Monday, November 14, 2011
It's interesting that it was the overhand right that won the fight. According to Loren Christensen and Mark Mireles, martial artists, police officers, and authors of Total Defense, by far the most common attack in real life is the overhand right. When two guys on the street fight, the first punch thrown is overwhelmingly likely to be an overhand right.
And here you've got mixed martial arts, the culmination of thousands of years of combat sports, where we've finally learned what works in real fightimg, the distilled, effective core of wrestling, boxing, muay thai, karate, kickboxing, judo, and jiu-jitsu, and what worked on Saturday night, between the two biggest, baddest, best-trained men on the planet was the same thing that works for random guys on the street. The overhand right.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
They fired JoePa last night.
Joe Paterno. Dismissed. Terminated. Fired. Joe Paterno!
And the college kids at Penn State are rioting over the perceived injustice of getting rid of an old man they loved and were proud of.
And the national media is crowing about how, finally, the Trustees did the right thing in choosing Penn State the university over Penn State the football team, and doesn't this prove that Paterno was nothing special to begin with, a fraud, and isn't this what big-time college football is all about, power and money and its misuse, and didn't we tell you all along?
But they're all wrong.
The truth is that Joe Paterno is a good man who failed to do the right thing here, with horrible consequences, and so he had to be punished, and he was, but the story's not over yet.
Let's review the facts. In March 2002, then-graduate-assistant Mike McQueary, age 28 and only a few years removed from his own days as a student-athlete at Penn State, goes back to the football complex at 9:30 pm to get some recruiting tape to work on at home. He hears sex noises coming from the showers, goes over to investigate and finds Jerry Sandusky, legendary former Penn State defensive coordinator and one-time head coach in waiting, now retired, anally raping a ten year old boy. Repeat, just to let the full horror of that sink in – anally raping a ten year old boy in the showers: i.e. fucking a little kid up the ass. Jesus Christ. McQueary, appropriately horrified, but not knowing what to do, runs out, goes home and calls his dad. [Pause: he should have stopped the rape right then, of course. But that was a horrible situation he walked into, totally unprepared I'm sure, so I need to think about his actions a little more before I express more of an opinion. And this post is about Paterno. I'm going to write more about McQueary in my next post.] His dad, apparently, tells McQueary to tell Paterno. McQueary does just that. Paterno then tells his boss, former Athletic Director Tim Curley . Curley then takes immediate action: he bars Sandusky from bringing any more children onto the Penn State campus.
The implication: Goddamit, Jerry, if you're going to rape children, that's fine, but do it on your own time and on your own property, we don't want to have to see it, we don't want to be involved, and we certainly don't want Penn State's good name to be besmirched!
And that's just what Sandusky does. He keeps raping kids, just off-campus. Additional victims have come forward; some were raped by Sandusky after the Penn State locker room shower attack. (And these are just the ones we know about. Criminals, especially powerful ones, get away with a lot of crimes that are undetected. They get caught for the tip of the iceberg, but there's much more that never comes to light.) These were all vulnerable little kids that Sandusky got access to via The Second Mile, the non-profit he set up ostensibly to help at-risk youth from financially poor, absent-father homes. Under the guise of helping these children, Sandusky would take them under his wing, inviting one at a time to tailgates, family dinners, sleepovers, bowl games … and at some point in their escalating entanglement with the man, he would start raping them. It's disgusting and horrible, not least for the sick logic of it all, and my heart goes out to the children first but also to their parents, who must feel horribly guilty for failing to protect their loved ones.
Obviously, when this all came out, Sandusky was arrested and charged with many, many crimes, among them involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and indecent assault, and Curley was fired by Penn State and arrested and charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse by the state of Pennsylvania. Both as they should have been. (And as they would have been, I believe, no matter the sex of the victims. Erin Gloria Ryan over at Jezebel, one of my favorite writers, wrote about how maybe there wouldn't have been any justice if the victims had been girls. I disagree. Protecting children trumps gender discrimination. If this had all come out the way it did, but the victims were little girls, heads would have rolled just as they did here.)
