Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Song Remains The Same

*On the TV right now: The Song Remains the Same, the Led Zeppelin concert video. I need to get a pair of those bell bottoms with the moons and starts all over them like Jimmy Page.

*Alrighty, so as you've probably figured out by now, I generally only drop by here these days when I feel like plugging my own work. I mean to post more, it just never seems to work out that way.

So the latest is this take on the growth of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the sport of mixed martial arts. This was particularly gratifying to work on because I've read one too many ignorant stories on MMA over the years, the sort that make you embarrassed for your profession, so it's nice to get a chance to write about the sport and get it right.
I also worked on a sider on UFC competitor Alex Karalexis, who hails from Whitman, MA.

*A few thoughts on UFC 58. The fight that had the biggest buzz beforehand -- Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn -- is also the fight that has the biggest post-show buzz.

I was sitting about six feet from the octagon for the show and I gotta say, I think the judges got it right in giving the decision to St. Pierre. I was surprised it was a split decision. Everyone sitting around me in the press area thought GSP won.

Penn took round one, no doubt about it. He cut St. Pierre open early and looked strong. Round two was close, but St. Pierre was more aggressive and did more damage. Final round (and it was a shame this fight was only three rounds), St. Pierre again was the aggressor, scored a couple takedowns, and granted he couldn't put Penn away, but Penn didn't do much noteworthy in the round. The thing that struck me the most sitting that close to the action was how much stronger GSP looked as the fight went on, and how Penn never really took it to St. Pierre in the last two rounds. Visually, the notion that St. Pierre bled for almost the duration of the fight might have given the impression that Penn did more damage than he actually did, but the cut was the result of one punch early on and doesn't detract from GSP winning rounds two and three.

It was pretty disappointing hearing the fighters get booed by each other's fans when they were interviewed afterwards. GSP has never badmouthed anyone that I know of and has been a model for what an MMA competitor should be; and Penn is a legend. Neither deserved such disrespect.

Penn should get a rematch was GSP at some point, and also deserves another crack at the welterweight belt he never lost, but St. Pierre absolutely deserves the next crack at the belt after the May 27 Matt Hughes-Royce Gracie fight.

*The non-PPV match between Sam Stout and Spencer Fisher was every bit as good as people are saying. I was really impressed with how Stout worked his way out of a couple jams on the ground where it looked like he was a few seconds away from having to tap out. Hopefully UFC decides to air this one at some point.

*You've got to see how LA reacts to rain to believe it. We had a cloudy day with drizzle and off-and-on showers on Monday, the sort that wouldn't get much notice in Boston and wouldn't register a blip in Seattle. In LA, though, that required the evening news to lead with their "Storm Watch," with a reporter stationed downtown standing out in the rain, and another in, I think, Ventura, also outside, to confirm the fact it was indeed raining. They then interviewed several drivers who said things like "It's slippery out there," and "It's hard driving in the rain." That's a sentiment shared by most of SoCal, apparently, since Angelinos drive in the rain like most back East would drive through a snowstorm.

*I’m becoming a wuss about the weather after only three months in Cali. I was gassing up the car in Vegas on Friday night and there was a wind and I though "man, it's cold." Then I looked at the bank sign across the street and it said it was 48 degrees.

*LA's own Mike Grimala should be bestowed an award of some sort, like a Grammy or an Oscar. The quiet ones are always the most dangerous.