Archive for the ‘Referreeing’ Category

Hodges to Play in Grand Final

Hodges image: commons.wikimedia.org

Despite an obvious attack, on the part of Geoff Bellew, Justin Hodges has beaten a grade one dangerous throw charge and will be taking the field this weekend in the NRL Premiership grand finale.

Despite Aiden Guerra admitting to the judiciary that he jumped into the dangerous position to earn his side a penalty, Bellew did all he could to blame Hodges.

“He (Guerra) came here and spoke to the truth,” said Hodges.

“I didn’t ask him to come here and lie. He came here and told the truth.

“I said (to Guerra) after the charge that this is the way I felt about the tackle and if you feel the same you can come (and testify in my defence).”

Guerra did feel the same way. And he did testify in Hodges defence, claiming he milked the penalty by launching himself past the legal position for a tackle.

Asked how he hoped to win the penalty, Guerra answered, “by going above the horizontal – probably not the smartest decision.

“I thought there was a chance to gain a penalty, nothing was going our way. My aim was clear.”

Guerra admitted he “wasn’t thinking about the repercussions, more about the momentum of the game. I was in control of my actions.”

When he was challenged about the dangerousness of the action Guerra replied: “I am still able-bodied.”

Hodges stuck to his story, denying any role in Guerra’s head going into the ground.

But NRL judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew was like a dog with a bone and interjected several times.

“I grabbed the leg to stop his momentum,” said Hodges.

“He jumped out of my hands. I felt him jump. I knew he was going down, so I let go. I turned to the ref and said ‘he jumped.’”

Bellew went fishing: “Did you apply any force to Guerra’s landing?”

Hodges: “No.”

Guerra, “Was Guerra placed in a dangerous position?”

Hodges: “Not by me.”

Bellew became frustrated at this answer. Despite it being true, it wasn’t the answer he sought. Hodges admitted Guerra did go past the horizontal, but stuck to his story that he had no part in doing it.

Eventually the judiciary panel of Bronson Harrison, Chris McKenna, and Royce Ayliffe took 10 minutes to acquit Hodges.

Upon release of the news the Broncos went from $2 outsiders to $1.85 favourites.

Though anybody who knows the two sides will tell you the game is on a knife-edge.

“I Played for the Penalty,” says Guerra

Hodges image: commons.wikimedia.org

The NRL judiciary looks set to determine another Grand Final.

Brisbane Broncos captain Justin Hodges will have his fate decided on Tuesday night, as he and the club look set to defend a grade one dangerous throw for his tackle on Roosters backrower Aidan Guerra.

But it doesn’t look good.

Not because of the tackle – Guerra himself admitts he was off-balance and contributed to the fall that saw him topple past the horizontal – but because Brisbane have only a seven per cent success rate with the blatantly partisan NRL judiciary.

Queenslanders have long known and seen the Sydney judiciary protecting their own – consistently rubbing out players from teams north of the border, while expressing leniency for NSW clubs. It is an outrage that has existed for such a long time it has all but been accepted.

In fact, the last time the Brisbane club had a player exonerated by the NRL judiciary was Karmichael Hunt back in the year 2000 (Hunt has swapped codes three times since then).

The Brisbane club have virtually given up contesting charges, realising the futility of expecting fairness from the judiciary. The last time they fought a charge was in 2013. Just once in 14 attempts has a Bronco’s player been acquitted by the board.

Aidan Guerra has offered to support Hodges at the hearing. In an interview with Fox Sports he was asked if he jumped off the ground as Hodges had suggested? Guerra said: “Yep, it’s a bit like that.

“To be honest, I played for the penalty.

“If I tried my hardest (to resist Hodges and fellow Broncos defender Ben Hunt) I wouldn’t have got spear-tackled, but I got the penalty and I really hope it’s left where it is.”

Jonathon Thurston, Cowboys Captain said, “You want to play the best teams at full strength and he needs to be in that team for it to be at full strength. It would be a sad way to end his career (suspended from the grand final).”

Push to Legitimise Bare-Knuckle Boxing

Bobby Gunn image: https://twitter.com/RealBobbyGunn

Reputed ex-mobster Danny Provenzano, 51, wants to take bare-knuckle boxing mainstream. He believes it can be turned into a multi-billion-dollar industry and capture the world’s attention.

In an interview with the Daily Mail Provenzano said, “Bare-knuckle boxing requires a lot more skill than gloved boxing. You’ve got to make sure every punch counts, otherwise you’rre going to break your hand.”

