XFE 4-7 Event-Observations

7 Apr


I have covered many MMA events. In fact I even covered the famous “Bigfoot VS. Fedor” fight were Bigfoot proved that indeed Fedor was a human being. Last nights show by XFE was perhaps one of the better events that I’ve covered. The “press pass” they issued my gave me total access to the venue. I was not confined to the “press area” as is often the case. For the first time I was literally standing at cageside as the fights happened. I was even closer to the cage than the fighters cornermen. I could hear the impact of every blow as it reverberated off the body of the fighter being struck. It was like standing curbside as two cars smash into each other right in front of you. The sound, intensity and fury of the pugilistic maelstrom was incredible. Watching an MMA fight at home or even live from a few rows back is simply not the same as literally being at cage side. It struck me that for a man or woman to be willing to risk their well being and health in the pursuit of victory in the cage is sublime at best and bizarre at worst. What I saw was not a tickling contest…those fighters were out to hurt each other. 

I must say that there was not a single bad fight on last nights card. I’ve been at events where I can’t wait to get home because the fights are so bad. The matchmaker Victor Benscome apparently knows his craft as every fight was exciting and extremely fast paced. I tweeted live the results last night from the event so I’m not going to give fight by fight results, rather I’m going to recap some fights that I found to be particularly interesting.

Magic Mears: This is a kid to watch. Early in the fight he got into a bit of trouble then fought his way back to a brutal KO in round 2. Mark my words, when this kid turns pro put him on your “watch list”.

Damir Bradley: With only two months of training Bradley showed potential. If he gets into the right camp he may develop into a very good fighter. The kid showed great composure in his freshman outing.

Jennifer Lopez: Keep an eye on this fighter. I’ve seen Lopez fight live twice now. She was on absolute fire last night and put on a BJJ clinic. Given time and the proper guidance expect to see Lopez in the UFC in a couple of years.

Steve McCabe: McCabe is my favorite underdog fighter. When I started following McCabe he was 1-8. After his victory last night he’s 6-12. McCabe wins some and he loses some but he’s a tough scrappy fighter that never quits. He’s with a new camp now so I’m expecting McCabe to continue his winning streak. Note to potential opponents of McCabe, “if you book him as a stepping stone because of his record…bring your lunch, he’s a tough dude.”

Diego Pecalat: He’s my second most favorite underdog fighter. Like McCabe he’s much better than his record indicates. Peclat looked very impressive last night and may be perhaps one of the most underrated fighters in the area.

Chavo

Chavo

Jesus Martinez or “Chavo” as he’s known: The Martinez brothers are both hard nosed tough as nail fighters that possess heart and technical acumen as well. The combination of attitude and skill makes both Will and Jesus very exciting fighters to watch. There was a bit of pre fight confusion when Martinez’s opponent Chase Owen’s asked for more money for being in the main event at the last minute. The promotions response was to drop Martinez-Owen’s from the main to co-main event. This must have left Jesus less than amused. Note to potential opponents of Jesus “don’t piss him off. Instead of simply beating you he will “beat your ass.” I believe that the two most important characteristics a fighter must have are heart AND talent. Frequently a fighter will possess one to the exclusion of the other. Rarely does a fighter have both. Will and Jesus Martinez have both. Expect to see Will Martinez in the UFC or Bellator tournament soon. Chavo is certainly on the cusp of the major leagues.

Azunna Anyanwu: Zu as he’s known suffered his first loss last night when he was caught early in the first round with a high kick to his neck. I’m no physicist but I know enough about potential and kinetic energy to understand that when any human being that weighs over 265 pounds like Keith Bell does, (Zu’s opponent) kicks you in your head…well good things don’t happen to you. Zu is now 4-1 which is a very solid record. Zu should understand that nobody in MMA…nobody stays undefeated. Every fighter, every athlete for that matter sooner or later suffers a loss. How a person internalizes and grows from that loss really defines the person. Take GSP for instance, when he lost his title to Matt Cera. GSP regained his title in the rematch and has never looked back since as has he carves a trail of victory through the best fighters in the world.

It was an excellent night at XFE. The house was packed and I’m sure there was not a single unhappy fan in the room.

Tags: , , ,

Do you fear the unknown?

