From near 80 degree weather here in Norman the past couple of days to highs in the upper 40's, welcome to Oklahoma where if you don't like the weather just wait a day or two and it will change. Let's take a look at some random thoughts including observations of #UFC158.
Today is the final day of the 17% off any purchase of over $17 sale at WWEShop.com. Great time to stock up on JR's products. Plus, brand continues to grow in the UK and throughout Europe thanks to the efforts of our friends at American Soda in Manchester, England. Follow them on twitter @americansoda.
Watched UFC 158 Saturday night on pay per view and enjoyed the presentation which included a couple of new production wrinkles and some solid in ring actin. Did I get my monies worth? Absolutely.
I have issues with how UFC mic's their live audience as I feel that the announcers should have to work harder and have to have a more distinct tone and infliction at the loudest moments of the live event. That did not occur.
On entrances that are hot, like GSP and Diaz, there is really nothing that any announcers can say that exceeds the organic and real feel of what the audience is providing the PPV customer...as long as the audience is mic'ed well. So, in my view, those two entrances in particular would have been perfect examples where the broadcast team would have simply sit back and allowed the viewer to soak in the moment.
By the way, Mike Goldberg @MFG16 and @JoeRogan did stellar work on their marathon assignment Saturday night which started late Saturday afternoon, if not much earlier, and finishing well after midnight Saturday night. No one should overlook how hard those two work during a PPV day for @UFC.
Back to the topic of audio, WWE does an amazing job of providing quality audio on their PPV presentations and no one else is even a close second in that department.
Happy for Johny Hendricks, a native Oklahoman who was a stud, high school wrestler with three state championships and a Division One star who was a 4 Time All American at Oklahoma State in wrestling, getting his biggest win to date against the highly skilled Carlos Condit. If this fight had been a 5 rounder instead of 3, Condit would have likely pulled it out. As it stands. apparently Hendricks, aka Big Rig, is the next challenger for George St. Pierre's welterweight title.
Suggestion to Hendricks...don't fight GSP in Montreal.
Nick Diaz is a tough dude with many fights under his belt but has some issues at times expressing himself. (He also had issues Saturday night in figuring out how to create offense against GSP.) How's that for a revelation? I feel that many of Diaz' issues are out of his own frustrations. I've dealt with many talents in the genre of sports entertainment that were miserable to be around, at times, and challenging to manage but the old theory of solving a problem or eliminating it resonates here. I am not advocating that UFC rid themselves of Diaz because Nick is still a viable commodity who fans, like me, will still pay to see fight. Diaz isn't boring but he's a unique communicator to say the east with a polarizing personality. I'm sure that there are bigger pains in the backside that UFC officials have to deal with other than Diaz.
Great administrators learn to communicate with every talent as best they can and @DanaWhite seemingly has mastered that invaluable trait.It will always be a work in progress. It's damned sure not easy as high strung people in the field of sports entertainment or MMA, are a different breed of cat and are often extremely insecure and untrusting.
I for one don't feel that Diaz has fought his last fight, Nick said he was retiring and then challenged GSP for a rematch. Nothing a fighter says immediately after winning or losing a fight should be held as gospel. GSP was simply a better fighter on Saturday night and if the two fought 10 times then Diaz might win 1 maybe 2 times and that could be arguable. l
Back to what talents/athletes say in the heat of battle, I've had many less than positive exchanges with talents after, say, a PPV that were combustible, one way venting sessions but 24 hours later, when cooler heads prevailed, a sensible conversation would be held. (By the way, I don't miss those days, for the record.)
On another topic, it's troubling to see the various and seemingly ever expanding entourages with which some MMA fighters surround themselves. One of the things that I see evolving in MMA, and the UFC specifically, as time goes on is that they will continue to recruit a higher level of athlete, many from collegiate backgrounds, and others who have been in stable, legit MMA training since they were in elementary school. With that level of athlete, will hopefully bring with it a strong sense of what type of coaching staff the athlete knows that they need as to what it takes to help facilitate a fighter to the top of the food chain where the big cash awaits. That will also include financial planning and overall wellness issues that will be validated by one's inner circle.
As Nick Diaz apparently did Saturday night, for any fighter to say that they have never paid their taxes is more sad than it is shocking. It has happened in sports entertainment for years along with such legitimate, main stream sports as the NFL, NBA ,etc. Hell, it happens down your block to a regular Joe or as Heenan would say a ham and egger.
Any company can provide the proper financial tools to a talent whether they be a WWE performer or a UFC fighter but no one can make these men and women be responsible with their cash and fulfill their financial and moral obligations. So, one way to address that matter is to recruit and sign athletes who come into an organization with some level of structure and the intellect to help them make better decisions. Honestly, those values start at home when the individuals were kids which is always why I liked to learn about the talent's family when I could .
Is there a fool proof way to address this matter? Absolutely not. That's why there are so many sad stories that we hear from every walk of life where one has found success in athletics or entertainment or any other field one can name and have squandered their money and turned their back on their obligations because of ignorance, irresponsibility and being so egocentric that the world was only about one thing, them.
I've told talents numerous times that "this doesn't last forever" and to "save your money" and "pay your taxes." Uncle Sam never does the 'honors.' Some talents listened but far too many disregarded any info that they did not want to hear. Sad, huh?
In today's WWE, if a talent is working regularly, and I'm not even talking about a main event talent , there is no reason that they should not be putting significant portions of their income away for their future. No reason whatsoever. Those that say otherwise likely don't have a plan whatsoever and are more bling conscious than not. Those talents that don't have a legitimate, reliable, licensed financial planner working with them are at the top of the list for those who will be taking Indy wrestling dates for any amount of money that they can muster long after their body has told them that enough is enough.
Some critics decry that if these men and women were not independent contractors that these issues would be significantly lessened and to that I call BS. Look at all walks of society where men and women are members of unions, are fulltime, regular employees and they still can't be forced to spend their monies wisely, to pay their taxes, and to prepare for their future.
It's akin to having substance abuse problems. The only thing that can guarantee a cure is for the abuser committing 100% on a daily basis to choose to be clean and sober. In other words, the abuser's biggest ally is the person that they see in the mirror because only they can stop the madness and prevent a predictable, disastrous end to their own life.
Thank goodness when I first got into the business in 1974 that I traveled with men who were smart and frugal with their money and that I worked for a man, Bill Watts, who believed in financial planning that helped him acquire financial security and he stressed the same to me. In other words, I had role models and I wasn't so defiant that I wouldn't listen to their advice or follow their lead.
Times have changed and we can only hope that the various athletes and entertainers that we all love to follow and support will come to the realization that the money train is a short ride and it makes its last stop long before our journey in this life ends.
Have a blessed day and I'll be back Monday with some thoughts on a crucial, Monday Night Raw broadcast from Pittsburgh as the speed limit on the Road to WrestleMania continues to increase. .