8.25.2008

Random Thought (#3)

I can't wait for "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" to come back. I love that show.

-PreView

And here is the rest of it.
Keep Reading...

8.24.2008

“Cocaine is a hell of a drug”…or is it?: PreView’s opinion on drugs in MMA

Hilarious Rick James remarks aside, I’m posting this article to address a problem in MMA that grown over the past few years; one that I think has a very negative effect on the sport and how it’s viewed in the general public. In case you couldn’t get it from the title of the article – drugs.


(Note: Most of the technical info comes from wikipedia or the National Institute on Drug Abuse - fighter stats from MMAJunkie and Sherdog.)

The past couple years have seen a rise of drug use in MMA. I will acknowledge at this point that perhaps it is not an actual increase in the amount of drugs being used, but simply that the drug tests have gotten better, or the organizations are testing more, but regardless, more people are getting caught – and either way, it’s still a problem.

Drug use in MMA can generally fall into two categories; performance enhancing and non-performance enhancing. In the performance enhancing category, you have drugs like all sorts of steroids, human growth hormone (HGH) and diuretics (to help the fighter lose weight).

In the non-performance enhancing category, you have drugs like cocaine, marijuana, oxycontin and so on. At this point, I must state that I realize that some states’ athletic commissions have classified drugs like marijuana and cocaine as performance enhancing, but later in the article, I’ll discuss why I think that opinion, particularly about marijuana, is idiotic at best.

Over the past couple years, a number of fighters have tested positive, but the ones that really spurred me to write this article were UFC fighter James “The Sandman” Irvin, who recently lost to Anderson Silva, newly crowned Elite XC Heavyweight Champion Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, and Affliction fighter Edwin Dewees. First, I want to be clear that I don’t think this takes away anything from either Silva’s win – he would’ve beat Irvin even if Irvin would’ve walked in The Octagon with a baseball bat, and Antonio Silva could’ve beat Justin Eilers for another four days if he had to.

Regardless, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) published its post-fight report which stated that Irvin (the only fighter who tested positive in that UFC event) tested positive for methadone and oxymorphone.

From MMAJunkie:

“Methadone is a synthetic opioid usually used in treatment of opioid dependence for drugs such as heroin, though it can also be prescribed as a painkiller. Oxymorphone is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic (painkiller) often used for the relief of moderate to severe pain. The NSAC has approved neither prescription drug for usage by MMA competitors.”

Methadone and Oxymorphone? Are you kidding me? Irvin has since admitted he did take the drugs, but claimed it was for a pre-existing injury he aggravated while training for the Silva fight. I think two things are telling of the fact that Irvin might have been b.s’ing a little bit. First, as many of you know, Methadone is used for treating heroin addiction. However, since its inception as a heroin treatment, it has come under fire because it too is addictive. Oxymorphone is 6-8 times more potent than morphine.

I’m sure Irvin was in a lot of pain, training extensively while he was in a lot of pain, but double-stacking those two drugs on top of each other? Ridiculous. Not to mention, while his claimed use may have been legitimate, the use of the two drugs together is ridiculous, and Irvin admitted he didn’t have a prescription for either drug.

Antonio Silva, after his recent defeat of Justin Eilers for the Elite XC vacant HW belt, tested positive for Boldenone, a steroid normally used to treat horses – it is not legally available for human use in the United States. Boldenone has a very long half-life, and can show up on a drug test for almost a year-and-a-half after it is taken. With human use, Boldenone is generally used part of a “stack” of anabolic steroids (more than one taken at once) to increase size and appetite.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I don’t think Silva took Boldenone. He has claimed innocence, and I do believe him. For one, Silva is 6’4 and weighs 300 pounds. He’s clearly bigger than the majority of his opponents. Second, Silva is a bit of a freak of nature. He is as big as he is because of a tumor that was near his pituitary gland. He only had it removed due to a ruling of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), that Silva would not be medically cleared until he had it removed. Now, while I know that Boldenone is not naturally produced in the human body like a number of other steroid derivatives, I think that his strange body chemistry could have caused the drug test to register a false positive. However, going against Silva’s argument is the fact that the test was initially analyzed by the CSAC lab, and then by an independent lab with a second sample (taken at the same time as the first. He has a hearing in front of CSAC sometime within the next two weeks, so we’ll see what they have to say. Frankly, because of the long half-life of Boldenone, I would imagine he would keep testing positive for it, or depending when he took it, would have previously tested positive for it, and he didn’t.

Edwin Dewees tested positive for Nandrolone, also an anabolic steroid. Nandrolone is produced naturally in the body, but at a level of 0.4 – 2 nano-grams(ng) per milliliter. CSAC and other commissions have acknowledged that the body can have a naturally higher level (approximately 6 ng/ml) depending on what kind of supplements a person takes, and how much they work out. However, Dewees had a level of approximately 499 ng/ml. Not 0.499, but 499.0. Not good for his case. Other MMA fighters who have tested positive for Nandrolone include former UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk and UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie. Sherk’s level was approximately 12 ng/ml and Gracie’s was approximately was over 50 ng/ml. Sherk maintained his innocence, but Gracie did not.

Other MMA fighters of note that have tested positive for drugs include:

Nick Diaz (after defeating Takanori Gomi) – marijuana – more on this later.

Johnny Morton (former Detroit Lions wide receiver) – steroids – did not submit to a post-fight test; suspended indefinitely by CSAC, not given his $100,000.00 purse from the fight (and that was just his show fee – he got KO’d in 36 seconds).

