Monday, December 30, 2013

UFC 168: Rousey vs Tate

LAS VEGAS – UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey lived up to her billing on Saturday, finishing Miesha Tate with her patented arm bar, but in the process became perhaps the most disliked fighter in the UFC.

Rousey went past the first round for the first time in eight pro fights, but she pummeled Tate throughout before getting the arm bar submission at 58 seconds of the third round in the co-main event of UFC 168 at the MGM Grand Garden.

The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo threw Tate several times and was clearly physically dominant. She had Tate in bad positions throughout the fight, but Tate was gritty and battled her way out of several precarious situations.

Rousey, though, raised the ire of the sell-out crowd when she snubbed Tate when Tate offered to shake hands after the finish. Seconds after referee Mario Yamasaki broke them up, Tate stood up and extended her right hand to Rousey.

The two have had a long hatred of one another that was heightened during their stint coaching opposite each other on the reality series, "The Ultimate Fighter," earlier this year.

Rousey looked at Tate and walked away, refusing to shake hands. The fans responded with a thunderous series of boos. The booing was so loud that when Rousey was being interviewed by Joe Rogan in the cage after her win, it was virtually impossible to hear her speaking.

It was a classless act, but it was likely calculated to increase her status as the UFC's top heel. She's now the fighter the fans love to hate, and that will sell her a lot of pay-per-views.

So, too, will fighting aggressively throughout the bout, as she did in dominating Tate.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Shocks of The Year

It was a day every Manchester United fan knew had to come, but when the news finally arrived on May 8th it still left football stunned.

Fergie was already a part of the game’s history, a knight of the realm with a bronze statue and a stand named after him – yet even in his 70s he maintained his relevance, his importance and most of all his success.

After 27 years, it was impossible to conceive of a Manchester United dugout without the gum-chewing, puce-faced genius who had led United to the single greatest period of dominance in the history of the English game.

Liverpool under Shankly and Paisley might have scaled greater heights in Europe, but Ferguson’s 13 league titles in 20 years is a feat of sustained brilliance that we may never see repeated.

When you look at how he willed a deeply flawed squad to their last championship under his stewardship, it is hardly surprising David Moyes has found his job beyond impossible. Wayne Rooney moped, defenders dropped down injured and Michael Carrick waged a one-man war in midfield.

But somehow, for Fergie, it didn’t matter. Some of his tactics, team selections and transfers would have caused open mutiny among other fan bases. Think Marouane Fellaini’s bad? How about David Bellion, Eric Djemba-Djemba or the incomparable Bebe?

But winning cures everything, and nobody knew how to win better than Fergie.