Archive for the ‘Money in sport’ Category

Richie Vaculik Named on UFC 193 Fight Card

Image: https://twitter.com/RichieVaculik?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

If fans weren’t already excited about seeing UFC superstar Ronda Rousey heading the UFC 193 card in Melbourne, then they’ve just been given another reason.

In a card stacked with well-known and home-grown fighters the UFC announced today that TUF: the Smashes contestant and UFC Fight of the week co-host Richie Vaculik has been added to the card.

Vaculik made an inauspicious entrance to the UFC in the TUF: The Smashes house. The opposing Canadian team ran roughshod over the Aussies. But since then the Australians have blossomed.

Vaculik announced on Thursday that he will be fighting Danny Martinez in what promises to be a spectacular flyweight bout.

Vaculik is coming off a loss to Louis Smolka. But the 32 year-old has won 10 of his last 14 fights and says he will be ready for the dangerous Martinez. He flies out to Thailand on the 18th for his training camp in Thailand.

The disappointment of his most recent loss and the chance to perform in front of 70,000 screaming fellow Australians offers Vaculik huge encouragement.

Melbourne’s Etihad stadium will host what is expected to be the largest attendance and viewing numbers for any MMA event in the country ever.

White Effusive Over Rousey

Rousey image: https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

UFC supremo Dana White is falling over himself praising Ronda Rousey.

In an interview with Yahoo’s Kevin Iole he spoke of Rousey’s willingness to help him out of the UFC 193 jam.

Robbie Lawler’s injured thumb prevented his title defence against Carlos Condit in Melbourne. Suddenly White had an event with no headline fighters.

Rousey was already scheduled to fight on January 2, but White thought he might at least try to convince her to move the bout forward six weeks.

“I swear on my life,” said White to Iole, “I called her today when I thought something might happen and I said to her, ‘Hypothetically speaking …

“She interrupts me and said, ‘I’ll do whatever you need me to do.’

“So I laugh and I’m telling her how much I love that attitude and I’m going on and she stops me again and says, ‘Hey, so what’s up? What do you need?’

“She’s incredible. In 15 years of doing this, I’ve never seen anyone remotely like this woman.”

Fans’ reactions to the announcement of Rousey coming to Australia were off the charts. There, quite literally, is no one with her star power.

However, many are now lamenting the choice of Holm as an opponent. While Holm is a decorated striker, a veteran fighter, and an up-and-comer in the women’s UFC bantamweight division many think it is too early for her to step into the Octagon against the untouchable Ronda Rousey.

Baseball Fan Dies in Freak Accident

Turner field Image: en.wikipedia.org

Major League Baseball, in the US, is in damage control after a fan has fallen to his death at the Turner Field Stadium in Atlanta.

Alex Rodriguez was walking out, in the seventh innings, to take the plate for the Yankees. An as yet unnamed Atlanta Braves fan was yelling at him from a second tier seat. The fan lost his balance, plunging onto the main screen below.

Witnesses say the man was holding onto wires to lean out as far as he could. He fell head first.

Play continued as the incident took place 30 rows back and went unseen by nearly all of the on-field players and officials.

Paramedics rushed to administer first aid. They continued giving him CPR as he was taken to an ambulance which then sped him to hospital. Despite their best efforts he later died.

Fans cordoned off the area and moved young children away from the grisly scene.

Family members were taken to a nearby Braves clubhouse and given counselling.

“None of our family guys got hurt,” said Fredi Gonzaliz, manager of the Atlanta Braves, “other than there were some young children there that got to see stuff that’s not real nice.”

The force of the man’s fall caused the wires and mesh netting to reverberate like a tremor for several seconds.

Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius did see the incident. He was standing on second base following a double when it happened.

“I was thinking about it the whole time,” said Gregorius. “All I can say is my condolences to the family. It was right in front of the camera in the press box. He hit the wires.”