Diego Sanchez (after defeating Joe Riggs) – marijuana

Ricco Rodriguez – cocaine and marijuana

Bas Rutten – morphine

Stephan Bonnar (finalist on Season 1 of TUF) – Boldenone (claimed it was because of an elbow injury)

Thiago Alves – Spironolactone (diuretic) – For those of you that don’t know, diuretics elevate the level of excretion of water in the body, so it helps fighters cut weight. Alves has a historically heavy “walking weight” for a fighter who is supposed to weigh in at 170 pounds. Generally, a fighter will “walk around” (have a day-to-day weight) about 185 or 190, and slowly wean that down before a fight, and then sit in a sauna or run a lot or do something else to sweat the day of a weigh in. Alves historically walks around at 200 pounds or more. Most recently in his fight with Matt Hughes, Alves failed to make weight, claiming it was because he hurt his ankle the week of the fight, so couldn’t do his normal cardio work to lose weight.

Kit Cope – Boldenone

Alexandre Nogueira – Boldenone

Cesar Gracie (in his comeback fight against Frank Shamrock) - marijuana

Kevin Randleman – didn’t fail a drug test per se, but attempted to provide urine that wasn’t his to drug testers before an event.

Carter Williams (after his loss to Paul Buentello) – cocaine

What generally happens after a failed drug test is that a fighter is fined and suspended for a period of time, generally six months to a year. Upon return, they must obviously pass a drug test before they are cleared to compete again.

Fighters can protest the positive test, and there are more than a few lawyers who make their entire salary from defending athletes who tested positive. I don’t know of any examples where a positive test from an MMA fighter has been completely overturned (although I’m sure there are some), but suspensions and fines are often reduced.

After Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana against Takanori Gomi, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) declared the bout a no-contest, and this is where I think NSAC proved themselves to be idiots. Historically, if a fighter tested positive for a non-performance enhancing substance, such as marijuana, the result of the bout would not be changed, the fighter would simply be fined and suspended. On the other hand, if a fighter tested positive for a performance enhancing drug, such as steroids or diuretics, the bout would be declared a no-contest, meaning that it would not count as a win or loss for either fighter, but would stay on their record, i.e someone with six wins, two losses and one no-contest would be noted as 6-2 (and 1 NC).

The NSAC declared the bout a no-contest, implying that Diaz’s drug use amounted to a performance enhancer. Then, the chairman of the committee, made these remarks (commentary on remarks from MMAWeekly.com)
Apparently, the commission felt that the level for which Diaz tested at, 175, was a considering factor in his performance during the fight. Dr. Tony Alamo, the Commission's Chair, said that a result of 15 is considered positive, but that the NSAC has a threshold of 50 to test positive for THC and that they "feel very comfortable that everyone that tests positive [in Nevada] is truly positive."

Alamo went on to say, "Mr. Diaz was 175. This creates a unique situation. I was there at this fight and believe that you were intoxicated and... that it made you numb to the pain. Did it help you win? I think it did."
Now, this “doctor” believed that Nick Diaz was intoxicated at the fight. I’ve always thought Diaz to be a moron, but he’s not a complete idiot. He may have smoked it sometime in the days leading up to the fight, but I definitely don’t think he smoked it the day of the fight. Nor do I think he was high in the fight, or that it made him numb to pain. Now, this “doctor” on the commission said he was high. Dr. Alamo is a medical doctor, so I would assume that he went to medical school….ergo, I would further assume that at some point he learned about the effects of drugs on the body, and physical performance. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federally funded government body, states that the acute symptoms of marijuana (when the person is intoxicated) are an impairment of short term memory, impairment of attention, judgment and other cognitive functions, increase in heart rate, and IMPAIRMENT OF COORDINATION AND BALANCE.

Now, while I think Diaz is a douche, I am aware of the fact that he’s a great fighter, and a black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu. He submitted Takanori Gomi, a fighter who had only been submitted twice in 20 odd previous fights, and those two submissions were from BJ Penn (current UFC LW Champ) and Marcus Aurelio, another great submission fighter. Further, Diaz submitted Gomi with a gogoplata, arguably one of the two hardest submission moves to pull off ever, especially in an MMA match. I could try to explain how hard it is, but instead, I’m just throwing in this video, so you can see for yourselves.





Now see how ridiculous that was? And Diaz did that in a fight, where another amazing fighter is doing everything he can to avoid it. Since Dr. Alamo claimed he thought Diaz was intoxicated at the event, he was implying that Diaz’s coordination and balance was impaired.

I don’t think someone whose coordination and balance was impaired could even come close to pulling off a gogoplata; ergo, I think the NSAC, and Dr. Alamo in particular, need to re-evaluate their methods of analysis and what kind of logic they are using to make determinations about these situations.

So, with all that in mind, why do fighters use drugs? Obviously because they feel it will help them in some way, whether it be to make them stronger or dull their pain. And a growing belief is that a whole lot more fighters are using steroids, but are getting away with it. Steroid users use in cycles, to maximize potential and give the drugs a chance to get out of their systems so they won’t get overloaded with hormones and have to deal with the adverse effects like “roid rage”, bad acne, liver problems, and other health problems.

Due to this cycling process, a fighter could potentially time the cycle to end before they would be drug tested. That’s why some fighters like Sherk have particularly low levels, when compared to fighters like Dewees – people feel Sherk just failed to stop his cycle early enough. And while I still have my doubts that Sherk used steroids, if there is a fighter that simply looks like he uses steroids, it’s Sherk. They don’t call him the Muscle Shark for fun.

As I stated in the beginning, I think drug use is a problem for MMA (and all professional sports). If somebody just wants to bulk up so they look cool/like a d-bag, or if they just want to get high on their own time, that’s their personal choice. I want to make it clear, though, I’m not an advocate of drug use of any kind. I am a fan of various supplements, but all of those supplements are legal. However, like I said, it’s a personal choice. For example, Eddie Bravo, a jiu jitsu pioneer, claims he smokes weed all the time, including any time he teaches or trains jiu jitsu. But that’s for training, he’s not competing, so I’m not going to knock on his choice even though I don’t agree with it.

