Posts Tagged ‘UFC

18
Jan
09

Let’s talk sports.

No more damn politics for a while. I’m back in the real and important world.

Sports. Don’t tell me that professional sports aren’t real or important. Millions of dollars are involved, making them very real, and they make people happy, so they’re very important.

I’m on a four-day weekend, so I thought I’d wander down to the Irish Pub last night, in Wiesbaden. They were showing UFC 93.

I’ll comment on two fights, the first between 44 year old, Mark Coleman and Maricio ”Shogun” Rua.

Coleman was, years ago, the UFC’s heavyweight champion and possessed what may be the best ground and pound techniques in the game. His takedowns, polished from his Olympic candidacy, were incredibly quick, and his ensuing rain of punches were powerful and lethal. His only flaw: Endurance.

Though in very good condition, his attacks were so intense that they often left Coleman spent after the first round, should his opponent prove capable of weathering what amounted to Ultimate Fighting’s Perfect Storm. Opponents picked up on this and built strategies around it. They found another weakness too. Coleman couldn’t defend against the Thai kicks once he was tired.

I started feeling depressed when I saw Coleman fighting. Not that he performed badly , but because of my horrible curse of nostalgia. My dad carries this curse, too. Coleman was still in very good shape, but I could see his age. Where as before he was a wall of muscle, he now appeared slightly hollow. I just read that he had to drop weight for this fight, so that probably explains a lot of the hollow look.

The fight began, and it was apparent to me that despite Coleman’s age, Rua still had a fight on his hands. Coleman took some shots, but delivered several of his own. I could see though, that his old nemesis, fatigue, was going to haunt him yet again. He began to drop his hands, and Rua began to land more shots. At one point, Rua had Coleman in a shoulder-lock on the mat. Rua was using his hip and leg to wrench Coleman’s shoulder and to leave him defenseless against hammer-fists. I thought that the referee may stop the fight, because Coleman was unable to defend himself, but Rua was too tired to capitalize.

In the following rounds, the two continued to trade stand-up shots and Coleman was able to take Rua to the mat on several occasions, but his fatigue was such that the ground game amounted to nothing. Finally, in the waning seconds of the last round, Rua’s youth gained him an advantage. He had been losing the round, in my opinion, but he’d managed to back Coleman against the fence and began a burst of punches from multiple angles. Coleman, too tired to clinch, caught a devastating upper-cut that threatened to lift his head from his shoulders. He fell, and as Rua moved for the kill, the ref jumped in to announce the TKO.

The next fight I’ll talk about is the Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson fight.

A few years back, Rich Franklin looked unbeatable: Then he met the current champ, Anderson Silva, and he’s not been the same since.  While Silva is phenomenal, I think part of Franklin’s problem is that his style matches badly with Silva’s. Franklin likes to stand outside and drill people with accurate punches from many angels. He’s pretty good at maintaining distance and his conditioning is such that he can punch for all three rounds. Silva though, is the master of the Muy Thai clinch, and just kills people with knees and punches from close in. His ability to clinch with Franklin nullifies Franklin’s ability to maneuver and keep the distance.

Henderson is a classic ground and pound guy, with world-class wrestling skills and a tremendous right hand. His conditioning is also great. The first two round had the two fighters trading stand up blows, with Franklin gaining the edge on his feet and Henderson finding a few opportunities to take the fight to the ground. But Franklin proved his ability to keep the episodes on the ground very short, and when the fighters stood up, he continually peppered Henderson with kicks to the midsection and overhand punches.

Two things happened in the fight which I believe had a subliminal effect of the judge’s score cards. First, while in the clinch, the two fighters banged heads, resulting in a horrendous cut on Franklin’s scalp. When he got to his corner, his crew began working on the gash, but Franklin, ever the gamer, just laughed. The next event happened in the third round. With Franklin pressing a  stand-up attack, he lunged in with a right punch. Henderson reflexively raised his left hand and one of his fingers drove deep into Franklin’s left eye. Franklin immediately dropped and began crawling on the mat, obviously in agony.

I’ve studies some Jeet Kun Do, the martial art created by Bruce Lee. One of the attacks greatly favored by Lee was the eye flick. Lee was incredibly fast, and this type of attack would have fit him perfectly. The problem would be, actually landing the attack intentionally. In the UFC, eye gouges are illegal. But it was an incidental occurrence. The results, though, were immediate and devastating. Franklin fell like Achilles struck  on the heel. I was actually scared for him. He held his face and I expected him to look up with his eyeball cupped in his hand. Fortunately though, after a 40 second pause, Franklin was back in the fight. Nothing more of importance occurred after the eye-gouge though.