He went on to argue that bare-knuckle boxing is safer than gloved boxing, “There are a lot more cuts and bruises, but less long-term damage.”

The medical fraternity appear to be divided on this.

The argument goes like this: Gloves ‘cushion’ a blow allowing for more blows to be delivered during a bout. The more blows there are, the more damage is done to a fighter’s brain.

The other side argue that the greater impact of an ‘un-cushioned’ blow inflicts more trauma on the brain and substantially increases the chance of damage to a boxer’s hand.

What both sides agree on is that the sport already exists. Without regulatory oversight the combatants are without any protection other than their own fists.

Bobby Gunn is regarded as the best bare-knucle boxer in the world. In an interview with MMA Radio he announced that two states in the US are on the verge of legalising the combat sport.

“It’s going to be ground-breaking for the sport.”

Provenzano is working closely with Gunn to legalise the sport throughout the world. To that end they wish to organise a fight with high profile MMA fighter Kimbo Slice to grasp world attention.

“He (Gunn) is the poster boy of the bare-knuckle boxing world.”

While Kimbo Slice rocketed to fame with viral Youtube videos of his accept-all-comers street fights. Gunn won the first officially sanctioned bare-knuckle boxing match in 2011.

He said to barcrogt.tv, “I’ve been fighting since I was 6 years old. I do this for my family.”

While it was an underground sport promoters were happy to allow gambling. Their fighters stood to earn up to $100,000 for a high profile fight. But in a bid to have the sport legitimised they have had to eliminate this side of their events.

“We’ve taken a hit in the pocket,” Provenzano said. “But it will be worth it once we’re mainstream.”

MMA Fighters Boycott Nevada in Response to Diaz Sentence

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Diaz

The fallout from the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s handling of the Nick Diaz drug charge continues to worsen.

The Commission handed out a five-year suspension to Diaz (effectively ending his career) for testing positive to cannabis after his UFC 183 bout.

Fans and fighters were outraged at the excessive nature of the ban. And MMA fighters are making their displeasure known by refusing to fight in the state of Nevada.

The latest to add his name to the blockade is Henry Cejudo, an Olympic gold medallist.

Fast rising bantamweight Aljamain sterling tweeted that he is intent on doing the same, “ … let the NSAC know,” he broadcast on the 17th, “they need to be unbiased & give a fair process.”

They join female bantamweight Leslie Smith in expressing their dismay at the Star Chamber-like actions of the NSAC.

“This situation is just the latest example demonstrating the need for mixed martial artists to stand together,” said Smith. “(We need) to influence our sport and have our voices heard by speaking together as the mixed martial arts fighter association.”

These fighters are fervently hoping others will make a similar stand. Alone they will accomplish little; but should the stars decide to follow their lead the NSAC may actually be answerable to someone.

Heavyweight Matt Mitrione blasted ex-UFC fighter now executive Matt Hughes for his comments supporting the NSAC. UFC superstar Ronda Rousey has labelled the ban ‘unfair’. For Diaz to receive a penalty five times greater than that given to Anderson Silva. Silva tested positive for steroids in the fight against Diaz.

‘It makes no sense at all.’

She describes herself as a close friend to Diaz and is shocked at the suspension.

Twonsville Holds No Fear For Sharks

http://www.nrl.com/nrl-finals-week-two-information/tabid/10874/newsid/89777/default.aspx

North Queensland Cowboy’s coach Paul Green believes the Cronulla Sharks are semi-finals favourites.

His comments come as the two teams prepare for their weekend do-or-die clash in the first round of the finals.

The match will be played in front of a sold out Townsville crowd, with both teams needing to win.

Green admitted the Sharks were the only team to have beaten his side in both games they played against each other this year. They beat the Cowboys 24-18 in June (in Townsville) and in round 22 won again 30-18 at Shark Park.

“They probably deserve to be favourites for this game,” said Green.

“They’ve beaten us twice throughout the year, they have knocked off the Roosters and done well against (the) top four teams.

“They play a tough brand of footy.”

Most recently they demolished the sliding defending premiers, the Roosters; while the Cowboys were beaten by the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium 16-12.

Arguably the most divisive man in the NRL, Paul Gallen said to Sky Sports Radio that playing in front of a sold out Townsville crowd held no fear for his side.

“A few of us were having coffee and speaking about this last week – both places hold no fear for us, whether we had to play in Townsville or Brisbane.

“We were saying how exciting it would be to play in Brisbane in front of 50,000 people.