Major League Baseball has said it is reviewing the issue of fan safety. There have been several incidents this season of people being hurt by foul balls and flying bats. This has been the first fan fatality.

Rousey Headlines UFC 193 in Melbourne!

Rousey image: https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Social media exploded yesterday. Women’s bantamweight champion ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey was announced as the headliner at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia. Rousey will defend her championship belt against decorated striker Holly ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holm in what is said to be a coup for the hosting venue, Etihad Stadium.

UFC supremo Dana White made the announcement on ESPN’s SportsCentre in New York. Rousey and Hom will take the place of Lawler and Condit at the top of the bill.

“We’ll break all-time attendance record for an MMA event,” said White on Twitter.

Australian MMA fans are euphoric.

“Australia’s an important market for us,” said White to ESPN, “so we’re going to bring her out there in our first real big stadium show. And we know she’ll break the record out there.”

Ticket sellers were inundated at the news. Within seconds of the announcement online ticket sellers were reporting a blowout in sales.

Ronda Rousey is arguably the most marketable fighter in the world. She is without doubt the best.

Holm image: https://twitter.com/_HOLLYHOLM?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Holm image: https://twitter.com/_HOLLYHOLM?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

But Holm is no slouch either. The 33 year-old from New Mexico has a 9-0 record, she has won 9 world boxing titles, and fast climbing the bantamweight ranks.

Her only chance against Rousey, however, is to elude the champion’s Olympic level judo game and keep the fight standing.

Holm lacks the grappling pedigree of Rousey. The champion’s almost patented arm-bar has ended more fights than both of Holm’s fists.

Only Miesha Tate has managed to take Rousey beyond the first round.

In her 12 career wins Rousey ended the last four in: 66 seconds (Sara McMann), 16 seconds (Alexis Davis), 14 seconds (Cat Zingano), and 14 seconds (Bethe Correia).

Most experts are predicting another early night for the champion.

Mason on Report After First Tackle

Mason image: https://twitter.com/mase21?lang=en

He has never been known as the sharpest knife in the draw. This week Manly forward Willie Mason showed just how stupid he is.

In his first game back following a two-week suspension for a shoulder charge Mason sunk his shoulder into the Rooster’s prop Dylan Napa in the very first hit-up of the game.

Napa is no shrinking violet. The 109 kg steamroller was met by three Manly defenders, one of whom was Mason.

Mason didn’t even bother to disguise his shoulder charge.

So with only seven seconds of the game gone the Roosters had their first penalty and Mason was once again on report.

Mason has been an outspoken critic of the new shoulder charge rule.

“I’m embarrassed to be a rugby league player at the moment,” he said after the first two week suspension, “with all the rule changes and everything like that.

“It’s a sad day for rugby league really if you have a look at it.

“I’ve seen bigger hits on the weekend in netball.”

And who can argue?

Rugby league is meant to be a hard-man’s game; getting rid of the shoulder charge from league is like outlawing the body check in ice hockey or the blindside hit in NFL.

I suppose we should be thankful the NRL management don’t run Formula One – everyone would have to drive at the speed limit.

Shoulder charge rule: “Is where a defender, without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier (or any opposing player) using the arms or hands, makes direct physical contact using the shoulder or the upper arm (tucked into the side).

“It will be considered misconduct, if any player affects a tackle in the manner as defined.”

Card Stacks for UFC 193 in Melbourne

Image: https://twitter.com/UFCEurope/status/628204426021330944

Melbourne fight fans are licking their lips as Stefan ‘Skyscaper’ Struve has been signed to fight American Jared Rosholt at UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium in November.

Dutchman Struve is a giant of a man, towering over opponents at 2.12 meters.

He was powering up the heavyweight rankings with a four-fight win streak; overpowering luminaries like Stipe Miocic, Lavar Johnson, Dave Herman, and Pat Barry before being forced out of competition with a heart condition.