BUT, when someone is using a drug to enhance their competition level, they’re cheating…plain and simple. And in a sport like MMA, which is still seeking acceptance in the eyes of the majority of society, the last thing it needs is a steroid scandal. Many people in society still think of MMA as “human cockfighting” (thank you John McCain – yet another reason I’m voting for Obama), and a lot of drug use would just further these wrong opinions that MMA fighters are a bunch of thugs or street fighters, just trying to beat the crap out of somebody, when instead, MMA fighters are some of the most elite athletes in the world, and some of the toughest men and women on the planet.

I think we all know the old adage, “Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat” isn’t true. Plenty of cheaters have won, and plenty of winners have cheated. But that doesn’t make it right, and people polluting the sport of MMA with drugs is just indicative of a series of excuses, or people wanting to take the easy way out, not having to train as hard, or work as hard, or just wanting to “feel better” when they get in the cage.

Cocaine may be a hell of a drug (at least that’s what Rick James said), but it and other drugs have no place in MMA.

-PreView

Keep Reading...

8.22.2008

A New "Distance" Champion

It is with great humility that I now take the trophy from Giant Asian Man (after he took it from Puddin') for the longest distance blog visitor.

I had someone from Nerang, Queensland, Australia have a visit from a whopping 9,106 miles away. It appears that came to my site after searching for "olympics,trampoline", and while I'm sure they did not at all get what they were looking for, I thank him or her for visiting anyways.

-PreView

And here is the rest of it.
Keep Reading...

E-Interview with UFC Fighter Luke Cummo



Dollar Hot Dogs and I conducted an e-interview with UFC veteran Luke Cummo. He was thoughtful, candid, and informative. We truly appreciate Luke taking the time to do this for us and his fans. Enjoy the read, and we encourage you to check out Luke and his company, MMA Mafia online. Check out the rest of the interview here.

You can find half of the interview, as well as a link to the second half, after the jump.

(Picture owned by the UFC.)



What initially inspired you to get into the fight game?

I'll give you the long story short. I tried Karate when I was 8 and my Mom took me out after one lesson because I chopped my little brother. When I was a little older and more mature she made me watch Enter the Dragon and then I started training Kung Fu.
After high school I took a year or two off of training and when I came back I started doing Jeet Kun Do with Ray Longo. He's also a promoter so he got me into amateur kickboxing. Matt Serra also did his stand-up training with Ray so we worked out together a few times and then I started training jiu-jitsu at his academy. After I got my blue belt Ray said they needed a replacement fighter for his new MMA promotion with Lou Neglia: the Ring of Combat. That's where I had my first MMA bouts before getting on TUF 2.

What's it like to be part of the world's premier fighting organization?

It’s the best. I know that I'm very fortunate to be where I am. The UFC really has done great things for me and the fans are fantastic. I was feeling a little down about the judges' decision of my last fight, but as I left the octagon and was walking through the crowd back to the locker room the people in the crowd were really reaching out to me and telling me what a great job I did and stuff. It was a great feeling.
Then I got a call from my Mom a couple of days later when I was visiting family in California. She said there was an envelope from Zuffa and I had a feeling that it was a check, so I told her over the phone to open it. She did and it was a check that said "disc bonus". Now I have no idea what that is, but I think its just their way of saying "thanks for putting on a good fight". So maybe that's what it is or maybe not, but they have treated me very fairly and its my pleasure to fight in the UFC. I used to be nervous about it; now I'm excited.

When you started your fighting career, was getting to the UFC a major aspiration?

No, in fact I turned down a fight with Jay Heiron about a year before I got on TUF 2 because I felt that I wasn't ready for the big show. It’s funny how things work out.

How do you feel about the recent complaints with the UFC and their compensation of fighters (i.e. the Randy Couture situation)?

Well, MMA is growing as a sport and as a business. The UFC has a product and that is their fights. To put out a good product they have to make an investment and that means pay the fighters. And of course they want to turn a profit.
Now I never really studied too much in finance so I would imagine the problem is that the UFC wants to make an investment in Randy and he thinks that number should be higher. I think Randy is at the point in his career where he can afford to be kind of a haggler. He doesn't need to fight anymore. He's already done such tremendous things and he's kind of a living legend. So if he wants to hold out for a huge payday, good for him. And the UFC obviously has a business plan that works so they do what they want anyway.
Sometimes a baseball team will take a big chance on a hot prospect and the guy will turn out to be worth less than what they paid for him. I can't think of an example right now because I don't follow sports. And I'm not saying that Randy isn't worth every penny, just that its probably a big risk for the UFC and they've probably got accountants who have it all mapped out.

A number of websites publish the fighters' salaries after events along with the winners of the UFC bonuses, and they do it with a disclaimer that the figures don't include costs of medical examinations, travel and the like – what kind of expenses do you deal with as a fighter that most people wouldn't know about?

Oh man, this last fight especially I had to lay out a pretty penny. I usually go out a week in advance to acclimate to the area, and even longer if its at a different altitude than what I'm used to. The UFC only gives me a hotel room from four days out from the fight, so there's that. Then I always rent a car so I can get to and from the organic grocer and so I'm not cooped up in the hotel the whole time. I also like to check out any of the local attractions. For example, before UFC 87 I went to the Mall of America no less than 3 times - a couple with my family for shopping, the park, and the aquarium, and once to see a movie.
OK then I flew out a couple of my cornermen because the UFC pays for one and my wife took that ticket. And then there are various licensing fees and medical bills but those weren't too bad because I think Minnesota took my paperwork from Nevada or something. Once in a while I'll have to do some kind of expensive medical test.

To date, what do you consider to be your biggest achievement in fighting?

I think it pretty amazing just being able to step in there with these animals! And the best is yet to come.

You seem pretty slim as a welterweight, but have you ever thought about dropping to 155?

