NBA General

Odds and Ends: ESPN finally makes itself useful

ESPN sucks. There’s hardly any redeeming features to the slow ass bloated website or the retarded programming but we finally found something that’s worth using over at “.com.” The Trade Machine allows you to propose a trade between up to 4 teams and the website will figure out if the trade will work from a salary standpoint and point out any clauses that might negate the trade.

For example, if you want to test the trade that Peter Vecsey is claiming might happen between the Pacers and the Lakers, you could put in Jermaine O’Neal for Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. But the resulting trade would fail because “the Lakers are over the cap, and their incoming salaries are greater than 125% plus $100,000 of their outgoing salaries. They need to cut $10,405 from the incoming trade value to make this trade successful.” With all the trade rumors flying around, it’s fun to see if it even makes sense salary wise.

In other news…

[Sportsline]: Prosecutor: Informants say they can link Vick to dogfighting

[Can’t Stop the Bleeding]: Florida A&M basketball coach arrested for stalking a woman

[The Big Lead]: So this is why UFC can’t market Rampage Jackson

[The Offside]: People really need to stop thinking up new sports

[The Golf Blog]: Michele Wie is kinda useless

And finally, a random story about a woman who is suing Wal-Mart because she slipped in a puddle of vomit. Investigators don’t know how to proceed because you can’t really dust for vomit.

LA Lakers

Odds and Ends: Isiah Thomas to offer next 10 first round picks for Kobe

Now that Kobe Bryant has officially asked to be traded from the Lakers, the multi-million dollar question is: where to? It’s fairly amusing the fan reaction to the Kobe demand. On on hand, you have Bright Side of the Sun which basically says no way. On the other, you have which is trying to figure out how many players they’d need to ship to LA to even out Kobe’s value/salary. And then you have The 700 Level which is asking whether Philly fans want the prodigal son to return.

Nowitzki for Kobe seems to be the most logical trade. You get superstar for superstar and you could move some minor pieces to make the contracts work out. The only problem is that Mark Cuban is hopelessly in love with Dirk. Kobe just made the pre-draft period 100x more interesting.

In other news…

[Enquirer]: Odds on when Barry will hit 756*…

[Sac Bee]: But when he does, Barry Bonds might not give any memorabilia to the hall of fame. No wonder why everyone hates him.

[Sports By Brooks]: Getting knocked out and practically ruining UFC didn’t stop Chuck Liddell from partying

[AdFreak]: Is ballpark advertising still effective if an outfielder is lying unconscious in front of it?

[Our Book of Scrap]: You can party in Cozumel with the Broncos cheerleaders

All Other Sports

Countdown to UFC 71: Chuck Liddell vs. Quinton Jackson

The UFC spent a whole lot of money to pry Quinton “Rampage” Jackson away from Japan’s PRIDE Fighting
Championships and now it’s time for Jackson to earn his money and show off his skills in front of an American audience as he competes for the world light heavyweight belt against “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell.

Rampage has been making his living overseas for some time now and he has built up a Godzilla-sized reputation as one of the baddest men in the world when inside the ring with a 26-6 record that includes 12 victories determined by either KO or TKO. One of his most notable wins came against The Iceman back in 2003 when Jackson threw him hard to the mat and unleashed a barrage of punches that caused Liddell’s corner to throw in the towel. That was the last time that Liddell lost a match.

Since getting pummeled in Tokyo, The Iceman (20-3) has ripped off seven straight victories, won the light heavyweight championship and avenged two (Randy Couture and Jeremy Horn) of his three career losses. Oh, and he whopped some guy named Tito Ortiz’s ass…twice! The only measure of professional revenge that Liddell lacks is a victory over Rampage.

Jackson loves to get a hold of his opponents and slam `em on their heads but Liddell has such an excellent defense against the takedown that this will probably turn into a Liddell/ Ortiz style of stand-up fight. And since both of these guys have tremendous power in their hands and chins made of concrete, nobody will complain about an all out slugfest.

Unlike the debacle that was Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, this fight will be exciting. The Iceman always puts on a show for the fans and he almost never lets the judges decide his fights; in fact, it has been nearly five years since one of his bouts went to the cards. We love Rampage’s entertaining style, both in and out of the octagon, but he doesn’t always perform to his best against the elite competition; just look what happened against Wanderlei Silva (twice) and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Liddell is on top of his game right now and not even a monster of a man like Jackson is going to knock him off his MMA throne.

Prediction: Liddell wins by TKO

The weigh-in will be broadcast live on ESPNews at 3:50pm PT/6:50pm ET on Friday


[]: UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson

All Other Sports

Countdown to UFC 71: Terry Martin vs. Ivan Salaverry

You might not recognize the name Terry Martin right off the bat, but you are probably familiar with some of his work. Like this performance, for example:

To say that Martin has struggled in the UFC would be an understatement but the guy does have an overall record of 17-2. Unfortunately, those two losses came on the biggest MMA stage in the world and neither of them were what you would consider to be pretty losses. But the guy did deliver a TKO to Jorge Rivera in 14 seconds at UFC 67. However, while Martin is blessed with some fierce fists that are as heavy as bricks, he lacks the all-around talent that is crucial for UFC success. That’s exactly what makes his match-up against the well rounded veteran Ivan Salaverry so interesting.

Salaverry has an overall record of 12-4-1 but his UFC career has been up and down, which means this could be one of the last opportunities for an aging Salaverry (36) to move up in the middleweight ranks. Throw in a little smack from Martin during a recent Q&A and we have all the makings of a great brawl.

Q: Thoughts on upcoming opponent, Ivan Salaverry?

A: I’m gonna knock `Billie Jean’ out.

Q: Why is Billie Jean his nickname?

A: Because I looked at him fight and he dances around the ring.

Prediction: Martin wins by KO


[]: UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson

All Other Sports

Countdown to UFC 71: Josh Burkman vs. Karo Parisyan

Josh Burkman is an up-n-comer in the welterweight division but he is going to have his hands full with UFC veteran Karo “The Heat” Parisyan. With a 24-4-0 record under his belt, Parisyan is one of the best fighters to never make it into the championship spotlight but with a victory on Saturday he could become the number one contender for Matt Serra’s belt. And you know that Parisyan is just dying to step back into the octagon with Serra again after he defeated the now champ, then chump by unanimous decision at UFC 53. With Diego Sanchez finally losing the first MMA fight of his career, Josh Koscheck is the only welterweight who could challenge for the title shot. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves with all this title talk surrounding Parisyan because Burkman (or as he’s known on the streets: “The People’s Warrior”) is going to be looking to throw a monkey wrench into those plans; after all, he’s no greenhorn with an impressive 19-3 record to go along with some mad wrestling skills to combat Parisyan’s judo know-how. But in the end, we just can’t see Burkman putting out The Heat like white hot superstars Sanchez and Georges St. Pierre did in the past.

Prediction: Parisyan wins by decision

And if things don’t work out for Karo then we think we might have found an excellent rebound opponent in one Reggie Warren.

Prediction: Parisyan wins by KO


[]: UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson

All Other Sports

Countdown to UFC 71: Kalib Starnes vs. Chris Leben & Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine

Are we the only ones who are sick
of this guy?

If you are like us then you can’t wait until Saturday night when Chuck Liddell takes on Quinton Jackson for the world light heavyweight championship belt. So, in preparation for the big fight, we are going to be conducting a bout by bout rundown of the card for UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson.

Kalib Starnes vs. Chris Leben

In the battle of the reality TV stars, former participants in The Ultimate Fighter, Kalib Starnes (9-2-1) and Chris Leben (16-3-0) will hook it up to see which loser can beat the other loser. Both of these guys annoyed the hell out of us during their tapings of the show but we have to admit that Leben’s red hair and crybaby attitude had us a little more riled up. As in we were wanting to hop in the octagon with the guy. Still, he’s a tough kid who can throw a hell of a punch and he’s had nearly five full months to recover mentally from a pair of beatings that he received in ’06 that included a 49 second KO from the current milddleweight champ Anderson Silva.

Starnes is a well rounded fighter who can box, wrestle and go jiu-jitsu on your ass. He might be able to stand up with Leben for a while but he’ll have a much better chance of trying to get past “The Crippler’s” sprawl and taking the fight to the mat.

Prediction: Starnes wins by submission

Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine

We gotta admit that we know basically nothing about Houston Alexander other than he appears to be a brawler who goes 6’0″ tall and is 35 years old with a record of 6-1. But we do know about his opponent, and he has been on an absolute tear in the UFC of late. Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine has a 12-3-1 record in the world of MMA and has gone an impressive 4-1 in his UFC bouts. His most recent fight was against the UFC’s favorite up-n-comer Forrest Griffin who he TKO’d in the first round of UFC 66. Jardine can brawl with the best of `em but, in addition, he has some excellent kickboxing skills to go along with it. Throw in the fact that he’s accustomed to being in the UFC spotlight while it will be his opponent’s first time in the big league and it all adds up to a decided Jardine advantage.

Prediction: Jardine wins by decision


[]: UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson

All Other Sports

Can the UFC finally KO boxing for good?

ESPN rode the Oscar De la Hoya/Floyd Mayweather fight for as long as they could and now that the “fight of the century” has turned out to be the biggest waste of $55 since the last “fight of the century” it looks like the mother ship is ready to give the UFC some love. You know, the same Ultimate Fighting Championship that has been criticized by the world of “legitimate” sports news for years now. Well, ESPN doesn’t care about having a consistent approach to their professional beliefs; no, they are concerned with getting ratings and selling magazines. And that’s why the Iceman Chuck Liddell will be on the cover of the May 21st issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Could this be the push that the UFC needs to become a regular fixture on Sports Center? Will we soon be hearing Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt trying in vain to be funny as clips of Tito Ortiz and Matt Hughes performing some ground and pound techniques roll during the voice over? Only time will tell, but one thing we do know is that professional boxing is losing steam with every 12 round, snooze fest, split decision that comes down the road. So, it’s no coincidence that ESPN has jumped onto the UFC bandwagon just as one of the most anticipated fights in recent history comes rolling around.

UFC went out of their way to lure one of Pride’s best fighters over to the U.S. and on May 26 at UFC 71, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will take on the light heavyweight champion, and current ESPN cover boy, Liddell.

We happen to be huge fans of the whole mixed martial arts scene here at Sportscolumn and, frankly, we don’t understand why it hasn’t moved past being considered a fringe sport long ago. So it’s no surprise to us that the UFC is on the verge of blowing up to mainstream proportions, and UFC President Dana White knows that his company can provide something that no boxing promotion has been able to do for quite some time, and that is have a fight that lives up to the hype.

Saturday night is what pisses everyone off,” said White. “It’s crazy. It just drives people further from boxing. You get one fight for 55 bucks. One fight for a $2,500 ticket. You get people all excited for the buildup and then the fight ends up sucking. Both guys try to outpoint the other and win a decision.”

“In the UFC, we give you eight or nine fights, they’re all good, and the guys are fighting their asses off trying to finish it. There’s tons of energy.


[]: Liddell, White have it covered

All Other Sports

Cro Cop goes to sleep after getting blasted by Gonzaga

The UFC brought Mirko Cro Cop over from Pride for one reason, and that was to be a top contender for the heavyweight title. Well, the hopes of having the newcomer match-up with current champ Randy Couture took a serious step back on Saturday night when Gabriel Gonzaga delivered a wicked right kick to that head that shockingly sent the UFC’s latest investment to the mat for a nice long siesta. In addition to shocking the world, Gonzaga grabbed a title shot against Couture in the process. Now we’ll see if Gonzaga can pull two rabbits out of his hat or if he had just the one trick up his sleeve.

What’s even more impressive about Gonzaga’s KO was that he used Cro Cop’s favorite weapon against him. If you thought Gonzaga had a nice high-kick, check out Cro Cop’s fierce feet of fury. His hands aren’t too bad either. Another video of Cro Cop after the jump.

All Other Sports

Shaving another man isn’t gay right?

We can imagine the questions asked by UFC fighters Mark Coleman and Wanderlei Silva before agreeing to do a Shick commercial for Japanese television:

“This is definitely not airing in the United States right?”
“I only have to shave his… face… right?”
“Can there be a UFC Fighters are not gay disclaimer?”
“How much are we getting paid?”

God bless the Japanese and their crazy commercials.

[Ad Freak]: Ex-UFC fighters in a shave to the death