Saturday, 11 February 2017

UFC 208 picks

I'm not sure the UFC are taking this "Pay-per-view" business seriously. Compared to the FOX card two weeks ago, this event has no fights of divisional significance on it at all. That includes this completely bogus title fight headlining the card. With Cris Cyborg out of the picture for who knows how long, there is no point whatsoever in having a Women's Featherweight division - the depth just isn't there right now, as evidenced by having two bantamweight contest the belt.

If the UFC wanted to add another women's division, 125lbs should have been it. It bridges the gap between 115 and 135 for intermediate fighters and opens the possibility of a superfight grudge match between Future title challenger Valentina Shevchenko and strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Also, people won't like hearing this but it's true - the smaller girls are more marketable. Now they've backed themelves into a corner it'll be interesting to see what they do. Even though Dana White said Amanda Nunes would not be allowed to come up and challenge for a second belt, JI bet it ends up happening if she wins her next fight because what the hell else are they gonna do?

Picks after the jump

Friday, 30 December 2016

UFC 207 picks

There was more WME-IMG inspired at UFC HQ this week as Mike "It takes a lot of energy to be a rock star" Goldberg got whacked. His final show will be tonight and I expect his next job to be MC at the county fair. It's fairly self-evident why he ultimately lost his job but I can't help feeling a twinge of regret and pity for the guy. As the rumors swirled and the pressure mounted over the last few weeks, he definitely broke with even more flubs than ever spilling from his mouth - I'll never forget that time he called Michelle Waterson "Michelle Waterman" right after the biggest win of her career or the other time he called this a body kick.

Something similar happened two years ago when the Jacksonville Jaguars moved their flagship radio station from WOKV to 1010XL. Play-by-play announcer Brian Sexton who had been with the team since their inception in 1994 was replaced by a resident 1010XL host and announcer. Sexton, like Goldberg, had his own unique style while also being error-prone and loathed by a section of home town fans. He attempted to branch out into other ventures around town as Goldberg attempted to do NFL games for FOX but nothing ever quite stuck. As Sexton's tenure with the team went on, he became more uptight when engaging with fans and seemed to adopt a "Don't you know who I am?" kind of attitude. Goldie is similarly known for his erratic behavior.

Sexton's replacement on the Jaguars broadcasts was Frank Frangie who is not a Jaguars fan and is also kinda terrible at the job. Similarly Goldberg's rumored replacement is Jim Rome, a guy who back in the day said that MMA was not a legitimate sport and the UFC would fail. I'm not sure how anyone thinks that would work - if your goal is to present yourself as the worldwide leader in your industry would you not attempt to fill your staff and roster with people who have experience in the field? Well, I guess not anymore. As far past his time as Goldberg was, this smacks of a power play by the new ownership, pulling the rug out from under and installing their own stooges in prominent positions - rarely if ever a good idea. The Jaguars have been in a soul destroying slump of losing since the change on ownership and in particular the new broadcast team. Let's hope the same will not be true of the UFC.

Picks after the jump.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

UFC 206 picks

With the paucity of star power on display at UFC 206, especially coming off the larger than life New York card, I almost get the feeling that much like Tony Soprano, I came in at the end and the best is over. New UFC owners WME-IMG appear at this point to have no clear vision of how to carry the company forward. By all accounts, it was their refusal to compromise that led to Georges St-Pierre not being a part of this event that was clearly arranged with him in mind. I'm thinking his presence on the card would have been a great help after Cormier-Johnson was called off. Expect the PPV numbers for this event to be atrocious. With Conor McGregor's hiatus, Ronda Rousey's likely retirement and GSP's exile, if the best they can offer us is a Woodley-Thompson rematch, that situation will not improve anytime soon.

Picks after the jump.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

UFC 205 picks

The UFC has been accused of over-saturating the market with cards in recent times but with only one event since UFC 204, which I completely missed due to being overseas in a country where the bouts take place circa breakfast time, I feel refreshed and ready for more action, plus of course sufficiently jet lagged to stay up all night with minimal effort. With all the layoffs and cuts at the company since WME took charge, the way has been paved for a significant streamlining going forward which will hopefully mean fewer fights between no-names at big events and an end to having to pretend to remotely care about said no-names. While the dream would be to reestablish itself as a federation for the truly elite, there's no avoiding the dilemma at the lower end of Merit vs Marketability. While I might huff and puff about Conor McGregor not deserving a title shot at 155 lbs, I have to admit I saw this story about Demi Lovato's possible plans for 2017 and got irrationally excited. Apparently I've learned nothing from CM Punk.