Since then Struve lost two bouts; the first to Mark ‘the Super Samoan’ Hunt, the second to Alistair Overeem. He has since regrouped with a unanimous decision victory over the highly respected veteran warrior Anotonio Rodrigo Nogueira in August.

Rosholt, in contrast, is unranked in the UFC heavyweight division. He is rising fast, but still something of an unknown.

He was knocked out in the first round by Alexey Oliynyk in November.

But Rosholt has since defeated Josh Copeland and Timothy Johnson on his way to securing a 5-1 UFC record and a 9-1 MMA record.

The night will be headlined by the welterweight championship bout between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit.

Adopted Aussie Mark Hunt will meet fellow slugger, the hammer-fisted Bigfoot Silva.

Australian prodigy Robert Whittaker will get his first taste of the big time, being given the opportunity to fight the veteran but ever dangerous Michael Bisping.

Whittaker versus Bisping is expected to be a show-stopper!

Chael Sonnen Speaks about Unfairness of UFC Drugs Policy

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chael_Sonnen#/media/File:Chael_Sonnen_at_UFC_115.jpg

Ex-UFC fighter, TUF coach, and MMA legend Chael Sonnen has spoken to news.com.au about the confusion and controversy surrounding the UFC drugs policy.

Sonnen blasted onto the UFC radar in his middleweight title bout against Anderson Silva. At UFC 117 Sonnen stunned the world by bashing the incumbent champion from pillar-to-post for four rounds. He was the clear winner going into the fifth, but one mistake allowed Silva to steal the match via an armbar submission.

In a post-fight drug test Sonnen tested positive to elevated levels of testosterone.

Four years later he retired amid more positive drug tests and allegations.

Anderson Silva also returned positive results shortly thereafter.

While many of Silva’s former opponents have sought to assuage their losses against Silva in the wake of the drug scandal Sonnen is more prosaic:

“I knew exactly what he was doing and he knew what I was doing, Sonnen said. “You’ve got to understand, there’s a misconception that the UFC had a drug problem. The reality of it is tht it had an age problem. The guys from my generation … things were different when we started, the rules were different, the rules changed over time and we did not change. We were set in our ways and we kinda said, ‘this is how we’ve always done it and this is how we’re gonna keep doing it.

“When the rules changed there were just a lot of guys who were caught with their pants down and there’s no excuse about it. That’s just the way it happened. [Silva’s] in a jam now because there’s a couple of things that were just ridiculous. He failed for three substances. None of the substances I had ever heard of and I doubt any of your readers had heard of them until he tested positive for them, so that’s a little underhanded.

“When you look close, two of the substances are over the counter at every store in the world. They are sleep-aids … I can tell you – in fight week you’re stressed out of your mind, you’re dehydrated, you can’t sleep, and if he took something that’s gonna help him fall asleep, if I’m gonna be his opponent, take more – take five times as much – its’ fine with me.

“To come out and say that stuff is banned with no warning ahead of time – there’s no list, there’s no one you can call and check, there’s no way to tell until it shows up and there’s a violation – that’s underhanded.

Joe Rogan Weighs Into Rousey-Holm Controversy

Amanda Nunes image: https://twitter.com/amanda_leoa

Veteran MMA analyst and UFC commentator Joe Rogan has disagreed with Ronda Rousey over her choice of opponent.

Rousey raised eyebrows by overlooking number one bantamweight contender Miesha Tate and selecting relative MMA unknown Holly Holm.

Holm is by no means a chump however.

“I’ll be fighting Holly Holm, who is actually the most decorated striker we have in all of mixed martial arts,” Rousey announced.

Holm was a 9 times world boxing champion and The Ring Magazine pound-for-pound fighter of the year before moving to MMA and the UFC.

But Joe Rogan believes Rousey has made a mistake.

“That Holly Holm fight … I don’t think that’s smart,” said Rogan in his Sunday podcast. “I would have gone with Amanda Nunes before Holly Holm. Amanda Nunes looked like a badass when she knocked out Sara McMann. That’s a more dangerous fighter … a more marketable fighter. [Holm] is only the best boxer in the world if Ann Wolf decides not to box.