Before the judge’s gave their verdicts, I believed Franklin had won a close victory. He had been the aggressor the whole fight, persuing Henderson. Henderson was not really able to land any decisive shots, while Franklin, especially in the last round, was hitting Henderson all over.

The judges didn’t feel that way though. Two of them gave the decision to Henderson, 29-28 and the third gave it to Franklin 30-27. I read on-line that there may have been a scoring mess-up, because in the UFC, the total scores of ll three judges is what matters, not the number of judges that think a fighter wins. In that case, Franklin would have won 86-85. The fight was doubly important because the winner earned a spot on the next Ultimate Fighter as a coach.

30
Nov
08

Veganism

The other day while I was in the corner store, I was flipping through a mixed martial arts magazine. An article profiled a UFC fighter who was a vegan, that is, he eats only vegetables–no dairy or eggs etc. In the article, the fighter was interviewed. He stated that when he first came into the UFC, the fighters were given a bench press test, probably similar to what is given to college football players at a combine. He practically boasted that he could only do two or so repetitions, while all of the other fighters did about twenty. This fighter bore all of the hallmarks of a vegan-athlete: Sallow and pale skin, overly thin. To make matters worse, he seemed to have taken up a rather odd ritual prior to his fights: Drinking his own urine. He stated that in order to ensure his system was clear of any foods, he would begin drinking his own urine until he defecated nothing but urine….

With more wins than losses in this fighter’s short career, I applaud the fact that he’s managed to do what he’s done, despite the fact that everything he’s doing with his diet is counter-productive and downright lunacy. To me, this fighter is acting like the bearded lady at a circus. People want to watch him, not because he’s a great at something, but because he’s an oddity.

A fighter can always make use of strength. Let’s not be too romantic about technique and all of that garbage. Punching hard and fast or being able to lift another fighter from the ground and slam him onto the ground before taking a mount position is all the technique some need. It’s called ground-and-pound, and it’s worked very well for many. And even if a fighter is a master of submissions or a great technical striker, having great strength and knowing how to use it can only help. Strength need not be divorced from technique. When we did New Army Combatives in my training, (It’s basically Brazillian Ju-Jitsu), I found that I was stronger than every person I faced. All of the techniques they had been shown didn’t much matter. I’d lay them in my guard, clamp their head against my chest with an interlocking grip, and arch my back hard. Most would tap in less than thirty seconds. One guy told me he could feel his vertebrae seperating. Now, as the week bore on, each day starting with almost two hours of grappling, I found my strength waning. Fatigue was setting in. I had to rely on technique more and more and there was not the instant domination of before. This proves that strength is an important factor. Though I was never beaten in training, there were two people that I was unable to force to “tap out” in our three minutes of alloted grappling time.

Getting back on track–veganism is a horrible choice for any athlete, and for most other people. It’s yet another way people try to make the world be as they think it should be, not as it is. The human body cannot digest most plant matter. Most of the digestable portions of a plant are encapsulated within walls of cellulose,and since we’re not cows, our bodies don’t have the enzymes to break down those walls. Chewing and cooking can release some of the nutrients however. That’s why raw veganism is even worse than the ordinary sort of veganism.

The USDA recommends about .75 grams of protien intake for every kg (2.2 lbs) of your body weight, per day. For athletes, the requirement is much higher: from 1.2 grams to 2 grams per kg of bodyweight. It’s very difficult to acheive this with a vegan diet, and people will see a significant decline in strength and sense of well-being if those levels are not met, particularly if they are training hard. I’ve experimented myself with vegetarianism. I’ve also gone high protein. There’s no comparison. I need protein and lots of it.

Tony Gonzalez, the All-Pro tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, went vegetarian last year. Look at his performance now. I never see a highlight with him in it, while before, he was probably the best at his position, in the game. In an interview, he said that when he first started his new diet, he could barely lift any weight in the weightroom; he’d experienced a significant decline in strength since becoming a vegetarian. Only after adding lots of beans to his diet did he regain his strength. That seems like a circuitous route to his goal.

Some want to talk about veganism being a moral choice. I don’t think it’s moral to go against nature. There may be arguments as to what nature actually constitues, but here the message is clear: Vegans are physically weaker, thinner, have weaker bones and their diet lacks important B vitamins obtainable only through meat products. The long term effects of B vitamin deficiency are psycological problems ( I could get further into the mental make up of most vegans that I’ve met, but i’ll spare you), vision problems and nerve damage. How is this moral?




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