Monday, May 14, 2018

The Making Towns Experience




I’d known about The Making Towns Classic since it was announced earlier this year, and my excitement level only grew after talking to both Mike and Dylan Hales for my preview on Episode 80 of The Squared Circle Soundoff last week. Myself and a few friends had the pleasure of being live at the first ever Making Towns Classic, and from the start it was more than just a pair of wrestling shows/ one day tournament- it was an experience mixed with friends, fun, wrestling and plenty more. 

A group of us made our way to Nashville via the Making Towns Caravan headed up by Edward Dao and the Big Gold Belt group following Nova Pro’s stellar Threat of Joy (now available on Powerbomb.tv) on Friday night in Annandale. Ed, Glen, DJ and myself and a few others piled into one van and off we were. I have all the respect in the world for what wrestlers do in the ring, but after this I found a newfound respect for the traveling aspect, too.

With any roadtrip, there were a number of stops along the way- including a debacle at one Wafflehouse- but we made pretty decent time and got to the Fairgrounds at around 12 pm on Saturday. With time to kill, we got a look at the venue before the show then headed out to grab a bite. We headed to a nice part of town and into Edley’s Bar-B-Que on Main Street (thanks for the suggestion, Kerry Awful!). The place itself had a nice feel/branding to it and the menu had a great selection. After eating there, the group decided it’s definitely worth a return trip when we come back for the Scenic City Invitational in August.

We returned to the Fairgrounds as everything was set up and a buzz was in the air for the upcoming action.  One of the things that made this special as Dylan noted on the preview was having a blind bracket going in. Fans knew the first-round match-ups but had no idea who would face who afterwards.

FIRST ROUND

Bryan Hughes (the ring announcer of Nova Pro) was looking sharp and on top of his game as we kicked things off, never breaking stride even with some minor mic troubles. Allie Kat and Su Yung squaring off was just a microcosm of how the tournament aimed to feature incredible dynamics throughout the entire night. The two went back and forth before a distraction from Hudson Envy allowed Allie Kat to hit her trademark headbutt and get the first win of the MTC. All would NOT be forgotten later on.

The next two matches would feature girls who were added last minute due to unfortunate medical situations involving Angelus Layne and Isla Dawn- Nina Monet and Christi Jaynes. Monet had a distinct feel to her and a strong sense of confidence even opposite the lovely Faye Jackson. All of that would not be enough as Faye would finish her off and move on to the second round. Jaynes would face Harlow O’Hara and while her efforts were valiant, O’Hara would also prove to be too much with a stiff kick followed by an absolutely brutal DDT. O’Hara looked on-point in both of her matches and can go with the best of them.

Jordynne Grace came in a heavy favorite no matter who she was facing, so Savanna Stone had an uphill battle the entire time. Stone is young and I knew of her heading into this, but really showed a lot of fire both with her technique and her personality and came off wise beyond her years. Grace was her usual, excellent self and even switched things up by winning with a bearhug.

The Hudson Envy/Penelope Ford match was interrupted by- you guessed it- Su Yung, turning it into a much-welcomed triple threat match. That simple tweak helped add to the show, especially the first part that saw 8 matches and no mid-show intermission. Seeing Penelope approaching them to start the match was rather hilarious- and while Su and Hudson had their main focus on each other, Penelope would make her presence felt throughout the match. Her biggest moment came with a picture-perfect crossbody off the top rope to the outside onto both Hudson and Su. Hudson would be taken out when she went knee first into the ringpost/apron, and Su would hit her Panic Switch finish for the win.

Aja Perera vs Laynie Luck would follow. Aja had just returned from Japan with a new look and tweaks to her moveset as well. Luck would still be dealing with a leg injury but braved through it for the right to be crowned winner (less than 24 hours after competing at Threat of Joy, too!). Hats off to her incredible effort on both Friday and Saturday. Luck not only looked serviceable in the ring but a real threat to the sharper-than-ever Perera, but Aja would end up victorious. My night was made when I dubbed one of her moves the “Down To Earth”, and she admitted she might use that as the official name:





Another heavy favorite heading in was Kylie Rae, and the fiery dynamo from the Chicago area came in looking ripe to the hype as she went opposite Veda Scott. Scott, a very crafty veteran with tons of experience would look to rain on Kylie’s parade and slow her down with a diverse arsenal of moves. A second rope clothesline and German suplex were a small sample of her efforts. Kylie would fight through and despite trying her best to exhibit positivity and sportsmanship, she would dig a little deeper to defeat Veda with her trademark superkick.

