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The past fifteen years have seen MMA rise to a successful and highly promoted sport. One major reason for this is the UFC, which reigns supreme among all other mixed martial arts organizations. The UFC’s big names and stacked fight cards have made them the top dog of the MMA world. They have some of the best and most popular, fighters, promoters, match makers, cut men, and of course, ring girls. You name it, the UFC has not just it, but the best of it.

There is still hope for other organizations. Personally, I love the UFC and think they will stay on top for a very long time. However, that might not be the case as small fight promotions are starting up everywhere looking to take the crown. It will be a tough task to accomplish as the UFC has made a name for itself and is run by a guy like Dana White.

To show how tough of a task it will be, I will simply type one word—Affliction—lol. Affliction is known as a clothing line with some cool shirts and jeans that have to be making them money. They have been the favorite of MMA fans everywhere. So Affliction should stick to clothing. In 2008, Affliction thought they had a chance of being a successful fight promotion and started their own organization. The UFC then in return banned them from sponsoring any fighter under contract with the UFC. Affliction did have some big name fighters and put together some pretty hefty fight cards. For the two they actually had anyway. The payroll of the big fighters and the low income from sales led to the promotions downfall in a short stint of time.

 Dana White is a business man and knows what it takes to keep his business afloat. The purchase of the WEC by Zuffa, which is the sports promotion company that owns the UFC, made the WEC and UFC sister organizations and also boosted their exposure to a higher level with better television deals. This also made it harder for other organizations to get T.V. deals.

 There are many organizations out there that could easily rise to the top and become big. There is one particular organization I have my eye on. That would be Bellator Fighting Championship. Bellator already has an exclusive television deal with ESPN Deportes. In their second season, they expanded to NBC and FOX Sports Net and soon hope to get into pay-per-view. The organization has four weight classes but has held fights in various weight classes and even has women fighters. Roger Huerta didn’t renew his contract with the UFC in hopes of a modeling and acting career but when he did get back into MMA, he chose Bellator. With a middleweight champion like Hector Lombard, it is very possible for Bellator to become a big name organization and have people loving them.

Browns: Playoffs?!?!

Cleveland Browns fans...

This is my first of many blog posts here on TPG and I can see no other topic to discuss for my inaugural blog then my beloved Cleveland Browns. It is true that in the past my Brownies have not had the best of luck, but 2010 is going to be the year they change all of this around. Brady Quinn is gone and we have a new Czar at the reigns that goes by the name of….. Mike Holmgren. Not only do I predict that the Brownies will turn their luck around, I am predicting them to go to the playoffs this year. Am I biased? You bet your ass, I am. Do my opinions outweigh actual fact and logic? Of course…

Reason #1: Mike Holmgren

 As stated above, Mike Holmgren is the greatest of all additions to this historic team recently. It is no secret in years past that the main thing the Browns franchise lacked is leadership in the front office (along with not scoring enough points in a lot of games to get wins). And with Holmgren taking the reigns and bringing the Browns the leadership they so desperately needed, the sky is the limit. He not only wisely kept head coach Eric Mangini after a less than mediocre season, he has an unprecedented ‘nose’ for finding great quarterbacks for his prior teams. And seeing how the Browns lacked in that department after they traded QB Brady Quinn, and QB Derek Anderson, Holmgren sought out veteran QB Jake Delhomme from Carolina, and former Seahawk’s QB S. Wallace (Holmgren’s prior team where he coached). Delhomme did not have a great season last year with Carolina, granted. But I still think he has some juice left in the tank and will be a great veteran starter for this young Browns team. Wallace is a great back up and both Delhomme and Wallace will be great mentors to help mold young rookie QB Colt McCoy into the Browns future franchise quarterback. You heard it right folks…McCoy=future franchise QB. How the Browns got him in the 3rd round? Still a mystery to me, but I’ll take it! As a Browns fan I feel x10 more confident in the decisions the Browns front office is making now that MH is in charge. In Holmgren we trust…