“And in Townsville it would be more than 20,000 and we’ve had success there; so no, it’s not daunting.”

Nick Diaz Suspended for Five Years for Pot?!

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFC_183

The MMA world has gone into overdrive, outraged at the five-year ban to UFC welterweight Nick Diaz for allegedly testing positive to marijuana.

Diaz was also fined a ridiculous 33 per cent of his prize purse – $165,000.

If these penalties seem inordinately heavy when compared with the crime, it’s because they are.

The man Diaz fought before the controversy (Anderson Silva at UFC 183) returned a test positive for steroids. He received only a one-year ban.

Lucas Middlebrook, Diaz’ attorney, presented an aggressive defense to the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday. In an at times fiery session he questioned the very validity of the test results.

Middlebrook argued that separate tests by the Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) and the World Anti-Doping Agency both showed Diaz had marijuana well below the 150ng/ ML limit.

The only positive test above the limit was returned from Quest Diagnostics, showing 700ng/ML for marijuana.

Middlebrook then called upon an expert witness to discredit the lone positive result.

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Diaz

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Diaz

“With all due respect,” said Middlebrook, “if the commission imposes discipline based on the complaint as written, which wholly igmores the two negative tests, thereby depriving this man of his earnings and his future ability to earn a living, it’s not only the highest form of administrative abuse of discretion, but it’s ripe for judicial review and reversal.”

 But the commission had the scent of blood in their nostrils and argued that Diaz had not claimed the use of marijuana on the pre-fight questionnaire – a document all athletes are required to sign.

Diaz showed his contempt for the proceedings by choosing to plead his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer the questions put to him.

MMA fans around the world were stunned.

Marijuana isn’t a performance enhancing drug (the way steroids are). Diaz certainly broke the rules, but banning him for five years effectively ends his career; and to recieve a penalty five times worse than someone using PEDs is absurd.

But what has outraged sportsfans most is the declaration made by Chairman Francisco Aguilar that the sentence is also for things other than the marijuana. “This is  not just a casee of marijuana,” he said. “I think this is a case of complete lack of disregard for the sport.”

But Diaz wasn’t on trial for his attitude.

And while he was also suspended in 2007 and 2012 for marijuana use it seems to be drawing an awfully long bow to say this equates to a ‘disregard for the sport’.

Transgender MMA Fighter Continues to Divide Fight Community

Fallon Fox images: https://twitter.com/fallonfox

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has revised her position on fighting transgender athletes; she says she will decide whether to fight an opponent on a case-by-case basis.

Her revision comes as the MMA world is split over the question of Fallon Fox, known to be the first transgender athlete in MMA.

Fox opened up about her gender reassignment in an article published by Sports Illustrated.

“A reporter came after me,” she told the magazine, “and asked me questions about my past. I was scared I could be outed, I felt like I had it coming, so I got ahead of it.

“The scope of anger and vitriol that I received initially … That was disheartening, tragic. It was mind-blowing.”

Fox immediately divided opinion in the MMA world.

She was described by UFC fighter Matt Mitrione as a “lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak.”

While UFC commentator Joe Rogan was just as outspoken: “You’re a f*@king man!” he raged. “And she wants to be able to fight women in MMA. I say no f*@king way. If you had a dick at one point in time, you also have all the bone structure that comes with having a dick.”

Rousey initially refused to even consider fighting Fox, but has since reviewed her position.

Fox was born Boyd Burton on November 29, 1975. He showed signs of struggling with his gender from the age of 5; when he would sneak into his sister’s bedroom and dress in her clothes.

He later married his girlfriend, with whom he had a child. But the confusion continued.

In 2000 he came across the term ‘gender dysphoria’ and began to understand his condition.

Burton served with the navy between 1996 and 2000. Upon his release he began to seek treatment with a therapist.

But in 2006 Boyd decided to make the change and flew to Thailand for gender reassignment surgery.

She described having the procedure as ‘empowering’.

She returned to the US a woman and continued driving trucks for a living.

Then she came across MMA.

“You see things in movies with strong female characters that can fight; but seeing it in real life sucked me in. I saw these women in MMA and thought they were amazing.

Fox said fighting made her “feel like I was just like everyone else.”

She now has an MMA record of 5-1 (all against women fighters).

She believes her previous gender gives her no advantages.

“I’ve been through a lot of things to change myself from male to female … they decrease my testosterone levels to lower than any other female on the planet who’s not transgender.”

The medical fraternity back up these claims.

