Is neoliberal Oprah Winfrey really the president progressives want?

I GET IT. Oprah Winfrey is a damn inspiring woman. Born into abject poverty and disadvantage, she went on to make the honour roll at high school and earn a full-scholarship at Tennessee State University. This was after having overcome molestation and the death of her first and only child at 14 years old. At 19, she began her television and radio career, and by 31 launched what would become the highest rated talk show of its era, The Oprah Winfrey Show. She’s the first black woman to become a billionaire and a transcendent cultural icon in her own right. Her speech at the Golden Globes last week, where she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille award, was a proverbial banger.

But presidential candidate? Leader of the “Free World”? The one to reverse Trump’s destruction and division, and address the great challenges of the 21stCentury: climate change, gaping economic inequality, geopolitical instability and the spectre of nuclear war?

You can read the rest of this article at Independent Australia.

Debets: Threading the McGregor Needle

It has been 14 months since Conor McGregor last stepped foot in the Octagon and decimated Eddie Alvarez to win the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title, and it feels like a lifetime ago. Back then, Barack Obama was still in the Oval Office, Harvey Weinstein was still a respected member of Hollywood’s elite and the idea that Georges St. Pierre’s return fight would come against Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship was still safely languishing in when-pigs-fly territory.

You can read the rest of this article at Sherdog.com

‘USS Callister’ Review (Black Mirror, S4 E1)

I’ve never reviewed a TV show before, and the only movie I’ve reviewed was more a rant about Clint Eastwood’s politics in American Sniper than a sincere attempt at film critique. But after I finished law school I promised myself I’d write about more than just MMA – and I have studiously ignored that commitment for a six solid months now.

So take this for what it is: a long-overdue effort at furthering my writing skills by engaging with a new subject matter. I also figure that since my girlfriend and I already spend a fairly large portion of time dissecting Black Mirror episodes after we’ve watched them, I might as well go the extra mile and record some of our more cogent insights. Continue reading “‘USS Callister’ Review (Black Mirror, S4 E1)”

Debets: How the Ali Act Could Reshape MMA in 2018

The United States Congress’ Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection held a hearing on mixed martial arts just two short months ago. Therein, former two-division Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder and UFC hall of famer Randy Couture joined Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin to make the case for extending the economic protections that cover boxers to their counterparts in MMA.

If introduced, H.R. 44, better known as the Ali Expansion Act, would decouple promotions like the UFC and Bellator MMA from their titles and rankings system, placing those responsibilities within the domain of independent sanctioning bodies licensed by state athletic commissions. Champions would be required to fight the No. 1 contender of their division at least once annually, and firewalls would be erected to prevent promoters from also acting as managers.

You can read the rest of this article at Sherdog.com

Debets: The UFC Screwed Robert Whittaker

So there you have it. After one solitary month, Ultimate Fighting middleweight titleholder Georges St. Pierre is no more, relinquishing the belt he won at UFC 217 and elevating interim titlist Robert Whittaker to the position of undisputed champion. GSP now holds records for the second longest title reign ever (2,064 days), which he achieved at welterweight from 2008 to 2013, and the shortest ever title reign, with 33 days at middleweight.

Surprised? UFC President Dana White isn’t. For all the BS White spewed about Whittaker being “next in line” for GSP should he emerge with the title, he admitted last week that he “expected” St. Pierre to vacate rather than defend his belt against the murderer’s row of contenders at 185 pounds.

You can read the rest of this article at Sherdog.com

 

Six Burning Questions for MMA in 2018

2017 was an interesting year to be an MMA fan. From the hotly anticipated return of Georges St-Pierre to the madness that was Mayweather-McGregor, to Bellator’s continued expansion under Scott Coker, there was plenty of water-cooler fodder for dedicated face-punching fans.

As we head into 2018 however, a specter of uncertainty hovers around the sport. Doubt surrounds the competence of the UFC’s new(ish) owners, William Morris Endeavours, legislation that would fundamentally disrupt the MMA industry is advancing through the US Congress, and Conor McGregor is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. With these issues and more in mind, these are the six burning MMA questions MMASucka has heading into 2018.

You can read the rest of this article at MMASucka.com

Travel Journal (#3): Iowa & The Full Monte

This post is about the second leg of my U.S. trip doing research for my book, “The Political Economy of Ultimate Fighting”. It covers events from 9 October 2017 to 14 October 2017. You can read my past journal entries here:

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“In boxing, you will never get a 5-0 fighter [five wins, zero losses] to fight another 5-0 fighter… that’s what I loved about MMA; everyone was willing to fight everyone.”

“I’m godfather to [former UFC heavyweight champion] Tim Sylvia’s son. [former UFC lightweight champion] Jens Pulver was over here this evening watching The Voice. I could hit [former welterweight champion] Pat Miletich’s house with a rock. We’re all still here, we’re still friends. The thing with MMA is that we’ve made lifetime relationships… you can’t have a better time than I’ve had in MMA.”

“I used to say to my fighters, ‘nothing is ridiculous, tell me what you want?’, and then I’d go out there and do my best to get it… Sometimes I would be in a standoff [with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva] for a month before we got the right deal.”

“The upper fighters, headliners and champions, would benefit from the Ali Act. The lower end guys [would] benefit from a union. For me, I can handle the lower end guys myself. I don’t need a union to negotiate good deals.”

That’s just a  few of the many anecdotes and insights long-time MMA manager and promoter Monte Cox shared with me during a phone-interview I conducted with him in September. A former newspaper editor and professional boxer, Monte began promoting MMA shows in 1996 in Iowa and soon after tried his hands at management.  He would go on to be the in-house manager for the Miletich Fighting Systems gym – MMA’s first super camp –  and would represent nine UFC champions and three Bellator champions over the next two decades. Continue reading “Travel Journal (#3): Iowa & The Full Monte”