move” in Portuguese? To Americans it sounds like “monkey” and everyone loves monkeys. Plus, Renato is probably Portuguese for Ronald, and that’s the name of the kid you used to beat up on recess. What about Tank Abbott?—no one even knows what his first name is! And Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic dropped the Filipovic altogether when he came to the States. Now he just reminds you that he used to be a Croatian cop, and he’ll kill you.

5. Pick a nickname that fits your appearance

When Jeff Monson chose “Snow Man” as his nickname, he simultaneously did two things: 1. He made everyone stop and gasp, “Holy shit, that guy does look like a snowman”; and 2. He made everyone afraid of snowmen. Andrei “Pit Bull” Arlovski chose a nickname that reminds us all he is a trained pit fighter, which in Belarus is the equivalent of human cock fighting. You might think “The Axe Murderer” is kind of a silly nickname—that is until you see Wanderlei Silva standing on your back porch with your wife’s head thrown over his shoulder. Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk looks exactly like a muscle shark—whatever the hell that is. Josh “The Dentist” Neer’s nickname is pure genius—but only because his teeth look like a rusted out bear trap. And Hector “Sick Dog” Ramirez probably only chose a nickname as a veiled attempt to hide his true identity. After all, the guy’s name is Hector Ramirez—how many Mexican gangsters
do you think he’s already killed?

6. Pick a nickname that no one else would possibly think of

You might think Kerry “The Meat Truck” Schall is a dumb name, but at least it’s original and descriptive—I mean you know this guy is a heavyweight when his name’s “Meat Truck.” And you might get your ass handed to you for calling a guy “Twinkle Toes,” which makes Frank Trigg’s nickname pretty much fightin’ words. Go ahead…call him it.

7. Pick a nickname that sounds good with your first or last name

Joe Riggs lucked out. It was almost too easy to come up with “Diesel.” Unfortunately tattooing “Diesel” across your abs is gay, but he didn’t get that memo. And Chris “The Crippler” Leben is a great nickname and much better than potential alternatives Chris “Screamin’” Leben, Chris “I’m Heavin’” Leben, Chris “You pulled me over cause I was weavin’?” Leben, or Chris “Even-Steven” Leben.

8. Pick a nickname to hide the fact that your real name is dopey

If you named your kid Ed Herman, he’d probably go through life being pissed off too. Especially seeing as how you’d get beat like a red headed step child by your peers. Now couple this with the fact that he is a red headed step child! That’s why Ed “Short Fuse” Herman works. He’s
about one insult removed from knocking your face off.

9. Pick a bold nickname if you got the talent to back it up

If you truly are a badass and can back up your nickname, then by all means go bold. That’s why B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn is so good—he really is a prodigy in MMA (plus, it hides the fact that his real name is “Baby Jay.” Gay, anyone?). Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell is always cool under pressure. And the best nickname of them all: Brandon “The Truth” Vera, whose undefeated record backs up the fact that he may in fact be the truth.

Unsuccessful Nicknaming

When nicknaming yourself, make sure you don’t make the same mistake as these guys:

1. Don’t pick a nickname that tries to veil your closet homosexuality

I’m sorry, but Joe “Daddy” Stevenson and Justin “The Pretty Boy” James are one petty crime away from being bunk mates with some beefy convict who calls all his bitches “Betty.”

2. Don’t pick a nickname that’s utterly confusing

What the hell was Kristian Rothaermel thinking when he picked “Weather Underground”? Either this clown is a history major, a huge Massive Attack fan or actually believes UFC fans know how to read.

3. Don’t pick a nickname that’s just plane stupid

Do you think every time Cory Walmsley tells people his nickname, the conversation goes like this:

CW: “Hard Cor.” Get it? Hard Coooooooor? There’s no “e” at the end of “Cor.” Get it?

And what about Jason “The Gizzard” Gilliam? How big of a moron do you think he is? And I know that Shonie “Mr. International” Carter fancies himself a renaissance man, but in reality, we all know he just fancies himself.

