They were drowned out.

A UFC bout might have looked like a safe space for Trump. Here’s why it wasn’t:

The booing began immediately. The music on the loudspeakers was turned up, either to herald Trump’s arrival or to stifle the crowd’s displeasure in reaction to it, but the sound of those boos was overwhelming. A few Trump fans scattered throughout the room cheered, but they were drowned out. Three rows down, a young couple held up a sign that said “Impeach and Remove.” There was no introduction like there had been at the World Series last week, no sense of ceremony or occasion, no video of the president and his sons on the Jumbotron, no “Lock him up” chants — but for a moment, the environment, already full of alcohol and flush with three hours of fights and charged for more, felt volatile.

This is why Trump continues to hold rallies – they’re the only places where people aren’t booing him.

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Sports, Tromp

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He got in, he got rich, and he got out.

Solid piece by Chuck Mindenhall at The Athletic on Conor McGregor (paywall):

Even if McGregor is 100 percent sincere in his desire to change his ways — actually, especially if — we’re talking about a far different McGregor than the one who was bursting at the seams to make his name in fighting. At best, the man who spent years living up to his nickname, “Notorious,” will now be tasked with trying to live it down. That’s not exactly the same setup as before, when McGregor’s name was an enterprise. The context, at once so admirable and easy to root for, is now complicated. To associate with him isn’t the happy little rebellion it once was, and any vicariousness to the winner’s vibe these days feels something like enabling.

In other words, the spirit of Conor McGregor can’t be retrieved, because at first it was all going somewhere. Now it’s retreating from where it’s been. His downfall has become a burgeoning part of the story, and — sadly — that side has as much momentum as what’s left out there for him to accomplish.

The longer he’s out of the game, the more it seems like he won’t return. And why would he? He’s won UFC championship belts in two weight classes, boxed Floyd Mayweather for tens and millions of dollars, and launched his own whiskey. He figured it out. He won. It his own words that he tweeted five years ago, he got in, he got rich, and he got out.

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Sports

McGregor

Conor McGregor willing to serve as co-main event for the UFC, on one condition:

While he didn’t quite get what he was asking for, McGregor did ultimately get a new, six-fight deal with the UFC that included an official sponsorship deal for McGregor’s Proper 12 whiskey, including putting it on the UFC canvas. But after serving as the A side for by far the biggest PPV in UFC history, McGregor is back to chasing the equity he feels he deserves, and at this point, it’s getting harder to deny him. McGregor is responsible for five of the six highest-selling UFC PPVs ever. If any fighter deserves equity in the company, it’s him, but the UFC has been adamantly against setting that kind of precedent.

The UFC should give him a cut, he’s worth it. Every contender in the UFC is a fighter, but not every fighter is a fight promoter. McGregor is a promotion machine. He’s one of those rare individuals who understands there’s way more to fighting events than just fighting. As the article mentions, he was in 5 of 6 highest-selling pay-per-views ever in the UFC.

That’s not an accident.

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Sports

“There never was going to be a happy ending for the heavyweight great.”

Chuck Mindenhall on Fedor Emelianenko’s loss to Ryan Bader this past Saturday night in Bellator:

It’s an unofficial statistic, but MMA is something like 0-for-4,563 when it comes to giving its fighters storybook endings. The latest to get a shot was Fedor Emelianenko, who at 42 years old was trying to become Bellator’s heavyweight champion on Saturday night at Bellator 214, against all odds and decorum. Had he beat Ryan Bader to close out the Heavyweight Grand Prix — had the old Emperor successfully stormed the West one last time — he could have gotten the hell out and left all the authors of his legacy scrambling for the right superlatives.

Instead, he got smashed by a left hand. Worse, he barely reacted to that inbound left as it made its way towards his face. When the punch landed, the light flickered in the attic and his blue eyes went to some distant spot on the horizon. Bader wasted little time in blasting him again after he fell. And then again, just for good measure.

Total bout time: 35 seconds.

Total groans of sadness: 3,298,470.

Mindenhall is (unfortunately) getting good at writing about once-great fighters falling before they retire.

If you’re not familiar with Fedor’s career in MMA, do yourself a favor and check out one of his highlight reels.

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Sports

“the lonesome sound of departure”

Over at MMA Fighting, Chuck Mindenhall recaps Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell’s fight against Tito Ortiz this past Saturday:

Golden Boy’s foray into MMA was a set-up for some kind of morose outcome, it just boiled down to which one. Sadly it turned out to be the latter. “The Iceman” waited over eight years to have his delusions re-realized, and his last attempt for a happy ending to get trampled by his old rival. Ortiz knocked Chuck out, and then went into his gravedigger dance, burying the iconic Mohawk for good. Ortiz wanted it to be a redemption of sorts after losing to Liddell twice in the mid-aughts. He got it. Nothing about it felt right. Ortiz merely flushed out the last birds from the orchard. It was a shotgun burst, and the lonesome sound of departure.

Mindenhall is right.

There’s nothing exciting about watching a once-great fighter, who’s nearing 50 years old, get knocked out cold in the first round.

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Sports

Conor vs. Khabib

Shaun Al-Shatti reporting for MMAFighting.com:

And according to White, as long as McGregor is able to clear up his legal trouble, a Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor pairing could very well be in the cards for 2018.

“I’m pretty confident that that is the fight that Conor wants, and I’m pretty confident that that is the fight that Khabib wants,” White said. “So, yeah, I could see that happening.”

It’s on.