Yeah some people have been telling me to make the drop since the finale of TUF 2. The most I ever had to cut for a welterweight bout was like 5 lbs. The thing is that it seems easy for guys who come from a wrestling background to suck out the water and I've always felt that it might hamper my performance if I sucked too much water the day before a heavy athletic competition like that. But I was 164 lbs. the morning of the weigh-ins of UFC 87. I put on my steel cup and put stuff in my shoes to try to get a couple of extra pounds. I felt as strong as ever and I ate just like I normally do so I'm pretty sure my next fight will be at 155.

What did you think of GSP's recent 5-round victory over Jon Fitch?

I didn't get to watch it yet but it seems like one of those fights I will be watching with a pen and notepad.

GSP seems to be close to the top of most analysts' pound-for-pound lists – because of this, what do you see as the future of the welterweight division?

It’s so hard to tell because the elite welterweights have the speed of lightweights and the power of middleweights and anything can happen in that octagon. I think GSP has a great style and he's a talented athlete.

Do you think GSP's fight with Penn is a good idea for the organization, or do you feel it will just serve to hold up the titles in both divisions?

Two amazing fighters fighting against each other? That sounds good to me!

In your opinion, who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world?

Probably some young kid who's already been training for 10 years and is about to wreck shit. I tell ya, the next wave of Mixed Martial Artists is going to do some amazing things. Keep in mind that the sport is still relatively young.

Do you feel like competition from other promotions such as Affliction and Dream makes the UFC a better organization or is it harder on fighters trying to deal with multiple possibilities?

It’s like the UFC is the best fighter in the gym. Now all the other fighters in the gym get better by training with him and he has to stay sharp because everyone's gunning for him. Everyone benefits.

On that note, what do you think of the recent establishment of the WAMMA belts? Do you think that the UFC's refusal to participate will fail to give these belts validation?

I am uninformed on this subject so I won't comment.

Who are some fighters, past or present, that you admire?

I like fighters who are true masters of their art. Genki Sudo is king of the entrance, Ramon Dekkers has the best fighting attitude, Fedor could relax in a car crash... those are just a couple off the top of my head but I could probably find a quality in any fighter that makes them great.

What is your normal pre-fight routine?
The usual: stretching, shadowboxing, pummeling, padwork, jiu jitsu moves.

Is there are any particular music you listen to while you're training or preparing for a fight?

I personally think there are only two types of music in the world: good and bad. When I train I listen to anything that won't put me to sleep, including rock, rap, metal, dance, techno, and classics like James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. Lately I've been putting on the dance stations on our satellite radio.

Do you think that the recent Elite XC fights on CBS have done more to hurt or help the sport?

The growing popularity of MMA is a two edged sword. Of course the benefits outweigh the drawbacks; if they didn't, nobody would want to read this and I'd be delivering pizza or something. The thing is that people who have no experience in martial arts are now interested in MMA because its a sport. So you have these armchair quarterbacks who all of a sudden are experts and everyone has radio show or a Youtube page or something and the internet forums are brutal. That would be my only complaint: you gotta be at least a blue belt or something before you start telling me how to fight.

Who do you see as your next fight in the UFC?

I have no idea and I'm not even thinking about anyone else right now. My main focus is getting into the best fighting condition ever and taking care of my family.

You caused quite a stir on the reality show with your unconventional eating habits and general demeanor – did you enjoy your time on the show? Coming out of the show, what do you see as the biggest benefit you received from it?

There were ups and downs during the six weeks of "isolation". We couldn't communicate with any of our family members and it felt like it would never end. But I did get some of the best training of my life and I grew tremendously as a fighter and as a person. I learned a lot from some great coaches.

Would you do something like TUF again?

I've thought about that - if they did something like the Real World All Stars. I don't know, the payday would have to be pretty big to drag me away from my first kid.

What have you thought of subsequent seasons of the show?

I really only kept up with Season 4 and 6 that my coach Matt Serra was on. I'm a fight fan, not a drama fan. I wish these types of shows would focus more on the training and stuff, but I understand how they appeal to a large audience.

We were really pulling for you against Joe Daddy, and it was a very close fight. Do you think the judges reached the right decision?

First off, thank you for your support. I really feel blessed to have the best fans in the game. Yeah it was a close fight, and if we ever get to go at it again I think I'll get him. I can understand why the judges could have given him the decision. Like it or not, takedowns play a big part of the points system because they count towards effective aggression and octagon control. He had me in a couple of tight spots in the beginning and it took me little bit to get going.

Do you still keep in touch with any of the guys from TUF?

Once in a while I guess. Y'know I don't even talk to most of the people that I did a couple of years ago, like friends outside of martial arts and stuff. These days I have a pretty small circle: my family, my training family, my clients, and the folks on my website (forum.lukecummo.com).

Continue Reading....

Keep Reading...

8.19.2008

Random Thought (#2.5)

Something I meant to mention before - before The Hills premiere last night, they did a little "retrospective" commentary from people on the show, famous bloggers like Perez Hilton, and other socialites who are equally famous for doing nothing.

Anywho, one of the show's characters, "Justin Bobby" was accused of kissing a girl right in front of Audrina, his girlfriend at the time. The point of this random thought is that JB, during the retrospective said something to the effect of, "I know there's some "skepticalasism" about whether I kissed this girl." Sweet Pseudo Reality TV. I'm gettting dumber watching this show, and I fear I'm making all of you dumber as you read this.

-PreView

And here is the rest of it.
Keep Reading...

Random Thought (#2)

I watched the season premiere of The Hills last night. As I've mentioned before, it's one of my favorite guilty pleasures. I only mention it here because while my desire to do a particular thing had waned since last season, last night confirmed that if I ever see Spencer Pratt in person, he's getting kicked in the nuts, no questions asked. He has to top my list as the World's Single Most Useless Person. So Spencer, if you ever come across this and you're planning on visiting KY, it would be in your best interests to wear a cup. There's no excuse for your repeated and blatant aggravated douchebaggery.

-PreView

And here is the rest of it.
Keep Reading...

8.18.2008

Good Luck to Junie Allen Browning on season eight of TUF.