My favorite match of the first round closed it out as Priscilla Kelly took on Samantha Heights. I’d seen Heights back in Nova Pro a few years back versus Brittany Blake, and the progression was very evident. While a heel almost by default then, she was oozing confidence in the ring and owned every bit of her role this time around. The two put on a classic, and I don’t think I’d seen a match with so many different kinds of kicks/knees in a long time. The two used soccer kicks, bicycle kicks, big boots, sliding kicks, running knees, and more to try and win. 




Samantha went to great heights and scored the upset after a top rope blockbuster (sorry for not knowing the name). I was legitimately stunned with the result as I predicted we’d see Priscilla versus Kylie at some point (maybe even in the finals), but that’s the beauty of a tournament. In my eyes, Heights’ star was significantly brighter after the MTC.

   

SECOND ROUND



There was a prolonged break in between the shows, and I was starting to feel the entirety of the trip by then, but some fuel from the concession stand and anticipation of the upcoming bouts helped stave off any fatigue. Not knowing what match-ups I was about to see added a whole other level of intrigue.



The Irresistible Force and the Immoveable Object collided as Faye Jackson took on Jordynne Grace to start the second round. Jackson and Faye would go at it with an array of power moves, and neither went down easily. Jackson would fire up with her corner hip/rolling senton attack and it was not enough to put Grace away. Grace went for a musclebuster but Jackson fought her off. Thick Mama Pump would not be denied and tossed Jackson off the second rope and would end up winning with a second rope splash, earning the first spot in the final round fourway.



Heights would be right back at it as she would face Aja Perera in their second matches of the night. Perera was the favorite here, but Heights proved after round 1 that she wasn’t an easy out. Her star-making night continued as she weathered Perera’s superb offense and won again with a top-rope blockbuster.

Allie Kat had quite the break in between rounds but showed no rust as she’d end up victorious over Harlow with a rollup, earning her shot into the final round (a fourway match). This match was fantastic and Harlow took Allie’s best shots and dished out more of her dynamic offense before the finish. I’d seen Harlow before but came away really impressed by her showing in the MTC. This sequence between the two really shows what this match was all about:



The final singles match of the night saw Kylie Rae face off against Su Yung- likely the sharpest contrast of personalities of the night. Before the match even got started, Su was in rare form threatening everyone with a chair and plenty of nasty looks. Kylie’s reactions via facial expressions were classic. But she didn’t wither in the face of adversity- she grabbed a chair and the two had a battle reminiscent of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s lightsaber one in Return of the Jedi:


The two did not disappoint during the match, either. While Kylie had to dig deep to beat Veda, she had to find a new version of herself to take down Su. Watching that character progression throughout the night was something to behold, and an example of the great storytelling fans saw during the MTC. The two went to war and Kylie would finally win with another superkick and be the final entrant in the fourway.


FINAL ROUND

The fourway was now set: Jordynne Grace, Samantha Heights, Allie Kat and Kylie Rae. Heights might have been the smallest of the four, but it didn’t affect how she was seen as a threat to win the entire tournament. Grace was seen as a heavy favorite here, and all three girls realized early on and ganged up on her. Grace would fall victim to all three hitting their signature moves before being pinned to the shock of the crowd. A hushed whisper fell over the crowd following the elimination and The Undertaker Face was seen aplenty. Kylie made sure to key everyone in on their good job, and Allie Kat would go down next in another shockingly quick elimination. Heights and Kylie threw down and battled for the crown, and eventually Kylie would bounce off the mat with her impressive resorte and drill Heights on the chin with her superkick to win the first-ever MTC.

The crowd was off their feet in appreciation, not only of Kylie winning but the entire efforts of all the women. What we saw was something special, and Papa Hales told fans to expect a second edition to be announced at a later date.


FINAL THOUGHTS:

Kylie had a hell of a night but having not seen Su Yung in person before I came away beyond impressed with her skillset/presence. She was in FOUR matches throughout the night and never once showed any signs of slowing down. She’s petite as well but packs a hell of a fight in her and when she screams, everyone is in trouble. Post-show she had a long line of fans to greet her but was very patient and kind to every single one of them. Sidenote: love her entrance using “Change In the House of Flies)” by the Deftones.

Samantha Heights’ night has already been discussed throughout this blog, and I’m now on the edge of my seat to witness her bright future following the MTC.