But what about Paterno? He arguably didn't do anything illegal, because he reported the incident to his boss. But he should have done more.
Put yourself in his shoes. You're 76 years old. You've been the head coach of an enormously successfully college football team for 36 years. You've won 2 national championships. Earned many millions of dollars. You get paid $1 million per year. And a kid who you used to coach, who just started working for you, comes to you and tells you he saw a guy raping a 10 year old up the ass in what is, essentially, your office. What do you do?
Absolutely you tell your own boss, as Paterno did. But then, when nothing much happens and you still see the accused around your office, don't you do more? When your office is part of a school? When your job is to teach children, older children than the kid who got raped, but children still? When you're a parent yourself, and a grandparent? Don't you call the police? You have to.
Let's give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe McQueary didn't tell you in explicit detail what he saw, because, really, nobody wants to talk about anal rape with his grandfather. And maybe McQueary's lying, for all you know. Maybe Jerry didn't do anything. Maybe McQueary hates him and is trying to set him up. You don't know.
But that's the point. You don't know. So you call in the police to investigate, so that the truth can come out. In doing so, you protect whoever the real victim is. If the allegations are false, you protect Sandusky from false accusations. But if the allegations are true, you get justice for that kid and you protect future kids from having the same horrible thing happen to them.
Or maybe not. Maybe you say hey, I told my boss and if he doesn't do anything, I better not do anything, because I don't want to cross him, I might get in trouble.
But no, I don't think so. You're Joe freaking Paterno. You're not going to get in trouble for telling police that one of your subordinates alleged to you that an old man was anally raping a little kid in your office. Even if what you were told turns out to be false, you're never going to get in trouble for telling the truth as you understood it. You're Joe Paterno and this is Penn State!
But Paterno didn't do that. I wonder why? I don't know. Maybe Joe Posnanski, honestly the best sportswriter in America, who has been in State College for the last few months writing a book about Paterno, can figure it out and tell us someday. I don't know. But I do know that because Paterno didn't call the cops, more kids got raped who would probably have been safe otherwise. And that's a big deal, a huge deal, a colossal failure on Paterno's part, and for that failure Joe had to go.
And I love Paterno. Love him in a hero-worshipping, grandfather-figure kind of way. Because I was a kid in the 80s, during Paterno's golden years, a kid growing up without a dad himself, Italian-American like Paterno, wearing glasses like him, from the Mid-Atlantic like him, a football-loving, football-playing kid, who ended up becoming an Ivy League grad like Paterno, because I was proud of him for being a member of my tribe who made good – for all those reasons I am conflicted about punishing him and understand why those kids at Penn State rallied in his support. He's their grandfather too, and you support your grandfather. But sometimes your grandfather makes a mistake, and when he does, he has to pay the price like anyone else. No double standards.
But that's not the end of the story. How will Paterno live out the rest of his life? Will he accept his share of responsibility? Will he do some good yet, before the end? Maybe for those kids who he failed to protect? He's got lots of money and prestige and power left, even now. People still love and respect Joe Paterno. And he's used his power for good in the past – donating over $3.5 million to the university, for example. I hope he finds those kids he failed or other in similar situations, and does right by them.
Because their stories aren't ended yet either, and I'm sure they could use the help.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Rupp got robbed. He was just as good at takedowns as Aoki, and he was much much better on his feet. He hurt Aoki with some strikes: a right hand to the head, a roundhouse to the head. Aoki had some nice trips to bring Rupp down, but Aoki never hurt Rupp. It was a close fight, but Rupp was clearly better. He got jobbed. Maybe it was chance. Or maybe the UFC needs a successful Asian fighter to market in Asia.
