Rain, rain, rain. Something about rain that is conducive for writing. Creates a pensive mood here on Broadway and 77th in the Big Apple.
*My first MMA interview was with Kalib Starnes at UFC 71 in Las Vegas. Starnes beat Chris Leben at that event, the under card of Chuck Liddell v. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Oh how Starnes and Leben’s careers have gone in different directions. Starnes recently lost to Patrick Cote at RingSide MMA 10 in Montreal. Leben will be in a featured fight against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132.
*Will we ever see a long shot outside of the top six in a division get a title shot, a la Matt Serra upset of George St. Pierre at UFC 69. With each division so stacked (more-so with the Strikeforce acquisition), it is hard to envision. Watching VCU make a tremendous run in the NCAA basketball tournament and golfer Charl Schwartzel surprise most us at the Masters this past weekend, reminded me how fun it is for the underdog to come from nowhere to challenge for a big title. Unfortunately, as the UFC grows and so much money is on the line with every event, I fear we will never again see a long shot get a title shot, unless a large tournament format is adopted. Not likely.
*Frankie Edgar has a new website and branded T-Shirt. Looks good. I am intrigued and curious just how much money these top fighters make aside from their formal fight paychecks. Understandably, careers are short, and they have to cash-in while their name is hot. I suspect most make strong five figures just for the signage on their shorts. Most now have signature T-Shirts for each fight … more $. Then, many do seminars for a nice payday and more and more own MMA gyms. If they play their cards right – with a solid 2-3 years on UFC PPV shows, many guys can set themselves up for a long time, as they should, this is a dangerous game.
*Foo Fighters have a new album. Very Good.
*I first met UFC fighter Matt Brown in 2007, when he was a trainer at Crunch Fitness on 83rd St between Amsterdam and Columbus. One day, I saw him shadow boxing around the heavy bag and asked if he was a fighter. He was living in NY for a short time and soon to try out for the Ultimate Fighter show on Spike TV. He had a very average pro record and was almost signed to the IFL, which would have prevented him from going the reality TV show route. My goodness, he turned out to be far from a typical NYC gym trainer. Hope he picks up a win next time out.
*On the case of first encounters … I first met Frankie Edgar in Neptune, NJ, also in 2007. He was wielding a blowtorch installing urinals at the local high school that day. We were doing a feature on him for NBCSports.com. After eight hours working as a plumber he logged four hours in the gym. I learned that day Frankie Edgar is a hard worker, to put it mildly.
*Ricardo Almeida will soon be judging MMA fights in New Jersey. Ex fighters becoming judges is a huge plus for this sport. Hopefully, in the future, all judges will be required to be ex fighters.
*I hope George St. Pierre watched Nick Diaz fight last Saturday. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will change his ways any time soon. Meaning: his preference for safety over going for it!
*I have stopped following two people today on Twitter. Too much noise.
*Fights at UFC 129 I am excited about:
-Nate Diaz v. Rory McDonald
-Jason McDonald v. Ryan Jensen
*Charlie Sheen played Radio City Music Hall last night. As a media strategy – he would have done better just continuing to offer himself out in short bursts, on Ustream, Twitter, Blog video. I think we like him in short bursts of crazy talk, not sitting for two hours, 100$ poorer.
*I am glad Chael Sonnen is back on the scene. I love his honesty, bravado, machismo, salesmanship, huge ego, and carnival barker ways … all wrapped in one.
Time to face the rain. Cheers.