Having seen Priscilla Kelly a number of times whether in Evolve, Shine or other promotions, I was well aware of her abilities. But having not seen her live in a while, it was plain as day how comfortable she is with her character and how she has a distinct way of moving around the ring. She's very athletic and her character is different than all others. Would love to see her compete again soon. 

Aja Perera seemed to be genuinely happy to be back in the States after her trip to Japan to show off what she had learned. She was a hit with the fans, and my interaction with her might have been short but I came away a huge fan.

Savanna Stone was another who stood out in my eyes. Only 18, she had recently appeared on RAW and had some buzz behind her. While she was the plucky underdog versus Jordynne, she showed her range by becoming a very bratty and entertaining heel in a spur of the moment tag match later in the night. Her presence was felt and I hope to see her pop up in more places in the future.

For Christi Jaynes to be available for the show on short notice was impressive. She kindly let the Gated Community share her table and getting to talk to her throughout the night was a treat for sure. She’s wise beyond her years and had plenty of fans stopping by to greet her all night long.

Shout out to Kerry Awful for all his hard work backstage and also helping with the ring setup, too. That guy is seriously a national treasure. 

I haven’t seen the edited version yet, but I’m certain without a doubt that Dylan provided great commentary for the entire show.

Watching all the various interactions between talent and fans, I noticed how humble each girl was and how there was no room in the MTC for attitudes or divas. I didn’t get a chance to have prolonged interactions with all of the girls but heard tons of great things about them from others. What Papa Hales and Jeremy gave us was tons of great wrestling, a unique venue and a potential to make this a new institution in the southern wrestling scene.

A long night drive was ahead of us, but the buzz of a fantastic night of wrestling helped give us some initial energy for the trek home. One thing’s for sure- Tennessee will see us again soon when The Gated Community, Squared Circle Soundoff and company return for The Scenic City Invitational!


Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know what you think: @SeanNeutron 

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rocket Launch: Morey is All In on Red

Before I begin, let me take a deep breath.

::Takes deep breath::

...Now that I found my namaste, it's all about figuring out what the hell just happened.

The short answer: The NBA's new "Super Team Era", and the Rockets' latest gamble that has launched their own new era.



And now for the long answer.

As soon as the NBA season ended with Kevin Durant hoisting the NBA Finals MVP and Larry O'Brien trophies, you could literally hear players colluding on how to build a team to counter the Goliath known as the Golden State Warriors. It's like the Power Rangers constructing a new Mega Zord to defeat the big, bad monster operating with a smidge of assistance from their GM's.

This new era didn't begin with Kevin Durant choosing the Warriors last summer. Some like to trace it back to the 2004 Lakers or the 2008 Celtics, but players had less influence on the league at that time. It began in 2010 when LeBron decided to form "The Heatles" with Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh, no matter how much he tries to deny it was a "super team". And losing 4-1 to  monster he indirectly created is how he was repaid.

Chris Paul was heavily rumored to go to the Spurs which seemed like a very natural fit and very likely to happen. It just made too much sense not to. Gregg Popovich would breathe life back into a franchise to extend the team's window to compete with the Warriors.

Then two weeks ago in an interview with Zach Lowe, Daryl Morey said, "We are used to long odds. If Golden State makes the odds longer, we might up our risk profile and get even more aggressive. We have something up our sleeve.”

Rule #1 of Rocket Club: don't doubt Daryl. Just like the name of this blog, when it comes to the NBA offseason, anything's in play for Mr. Morey.


Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon, and Chris Paul is a Houston Rocket. Instead of falling in love with the idea of being a Spur, Paul was said to be deterred by the team's focus on bringing back Tony Parker for prime minutes. Houston may have lost in an embarrassing fashion to San Antonio in the playoffs, but this at least felt like a counter punch to the stomach for Red Nation.

A team with an elite superstar who switched to point guard last season and led his team to the third-best record in the West while almost averaging a triple-double (29/11/8) signed a guy who is better than the aforementioned elite superstar at that position. And all this was AFTER three seasons of a painful guess and test with Dwight Howard, a square peg in a round hole and now a basketball vagabond. EVERYTHING went through Harden- and head coach Mike D'Antoni was fully comfortable with it...even if sitting Harden made it glaringly obvious the team lacked any other shot creators. Houston's offense seemed to click with James Harden at point guard, so why add another ball dominant player at the same position?