4. Don’t pick a nickname that shows your age

Every time I think of Elvis “The King of Rock n Rumble” Sinosic, I picture an elderly lady trying to explain to me the Roaring ‘20s. This is made worse by the fact that Elvis Sinosic actually looks like an elderly lady.

5. Don’t pick a nickname that just barely misses the mark

Sorry Rich Franklin, but “Ace”? This ain’t tennis. Jens Pulver had the misfortune of being named Jens, but the fortune of also being named Pulver, which just sounds like an ass kicking waiting to happen. Too bad he wrecked it with “Little Evil.” Clay “The Carpenter” Guida probably wants to remind us all of his faith, but “The Carpenter” ought to be the name of the

trainer, not the fighter. Dan “The Upgrade” Lauzon sounds fine on it’s own, but unfortunately it’s there to remind us that he’s even better than his older brother Joe Lauzon. So what’s that say about Joe? Ouch. Joe: 0, Backhanded Compliments: 1.

6. Avoid nicknames that remind your fans of Jenny from the Block

Speaking of Joe Lauzon, his nickname is “J-Lau.” No, Joe. NO.

7. Avoid superheroes and cartoon characters at all cost

Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino might be the stupidest nickname in the entire UFC. And do you think Dennis “Superman” Hallman needs to remind people that, apparently, 13 of his opponents brought kryptonite in to the ring? Jeremy “Gumby” Horn, while posting an unbelievable 79-15-5 record, still draws attention to the fact that he looks like a flabby piece of rubber.

8. For the love of God, enough with the movie references

The more I think of it, Kurt Pellegrino’s “Batman” actually takes second place to the stupidest nickname of all time: Victor “The Matrix” Valimaki. The what? So let me get this straight, Vic…You’re a simulated reality created by sentient machines in order to pacify, subdue and ultimately use the human population as an energy source by growing them and connecting them to an alternate reality (i.e., you) with cybernetic implants? Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice nickname, Vic.

Derrick “The Eraser” Noble opted to nickname himself after the worst Schwarzenegger movie since Raw Deal. If you love Arnold so much, Derrick, why not go with a more obvious choice, like “The Terminator”? “The Predator”? “The Barbarian”? The only thing worse would have been “The Kindergarten Cop”, but I’m sure some jackass will use it before too long.

And finally, Chris “The Exorcist” Price reminds us all that he plans to save his opponent by releasing the evil spirits hiding within. Just because you love a movie, doesn’t make it a good nickname. Why not Chris “The Bridges of Madison County” Price? Let’s get nutty.

9. Don’t use “Assassin” as part of your nickname

Of course what the UFC needs to do is introduce the ultimate event for praising the art of nicknaming: UFC 73: Night of the Assassins. Here, the main event would be a battle royale between fighters from every weight class with the sole winner getting exclusive rights to use “Assassin” as part of his nickname. Featured fighters would include Light Heavyweight Sam “The Alaskan Assassin” Hoger, Middleweights David “The Soul Assassin” Terrell and Danny “The Assassin” Abbadi, Welterweights Luke “The Silent Assassin” Cummo and Alex “Assassin” Karalexis, and Lightweight Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard.

April Big Month for UFC

With three nights of fights scheduled over the span of just 17 days, April is looking to be the most exciting month the UFC has seen in a very long time. The first fight, UFC Fight Night Live, takes place on Thursday, April 5 and is free on Spike TV. Just two days later, UFC 69: Shootout is live on Pay Per View from the Toyota Center in Texas. Just two weeks later, we go live again from a new location—but this time free on Spike TV—from the M.E.N. Arena in England for UFC 70: Nations Collide.

With 28 fights scheduled, you’d think we’d see three or four title bouts. Unfortunately, you’d think wrong, because we only get one title shot, for which the outcome was pretty much decided the minute Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter came to a close. The winner of TUF4, Matt Serra, “earned” a title shot with his split decision victory over Chris Lytle, and now—barring major catastrophe—is due to step into the Octagon just long enough to get his ass handed to him by the Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. Let’s hope Dana White and the UFC don’t make the mistake of granting TUF winners title shots again anytime soon.