“The Holly Holm fight is not as intriguing to me as Amanda Nunes would be. “Holm’s big issue is the grappling. Who knows though? You never know. Maybe Holly, because her stand-up is so much more refined, she’s been doing it for so much longer, maybe she can keep Ronda away from her.”

There is mounting speculation that the reason Rousey is so dominant in her division is as much because of the lack of talent as Rousey’s near freakish skills.

Rogan agreed.

 “I’m serious, I just think, honestly, the real problem is that there’s a lack of talent .

“Ronda’s going to have to do things now. She’ll have to do a judo match during the day and then have an MMA fight. Remember when Roy Jones Jr. would play basketball? He played basketball the day of a world title defense – the day of (the defense)!”

Rogan went on: “I think Amanda Nunes has real potential. If you look at Claudia Gadelha, she’s world-class, Joanna Jedrzejczyk – world-class. There’s a few: Cris Cyborg Justino, steroids or no steroids, take away the controversy, go by her performances – ferocious. That’s four. There’re four of them.”

Rousey steps into the ring to defend her bantamweight world title against Holm on January 2nd. It will be the main event at UFC 195 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Club Revolt in NRL Gives Ultimatum to CEO Smith

Image: www.youtube.com

NRL CEO Dave Smith has been given an ultimatum: Either you go or we do.

The threat comes from some of the most powerful figures in rugby league –  frustrated with the changes and inconsistencies implemented by Smith in his year at the helm.

Last week’s TV rights negotiations saw Fox Sports and Telstra effectively snubbed from the deal. This caused much heated discussion and finger pointing among club presidents towards Smith and Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman John Grant.

In response, 12 clubs are considering breaking away from the NRL in 2017 when their contracts expire.

The new 12 club league would leave out those clubs currently being supported by the NRL: Wests tigers, St George Illawarra, Newcastle, and the perennially embattled Gold Coast.

The influential figures were incensed when Fox Sports and Telstra were omitted from the TV right negotiations.

This fury was only multiplied when News Corp then partnered with the Seven Network to inject $2.5 billion into AFL through a revised television deal – money that could have gone to them.

These blunders are, however, just the latest in a long list of complaints against Smith: Inconsistent judiciary rulings, the insipid and unclear changes made to the shoulder charge rule, and the multi-million dollar blowout of executive salaries for certain staff employed by Smith have incurred ire at every turn.

The game’s powerbrokers, it seems, have finally had enough.

Green Wins 10 Rounder Against Bolonti

Green image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Green_(boxer)

Danny Green has made a decisive impact in his comeback fight against Argentina’s Roberto Bolonti, at the Hisense arena in Melbourne.

A fit and focused Green took a big step towards securing a multimillion dollar rematch with Anthony Mundine by overcoming the highly credentialed Bolonti in a bruising, yet entertaining encounter.

Fans of the green Machine might have been worried as green started slowly. He was looking to land his big right, but was given few opportunities.

But as the fight progressed Green settled into a comfortable range and rhythm.

Though 42 years of age (6 years older than Bolonti) and without a fight for the last three years, Green showed fitness and ring smarts.

Curiously, Bolonti did not capitalise on Green’s early inactivity. He pressed forward throughout the fight, often to his own detriment by walking into Green’s devastating rights.

“It was a very awkward fight,” said a relieved Green. “He’s survivor and he can punch. He’s a strong man, an ox.”

All three judges scored the 10 rond fight 100 – 90 to the Australian.

Green was elliptical about talk of challenging Mundine. “In his insular world he (Mundine) is king, but he needs to look outside his bubble.” Green believed the public didn’t really care to watch Mundine fight. He underscored this by saying he wouldn’t be fussed’ if the fight never went ahead.

“He needs a fight with me more than I need a fight with him.”