Curran v. Jorgenson
This was an even closer fight, but the judges got this one right. I don't think either guy hurt the other or got close to a submission, but Jorgenson controlled the fight with takedowns. Some very technical grappling in this one. Close decision to Jorgenson for being more aggresive.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovitch v. Roy "Big Country" Nelson
Well, that was sad. Mirko was just too old. He was in great shape, but he's lost his speed. Nelson was in the best shape of his life, which wasn't as fit as Filipovitch, but wasn't bad. And he's just big and strong and tough and skilled. He
Kongo v. Mitrione
Another close fight. Even on the feet. Kongo wins by getting a takedown in round 3.
Diaz v. Penn.
Diaz was too fit. He wore Penn down.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Guillard looked like he would kill Lauzon. He was bigger, more muscular, and seemed much more confident, happily high-fiving seemingly every fan in the arena as he walked to the ring. Plus, Josh Gross and the other ESPN MMA analysts had all picked Guillard to win easily. They said he was one of the best lightweights in the world. I was pulling for Lauzon, the kid from Bridgewater, Mass., but I didn't really think he had a chance. And in the early going, Guillard looked dominant. But then he slipped, and Lauzon was all over him, and then Lauzon had a chance to get a guillotine choke, which flowed into a rear naked choke, and it didn't look tight and you figured Guillard would get out of it but at least Lauzon had a chance now and I was hollering at the screen for Lauzon to sink it in tight and still it looked like Guillard would escape but then he wasn't and then . . . he tapped! Lauzon wins by submission! What an upset! Guillard seems stunned by the loss, nearly in tears, but it's too late now dude, you tapped.
Nam Phan vs. Leonard Garcia
This was the weirdest fight ever. Phan was quicker and more skilled and more fit, but wasn't aggressive enough to take full advantage of those advantages. Garcia was more powerful, but he was so sloppy, throwing these big looping punches, leading with his head, stopping to catch his breath. Phan should have knocked Garcia out a hundred times, but I guess he was cautious of Garcia's power. So Phan fought conservatively, was never really in danger, and took a decision. Disappointing fight. Phan should have taken Garcia out.
Brian Stann v. Chael Sonnen
I wouldn't want to fight Brian Stann. That is one big, tough looking motherfucker. And he's a former Marine captain.
Chael Sonnen is a guy I've heard so much about. He's the guy who everyone says had the unbeatable Anderson Silva beaten . . . until he got caught in a submission literally in the last seconds of the fight. He's supposed to be special, and I want to see if this is true or not.
It is. After a very even fight for two ? rounds, Sonnen locked up Stann in a submission attempt I've never seen before -- it locked like some kind of elbow crank -- and eventually the big Marine cracked and tapped out. That was very creative. I was impressed.
Kenny Florian v. Jose Aldo
This is supposed to be the co-main event. I'm pulling for Florian, an older Boston guy, to upset Aldo, the featherweight champ. But after two rounds, neither man is showing me much. I'd call it a boring tie at this point.
3rd round goes to Aldo, though. He definitely did more damage. Florian tried for some takedowns and submissions, but didn't really get anywhere. Also did some damage with his striking.
4th round is more of the same. Aldo staying slightly ahead of Florian. Not much going on, really. The best part of the round was the shots of random, bored women in the crowd. One girl did her nails. Another checked for texts on her iPhone.
5th and final round. Aldo is slightly more powerful, slightly more aggressive, slightly more accurate on strikes. Neither man gets a big takedown. But when the scramble ends up on the ground, Also is slightly more dominant. Florian tries hard to generate some offense at the end, but no dice. In the end, I think we'll remember Kenny Florian as a skilled defensive fighter. Which is great for self-defense, but not quite enough to win a UFC title. Aldo, to no one's surprise, takes the decision.
Frankie Edgar v. Gray Maynard
This is the real main event, the lightweight title fight, between South Jersey's own Frankie Edgar, the champ, and Gray Maynard, who beat Edgar once (in a non-title fight) and fought him to a draw the second time (this was a title fight, and since Edgar was the champ at the time, Edgar retained the title).
Round 1. Maynard. Edgar is covered in his own blood.
Round 2. Maynard. He keeps throwing uppercuts to the chin for which Edgar has no defense.