Reason #2: Draft Class/New Players

 If you have not seen the complete overhaul of the Browns of late then you haven’t paid very close attention. Holmgren and company have essentially cleaned house. Here’s the list of notable players that got the infamous ‘boot’ before the 2010 season: Quinn, Anderson, Lewis, Edwards, and C. Williams to name a few. In addition, the Browns have added Payton Hillis, Fujita, Delhomme, Joe Haden, Hardesty, McCoy, and a few good O-lineman which we desperately needed. A rebuilding year? Yes. Out of playoff contention? I think not. Most of the players released/traded were disposable and were not up to caliber to take the team to the next level. These new additions make the Browns much more competitive, especially on the defensive side, which was absolutely horrible last season. With the additions of a possible lock down corner and safety, the Browns secondary should be very good this season, at worst much improved.. And that is necessary in the AFC North as Cincinnati and Shitsburgh (I hope you feel my discontent for this city) like to air it out. In short, teams should not overlook the Browns this season. I don’t see them as a walkover team anymore. New fantasy players to watch: I predict Payton Hillis finding the end zone many times this season. Mark it down…

Reason #3: AFC North Teams

 Cincinnati Bengals: Suck

Shitsburgh Steelers: Suck

Baltimore Ravens: Suck

 Enough said….

Reason #4: The Cleveland Curse

 It is a well known fact (even more so for Cleveland fans) that the city has not won a professional sporting title in DECADES. Needless to say the city of Cleveland knows Mr. Disappointment all too well. Here’s a fun list of names ‘disappointment’ has been labeled in Cleveland in years past: Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, and now The Decision. With all this in mind Cleveland fans still remain one of the most loyal fan bases in professional sports today (and the Browns don’t even have cheerleaders!). Year in and year out they support their teams mindlessly hoping for just one momentous championship to be returned to the city by the river. This reason has no logic as to why the Browns will make the playoffs this year but it is a shout out to all my fellow Browns fans that our time is coming, and Cleveland will forever and always be a football city. Suck it, Lebron…

 Reason #5: Lebron James

 I do realize LBJ does not play football. But the recent happenings in the past few months have bonded Cleveland fans together for the better. What better way to bond people together then to give them a great common enemy to hate, referring to the self-proclaimed ‘king’ LBJ. BUT I don’t think EVERYTHING that happened during ‘The Decision’ was bad. Quoting the great Sir Charles Barley, yes, ‘The Decision’ was a “punk move”, but I now see a more united Cleveland. One banded together for one thing and one thing only: to get the city a championship and to ‘Reverse the Curse’.  I think this football season you will witness (I’ll pause while you enjoy the irony………..) a livelier Cleveland Browns stadium. If you didn’t think that was possible….. just watch.

 And in closing….. HERE WE GO BROWNNNIES! HERE WE GO!

Every guy, of any age, knows the answer to this question: what’s the point of cheerleaders?

 Answer: Nothing. But bless their scantly-clad hearts I love them.

 At this year’s NFL Hall of Fame game, which I attended with my parents, their was a moment when the guy sitting in front of us was called out by his lady for “being too interested” in the timeout routine of the Ben-Gals. And yes, perhaps the guy shouldn’t have been taking a video on his phone while his girlfriend was scowling right beside him, but this led my mom to pose a great question: What’s really the point of cheerleaders?

 Never being one to not have an answer for something, I accepted my mother’s challenge…

 The long history of cheerleading is indisputably tied to the history of football and by looking back at the early history of cheerleading one will discover its purpose: to change those fans in the crowd from passive spectator to active participant.

George W. Bush Cheerleading

 The official birthday of organized cheerleading is cited as November 2nd, 1898 when student John Campbell directed a crowd in cheering “Rah, Rah, Rah! Varsity! Varsity!” Soon after Campbell’s super creative cheer, the University of Minnesota organized one of the nation’s first “yell leader” squads. Mind you that these early cheerleading squads were mostly all male frat boys or soon to be frat boys – I would point you to the early years of former President George W. Bush. It wasn’t until the 1920s that women started to participate in cheerleading due to a lack of female collegiate athletics. It’s no surprise that it was around this time that cheerleading began to transition from a bunch of over-privileged white dudes to the sport that we know today.