That said there are some bright spots in the three fight cards coming up, along with one or two fights that we here at SteelSkins are still scratching our heads about. And here they are:

UFC Fight Night Live – Thursday, April 5

LW: Joe “Daddy” Stevenson (31-7) vs. Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard (39-6-3)
The winner of this fight should be launched into the Top 5 of the Lightweight Division, along with #1 Contender Hermes Franca, B.J. Penn, Spencer Fisher and, arguably, Din Thomas (we say “arguably” because we don’t think most people agree with us in saying that Din Thomas is Top 5 material, but that’s a conversation for another time). Regardless, the headlining fight of UFC Fight Night Live will surely be a great fight between two fighters whose combined IQ just nudges out their combined wins. Ouch.

LW: Dokonjonosuke Mishima (17-5-2) vs. Kenny “KenFlo” Florian (7-3)
Another Lightweight fight that SteelSkins is looking forward to for two reasons: 1. The highly touted Mishima was given a rude welcome to the UFC via submission by Joe Stevenson back in November. He’s got something to prove, namely, that he belongs in this league. And 2. Coming off a loss of his own to Lightweight Champ Sean Sherk, Florian has, potentially, even more to lose, because a loss would kick his UFC record down to 3-3 and make doubters out of the few UFC faithfuls who have defended the league’s decision to give him a title shot in the first place. We think they both belong here, but let’s wait until after the fight before we carve that into stone.

WW: Keita “K-Taro” Nakamura (13-1-2) vs. Drew “The Master” Fickett (30-5)
Very similar to the Mishima/Florian fight, both these fighters desperately need a win. In his UFC debut, Nakamura was handed a unanimous decision loss to Brock Larson back in December, while if Fickett—who has Octagon wins over Josh Koscheck, Josh Neer and Kurt Pellegrino—loses this one, it will be his third loss in four fights. Time to reconsider your UFC future at that point.

Other fights scheduled for this night include:
HW: Justin “The Insane 1” McCully (7-3-2) vs. Antoni Hardonk (5-2)
LW: Wander “The Quiet Warrior” Braga (16-0) vs. Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino (15-2)
WW: Forrest “The Meat Cleaver” Petz (18-3) vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka (10-3)
LHW: Seth “The Silverback” Petruzelli (10-4) vs. Wilson Gouveia (7-4)
WW: Roan “Jucao” Carneiro (10-5) vs. Rich “No Love” Clementi (34-11-1)
LW: Naoyuki Kotani (17-5-5) vs. Thiago Tavares (14-0)

UFC 69 – Saturday, April 7

As expected, the first of two UFC major events for the month of April boasts a stronger overall fight card than the Fight Night warm-up. But two fights in particular have the full attention of SteelSkins:

WW: Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez (19-0) vs. Josh “Kos” Koscheck (10-1)
This is an unbelievable match-up. With rumors of MySpace insults flying and a history between these two fighters (Sanchez barely beat Koscheck on his way to winning Season One of The Ultimate Fighter—NOTE: because that fight was considered preliminary, it does not count on either fighter’s record), there is no love lost between these two premier Welterweights. This fight more than makes up for the less-than-stellar title bout between St. Pierre and Serra, and has more UFC enthusiasts talking than any fight in the month of April. In addition to being undefeated, if Sanchez wins, he’ll be the only fighter in the UFC to boast a 20-fight win streak. But Koscheck is no pushover and could just as easily submit Sanchez.

MW: Mike “Quick” Swick (10-1) vs. Yushin Okami (20-3)
This is one of the best match-ups we’ve seen slated for a long time. Okami is 3-0 in the UFC with increasingly difficult competition, including Rory Singer and Kalib Starnes. He has a lot of weapons and can end the fight via submission or via ground and pound. On the other side of the ring, Swick is one of the smartest fighters in the UFC, with “Quick” first round victories over Joe Riggs, Steve Vigneault, Gideon Ray and Alex Schoenauer, along with a unanimous decision win over former #1 Contender David Loiseau. Swick might have even more weapons than Okami and can win via submission or knock out at any time during the fight. If Swick wins, there is just no question that he deserves a title shot—something that SteelSkins has argued he’s already earned by now. If the fight goes Okami’s way, he is a true force to be reckoned with and deserves top 5 consideration.