Round 3. Edgar is the faster man, but his speed does him no good if he doesn't use it aggresively. He should be letting his hands go and throwing combinations, but he isn't. Now he does score a few shots. I'll give him this round. Maynard knows he is ahead and is fighting defensively.
Round 4. Edgar stays on the offensive. Maynard better be careful he doesn't lose this fight by being too conservative now. And then ... there's an attempt at a takedown, a scramble, both men grappling for a hold, and Edgar throws a punch that catches Maynard on the chin and snaps his head back and Edgar smells blood and throws another, an uppercut that catches Maynard flush and now Maynard is hurt and he's back against the rope and Edgar catches him flush on the jaw again and Maynard goes down and Edgar follows, still throwing punches to the the head, all of which land and the ref stops the fight. Holy crap! Edgar wins! He was losing, badly, from the get-go, but he came back, again, and won by TKO. Fantastic! Jersey retains its homegrown MMA champion!
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
First of all, there will be none of this pound for pound stuff. The best MMA fighter alive should be able to step into a cage or octagon and beat anyone else on the planet. Anyone. Bigger, smaller, lighter, heavier, whatever.
The only question is, when 2 men enter and 1 man leaves, who is that man?
I see several worthy candidates: Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez, and Junior Dos Santos.
St. Pierre and Silva are generally acknowledged as the two most skilled fighters out there. Both are extremely experienced, extremely athletic, and in their physical prime. Neither has been beaten in a long time. But both are relatively light guys, compared to the others in the top 5. St. Pierre is 5'10", fights at 170 lbs., and reportedly walks around at 190. Silva is 6'2", fights at 185, and reportedly walks around at 230. Jones is 6'4" and fights at 205. His walking-around weight is 217. Velasquez is not that tall, at 6'1", but he fights and walks around in the mid-240s. Jones and Silva are extremely lean, naturally skinny guys, whereas Velasquez is muscular. And Dos Santos is lean and muscular, at 6'4", 239 lbs.
So let's boil that down. Having seen all of these guys fight, I think St. Pierre is the most skilled martial artist, but they are all highly skilled. And, come fight night, St. Pierre gives up 15 pounds to Silva, 35 pounds to Jones, 69 pounds to Dos Santos, and 75 pounds to Velasquez. And that weight difference is all muscle. None of these guys is fat or out-of-shape; all have excellent cardio. I've seen smaller guys beat bigger guys because of radical differences in skill and/or conditioning. None of that applies here.
Translated: St. Pierre loses. He's just too small.
What about the other 4? All slightly over 6 feet in height. Two skinny guys, Jones and Silva, and 2 muscular guys, Velasquez and Dos Santos.
Who wins if Jones fights Silva? I think Jones wins. He's got an extra 20 pounds of muscle and I think he's smarter and better trained, with more heart.
I doubt Silva could beat Velasquez or Dos Santos either. Velasquez is too good of a grappler and Dos Santos is Silva's equal as a striker, because although he may not be quite as skilled, he's got more power.
The question then becomes, could Jones beat Velasquez or Dos Santos. Maybe. I saw Jones submit Quinton "Rampage" Jackson on Saturday night, and Jackson was big, strong and angry. But Jackson was also a one-trick pony (boxing) and Velasquez and Dos Santos bring more to the table than one skill set.
I think either would beat Jones. They have too much power.
Thus, it comes down to Velasquez versus Dos Santos. And what do you know, we're going to actually see that fight, on November 12 on FOX.
So, the best MMA fighter alive will be whoever wins the first live network MMA fight. It all makes sense. The best heavyweight is the best fighter. Same as it ever was. "A good big man beats a good little man" as they used to say back in the days when boxing was the premier combat sport. And I think the best good big man is ... Junior Dos Santos!
I saw Dos Santos destroy a big, game, powerful Shane Carwin. And I saw Velasquez beat a Brock Lesnar who, while huge, quick and powerful, fought like a confused, slightly frightened polar bear.
I'm more impressed with Dos Santos. I think he's the new heavyweight champ . . . and Earth's greatest (current) MMA fighter.