As all of you know, I love watching UFC events, including the reality show. The upcoming season (which starts on Sept. 17 at 10pm on Spike) features Interim Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir as opposing coaches who will meet in December as Nogueira attempts to defend his title for the first time since submitting Tim Sylvia to win it.

I mention this now as opposed to a month from now when it's going to start because I found out that a KY boy will be one vying for a spot on the show, so we should start rooting for him early (even though the show has already finished taping). I say vying for a spot, because out of the 32 potential participants, only 16 will make it on the show.

Regardless, Junie Allen Browning fighting out of Four Seasons Martial Arts in Lexington, KY will look to build on his 2-0 professional record (18-1 as an amateur) as he makes his attempt to get into the big show we call the UFC. Four Seasons is a kick ass school, and they train a number of up and coming fighters. I've hung out with some of the Four Seasons guys on occasion (I know a few guys that train there), and from what I've seen, they're all great fighters and awesome guys.

So best of luck, Browning. I know taping of the show has already wrapped up, but I hope we get to see you kick some ass.

-PreView

And here is the rest of it.
Keep Reading...

8.14.2008

Random Thought (# 1)

New (hopefully) recurring post on the Blog. If the title isn't self-explanatory enough, you shouldn't be reading my blog. Anywho, I just had a random thought today and wanted to post something about it, but realized that over-analyzing it would take away the randomness of it. And since I have these random thoughts on a daily basis, it seemed that posting them was a natural progression.

So, for today's thought...

I think it's hilarious when they subtitle British people on TV.

Told you - it's random.

-PreView

edit: I had originally named this "Completely Random Thought of the Day", but then realized the thoughts weren't "completely" random, so I took that out. PV.

And here is the rest of it.
Keep Reading...

What Really Matters In the Olympics - Showering and 12,000 Calories

Olympic fever is fully upon us. There are judokas throwing, boxers boxing, wrestlers wrestling, gymnasts flipping/twisting/turning/jumping, and divers showering. Yes, divers showering. It is, in my humble opinion, the most homoerotic activity of the Olympics.

For an analysis about how people asking stupid questions about the Olympics elicits stupid answers, and for the 12,000 calorie “revolution”, keep reading…..


Among other things, there has been a discussion of answers to odd questions about the Olympics, one of the most popular being, “Why do the divers go right to the showers after diving?” And determined to keep up with the homoerotic motif, one of the NBC Diving Analysts, Cynthia Potter stated, because “they want to have fun.” Seriously? They want to have fun? Granted, I’m sure divers want to have fun, but I doubt the divers’ ideas of having fun involve showering in front of the whole world, since the showers are public, and in full view of the audience, tv cameras, everybody.

Yes, in view of everyone – didn’t China spend a ridiculous amount of money on these new buildings? I know they did – could they not have included at least some semi-public showers? They had to know what was going to be happening. Seriously.

The real reason the divers shower/rinse off after a dive is because the water in the pool is generally fairly cool, and the showers warm them up and keep their muscles loose. Hmm….that sounds like a fake reason – I’m sure it’s really the “fun” thing. I mean, seriously – I know the gymnasts, judokas, boxers, wrestlers and everybody are jealous. They too want to have fun, but it’s not as “olympically” acceptable for them to get a quick shower right after the match. Further, I think that the divers getting a shower is redundant – they just got out of clean water – why do they need to get showered by more clean water? Now the wrestlers on the other hand, or the boxers – those guys (and girls) definitely could use a shower more after a match than a diver.

This question dominated the Yahoo: Sports page for almost two days – ridiculous. In a time where there are serious things happening in the Olympics (i.e. scandal over the potentially underage Chinese gymnasts or the fact that Swedish Greco-Roman wrestler Ara Abrahamian denounced his bronze medal) let’s focus on the showers, because that is where the real mystery lies.

In other news, Michael Phelps recently won his 12th overall Gold Medal; still on his way to pursuing a record-breaking 8 gold medals in one Olympics. However, the number 12 that has recently emerged as important is not his 12th gold medal, but the 12,000 CALORIES HE EATS EVERYDAY. 12,000!!!!!

Now, there is clearly a method to this madness. Phelps works out approximately 30 hours a week. And given his physique and Olympic domination, I think it’s easy to see that he works hard during these work outs, so he needs plenty of calories to make up for everything he burns.

So, for your enjoyment (or disappointment or jealousy or whatever) I’m going to post his “average” daily menu.

BREAKFAST: 3 fried egg sandwiches, 2 cups coffee, 5-egg omlette, bowl of grits, 3 pieces of French toast, 2 chocolate chip pancakes.

LUNCH: 1 pound pasta, 2 ham and cheese sandwiches, energy drink (of the 1,000 calorie variety).

DINNER: 1 pound pasta, 1 large pizza, another 1,000 calorie energy drink.

There you go – and trust me, I’m sure that’s not it. I don’t doubt for a second that he eats at least twice more per day, perhaps three times. Definitely not as much, but I’m sure he eats more times per day to keep his metabolism up. Also, for a bit of speculation, even though Phelps didn’t say what brand or kind of energy drinks he drinks, I don’t think it’s those of the Red Bull variety. In fact, I would guess it’s not what most people think of as an energy drink at all, but more of a protein shake.

I looked around at some different nutritional information and every time I tried to search something like “1,000 calorie energy drink” everything that came up were things like protein shakes for hard gainers (those who work out excessively). They need the calories because of all the energy they burn, just like Phelps. So I’d guess he’s chugging some crazy protein shakes. Regardless, it’s working.

However, I bring this up because I think everyone knows that 12,000 calories seems like a lot. In fact, it’s 9,500 more than the FDA recommends for an “active, young man”. I know that from all the food I listed above, you could tell he eats a lot, but since most people don’t have the same menu, I’ll throw some comparisons out there you should recognize.

