A Man After Trump’s Own Heart

You won’t hear a bad word about President Trump come out of Dana White’s mouth. That has been the consistent response from the Ultimate Fighting Championship boss when asked about the reality-star-turned-commander-in-chief since Trump announced he was running for the Republication nomination in 2015. In an interview with the Boston Herald last week, White doubled down on that sentiment, going on to express “disgust” at those protesting against the current White House and revealing that he had spoken to Trump up to 20 times since he won the election.

The friendship between Trump and White and the corresponding proximity of the UFC to the halls of power has perhaps been an under-scrutinized aspect of the contemporary mixed martial arts landscape. Whereas the NBA and the NFL have been engulfed by highly politicized storylines involving the president — the former personified by Trump’s Twitter spats with LeBron James and Stephen Curry, the latter by the #TakeaKnee movement, where Trump repeatedly condemned hundreds of players who kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial inequality — MMA has had no such incitation. In fact, members of the MMA media who do offer political insights are routinely met by a torrent of comments demanding that they “stick to sports.” This kind of cognitive isolationism was on display in all quarters of the Internet after MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani asked Cameroonian Francis Ngannou about his thoughts on Trump’s alleged “s—hole” comments regarding African countries.

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

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.

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)”

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