4 Apr


I believe in always looking for new challenges.  To remain always in your comfort zone is to accept mediocrity and complacency.  Most people are afraid of the “unknown” and as such are perfectly content to accept the status quo. I do not want to be “a big fish in a little pond“. Here is a short list of some of the things that I tried within the last year and what my fears were going into them and the subsequent results:

  • Learning how to rock climb. Fear going in-Death. Results-I’m alive to write this and have become a very good novice climber. Tomorrow I’m going out and am going to rappel down a 200′ cliff and solo climb it.
  • Climbing Mt. Washington solo in the Winter. Fear going in-Everything, I solo climbed the tallest mountain in the North East with exactly 8 weeks of climbing experience. Results- It made me a better person because the experience was incredibly difficult both physically and mentally. I think about the experience at least once or twice weekly.
  • Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu after a 6 year hiatus from competition. Fear going in- Failure. Results- I won three tournaments within a four month time span.
  • Refereeing a NAGA grappling tournament. Fear going in-You name it. Competing is one thing officiating is another. Reffing was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever tried. I was totally demoralized after my first day as an apprentice referee. Results-My mediocre first outing made me more determined to improve my officiating skills. I never quit anything on a “down note”. I’ve been asked by NAGA to apprentice referee the NAGA World Championships and NAGA Battle At the Beach.
  • Learning how to ice climb: Fear going in-Falling and breaking my legs, knees, ankles and pretty much every bone in my body. Results-Great day on the ice. On one climb called “The Green Pillar” I was pushed to the absolute limitations of my physical and mental endurance. I finished the climb albeit in a technically crude and completely unaesthetic style. But you know what? I did not F*****g quit!
  • Getting ready to compete in a Karate tournament after a 15 year competitive hiatus. Fear going in-not being able to execute the way I did a decade and a half ago. I fear that I’ll bomb doing my Kata live in front of judges. Results-Unknown, the event is in May.

I think that it is very important to grow, learn and experience new things regardless of your age. Being the best at something does nothing to stimulate me. When I start new things I usually suck at them. The pay off for me, the thing that stimulates me is knowing that one day, not only will I no longer suck, in fact I’ll be among the best.

fear the unknown

Tags:

Ronda Rousey submits a man…twice

3 Apr


rousey-stIt cracks me up when BJJ geeks whip themselves into a frenzy when they see a YouTube video of some high end esoteric technique, then run straight back to their Dojos and think that they are all Billy Badass when they pull the move off on some white or blue belt. Check out this video of UFC Champion Ronda Rousey sparring with UFC fighter Uriah Hall. I’ve seen Hall fight several times at regional promotion Ring Of Combat, he’s a stud. At around the 1:00 mark Rousey has Hall in a “scarf hold”. Hall attempts to bridge her off which is the correct thing to do. Rousey immediately inverts and switches to Hall’s opposite side reverses her hips and sets up the finishing arm bar…now that was pretty. Nice basic fundamental grappling…executed at the Olympic level. Maybe some of you guys should worry less about the “YouTube technique of the week”, and focus more on basic movement and kinesiology. I do believe that Rousey is going to be the champ for a very, very long time…

Click here to see the video….great stuff!

Tags: ,

The Walking Dead Season Finale Observations

1 Apr


the walking deadSimply put, I was disappointed. I was particularly disappointed with the Governors assault on the prison. So let me get this, Ricks groups sets off some firecrackers, sounds the prison alarm and releases some walkers and the Governors assault team flees like a bunch of sissies? I understand that the assault team was mostly conscripts not battle hardened henchmen and fled as conscripts are prone to but the assault scene was a disappointment. Was I shocked when the Governor machine gunned down his own people? Not really. He’s totally unhinged so nothing he does shocks me.

I did not find the scene with Milton and Andrea very scary or compelling. Her death scene was good though. Speaking of Milton, how about the Governor shanking him? You knew when the Governor stabbed Milton, he had finally gone completely and totally over the edge. I like the fact that Michonne stayed with Andrea until the very end especially considering the falling out the two had. I do like how Carl is changing into a “mini governor” the kid is a remorseless heartless bastard. Perhaps I was disappointed with the season finale because my expectations were so high. It will be interesting to see how the Governors Character will continue to develop now that he’s lost control of Woodbury and no longer has a private army. I do feel that season three was the best season yet and will have to suffer a summer with no Sunday evening Walking Dead to look forward to.

 

Tags:

Motivation For Monday…

1 Apr


What more needs to be said? Life is full of challenges, all kinds of challenges. When you feel like giving up or quitting remember this picture.

thank about why you started

 

Tags:

Happy Easter… “You loud mouthed Shnook”!