Picks after the jump.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

NFL Picks Week Six sponsored by Studio Yukupo

I am going on holiday next week so mercifully for all my t̶e̶n̶s̶ five or fewer loyal readers, no column in the mean time because I am far too l̶a̶z̶y̶ fearful of an unreliable connection, schedule and super confusing time difference. Hopefully my skills of precognition will improve without the pressure of public scrutiny and I am on the right track having hit the comeback trail last week with thanks to the AFC and NFC South teams whose games I went 5-0 with. Of all my half-backed predictions, it is gratifying to see the Panthers fall away with the expected post Super Bowl hangover. Few in the mainstream NFL media saw anything but another NFC Championship parade for Cam Newton but as Conor McGregor once said, "It's like in the jungle. One king gets old. He starts getting sloppy. He starts stagnating. Then a young gorilla comes up and kills him and takes everything he owns. That is what is happening here." That goes for you and three point lead too, Chris.

Picks after the jump.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

NFL Picks Week Five sponsored by Studio Yukupo

Not to brag but I went 5-0 with my UFC picks last night. Not that it was especially hard to predict given it was such a ho-hum card but with my season of NFL picks careening off the tracks and into a concrete wall, I need something to cling onto so I'll take whatever I can. Once again I stand by my picks from last week except for the Ravens who I should have known were not good after they only just barely scraped past the awful Jaguars the week before. You often forget about the coaches in these scenarios too. It seems obvious in hindsight that John Fox would o̶u̶t̶f̶o̶x̶ outcoyote Jim Caldwell but as always on the day itself you get swept up in non-logic such as "well the Lions are 1-2 but they're better than they looked". Sure, of course they are.

Picks after the jump.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

UFC 204 picks

The UFC hits Manchester tonight though don't tell Sergei Rafalov that. Says Rafalov, the CEO of Ukrainian football club Zorya Luhansk, "Manchester is a dirty city, full of drunks and men kissing in the street". The first part of that sentence is pretty rich coming from someone fighting (with their words at least) out of the former Soviet Union but by the time the main event kicks off at UFC 204, even the drunks and the possibly effeminate blokes will have cleared off back inside because the start times for the fights have not been adjusted for local time. For some inexplicable reason, they've decided to cater first to the PPV audience back home in America which is baffling because this card is completely devoid of draws and I would be shocked if it got to 250k buys. Perplexing decisions by the UFC are par for the course at this point though. More on that next month.

Picks after the jump.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

NFL Picks Week Four Sponsored by Studio Yukupo

Another sub-par week of picks but this time I stand by them - how was I to know that it turns out Tom Brady was s system quarterback all along?* How was I to know that Carson Wentz is football Jesus and how was I to know that Blaine Gabbert was not a Real American? How was I to know that the Patriots would not be playing the Jaguars next despite the fact I had been reminding myself for months that the first game after Brady's suspension would be conveniently versus the Jags?

Anyhow, while my scatter-brained approach to pick games has not proven to be so insightful thus far, there are a few things we do know after three weeks of action:
  1. Bill Belichick is a warlock. I guess we already knew that.
  2. Gus Bradley is not a warlock. Who will be fired first? Charlie Strong, Rex Ryan or Gus Bradley?
  3. Miko Grimes still hates Ryan Tannehill
  4. The success of the Cavaliers and Stipe Miocic has not rubbed off on the Browns
  5. The Vikings are for real but will still lose in the playoffs in excruciating fashion.
Picks after the jump.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

NFL picks Week Three sponsored by Studio Yukupo

Horrible week of picks for me last round but my spirit is not quite broken just yet. We'll just call it teething problems as I got suckered in like a fish on some of them as I shook my head afterwards wondering what the hell I was thinking. In particular, picking the Giants and Raiders  each at -4.5. Things are just too volatile at the beginning of the season and teams with obvious weaknesses should really never be picked -3 or higher unless they're playing Tampa at home, holy crap was that one not fun to watch unfold.

Picks after the jump.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

NFL picks Week Two sponsored by Studio Yukupo

After the rousing success of my week one picks, going 4-1 with my Super Contest selection, I'm back to completely ruin everything and go 0-5 in week two, jsut you watch me. I was going to skip tonight's game and wait until Saturday before betting this week but then I heard that Rex Ryan is doing a reality show with his brother Rob. At that point, I knew that the shade I had thrown on the Bills in week one was 110% justified. The Jets are favored by one, it's essentially a pick 'em and pick the Jets I shall.

More picks after the jump.