12,000 calories equals:

- 80 cans of Pepsi

- 22 Big Macs

- 24 Large Fries, from McDonald’s

- 4 Orders Aussie Fries (with cheese and bacon) from the Outback Steakhouse.

Okay, so that last one may not seem too crazy compared to the first three, but considering the fact that Aussie Fries were voted, by Men’s Health Magazine (among others), the worst food in America, I think it’s kind of telling.

Regardless, his food intake is crazy.

So there you have it – the two most important recent aspects of the Olympics. Naturally. Showers and what Phelps eats for dinner. Is it just me or is the Olympic coverage starting to turn into an issue of some woman’s magazine? I can see the cover now. “How to have fun in the shower.” “What Michael Phelps likes for his 4,000 calorie dinner.” “How to look good in skintight spandex” and so on and so forth.

So for now, I leave you as your humble reporter for all things random in the Olympics, and true to the randomness, I’ll leave you with one more random fact. In case you didn’t know, the black stuff that’s been on Kerri Walsh’s (Puddin’s girl) shoulder, it’s kinesiotape, and the formation of it supports her rotator cuff, as she recently had shoulder surgery. Puddin was supposed to be the one to apply it, but the Chinese delegation protested his visa….but that’s a story for another day.

- PreView

Keep Reading...

8.10.2008

PreView's Picks for UFC 87, Post-Event

I posted a mediocre 6-4 last night on my picks....yet still managed to be 147 out of 19568 on the UFC fantasy site.

I know Puddin' and I are going to discuss things later this week in our UFC and MMA chats, but I wanted to state that because I stated to Puddin' yesterday that Andre Gusmao would post a "stunning" knockout of Jon Jones in their fight, I am now issuing a formal apology for Gusmao not only failing to get a stunning KO, but failing to win the fight at all. Even though I had nothing to do with his loss, I still told Puddin it would be stunning and yet it wasn't. I formally apologize.

More from the chats later this week.

-PreView

And here is the rest of it.
Keep Reading...

8.08.2008

PreView's Picks for UFC 87

Some intriguing match-ups in this one. My picks for the winners are immediately below, and some explanations on the bouts themselves follow the jump. Puddin and I weren’t able to get together for our second UFC Event Chat, but we’re planning a State of the U[fc]NION chat next week, as well as a State of MMA chat, where we’ll be talking about promotions other than the UFC.

Georges St. Pierre (GSP) v. Jon Fitch – GSP

Kenny Florian v. Roger Huerta – Florian

Brock Lesnar v. Heath Herring – Lesnar

Manny Gamburyan v. Rob Emerson – Gamburyan

Jason MacDonald v. Demian Maia – MacDonald

Luke Cummo v. Tamdan McCrory – Cummo

Cheick Kongo v. Dan Evensen – Kongo

Chris Wilson v. Steve Bruno – Wilson

Andre Gusmao v. Jon Jones – Gusmao

Ben Saunders v. Ryan Thomas – Saunders



GSP v. Fitch – This is an interesting match-up because while GSP is generally ranked as one of the top ten pound-for-pound fighters in the world, he did not successfully defend the Welterweight (WW) title in his first and only title defense, to Matt Serra. However, he did avenge his losses to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra in a dominating fashion, particularly with Hughes.

Fitch truly worked his way up the ladder to get his title shot. He’s beaten the likes of Thiago Alves, Josh Burkman and Diego Sanchez on his way to GSP. He’s undefeated in the UFC and ties UFC legend Royce Gracie for the longest unbeaten streak (8 fights). GSP’s origins are in wrestling (he wrestled at Purdue), but has since earned a black belt in Guerilla Jiu Jitsu (a variation of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that puts more emphasis on MMA applications) and his striking skills are solid as well.

I think Fitch is a great fighter, but from the press conferences I’ve seen, I think GSP is in an entirely different mind-frame than he was in when he first tried to defend his title against Serra. He seems much more focused and serious. Additionally, when GSP fought Josh Koscheck (one of Fitch’s teammates and training partners), Koscheck (whose wrestling skills are some of the best in the UFC) had his takedowns continually and consistently stuffed by GSP.

When GSP is focused, he’s not prone to making mistakes, and I think he has serious focus now.

GSP by TKO in the second. (On a side note, I also want to add that GSP, post-fight, will attempt his normal backflip. I say attempt, because he always only barely makes it, so it is my prediction that after this fight, if he attempts it, he’ll come even closer than he normally does to breaking his ankles.)


Florian v. Huerta – The winner of the Kenny Florian and Roger Huerta fight has been guaranteed a title shot against current Lightweight (LW) champion BJ Penn. However, the UFC execs are unsure when this will occur, because Dana White (UFC Pres/CEO) has stated that should GSP get through Fitch, BJ Penn will move up a weight class and fight GSP in an attempt to avenge a loss from a couple years ago.

Regardless, the fight pundits are predicting this one to be Fight of the Night, and potentially Fight of the Year. Since losing to Sean Sherk for the UFC LW belt in the inaugural match since the LW class returned, Florian has gone on a four-fight win streak, with all the matches coming by stoppage. His most recent win was over LW prospect Joe Lauzon, which he won by TKO.

Huerta is undefeated in the UFC, and has won all of his fights but one by stoppage. Huerta was, for a long time, the new Latino poster-boy for the UFC, and did tons of press conferences, tours, etc. However, he’s nearing the end of a self-imposed 8-month break, and in the past few weeks has made some disparaging remarks about the UFC, its management, and its treatment of fighters. While this will not have an effect on his performance in the fight itself, it could very easily have an effect on his career afterwards, particularly if he loses.

Should Huerta lose, the UFC could bounce him out. Granted, Huerta is an up-and-coming name in the sport and would likely be a big draw in another organization, but the UFC is still the premiere organization of MMA. Puddin and I were speaking earlier and he made the remark that MMA is still not a mainstream sport – and he’s right. The popularity of MMA is growing, but promotions on top of promotions fold under the pressure, both financial, and from the UFC. Due to this, the paychecks in the other organizations aren’t close to what they are in the UFC. So if Huerta keeps running his mouth about how the UFC treats its fighters poorly in the financial arena (which there may be some valid claims to), he’s going to get fired.