31 Mar


Click here for some Easter brevity. It’s the Best Of FogHorn LegHorn! Enjoy…this is when cartoons were great!

fog horn

 

Tags:

The Easter Bunny Is A Pagan Hare!

31 Mar


easter bunnyAs it turns out, the Easter bunny has a long history as a pagan symbol that predates the Christian holiday. In fact, our sources suggest that early Christians purposefully co-opted the pagan hare to popularize their own holiday. Click here to watch the classic Bugs Bunny “I wanna Easta egg, I wanna Easta egg!”

Quite a few pagan cultures hold celebrations in the spring. It’s the time of year when plants return to life after being dormant all winter and when animals mate and procreate. These festivities celebrate the renewal of life and promote the fertility of crops, animals, and even people, which was important in these agrarian communities. The Saxons believed in a maiden goddess of fertility named Eastre or Eostre (Oestre in Latin) and honored her with a spring festival. Hares and rabbits were considered sacred to Eastre because they are notoriously fertile animals.

In the second century A.D., Christian missionaries tried to convert northern European tribes. To help make Christianity attractive, the missionaries turned pagan festivals into Christian holidays. The pagan Eastre festival occurred around the same time as the Christian celebration marking Christ’s resurrection so the two celebrations blended into one, rabbit and all.

Over time, Eastre became Easter, and the symbolism changed as well. Instead of the Easter rabbit symbolizing fertility, the rabbit may symbolize an innocent, vulnerable creature that can be sacrificed, similar to the lamb. To Christians, these innocents are tokens of Christ and the sacrifice he made.

The Easter bunny we know today was influenced by German traditions dating back to the 1500s. German children believed that the Oschter Haws (a magical rabbit) would leave them a nest of colored eggs at Eastertime if they were good. Pennsylvania Dutch settlers brought this tradition to America in the 1700s.

On a related note, eggs have long been a symbol of rebirth and thus associated with spring celebrations. In the 600s, Pope Gregory the Great forbade the eating of eggs during Lent (the 40 days proceeding Easter), and this helped make eggs a special treat at Easter. Many European cultures also have old customs of decorating eggs and giving them as gifts.*

*Taken from ask yahoo.

Tags: ,

Why North Korea won’t nuke anyone. Or why Kim Jun Un is a baby faced bull S*****

30 Mar


Korea

Kim Jun Un plotting the destruction of the U.S.

Kim Jun Un is a chubby 28 (if indeed he’s really even 28) year old despotic ruler of the  most xenophobic cloistered country in the world. To say that Korea has been ramping up the anti United States rhetoric is an exercise in understatement. Kim Jun Un rules because he has the support of the North Korean military. To appease the military and the uninformed masses of North Koreans, Kim Jun Un needs an enemy…namely us, the United States. Kim Jun Un is using the same fiery anti Western rhetoric that Hugo Chavez so effectively did to galvanize and solidify his hold on power. Simply put Kim Jun Un, must appear strong and to do so his regime is making inane albeit scary threats about launching a nuclear attack on the U.S. There is a historical precedent very similar to N. Korea’s posturing and saber rattling. We all remember how Saddam Hussein’s little attempt at regional adventurism ended. It ended with Hussein swinging from the end of a gallows. Kim Jun Un might be a chubby baby faced dictator but he’s certainly no fool. He’ll keep whipping his audience into an anti western frenzy, but he’s certainly not about to launch nukes at any nation especially the United States.

China has always been North Korea’s staunchest ally and even they have grown tired of N. Korea’s vitriol. China is perhaps the worlds leading economic power and they are not about to let the rogue nation of N. Korea start a regional conflict that could plunge the world back into a recession. China does enjoy the flow of western cash into it’s coffers so to speak. Moreover China certainly does not want an even greater U.S presence in the region which would certainly happen should a “war” break out on the Korean peninsula. The old days of the major powers fighting wars of proxy are more or less over with the advent of the global economy. To quote Nicky Santoro from the movie Casino “the dollars it’s always about the dollars!” 

Dr. Evil plotting the destruction of the U.S.

Dr. Evil plotting the destruction of the U.S.