I will admit- I didn't favor this move as a primary focus. Yes, if Houston whiffed on Paul George and Blake Griffin, by all means adding Chris Paul would constitute a successful offseason. But imagining the pick and roll possibilities of James and Blake was quite tantalizing, and even I thought adding George was a pipe dream as his sights are rumored to be set for LA with a franchise making moves to look enticing.

But the more I settled into it throughout Wednesday, the more I thought of the possibilities. Harden would get to rest more often and not worry about who is directing the offense or creating shots. The two would likely coincide well oncourt together, as Paul would allow Harden to expend less energy trying to find his shot or creating for others, and Paul's midrange jumpers would keep defenses honest. Harden would feel less pressure to take every big shot, or answer every question pertaining to the team's success. I'm not saying he should shy away from accountability, but having another option to fall back on is quite alleviating on both Harden's physical and mental well-being.

Paul would also be a veteran presence to reign in Harden at times and his penchant for step back three-pointers, and keep him focused late in games. Last season and into the playoffs, Harden seemed to be a wild horse at times in regards to his shot selection and turnovers with only someone like Nene to calm him down and get him in check.

Another plus for Houston fans: Paul and Harden want to play together. This isn't a forced sports marriage, as Harden was said to be heavily recruiting CP3. And sure, there's plenty of time for it to go South like Dwight/James did, but at this stage in their careers and with the Warriors running roughshod on the league, I have a feeling both guys will be more open to making it work.

The downside to this deal? Paul has an option to go elsewhere next offseason if Houston doesn't work out or he simply can't play alongside Harden. It's been highly rumored since the "Summer of the Banana Boat" that CP3 longs to play with LeBron, Carmelo and Dywane. There's a lot of stars to align in making that possible, and who knows how this next season changes their minds respectively? If Paul were to leave, the Rockets gave up quite a lot to be left empty handed: Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, a 2018 top three protected 1st round pick and $661,000.

Houston does have leverage with Paul's full Bird rights, allowing them to go over the salary cap to sign him to a long-term deal worth as much as $205 million over five years.

But that is the gamble Daryl Morey took to stay competitive in the West. Why wait with an MVP-caliber star in Harden to win? That time is now, and any team with a little flexibility needs to have the same mindset. Outside of Dwight Howard, Morey struck out more often than not on players like Chris Bosh (who was ::this close:: to being a Rocket in 2014), Carmelo Anthony and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Morey wouldn't make any move haphazardly without thinking of the possibilities. By trading for Paul before July 1st, this allows Houston a lot more flexibility with the cap. Instead of making moves to fit CP3 as a free-agent, Morey cleared rooms through a bevy of trades  to arm Houston with $8.4 million for mid-level exception players and $2.3 million bi-annual exception to avoid moving more contracts around. They could also group other players together to fit another potential deal that would create another $11 million trade exception.

From the looks of it, Morey isn't finished, either. The Rockets are still in the race to acquire Paul George or Carmelo Anthony- or hell, even Paul Millsap. Having two superstars is just the kind of appealing look to players looking to play for a contender and a change of scenery. And if they were fortunate enough to acquire Paul George, having a a trio with Paul and Harden would make re-signing very likely in 2018.

While swinging for the fences, Morey's ambition is to be admired. Throughout his tenure as Rockets GM since 2007, they've never fallen under .500 (32-32 in the shortened 2012 season, 41-41 in 2015-16). He's turned over rosters and wheeled and dealed, but never fully committed to a rebuilding process or tanked for a high draft pick. Houston during Morey's decade-long reign has never drafted higher than 12th overall.

Morey's low-key summer signings (head coach Mike D'Antoni included) last year weren't glamorous- but they produced results. This offseason, Morey is bringing out the biggest bat he has in hopes of getting that ever elusive trio of max-level superstars who can come together to be a real challenge for the Warriors.

Today is the day that launches Houston into their new era, and I am all in on red.



Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fighting for the Right to Fight




“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – HP Lovecraft




As a slew of fights take place tonight in Cleveland at UFC 203, a bigger fight is taking place: CM Punk versus the world.

Many have criticized Punk (real name Philip Brooks) before he’s even stepped foot in the cage. A lot of it has to do with his lack of experience. But Punk isn’t lacking in fights. His record may be 0-0, but he’s had many opponents since his untimely exit from WWE over two years ago:

-MMA fighters
-MMA fans
-MMA purists.
-Wrestlers
-Wrestling fans/pundits.
-Multiple injuries, the biggest being one that required back surgery

HP Lovecraft’s quote speaks volumes, and encapsulates the disdain some have for what can be seen as an experiment of sorts. We fear what we do not know. If the oldest and strongest emotion is fear, then jealousy can’t be far behind.