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Sports

“…you don’t bring in the third-place team to play for the Lombardi Trophy”

Eddie Alvarez questions legitimacy of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s UFC lightweight title 139:

But Alvarez also doesn’t believe Nurmagomedov should be recognized as the legitimate champion. In Alvarez’s mind, the UFC 223 bout between the Russian standout and 11th-ranked Al Iaquinta — despite the unique set of circumstances that led to the matchup with several potential opponents dropping out — should not have been a title matchup.

“If the Philadelphia Eagles show up for the Super Bowl, and New England can’t make it, you don’t bring in the third-place team to play for the Lombardi Trophy,” Alvarez said. “You have to wait and you have be patient. You can’t tell the No. three, four, five guys ‘you get a title shot.’ It just got silly real fast. Everything got silly real fast, and it made the belt quite meaningless.”

Great analogy by Alvarez. Dropouts in the UFC are quite a problem for the major bouts and finding replacement fighters only solves part of the problem. There’s still the aspect of the belt and who gets it. Sure you can let them fight with neither fighter winning or losing the belt, but this has the defending champ (or the challenging fighter) risking serious injury for no reward.

So what’s the alternative? Cancelling the fight and refunding all the PPV purchases? It’s a tough spot to be in.

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Sports

False Equivalence

Eddie Alvarez thinks Nate Diaz’s ‘ego’ won’t let him say he only wants Conor McGregor fight: ‘Just be honest’:

“The more I think about it, the more I’m like: When Conor takes a break, Nate takes a break,” Alvarez continued. “Conor’s like, ‘I ain’t fighting until August,’ and Nate’s like, ‘Well, I ain’t fighting until July,’ or some sh*t. I guess his ego doesn’t let him say, ‘I just want to fight Conor.’ Just say it. Like, just be honest with everyone. If that’s who you want to fight, there’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t call everyone out if you don’t have any intention of fighting anybody.

I think Alvarez is 100% correct.

I’ve said it before: Diaz has created in his mind a false equivalence between himself and Conor McGregor. He thinks because Conor makes the big money, and he’s fought Conor before, then he should also be able to ask for just as much money. That’s not how it works.

And stop mumbling for shit’s sake.

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Sports

LeBron will never be as iconic as Jordon.

Scottie Pippen: LeBron James’ Stats Have ‘Probably’ Passed Michael Jordan’s:

“The numbers don’t lie. He’s right there,” he said. “He probably will never catch him in terms of MVP, but in terms of statistics, LeBron is right there. And when you look across the board—not just scoring—check his assists, check his rebounds … he’s probably ahead of Jordan.”

Jordan averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 0.8 blocks across 15 seasons in the NBA (13 with the Bulls and two with the Washington Wizards).

James currently checks in at 27.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per game as he takes part in his 15th campaign at the professional level.

LeBron is an amazing athlete (says the guy who doesn’t watch sports), but even if (when) LeBron passes Jordan’s stats, he’ll never be as iconic as Jordan. Sure, “LeBron” is a brand, but “Jordan” is a bigger brand, at least at the level of the company that has been putting his silhouette and name on their shoes for over 30 years – Nike.

I’d go so far as to say Michael Jordan is at the level of a pop culture icon like Mickey Mouse.

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Branding, Sports

Mayweather in the UFC is a cute idea.

Morning Report: Floyd Mayweather says he has multi-fight offer with UFC, can ‘make a billion dollars’:

Appearing in a live stream on Instagram captured by Fight Hype, Mayweather told his fans that he has a multi-fight offer with the UFC that would make him “a billion dollars.”

“You already know I’m a money-getting motherfucker,” Mayweather said. “I’m Money May. They just called me not too long ago and asked me to come back. I can come right back. If I want to, I can come right back to the UFC. I can go fight in the Octagon. I can do a three- or four-fight deal in the Octagon and make a billion dollars. Remember, I’m Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather, and you motherfuckers love me, and I love you motherfuckers.”

Good luck with that, Floyd.

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Sports

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Pretending to play a UFC fight.

This genius streamed a pay-per-view UFC match by pretending to play it:

A streamer broadcast a live pay-per-view UFC match on multiple platforms, including Twitch, by pretending it was a video game he was playing, as spotted by EuroGamer. AJ Lester streamed the UFC 218 match between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo in its entirety over the weekend. Lester appeared in the corner of the stream, wearing a pair of headphones and holding a controller while watching intensely and reacting to the punches as if he was in control of the action.

A tweet showing Lester’s antics went viral, with over 63,000 retweets and 140,000 likes at the time of publication. Another clip shows him reacting wildly yelling “oooooooooooooooh!!!” and “damnnnnnn!” in response to the match. It’s his dedication to the charade that makes him a true internet hero.

Never count out a geek.

Of course this will likely be the first and last time someone is able to get away with this.

I was at a rowdy, Irish tavern in San Francisco for to watch UFC 218 — a proper venue to watch fights — but I give Lester props for being resourceful.

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Sports

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“laughed at by the fight gods”

Bellator’s unpredictable night shows difficulty of building stars:

Best laid plans in MMA are often thrown by the wayside and laughed at by the fight gods. For Coker and company, Bellator 185 was one of those nights. By the end of it Mousasi was in the hospital, Hardy’s face was destroyed, and Julaton had been upset.

Back to the drawing board.

It’s not just Bellator. It’s tough for any mixed martial arts organization. New champs can be crowned in any fight. Superstars like Conor McGregor are very rare and even their victories are far from guaranteed.

Just look at what happened to Ronda Rousey. It seemed she was the UFC’s next rising superstar, but then her fight with Amanda Nunes happened now her fighting career doesn’t look so bright. Back in January Joe Rogan said he didn’t think she’d fight again and as more time passes it’s looking more and more likely.

People love rooting for their fighter, but it’s hard to do that in such a volatile sport.