Our Lunch with Dana

If Dana White were to have lunch with SteelSkins, which is never going to happen in a million years, we’d draw his attention to one fight on this fight card: that of MW Marcus “Bring the Pain” Haynes (9-6) vs. WW Luke “The Silent Assassin” Cummo (7-4)—we’re assuming Haynes will drop to Welterweight. While we are a huge fan of Luke Cummo
for his heart and grit in the ring, we can’t say the same for Haynes. It’s not that we have anything personal against Haynes, it’s just that we really like Nick Diaz, who, we would remind White, was let go from the UFC (according to White in an interview with NBCSports) because Diaz “lost so many times.” Never mind the fact that Diaz had posted back-to-back wins in the Octagon before leaving for PRIDE and was 6-4 overall. No Dana, never mind that. Let’s just apply that same rationale to all your signed fighters, like Haynes here, who is 0-2 in the UFC and 9-6 overall. Not a good enough example? We’ll remind you again in about five paragraphs. Pass the salt.

Other fights scheduled for UFC 69 include:
WW Title Bout: Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (13-1) vs. Matt “The Terror” Serra (15-4)
MW: Alan “The Talent” Belcher (9-2) vs. Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove (9-3)
LW: Roger “El Matador” Huerta (18-1-1) vs. Leonard “Bad Boy” Garcia (13-1)
MW: Thales Leites (9-1) vs. Pete “Drago” Sell (7-3)
HW: Heath “The Texas Crazy Horse” Herring (26-12-1) vs. Brad “The Hillbilly Heartthrob” Imes (6-2)
WW: Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (15-4) vs. Pete “The Secret Weapon” Spratt (16-7)

UFC 70 – Saturday, April 21

Finally a UFC event in England, where men were born to drink and punch each other. Oh wait, that’s Ireland. The English just match their socks and give back-handed compliments. Close enough. Despite no title bout—and despite SteelSkins’ favorite Forrest Griffin pulling out from his fight against Lyoto Machida with a nasty staff infection in his knee—there are some good fights at UFC 70, including:

HW: Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (22-4-2) vs. Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga (7-1)
I just can’t wait to once again watch Cro Cop walk around like Michael Myers (or insert other calm psychopath from classic horror films), patiently dismantling his opponent’s defense until he kills them. Of course Gonzaga’s no pushover, and if this fight goes to the ground, Cro Cop could have his hands full. Or you can go with the safe money and bet Gonzaga’s head lands in the third row after a first round high kick to the head.

HW: Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski (12-5) vs. Fabrico “Vai Cavalo” Werdum (9-2-1)
I’ll be honest. I don’t know much about this Fabrico Werdum, other than the fact that he’s supposed to be tough. But I do know this: before losing back-to-back fights, along with his Heavyweight belt, to Tim Sylvia, no one thought you could stop Arlovski, who had six straight UFC wins, including one over Sylvia. I’d like to see The Pit Bull get back to his winning ways. Specifically, I’d like to see him rip Werdum’s throat out and eat his larynx in front of thousands of screaming Brits. Nothing against you, Fabrico.

LHW: David Heath (9-0) vs. Lyoto Machida (9-0)
It’s no Griffin vs. Machida fight, but it’s still two 9-0ers going head-to-head. It gives us a chance to see which one of these guys is for real.