Fighters could be jealous he’s “cutting the line” and getting a shot they think he doesn’t deserve. 

They could also be jealous he’s training at a premiere fighting camp. They could be jealous he’s lined up for an incredible pay day.

Wrestlers may be jealous Punk told a billionaire to essentially kick rocks.

And whether some people in general may like to admit it or not, they’re jealous of Punk’s freedom to blaze his own path in life.

Yet this opportunity is not unearned. The “voice of the voiceless” sacrificed his life to make his wrestling dreams come true. With that came his immense popularity, success and wealth. Those things have afforded him a chance to delve into various projects such as writing comics, take time off to be with family, and a chance to train with elite MMA coaches and fighters.

But it’s not likely that any of the jealousy and contempt bothers Punk. He’s always walked to the beat of his own drum (as evidenced by his leaving WWE at the height of his wrestling popularity), and isn’t the type to conform to anyone else’s expectations of what should or shouldn’t be possible. 

Remind you of anyone?

Brock Lesnar did the same in 2004 following Wrestlemania 20 to chase his dream of being an NFL player. He was 27 years old. While the NFL didn’t work out, Lesnar would enter the MMA world.   

Like Brock Lesnar in 2008, Punk’s mere debut will light the MMA world on fire for at least one night.

Unlike 2008 Lesnar, Punk has no amateur wrestling background or MMA experience prior to his first UFC fight.

Unlike 2008 Lesnar, Punk isn’t built like The Hulk.

Unlike 2008 Lesnar, Punk doesn’t have jaw-dropping athleticism. 

Unlike 2008 Lesnar, Punk had to cut around thirty pounds to make weight.

And what may be the most notable difference, unlike 2008 Lesnar- Punk isn’t 31. He’s 37. He’s put a lot of miles on his body, literally and figuratively by traveling the independent wrestling scene and for WWE. His “bump card” (a term used to describe the amount of punishment wrestlers take during the course of their career) has plenty of punches on it. But after dietary changes and training with Duke Roufus, Punk has put himself in the best possible position to prove his naysayers wrong.

Punk said one advantage he has is that by having no experience, there’s no bad habits Roufus had to correct. But with that comes the fact Punk lacks the experience. Gall may be a young fighter with only three professional fights, but before that comes amateur fights as well and the simple fact he has devoted his life to MMA longer than Punk has. This is no knock on the former WWE star but only the circumstances he and Gall find themselves in.

One interesting part about UFC’s recent mini documentary on Punk’s journey is Gall’s training camp casually joking about how to prepare for the Chicago made fighter. In a scene, they show how to defend against a choke-slam and a sharpshooter.

Was this to build fake tension, or is Gall really thinking Punk and the entire lead-up to this is a joke? For a fighter who begged repeatedly to face Punk, he can’t afford to take any part of it lightly. If you want to be a realist, Gall should win tonight’s bout convincingly. Punk’s desire is certainly there, but can that carry over into the fight itself?

A possibility for fans of Brooks is that he could legitimately be unconscious or be submitted by Gall. For a former wrestler who’s finishing move was called the “GTS” (Go to Sleep), that would be quite a jarring visual. But win or lose, tonight’s fight is about a man who’s taking a chance and betting on himself, something that some of us might never do. 


Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Smoke, Mirrors and McGregor




Back in March right before UFC 196, I wrote about my admiration for Conor McGregor's style of self promotion. His way with words was equaled by his unique and successful fighting style in the octagon. It's fair to say some in the fight world want to see the brash Irishman shut up. How do you do that? Normally, you silence them by defeating them. But over the last few weeks, McGregor has shown the defeat hasn't left him speechless by any means. Instead of enhancing his aura, the sharp-tongued fighter comes off looking attention-seeking and petty.

Some may see it as Conor being a self-promoter, but I see it as a distraction from the realization that McGregor will not figure out Nate Diaz a second time around.

Instead of limiting himself to just MMA, McGregor's scope of promotion has extended to Floyd Mayweather and even God himself. Now it has found it's way into the wrestling realm:

“For the most part, those WWE guys are [expletive], to be honest,” McGregor said. “They’re messed up [expletive], if you ask me. Fair play to Brock [Lesnar], he got in and fought, but at the end of the day he was juiced up to the [expletive] eyeballs, so how can I respect that?”