But then the question becomes “Will Huerta lose?” I think the answer is YES. Huerta has had an impressive run in the UFC, and he is a solid fighter, but there is some question about the quality of opponents he has faced. The combined UFC records of his 6 opponents is four wins and fourteen losses (4-14) and three of those wins are from Clay Guida, easily the toughest opponent that Huerta faced. Moreover, a number of the fighters that Huerta faced were making their UFC debuts.

Florian has great standup and submission games, and has a habit of unleashing a barrage of violent and effective elbows when he’s in the bottom position. Huerta barely had an answer for when Clay Guida took him down, and Florian is a true submission fighter when on the ground, transitioning from one position to another, always going for the finish.

There’s a good chance this fight will make it out of the first round if Huerta can effectively alternate between keeping his distance from Florian and getting on the inside to try and deliver punches and knees. Regardless, I don’t think it’s going past the second.

Florian by submission in the second.


Lesnar v. Herring – Before I get to the meat of this fight, I’m going to take a moment and rant, as I sometimes tend to do. I think it’s sucks that these fighters got paired together. Granted, Lesnar made it clear he didn’t want to fight cans in any of his UFC fights, but Herring just came off an upset of Cheick Kongo, and should be one of a few in line for the next HW title shot. Especially since Herring almost (and should have) beat the current interim UFC HW Champ, Noguiera, in his last fight. Lesnar is coming off a disappointing submission loss to Frank Mir. Their fight lasted approximately 90 seconds – Lesnar dominated 80 seconds of it, and then Mir came in with a great submission. Since Lesnar is coming off a loss, why not give him Kongo, who is also coming off a loss? Or give him of the UFC up-and-coming HWs like Shane Carwin.

Regardless, Herring has much more experience than Lesnar, has fought a large number of quality opponents and isn’t afraid to get in there and mix it up with anybody. Herring also owns the greatest pre-fight win ever. Yes, I said pre-fight Check this out:



Lesnar is a phenomenal wrestler, and has ridiculous agility for a HW. The best word I could use to describe his physical abilities is probably explosive. Expect to see Herring get taken down multiple times – and the number of takedowns will exponentially increase the longer the fight goes on.

Besides his wrestling, Lesnar’s strength appears to be his potential for ground-n-pound. I say potential because he’s only had two MMA fight and didn’t have a chance to do much in either. Lesnar does own the record for largest hand-size of any fighter in the UFC (they had to specially make size 4X gloves for him) and he hits hard.

Herring, in his UFC debut, lost a lackluster decision to Jake O’Brien, a wrestler who took Herring down at will and basically laid on him until the fight was over. Lesnar’s wrestling skills are much stronger than O’Brien’s, as is his ability to work effectively when an opponent is on the ground. Additionally, Herring’s Jiu Jitsu isn’t as good as Frank Mir’s, so I don’t think he’s as likely to catch Lesnar in a submission like Mir did. However, Herring is becoming a better, smarter fighter, so I’m sure his training camp has stressed trying to defend the takedown and get submissions from the bottom.

Regardless of this, I don’t think it will pay off. Lesnar needs a win to continue to fight the better HW’s like he wants to – and in spite of the fact that Lesnar is an enormous pay-per-view draw, I think if he loses here, he’s got one fight left in the UFC, at best.

Lesnar by TKO in the first.


Well, that’s about it for my pre-fight analysis – I don’t feel like going over the rest of the fights except to say that you’re not a true Luke Cummo fan unless you're planning on switching to a Lifefood diet; Ben Saunders (recent TUF alumnus) practices Jeet Kune Do and effectively uses it in the UFC; and Andrew Gusmao, making his UFC debut, is a Capoeira master, so I’m hoping we see at least a couple good kicks. Maybe even some acrobatics if he wins.

-PreView

Keep Reading...

8.06.2008

The Olympics (and the newly established P.O.C.)

I love the Olympics. Besides the Misty May-Treanors and Kerri Walshs of the games (mine and Puddin’s girls), I love the contact sports. Judo, wrestling, tae kwon do and boxing. I know it comes as no surprise to any of my readers (all 4 of them) that I love the contact sports given my propensity to clog the blog with articles on mixed martial arts. However, as I stressed in my article on martial arts vs. mixed martial arts, I love the individual fighting disciplines as well.

While I love the all-out intensity and mixed disciplines in mixed martial arts, I appreciate experts in any art. I find the fluidity with which they work, and their devotion to a single discipline very inspiring. And frankly, in spite of the fierce competition and ethnocentricity that comes out in Olympics time, I think the overall message of the Olympics is inspiration.

Take Dara Torres, for example. She’s a 41 year old who has already proven herself as an Olympic swimmer; appearances in 4 prior Olympics, and 9 medals total (and a smokin’ hottie), and yet she’s going back to do it again, to become the oldest woman to ever win an Olympic medal. She has her detractors, and many of them. All many people can say is “performance enhancing drugs”. However, she has given herself up to a ridiculous testing procedure (in addition to all the sanctioned Olympic testing procedures), recently established, to prove to everyone that she’s drug free.

The basic principle of this new testing procedure is that instead of a normal drug test which tests urine or blood at individual points of time, this tests takes samples at various intervals during both training and competition, over longer periods of time, to first establish a baseline level of hormone and other substances, and then they measure all subsequent tests against that baseline. So, the process is much more intense, and could clearly interfere with one’s training and daily activities, but Dara has subjected herself to it because she wants to be an inspiration.

So in light of all this self-sacrifice and inspiration, I could write about intense training the athletes go through, or the skill these athletes display, or any number of other things….but instead, I’d rather address the fact that I will not be able to watch the sports I enjoy, live, because of the idiots at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and NBC.