Our Lunch with Dana Part II
Hey Dana, remember us? We were those guys you ate lunch with who promptly skipped out on the check. We just thought we’d point out two more examples of absolutely pathetic jokers you’ve agreed to let fight (one of which is not by coincidence named “The Joker”). They’re featured in these classic? Match-ups:

LHW: Michael “The Count” Bisping (13-0) vs. Elvis “The King of Rock n Rumble” Sinosic (8-9-2)
The logic White gave for not re-signing Diaz clearly needs no further rebuttal than just pointing to Sinosic and mouthing the words “Him? You signed him?” The man knows losing in the Octagon better than he knows his own mother. At an ultra impressive 8-9-2, you could give him half points for his draws and he’d still only bat .500. He’s 1-5 in the UFC (which includes back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back losses). This man should not be in the UFC, he should be headlining a Tough Man Contest at Hara Arena—as the ref! I feel bad for Bisping, who’s going to have to live with himself after he knocks Sinosic’s head off.

WW: Dennis Siver (10-3) vs. Jess “The Joker” Liaudin (10-8)
We said there is no further rebuttal needed, but just in case you missed it, Jess Liaudin is new to the UFC. That’s right, Dana White went out and signed this guy. Something about being 10-8 was impressive to this man. Thank god White gave his real reason for why he fired Diaz. Now we can actually trust White’s logic in future negotiations. Tell us this—why didn’t he just say, “I don’t like Diaz. He’s an asshole who wanted too much money.” SteelSkins would fully accept that. Clearly “The Joker” was signed so that British fans everywhere can watch Dennis Siver kick a French guy’s ass.

Other fights scheduled for UFC 70 include:
LW: Junior Assuncao (5-2) vs. David Lee (5-2)
HW: Assuerio Silva (32-4) vs. Cheick Kongo (19-3-1)
LW: Matt “The Real One” Grice (9-0) vs. Terry Etim (9-0)
LHW: Victor “The Matrix” Valimaki (8-3) vs. Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara (14-4)
WW: Ediberto Crocota (10-0-1) vs. Paul “Relentless” Taylor (7-1-1)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mike Tomlin to Steelers: You Can't Take It With You

Yeah, Orlando has heat and humidity that sheds pounds, while Arizona has heat and altitude that expands lungs, but in Pittsburgh, you got football. And that sheds the fakers from the makers, and expands championships. Hopefully. So I do like what I'm hearing.

Wilson said Tomlin told them that "you can go train in Orlando or you can go train in Arizona where it's a nice climate, whatever, but you can't get out of those places that you can get here and that's football."

Because at Heinz Field in December, you'll be glad you stayed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Two Articles of Import on Chemicals and Physiology

Where are the steroids/HGH horror stories? You don't hear about players dying--or killing others--from too much 'roids like you did all the time in the 80s and 90s. Could it be that they are safer to use, or that athletes use them more responsibly? Or are they so undetectable we attribute their actions/deaths to something else? What does that mean for sports and competition in general?

Chuck Klosterman ponders the issue of steroids on

Meanwhile, other revolutionary technologies are being developed that are just as effective as steroids...there's The Glove, which cools down your muscles, making you just as strong for your last set as you are for your first.

Fascinating technology, fascinating dilemmas we face.

Worst Sports Website TV Blog EVER

Is here. This guy, who's not even the author featured at the top of the page, is like a young Peter King, who in turn is like a young Larry King. An excerpt on his "love" of Friday Night Lights:

Oh, no. I admire its originality and willingness to stick to side plots -- Jason Street would simply go away in any other network show. I love that football action is secondary, but that football philosophy is everywhere. I respect that I can relate to the storylines, or at least try to. I see Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor) and Connie Britton (Tami Taylor) as an Emmy-worthy duo. And I'd take Aimee eagarden/Zach Gilford over Seth Cohen/Summer Roberts or any combination of 90210-ians any day of the week. That's Florida-versus-Jackson State easy.

And your analysis, my dear sir, is Joakim Noah wearing a dress stupid. Kudos to you for your trenchant "side plots" comment. Because I can't tell you how many times I've watched ER's 4,000 strong ensemble cast and wondered to myself, "Couldn't I just once see them away from work, perhaps in a relationship with another doctor or paramedic, I mean, just once?!" It's infuriating, I know, and thank God for FNL breaking that mold. But it gets worse. On Blades of Glory:
In one word: better. I spent 10 minutes on the phone with Will Arnett for a Q&A this week, and now I'm convinced that he can single-handedly lift this movie out of the gutter. He plays a pairs figure skater alongside his wife Amy Poehler, who is every bit as cute as she is funny.