Tags: ,

15 Minutes with “Zu” Anyanwu

29 Mar


Azunna “Zulu” Anyanwu is a heavyweight prospect from the Philadelphia area. Zu is a Bellator veteran and is sitting on a perfect 4-0 record. All of his wins have been via submission or stoppage. The thing that impressed me most when I interviewed “Zu” yesterday is the incredible condition he is in. I’ve known “Zu” since early in his pro career and he looks to be in the absolute best shape I’ve ever seen him in…the guy is “hella-jacked”. It’s somewhat ironic because during the interview I was looking at the size of him and thinking “F*** I would NOT want to get punched in the head by him…no way.” In this 15 minute interview Zu talks about his fighting style, takes us through a typical training day and plays F, Marry, Kill at the end of the interview! If you want to watch Zu in his fifth Pro fight he’s fighting on April 6′th for XFE in Chester Pa.

Click here to watch the interview with “Zu”

Zu

Tags: , ,

Gay Marriage…my thoughts

28 Mar

gay couple

So everyone of Facebook is freaking out about Gay marriage. If you have a few minutes read the article below that I cut and pasted from CNN.com. It’s an informative piece about exactly what issue is being debated in front of the Supreme Court.

Here are my feelings about gay marriage. I don’t care who you marry or what you do in your bedroom. I understand the whole Biblical thing…but again that is your belief. I’m slowly beginning to get more alarmed everyday about North Korea starting a regional conflagration on the Korean peninsula. Let me hip you to something. I don’t think the North Koreans are playing around. They are bat shit crazy enough to try some bone headed provocation just like that former middle eastern despot Saddam Hussein did, when he invaded Kuwait. Yes…I have much more to worry about than who is marrying whom…

I’d like to hear your thoughts either way…however please keep it civil!

Washington (CNN) – The question of same-sex marriage went again before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in the last of two oral arguments this week in separate appeals.

This session dealt with the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress in 1996. It said, in part, that legally married same-sex couples cannot enjoy the range of financial and other benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.

Here are five things we learned from arguments in this case:

1. Opening the gateways

 

 

Photos: Same-sex marriage at a crossroads

 

A Supreme Court justice is sometimes like a fussy 8-year-old. She must eat her peas before any dessert. The dessert, of course, in the same sex-marriage cases are the constitutional “equal protection questions” — the ones that get to the heart of defining what marriage is all about, the ones the entire nation wants answered.

The second day of hearings: Majority of justices raise questions

But Wednesday’s green vegetables are the gateway or the jurisdictional barriers that must first be confronted. The justices spent the first 50 minutes of their two-hour argument deciding whether they should even be there. Can House Republicans defend the Defense of Marriage Act when the president refuses to do so?

It’s no small matter. The executive branch, by tradition and statute, is charged with defending acts of Congress. The Obama Justice Department was doing just that when DOMA was being adjudicated by a federal judge in New York. Then an abrupt about-face. So one house of Congress decided it had to step in.

“Let’s not confuse the issue of DOMA and the administration’s decision that it was unconstitutional,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told CNN last week. “It is not their role to decide what’s constitutional. DOMA was a law that was passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Clinton.

“In our system of government, the administration doesn’t get to decide what’s constitutional — the Supreme Court does. … Our financing the lawsuit was to make sure the proper forum was used to make sure that we know what’s constitutional and what isn’t.”

Read and listen to two days’ of arguments for yourself

Chief Justice John Roberts at argument seemed to agree, suggesting the White House was trying to have it both ways — believing DOMA was unconstitutional but continuing to defend it anyway.

If Obama “has made a determination that executing the law by enforcing the terms is unconstitutional, I don’t see why he doesn’t have the courage of his convictions and execute not only the statute, but do it consistent with his view of the Constitution, rather than saying — oh, we’ll wait until the Supreme Court tells us we have no choice.”

2. The moment, courtesy of Kagan

Most hot-button Supreme Court cases have a “moment,” a comment or heated exchange that leaves onlookers with mouths agape and reporters scribbling furiously to mine the gold. Wednesday’s memorable remarks came from Justice Elena Kagan, about 68 minutes into the arguments.

Paul Clement, the attorney representing the House GOP, suggested that when DOMA was passed “in 1996, something was happening” — states were considering whether to upset the “traditional” view of marriage and include gay and lesbian couples.

“In a sense,” said Clement, “it was forcing Congress to choose between its historic practice of deferring to the states and its historic practice of preferring uniformity.”

Pause.