 Everywhere you find football you find cheerleading, whether it is pee-wee, high school, or college, children of all ages are given an opportunity to be part of the greatest American past time. Cheerleading has evolved into a very competitive national sport with thousands of young people from all across the country competing for national honors. Hell, colleges even give out scholarships for cheerleading now! While today’s cheerleaders may not play the same role that cheerleaders played a century ago, cheerleading is still an avenue for those who can’t or don’t want to play the most popular sport in America to still be involved.

 Those first “yell leaders” were an organized way to get fans more excited about the game they were watching. Judging by the games that I’ve attended during my life I would say cheerleading has achieved its goal– nowadays the cheerleaders are usually drowned out by the drunk 45 year old trying to give the coach advice from the upper deck.

So think twice before you bad mouth cheerleaders because if the intertwined history of football, and cheerleading teaches us anything it is this:

 To love football is to love cheerleading.

World MMA Rankings

By: John J. Kesler

We all know about Anderson Silva’s latest antics and most recent fights; the most recent of which being the amazing come-back win over Chael Sonnen. A fight in which he earned a tap out victory with two minutes remaining in the fifth round over the tired, but proven, warrior in Sonnen who dominated the entire fight.

However lopsided the first 23 minutes of the fight were, Silva remains undefeated and champion of the extremely talented middleweight division. We see that as more then enough reasoning to put him atop the list of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

Here are John Kesler’s top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world:

1. Anderson SilvaSilva never loses

2. G.S.P.

3. Fedor

4. Brock Lesnar

5. Alistair Overeem

6. Rashad Evans

7. Nate Marquardt

8. Muhammed Lawal

9. B.J. Penn

10. Ben Henderson

Following right behind Silva in the pound-for-pound rankings is the world famous heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, who is also near the top of the UFC heavyweight rankings. Fedor cannot be the heavyweight champ many people believe he should be unless he decides to accept a fight against the current champion.

 

Heavyweight

At the top of all the heavyweights in the standings right now is Brock Lesnar, who seems unbeatable since his first loss at the hands of Frank Mir. Lesnar is currently waiting on the next top heavyweight contender the UFC decides to throw at him after putting away undefeated top-contender Shane Carwin, in a fight which was Carwins’ longest of his career.

 

Light Heavyweight

In the light heavyweight division the belt is currently occupied by UFC champ Shogun Rua. Personally I don’t believe that will last too long with the up comer and my personal favorite for over a year now, Jon “Bones” Jones. Jones is rising quicker than anyone can believe and is already ranked fourth in the weight class.

Coming in at eleventh on this list is Muhammad Lawal; a fighter I think has massive potential. Although I don’t believe anyone outside the UFC can or should be at the top of any rankings, I do believe this guy can make his way up a little farther than where he’s at now.

 

Middleweight

As mentioned previously, the middleweight class is currently dominated by the champion Anderson Silva, who has bragging rights to almost anything in the UFC these days. We just think Silva is simply “A Bad dude.”

 

Welterweight

This brings us to the welterweight division where we have the champ, GSP, who seems like he will be on top forever. St-Pierre is an all-round fighter who always seems prepared to defend his title.

A new person in the number two spot is Jon Fitch who just defeated Thiago Silva, and is ready to fight for GSP’s belt. Going down the list a little further, but not one to forget, is the 14th ranked welterweight Carlos Condit. I’ve seen all three of Condit’s UFC fights, and I am ready to see how he fairs against his next competitor Dan Hardy; who comes in on the list five spots ahead of him at nine.

Lightweight

In the lightweight rankings we still have B.J. Penn at the top of the rankings despite his recent loss, and title loss to Frankie Edgar, who is currently third in the standings. The lightweight champion is third in the rankings???? Simply put, I think Penn has his belt back at the next opportunity.

 

Keep an eye out!

Despite this man being ranked twenty-eighth in the rankings, I can see W.E.C.’s champion Ben, or Benson Henderson, moving his way up the standings quickly and easily making a move to the sister organization U.F.C and being an immediate force. There are my rankings for all the weight classes that have fighters tough enough to make their claim as “pound-for-pound champion” of the octagon. As always, thank you for reading our blog and check back regularly for more of the best MMA coverage on the web along with breaking news and upcoming events.