Will Arnett: Playing GOB, but on skates, will save this movie. Amy Poehler: As cute as she is funny. I don't think cute means what you think it means, brother. But it gets even worser:
Not good. The movie, which comes out March 30, has Will Arnett, which is grand. My Arrested Development-loving bretheren are psyched. But it’s got Napoleon Dynamite, too, which can’t be good. Look at the guy's track record. He’s not funny unless he’s spoon-feeding Chef Boyardee to llamas, essentially. And it's got Will Ferrell, which concerns me the most given that this could easily turn into Talladegha Nights II. On the upside, I’ve heard Ferrell won’t be doing the Blades press circuit in character, which got really old really fast when Talladegha Nights opened. I’ll read the in-character Q&As in Stuff magazine if I want bad jokes that didn’t make
the movie.

I keep forgetting that the funniest part of Napoleon Dynamite was the "llama eating Chef Boyardee." I thought it was the "5 minute dancing sequence in front of the whole high school," and because this movie is about "ice dancing", well, maybe I would give it a chance. But if there's even the remote threat that Will Ferrell might try to liven up the press circuit, which I am sure is a laugh riot as is, what with the actors being barraged with stupid questions from all quarters, by acting "in character," well sir, then I am out.

I can't wait to hear this guy's thoughts on Til Death....: "Brad Garrett turns the tables on his "Ray" persona with an endearingly cynical turn, while the "Tantric" Guy from American Pie singlehandedly raises this comedy to sublime levels...I keep expecting him to pork Brad Garretts' wife, and for Brad Garrett to drink monkey sperm!! Keep up the good work!!!"

Joey Porter Finally Beats a Left Tackle

Too bad it couldn't have happened on the football 2006...instead of in Las Vegas, at a blackjack table.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pens stay in Pittsburgh.

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes...or a Penguin from the arctic waters, the Pittsburgh hockey team will remain in the Three Rivers! Link here.

This is makes me feel almost as happy as that one time that a Flyers front office guy said the Pens would never win a Stanley Cup merely because the name "Penguins" wasn't inspirational or masculine enough. I believe he said that in 1990 or so...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dolphins Redskins South? Not Even!

According to, the Redskins had zero interest in signing former Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Joey Porter. Why is that news? Well, as Florio says:

Need more evidence that the Fins overpaid for linebacker Joey Porter? We're told that the Washington Redskins, who never met a big-name free agent to whom they didn't want to give a sack full of large bills, had zero interest.

On behalf of Boss Hawg, I want to congratulate the Skins for their restraint. It's always the little steps that put you on the road to recovery. I believe that Porter actually could have a good year, playing opposite Jason Taylor, but was he worth the $20 million in guaranteed money the Dolphins gave him? I doubt it. And it's a given that if he signed with the Skins he would have stunk.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Joey Porter Will Be Barking Up Another Tree Come 2007

The Steelers released OLB Joey Porter, realizing that he earns too much money to justify his status as "Most Laughably Featured as 'Most Feared Player in the NFL' in Sports Illustrated's 2006 NFL Preview Issue."

I trully believe Porter would make a good 4-3 weakside backer, a la Derrick Brooks, but it looks like the Steelers will be making a slow transition in the 4-3 direction. However, Porter does not fit the 3-4, either--he just can't rush the passer anymore.

Plus, Coach Mike Tomlin is clearing away the deadwood, and the Steelers have been known for keeping around key players well past their prime--Jason Gildon, Jerome Bettis, Brett Alexander, Lee Flowers, etc.

This move virtually guarantees that the Steelers will go with a pass rusher in the 1st round, but I think there's enought talent there at 15 that tipping their hands in this way won't be that big a deal.