First, kudos to NBC for getting the contract to broadcast the Olympics, and kudos to them to showing the events on their multiple networks (CNBC, USA, Telemundo). Knowing that they were going to show the sports over four channels, I thought I’d be able to fill up my DVR with the contact sports (and some shooting sports as well), but when I was looking at the TV schedule for the games, I noticed that Judo, for example, has no TV times scheduled at all. At first I thought this was just a mistake, but no, that’s not the case. It’s the same with Tae Kwon Do. There are a few wrestling and boxing matches that will be shown on TV, but only a very few.

To be fair, NBC has a scheduled a ton of live online broadcasts for everything that won’t be shown on TV, but because they’re showing them live, and because of the time difference, if I want to watch Judo, I’m going to have to get up at 3 in the morning on a Wednesday night. What the hell? Granted, I did do this to watch the US soccer team play 2002 World Cup, but to be fair, that was during the summer and I worked as a runner at a law firm during the day and as a manager at a video store at night – not the most challenging of jobs. Now my job is of a bit more importance, so I can’t do that anymore.

Will NBC archive some of this video footage? Sure they will. And was I planning on watching these events on TV live? No, I was going to DVR them. But there is a difference in watching things on my 34” TV as opposed to my 19” computer monitor.

As a quick aside, I generally don’t hate on corporate America, mainly because I whore myself out to them every time I go to Wal-Mart or any of the other multi-national conglomerates I visit on a daily basis, but it bothers me that the Olympics are on a single network. Why not dole out ALL the sports to all the major networks and then they can broadcast everything…..everything.

I guess what bothers me more than having to watch my favorite events on my computer as opposed to my TV is the fact that NBC has chosen to broadcast the usual excessive smattering of gymnastics and swimming (I don’t care about watching dudes in speedos no matter how fast they swim), and synchronized events in both, and God forbid, Trampoline. Trampoline? Are you kidding me? While I wouldn’t necessarily call these people “athletes”, I do recognize the fact that they are very skilled and are in great shape. But seriously – a trampoline?

Seeing this on the schedule made me then ask – how in the world did something like this become an Olympic sport? I checked out the ever-popular wikipedia as well as wikianswers and yahoo answers, and found out that to become an Olympic sport, among other things, a sport has to be practiced by men in 75 countries on 3 continents, women in 40 countries on 3 continents and have an international governing body for regulation. Then, if initially approved, the sport is recognized as a “demonstration sport” in which competitors compete during the Olympics (but not for medals, and they are not recognized as Olympians). Then the IOC has a committee which votes before each Olympics on what sports to include as part of the “programme”. For summer Olympics, there must be a minimum of 15 sports and a maximum of 28. Now, anything that has been previously declared an Olympic sport will remain an Olympic sport even if it’s not included at subsequent games. There are a number of sports listed as demonstration sports on the IOC website; chess, surfing, tug of war, korfball and orienteering. I’ll leave you to your own devices to find out what those are.

So, back to my new favorite sport to hate – trampoline. It was first approved as an Olympic sport in 1999 and debuted at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Both the NBC website and the IOC website have a list of medal winners and such, but since I hate this activity, the PreView Olympic Commission (POC) will not be recognizing it as an activity, nor recognizing its medals winners. Clearly, the trampoline athletes will be forever crushed when they realize this, and the IOC will appoint me to a determining committee, or at the very least NBC will let me help decide their future programming schedule….or, I’ll just continue ranting and raving on my blog and nothing will happen.

So, about this “activity”, I feel compelled to ask – are there really men in 75 countries on 4 continents and women in 40 countries on 3 continents practicing this activity? And if so, I wonder how long it would take me to go around to all the men in these 75 countries and kick them in the nuts? And taking this line of thought to what I feel is clearly the next logical step – POC will now designate another sport to take the place of the Trampoline “activity”. My first choice would be cornhole; second would be watching people try to avoid having their faces eaten by my dog, Boo – just ask Puddin’ – when she unleashes the fury, she can’t be stopped.

Seriously – there are plenty of gymnastic type sports, tons of variations, and apparently, NBC is broadcasting all of them….and most of the rounds, preliminary and otherwise – why not sacrifice some of the preliminary rounds with the lesser-knowns and show some Judo? Seriously. Further, I think the Olympians who medal in any sport should be recognized, and the “medal rounds” should be broadcasted. I don’t think anybody would mind not seeing the 764th gymnastics ribbon floor routine if they could see somebody medal in wrestling.

However, not all of the blame can rest with NBC. I also blame Beijing. China is a country whose culture is steeped largely in martial arts – and since they’re hosting, they surely have some say on what sports are broadcast, so why didn’t they pick judo and tae kwon do?

Now, I further realize that even though POC is the second most preeminent authority on the Olympics, that not everyone would go along with the suggested POC viewing schedule. However, I know that I’m not the only person who would want to see these events. Not to mention, ESPN broadcasted some of the wrestling qualifying rounds after seeing them triumph on a national level, I’d like to see them triumph on an international level. Oh yeah, and I’m American, and POC is an American based committee – and America has the most overall medals so I, as an American, should be able to decide which sports I would like to view at what time. Right? Right.

So, in an effort to showcase the sports I feel are under-emphasized, I will posting as many videos, or links to videos, that I am able (and legally allowed) to post in hopes of showing everybody else what I love so much. Yet another thing I can do because it’s my blog, and I can do whatever the hell I want. And maybe I’ll write the IOC a letter, and see if I can get the POC established as sort of an anti-governing body, to undesignated sports as Olympic Sports…..Trampoline – look out – you’re first on the list.

-PreView

By the way, Puddin and GAM are automatic members of POC, if they choose to accept their appointments. Others may send their applications to me. Beware, though, any good application would include a 1000 word essay on why "Trampoline" should be abolished.


Keep Reading...