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Tag: NFL

Cutting Through The Bullsh*t: UFC 179 Edition

By Alex Giardini

UFC 179: “Aldo vs. Mendes 2” proved to be exactly what we expected it to be, and that was a one-fight boxing card with a scintillating main event for the ages. The “greatest featherweight fight in history” was nothing short of amazing, with Jose Aldo defeating Chad Mendes for the second time after knocking out “Money” at UFC 142 almost three years ago. The battle was full of wild punches, eye pokes, a lot of heavy breathing, and at times, flying shit that didn’t land.

With a certain “joker” sitting cageside, let’s examine UFC 179, and why it was great and equally pathetic…

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The UFC Is Making the Same Mistakes The NFL Has Made Regarding Domestic Violence

By Seth Falvo

Watching Dana White’s recent appearance on “Fox Sports Live” paints a very clear picture: Dana White does not want you to compare him to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“I can tell you this, I wouldn’t want to be Roger Goodell,” White says, after being asked about his reaction to the video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out then-fiancee Janay Palmer. No surprises there, given that the NFL is in the middle of a domestic violence crisis built on the foundation of years of denial and reframing the issue. What is surprising is that he follows up his statement by resorting to the same strategies that the NFL employed to downplay Ray Rice’s assault in order to justify the UFC’s decision to resign Thiago Silva.

You don’t even have to wait for the parallels between how the UFC is choosing to handle Thiago Silva and how the NFL has attempted to cover up domestic violence to become apparent, they’re observable in the very first sentence White speaks once Silva’s name comes up:

“If you believe in the legal process, they came, they arrested him, and he wasn’t brought up on any charges.”

Let’s take a look at the actual documents detailing why the prosecutors decided to drop the charges against Thiago Silva

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SportsPotato: Joint Practice Between the Cowboys and Raiders Ends in Bench-Clearing Brawl

There must be something in the air, Nation.

For whatever reason, the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders decided to host a joint practice in California yesterday. It did not end well.

The skirmish above is apparently one of several that broke out during the joint practice, which at one point saw Dallas cornerback B.W. Webb struck in the back of the head by a fan brandishing a helmet and respond by taking a swing of his own. To be fair, that fan probably should have known that a cowardice will never go unpunished in these post-Malice in the Palace times.

After the jump: A different angle of the brawl, via Instagram user sc_spitta.

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If MMA Is About Respect, Why Have We Turned Against Georges St. Pierre?


(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

By Seth Falvo

My first thought following the main event of UFC 167 was that Georges St. Pierre had a concussion. Granted, “hack journalist” is a far cry from doctor, but he was displaying symptoms that should make any sports fan concerned. He lost track of what round it was, he had trouble forming words, and the completely vacant look in his eyes was disturbing — even for a guy as stoic as GSP.

If this thought occurred to Dana White and the media members in attendance, they did a damn fine job of hiding it. You know what happened by now: White claimed St. Pierre “owed” everyone an immediate rematch, the media attempted to steer Georges St. Pierre away from talking about the signs of brain damage he has been experiencing — despite St. Pierre’s best attempts to do otherwise — and White eventually talked to the champ in private before downplaying everything that St. Pierre admitted to experiencing as much as possible.

As Stand and Bang accurately wrote, “White’s behavior [was] so transparently morally repugnant that there’s no reason to spend time pedantically analyzing it.” He wanted to pressure GSP back into the cage as quickly as possible, because the longer the champion has to reflect upon the damage that he’s done to himself, the less likely he is to return to the sport. Yet there are actually fans — and plenty of them — who managed to take the bait. There are fans who buy the ideas that St. Pierre somehow “owes” it to anyone to accept a rematch against Johny Hendricks, that he’s obligated to return to the cage immediately, that Dana White’s dangerously-capitalistic treatment of his most influential champion is completely acceptable.

And let’s not forget the most disgusting part about this: These fans are delusional enough to say with a straight face that MMA is about “respect.”

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MMA/Wrestling Body Slams In Football Are, Like, SO Hot Right Now

If you didn’t think that Canelo Alvarez’s multiple attempts to guillotine (and even kimura, at one point) Floyd Mayweather over the course of their 10 round throwdown last weekend was proof enough that MMA is slowly, perhaps even subconsciously trickling into mainstream sports, check these out.