“Male to female transsexuals have significantly less muscle strength and bone density, and higher fat mass, than males,” said Dr Eric Vilain, director at the Institute for Society and Genetics at UCLA. Dr Vilain was integral in assisting the association of boxing commissions piece together its transgender policy.

However, UFC supremo Dana white remains unconvinced.

“Bone structure is different, hand s are bigger, jaw is bigger, everything is bigger. I don’t believe in it. I don’t think someone who used to be a man and became a woman should be able to fight a woman.”

MMA Fighter Competes While Pregnant

Novaes image: https://www.facebook.com/KinberlyNovaesMMA/photos/a.322660901169403.55953.322659281169565/624491547653002/?type=1&theater

Questions are being asked after a pre-fight medical exam failed to identify the pregnancy of Brazilian mixed martial artist Kinberly Novaes.

Novaes was weight-cutting for four weeks prior to a fight weigh-in. Despite severely curbing her calorie intake she gained one kilogram during a six-day period.

Novaes was reluctant to visit a doctor, but she eventually allowed herself to be persuaded.

“The doctor immediately asked me if I was pregnant,” Novaes said to MMAFighting.com. “I insisted I was not, that I had an intestine issue. But he asked for a blood test. One hour later, he told us I was pregnant. I cried a lot, ran out of the hospital, but I realised that was good news. I thought I was sick, but I had a baby instead.”

The concern comes because it meant Novaes was 24 weeks pregnant. This meant she was 12 weeks pregnant in her fight against Renata Baldan. She defeated her compatriot in May for the 115-pound Brazilian Noxii title.

Noxii promoter, Brunos Barros (whose organisation is not overseen by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission – accepted responsibility for the dangerous oversight.

“I didn’t ask for the exm. That’s the truth,” he told MMAFighting.

“I didn’t even think about the possibility of a woman fighting while pregnant, going through a camp and dehydrating and everything … Thank God everything is fine with the baby.”

A morphology ultrasound revealed the foetus was ‘healthy and strong’ relieving Noaves and her partner Jacson Carvalho (also an MMA fighter).

Novaes said she was worried about the unborn child when she found out she was pregnant.

“I suffered a lot to make weight for my last fight. (I) couldn’t dehydrate properly … and I was already training to fight again next week, but the doctor said everything is fine.”

Novaes announced on her Facebook page that she was withdrawing from her scheduled August 21 fight. But she intends to climb back in the cage in 2016 to follow her dream of breaking into the US market.

Armstrong Vows to Ride Two Tour de France Stages

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has confirmed he will ride two stages of this year’s Tour de France.

Armstrong says he will ride each stage the day before the peloton race it. He will ride with former English footballer and fellow cancer survivor Geoff Thomas. The pair hope to raise $2 million for the Cure Leukaemia foundation.

But the pair met with fierce rivalry from ICU president Brian Cookson.

“We know Lance’s involvement in Le Tour has split opinion,” said Cookson, “so we’ve tried to be as respectful as possible to the Tour de France itself in terms of the stages he will be riding.

“The stages Lance will be riding come towards the end of week two, when I know all riders will need some support.

“I know his arrival will give them the encouragement they will need to carry on with this gruelling challenge and in turn raise as much money as possible for blood cancer patients.”

Armstrong appears to have his sight set on riding the 198.5 kilometre 13th stage from Muret to Rodez on the 16th of July. This will be followed by the 198.5 kilometre stage from Rodez to Mende the following day.

Armstrong was controversially stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned from most competitive sports for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency in 2012.

These penalties came after he admitted in an interview on the Oprah Winfrey talkback program that he had used performance enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career.

For this reason Tour organisers are embarrassed to have him ride in their race.

Streaker Pitches Tent on Cricket Ground

Image: twitter

You know the ground security guards are slow when a pitch-invader has time to erect a tent.

Yep, that’s what happened at Canterbury County Cricket Ground yesterday. A fan ran onto the pitch, erected a tent, crawled inside, stripped off, and emerged completely naked – but for a crash helmet.

‘Mr Lee Marshall disrupted play for several minutes with what must be one of the most ludicrous pitch-invasions ever.

A solitary female attendant confronted Mr Lee Marshall.’

But upon her approach he simply hid in his man-cave.

Reinforcements dawdled onto the county ground and eventually Marshall was escorted from the field.

Marshall (who goes by the Twitter handle #Discoboy) is, according to his profile an “Entertainer, prankster and DJ.” He has performed the same stunt at shopping centres.

He later claimed on social media that he had been released without a fine. He says authorities simply told him, “You can’t camp there.”