Protesters pack Supreme Court grounds

“I’m going to quote from the House Report here,” said Kagan firmly, referring to the official recommendation from various congressional committees on the law’s intent. “That ‘Congress decided to reflect an honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.’ Is that what happened in 1996?”

There were audible gasps in the courtroom. It deflated suggestions Congress merely wanted federal uniformity.

“When Congress targets a group that is not everybody’s favorite group in the world, that we look at those cases — even if they’re not suspect — with some rigor to say: Do we really think that Congress was doing this for uniformity reasons, or do we think that Congress’ judgment was infected by dislike, by fear, by animus?” she asked. “And whether that sends up a pretty good red flag that that’s what was going on.”

It was a simple, direct and stunningly effective tactic by the so-called “junior” justice. She did not need to express her own personal judicial views on the law. She let Congress’ own words speak for itself — albeit in a 2013 political and social lens.

New members to the bench have their own internal “learning curve,” where they try to navigate the complexities and rhythms of their new home — oral argument, opinion writing and the personal dynamics between one’s eight colleagues, all brilliant legal minds.

But Kagan has seemed to pick things up quickly, especially remarkable since she’s the only current member of the Supreme Court never to have been a judge before. She is confident at oral argument and can write opinions quickly. She and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who preceded Kagan by a year, have found their footing. In their own way, they have become forces unto themselves.

3. Court’s conservatives go tepid

As subdued as the more liberal justices were Tuesday over California’s Proposition 8, the voter initiative banning same-sex marriage, so conservatives appeared Wednesday over DOMA.

Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia have been known to dominate especially high-profile debates, by turns passionate, clever and funny. Much of their energy was missing when the debate turned to congressional authority.

Roberta Kaplan, attorney for key plaintiff Edith Windsor, made a bold statement in favor of gay rights, saying a “sea change” was happening in the country in favor of same-sex marriage. Such sweeping rhetoric from counsel is usually an invitation to a verbal smackdown from the justices. They like specifics, not speeches. Scalia had his chance for a tailor-made “moment” of his own but did not pounce.

By the numbers: Same-sex marriage

“Why are you so confident in that judgment?” he asked mildly. “How many states permit gay couples to marry?” When told just nine, all Scalia could retort was, “So there has been this sea change between now and 1996.”

The conservative justices were not exactly sitting on their hands, but aside from Justice Clarence Thomas, who never speaks at argument, their energy was noticeably absent.

4. So is DOMA doomed?

It’s an almost reflexive attitude among many legal and political experts to downplay the influence Justice Anthony Kennedy possesses as the so-called swing vote among the divided conservative-liberal bench. Giving any one person in Washington that much credit just doesn’t seem right, in the view of some. He certainly has done everything in his power to dismiss it, calling his ability to make or break a hot-button appeal a “myth.”

But it was hard to ignore remarks Kennedy made about an hour into the argument, which may give cheer to gay rights supporters.

He pointed out there are about 1100 various federal provisions that legally married same-sex couples cannot use because of DOMA — everything from taxes to family medical leave.

“Which in our society means that the federal government is intertwined with the citizens’ day-to-day life, you are at real risk of running in conflict with what has always been thought to be the essence of the state police power, which is to regulate marriage, divorce, custody,” he said.

Woman at the center of the case

They were brief comments, delivered in the typical droll manner that is the low-key justice. He never dominates arguments, but when he talks, ears perk up. Even the justices on the bench were looking his way, absorbing the impact of what Kennedy was trying to convey.

Any real power would be felt behind the red velvet curtains of the courtroom, where all important opinions are written. That is where the court derives its power and authority and where the views of this 76-year-old Californian must be respected.

5. Waiting for the final act

So what’s next? In short, the public waits while the justices write.

The members will meet privately later this week in a special conference room — just the nine of them with no clerks, staff or reporters allowed.

There, the court is expected to vote — at least preliminarily — on the two same-sex marriage appeals. Opinion writing will commence, endless drafts will be exchanged among chambers and suggestions for changes will come flooding.

Bit by bit, the makings of legal opinion take shape. Justices are free to change their mind midstream — and they do. Witness Roberts last year during the challenge to the health care reform law championed by Obama. Government sources confirm Roberts switched sides several weeks after an initial vote and was the controlling vote to uphold Obamacare.

The internal drama will play out over the next three months, unseen by the public. The court’s high profile will re-emerge when their ruling is issued, but the guessing game has already begun.

 

Tags: ,