Chances are you’ve seen or at least heard that more and more professional football players are taking up mixed martial arts by the day — either as a hobby or as a way of staying in shape in the offseason. As well they should; it’s a fantastic cardio workout, it increases one’s understanding of balance and leverage, etc. But perhaps the most interesting effect that MMA training (or MMA in general) is having on the world of football can be seen in the vicious slams that have punctuated the first two weeks of the 2013 NFL season.

Just look at the video above, for instance, in which New York Jets cornerback Ellis Lankster pulls off a b-e-a-utiful German suplex on Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Eric Page. And if you think that MMA/wrestling-style slam was an isolated incident, just check out the ones we’ve placed after the jump…

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[VIDEO] NFL Star Tamba Hali Cross-Trains With the Gracies


(Video via The Gracie Academy’s YouTube page)

It seems like more and more professional ball players of every stripe are taking up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA training in their off-seasons. Rarely, however, have we gotten much more than general interview references to the training they are doing.

Jiu Jitsu and salesmen extraordinaires (seriously, Rener could probably sell you your own urineRener and Ryron Gracie, sons of UFC founder Rorian Gracie, bring us a pretty great inside look at the fight training that at least one NFL star has been doing this past off-season. On the latest episode of their YouTube series, The Gracie Way, Rener and Ryron train with their student and Kansas City Chief All-Pro outside linebacker, Tamba Hali.

It looks like Hali has really bought in to “The Gracie Way.” The 270 pound giant is focused not on getting bigger and stronger, but on getting leaner and more wholistic in his approach to health, it seems as he reveals that he has lost fifteen pounds so far training with the Gracies.

First, Hali does some hill runs, alternately pulling and pushing Ryron, who is on a skate board, up-hill. We also see Hali eat some of Rener’s sandwiches and acai bowls as well as training in a gi at their Gracie Academy.

Hali not only rolls with the Gracies and other students in the video, but also with former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Check all that out, plus Halis reflections on his training and life style over haul and his blue belt ceremony.

Then, get out there and do some training yourself on this Sunday afternoon. Only, you know, leave your computer on CagePotato and come back real quick to check out more later because we’re needy and start missing you quickly.

- Elias Cepeda

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UFC Outspends Most Sports Leagues in 2012 Congressional Lobbying


(“…and if you can beat Harry Reid in ping-pong, I’ll *double* it.”)

MMA Junkie cites the Center for Responsible Politics in reporting that the UFC has spent $620,000 on lobbying the U.S. Congress this past year, mainly on anti-piracy matters. In terms of major sports leagues, only the NFL has spent more than the UFC. From the Junkie report:

The industry-leading fight promotion shelled out $620,000, double the amount of Major League Baseball and nearly five times the National Basketball Association’s payout, according to the Center for Responsible Politics.

The NFL dwarfed all major sporting organizations with $1.14 million.

The UFC’s 2012 figures represent a 51 percent increase from the previous year, in which parent company Zuffa spent $410,000 in Washington, and a 158 percent increase from $240,000 in 2008, when CRP first tracked lobbying records.”

A pair of firms – Brownstein, Hyatt, Faber and Schreck LLP, as well as SB Consulting – represent the UFC. The promotion’s co-chief operating officer, Lawrence Epstein [said] that the firms are used to educate legislators on MMA and to push for tougher anti-piracy laws that could stem financial losses from illegal streaming.”

You may remember that some hackers attacked UFC President Dana White for his organization’s support of and lobbying for passage of SOPA. The UFC has long been aggressive in litigating real or perceived violations of its intellectual property, going after individuals, small business owners, and large companies alike, and this level of investment in congressional lobbying shows that they are eager to get all the legislative help they can as they seek to monetize the content they create and own.

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Rashad Evans Signs Kluwe/Ayanbadejo Brief in Support of Gay Marriage

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the cultures of our professional sports are not isolated from the rest of society, and that the two affect each other. This is easy to spot when looking at the issue of LGBT rights: the same way that professional athletes are still hesitant to accept a gay teammate, a person can still be fired for being gay in twenty-nine states. Progress is slowly being made on both fronts, as last week, NFL athletes Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo filed a Supreme Court brief arguing that not only is California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional, but also that professional athletes have an important role in promoting tolerance in society.