He didn't back away after personalities in the wrestling world came after him, either:

"What's the main guy? John Cena. He's 40. He's 40 years of age. He's walking around in a luminous orange t-shirt and a headband talking about nobody can see him. We can see him right there. He's a big fat, 40-year-old failed Mr. Olympia mother f*cker."

This isn't an exposition to scold McGregor for his lack of knowledge of wrestling. He's got his right to his opinions and freedom of speech. But for a guy who before the loss to Diaz was so quick with his wit and creative with his insults, it seemed rather trivial to challenge athletes from a pre-determined sport.

There were two possibilities. He hastily decided to insult the WWE and wrestlers around the world for the sake of it and to grab headlines. The other intention? It was designed to work all of us and open up the channels for McGregor to get a payday at Wrestlemania 33.

Whether it was one or the other, it seems once again like a way to deter eyes from the elephant in the room: McGregor hasn't improved enough since their last encounter and views this fight with Diaz as a vehice to get "big money". It's no secret McGregor scoffs at the featherweight division he is a champion of:

“It was my idea. I wanted to have my revenge at 170, and they’re crying and complaining about the 145-pound belt, which I just won three months ago. That division was killed, it was dead. Jose went down in 13 seconds. What more can I do? I traveled the world with that man. I finally got him in the Octagon, and he only lasts 13 seconds.
I didn’t see a challenge there anymore. So, I wanted to create interest from a fan’s perspective and my perspective. I want to see them two go at it, with an interim belt on the line. Then I will see people walking around my division with a belt and that will intrigue me. It will make me want that belt again.”

It was a mistake to risk his unbeatable aura back at UFC 196, and a bigger err in judgement to schedule an immediate rematch. The fact is that Nate Diaz is as accomplished at jui-jitsu as they come, and a few months of preparation won't make up for McGregor's shortcomings on the ground.

"The Notorious One" can dominate featherweights by being bigger than them while matching their speed. His advantage comes in the striking department where he can get up close and personal and influence the direction of the fight. But with Diaz's length, McGregor can't get inside to dish out his deadly strikes. McGregor may have once prided himself on his conditioning, but Diaz is a triathlon veteran with an incredibly deep gas tank. I don't see why this second go-around won't be a repeat of the first with Conor gassing out and being vulnerable to any and all of Diaz's fight-ending submissions.

The ultimate irony about the quick-witted Irishman is his unwillingness to do press appearances over the last few months. That got him into hot water with UFC management and cost him his spot on the UFC 200 card opposite Diaz. After "retiring" for a day, it was later agreed the two would meet tonight at UFC 202.

Then mere days ago, McGregor/Diaz boiled to a fever pitch. After the featherweight champion showed up thirty minutes late, the presser didn't last much longer after what I'll coin "The Battle of Dasani and Monster". Diaz was enraged and decided to leave and tossed a bottle of water in McGregor's direction. The champ was having none of it, and responded with not one but two cans of Monster flung into the audience.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but while many found it entertaining and adding to the hype of the rematch- I found it childish and unbecoming of a fighter who considers himself the best in the world and on level with Jesus Christ. 

He would later go on SportsCenter to explain his side, and it once again came off as lazy and immature (NSFW language):
To some that, too may have been a riot. To me, it screamed that McGregor has let Diaz get into his head in some fashion. 

That brings us to tonight. What happens if "The Notorious One" wins? Sure, he'll get his win back. Sure, it's more money for him and added fuel to continue fighting outside his division. But aside from him getting an amount of pride back, it doesn't accomplish much in the big UFC picture. The rematch is unnecessary from a standpoint that there was no controversy the first time around. Diaz outstruck McGregor and finished him decisively with a rear-naked choke.

Yet wouldn't a McGregor win give Diaz an argument for a rubber match? As much as one would think so, UFC despite all their posturing has shown that Conor will eventually get his way and would look to have him move on to another match-up. Diaz's conspiracy case against the UFC would only grow stronger. 

As mentioned above, I strongly believe Diaz will win again. If that does happen, does Conor tuck his tail between his legs, give up the "big fight" match-ups and stick to featherweight/lightweight match-ups? His negotiating power will severely be affected if he were to lose a second fight in a row to the same fighter. Any other welterweight aspirations will be shelved for the foreseeable future, if not permanently. 

If Diaz does win again, no amount of smoke, mirrors or spin will aid the UFC or McGregor. They'll only have themselves to blame for a situation that could have easily been avoided. 


 Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron.