- In MMA circles, UFC 101 was a generally lackluster showing, even overshadowed by the events of WEC 42, featuring a spectacular knockout of Miguel Torres by new WEC Bantamweight Champion Brian Bowles, ending Torres' 17-fight win streak and reign as king of the division. I anticipate that similar to Urijah Faber, Torres is back in contention for the title within the next 12 months.
More surprising was the news coming out recently that UFC welterweight Tamdan "The Barn Cat" McCrory and middleweight contender Thales Leites were cut following loses in UFC 101.
Dana White wasn't the only one surprised when it was announced that Tamdan McCrory and Thales Leites were cut. I think a whole lot of MMA fans, including myself, were also taken aback.
McCrory, who is 3-3 in his UFC matches, has looked much improved over his last several fights, and lost a tough split decision at UFC 101. I would have likely been surprised even had it been a unanimous decision. I believe that McCrory still has the potential to be more than just a gatekeeper in either the welterweight, or the middleweight division that he anticipates on moving up to.
Leites, on the other hand, has looked sketchy in his last two fights which resulted in losses, including the much-discussed defeat to Anderson Silva. Still, he sports a 5-3 UFC record, and deserves at least another match or two in my eyes.
I doubt either of these two ever hold any gold in the UFC in their careers, but they're at least worthy of billing in the promotion, if not at least as better than average fighters.
- Meanwhile, onto some prep basketball. Why are sports fans coming down on Jeremy Tyler so hard?
The 6'11" forward Tyler, who would be a senior in high school this year, made the decision to skip his final year in lieu of playing for a top flight Israeli team for $140,000. Is it because in this time of economic downturn we're envious of him making more than double what most Americans do in a year, in a position that most probably don't even enjoy?
I'm not going to pretend to make judgments about Tyler's coaches or level of competition, because frankly I don't know too much about them. But I have seen elite talents come through Detroit, i.e. guys like Malik Hairston, who were overqualified playing city ball for their respective teams. How many high school teams have 6'9" or 6'10" centers that are worthy of competing at a high level of competition outside of teams like Oak Hill and the sort that travel and play the most competitive schedules? Would Tyler really gain that much if he's as good as rankings and the statistics say he is?
Tyler is travelling to a situation that, suffice to say will give him a heavy dose of diversity, is also going to present him with an opportunity for better coaching, better competition, and a different style of play. AND he'll be making about two times the average college student's tuition over the course of four years. What is the argument here again?
We've yet to see how the Brandon Jennings experiment turns out. Financially, if Jennings saved all he had, he'd be set. From a professional baskeball success standpoint, I think teams are going to be sorry that they let the former Arizona signee slip all the way down to the 10th overall pick in this year's draft.
Call Jeremy Tyler one of the first to make this type of leap, one far less risky than most people are making it out to be. But I highly doubt it will be the last.
- Lastly, I have to say that things are looking very interesting for baseball fans in the midwest, particularly in my AL Central.
Division leaders in Detroit have to be worrying about this, but secretly are envious. How could they not be? True, Rios contract is over market value by several million per year, but wouldn't Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski have claimed him with the money that they're paying to Magglio Ordonez right now? In what area would that not be an upgrade, hands down? It's tough times here in Detroit, but I've been saying all along that Chicago is the front-runner with a more reliable bullpen, and a deeper lineup. Now that Jarrod Washburn has turned back into a pumpkin and Chicago has added pieces, they become a vehemontly better representative of the division in the playoffs.
As for my lovable losers in Kansas City, help seems to be (eventually) on the way. The club agreed to terms with third round pick Wil Meyers for a hefty $2 million, more than five times the recommended money. Myers was considered by some teams worthy of a pick in the first round. Fourth-rounder Chris Dwyer is reportedly close to signing, and the pitcher may be awarded the biggest bonus for a fourth round pick ever at around $1.5 million. Big spending, but when first round pick Aaron Crow signs, the Royals may be looking at one of their best drafts in recent history.