The outspoken equal rights advocates [Author Note: By the way, if you haven't read Kluwe's rebuttal to Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr., who tried to persuade the Baltimore Ravens to stop Ayanbadejo from voicing his stance on gay marriage, go read that now.] have recently caught the attention of one of our sport’s most popular fighters, Rashad Evans. Evans has not only signed their brief, but he also issued a strong statement in support of gay marriage. As he told Outsports:

“I’ve never been a homophobe, never understood what that is all about. I knew some people who were gay and never cared about their sexuality. But at the same time, I didn’t fully understand the issues around gay people until my friend BA started telling me about his full public support for gay marriage. We talked about the issue and I decided its not enough to not be against a minority, if you want things to go better for them you have to speak up with them.

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Ray Lewis, MMA Champion: The Feel-Good Story That Wouldn’t Be

Via Sobriety Fighter

For those uninitiated, Sobriety Fighter is my own side-project. I’ve dedicated 2013 to being a year-long experiment where I spend one year as a full-time fighter while also attempting to stay clean and sober. I can’t promise that I’ll be the next Elias Cepeda or that I’ll never relapse, but I can promise that I’ll do my absolute best for everyone. Most of the stuff I post isn’t particularly MMA-related, but this is. Enjoy. - [SethFalvo]

Pride!…Heart!…Poise!…And toughness,” the stereotypically fat high school football coach barks at his disturbingly old squad [Author Note: How is it even possible to coach athletes so dumb that they’re all blatantly in their twenties, yet still in high school?] in one especially cringe-worthy Under Armor commercial. “Are these just words *dramatic pause* or is that who you are?” I had a pretty decent GPA in graduate school, yet I still have no idea what the tap-dancing Christ that’s supposed to mean.

Sports commentary can be such a prepackaged mess of machismo clichés and feel-good stories that it’s easy to become detached from it. It’s bad enough when the rhetoric is generic enough to immediately trigger an eye-roll, and it’s amplified when the tough-talk makes absolutely no sense once you actually examine what’s being said – like in the above Under Armor commercial.

With only two days separating us from Super Bowl XLVII, the media has been using Ray Lewis as a one-stop shop for all of the tough talk and feel-good bullshit you’re completely numb to. Ray Lewis! He has such passion for the game! Ray Lewis! He’s a God-fearing Hall of Fame caliber linebacker! Ray Lewis! He’s in-your-face, never-say-die, gritty, click-clack, shows a lot of heart, gives it his all and literally any other cliché you can cram into this sentence!  Ray Lewis! He just loves football so much that when he retires after this game, sons and fathers will stand united while he does so…as a Super Bowl Champion!

The fact that the “Ray Lewis retired on top” story has already been written, even though the game has yet to be played, is gag-worthy by itself. But don’t worry, it gets worse: In terms of pure bullshit, masquerading Ray Lewis as feel-good drivel is right up there with the most recent feel-good story surrounding a famous, talented linebacker. Ray Lewis is a guy who either got away with murder or snitched on his friends (depending on what you believe the real story is), used a banned substance that the NFL doesn’t test for during his career, and did it all while maintaining the shit-eating piousness he’s known for. The legacies of star athletes are built around feel-good folk tales, regardless of how far the truth has to be stretched in order to fit the mold.

Keep all that in mind while watching “the passion Lewis has for the game of football” escape him in this interview:

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In Case You Missed It: Homeless Bum Dana White Helps Rob Riggle Make Week 13 NFL Picks


Skip to the 1:45 mark for Dana’s appearance. Props to reader Alan K for the video.

While the rest of you were watching football today (the American version, aka the one worth watching *chugs beer, initiates U-S-A! chant*), you may have noticed a familiar face in this week’s edition of Riggle’s Picks. No, it wasn’t one of us. It was UFC President Dana White, satirizing “Exclusive Access” sports websites alongside Rob Riggle.

Riggle hits all the standard punchlines about these types: Improbable rumors, Rex Ryan is a fat mess, that these sites are only in it for the money, Richard Simmons, the webmasters live with their mothers, Jewish guilt- you know the drill by now. But Dana White steals the show with his masterful performance as a homeless drunk, who serves as an incarnation of “Guy who can’t possibly have inside information spreading outlandish rumors that only internet trolls are dumb enough to believe.”

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