2-1 (or really 3-1) on the crystal ball fights

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At least Nunes won.

But so did that roided shell of a human being.

3-1 on crystal ball fights for me.

Yeah I’m taking the Donald Trump prediction as 2 wins. Especially after the equal parts elation-sadness with the fights last night.

Fine, I’ve lost my undefeated record.

But at least I got realization (which is the point of human existence if you think about it).

MMA, like politics, is seeped in bullshit, greed, and toxic masculinity.

It is an obsession I think I’m over.

Like any addiction for me I’ll never ever fully let go of MMA, especially the training part (and the pre fight press conferences).

But the misogynistic, racist, predatory machinations of promotions like the UFC? Gotta keep from supporting crap like that.

Good thing I believe more in the anarcho democracy of information access in today’s internet age over capitalism I guess.

After all, I have a mortgage to pay…

[Check out my previous post if you want to know what the fuck I’m talking about here.]

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The moral, ethical bankruptcy that is the UFC – a psychosocial deconstruction of the UFC 232 Pre-Fight Press Conference (and predictions for Jones-Gustaffson 2|Cyborg-Nunes)

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[Published hours before UFC 232]

First off, as a test of mind against the chaos machine that is life, I’ve decided to use my personal blog occasionally to test my crystal ball skills.

I’ve done this before when I predicted, in May 2016, that Donald Trump would be elected president, further giving 9 scary reasons why. So I have a crystal ball fight record of 1-0, aiming to make it 3-0 in one night. (Though the Trump prediction was so bold and big at the time that I feel like I deserve to have a 2-0 record. But whatever.)

This time around, instead of politics, I’ve decided to go with another sociological obsession of mine – mixed martial arts, or MMA for short. And I’m predicting seriously against the odds. So if MMA’s not even marginally your thing, you might not be interested in this piece. But who knows? Maybe something about it will tickle your fancy.

Regardless, you do you.

Getting back to it…For the layperson, MMA is a combat sport – usually taking place in a cage but occasionally in a ring – that incorporates stand-up striking with punches, kicks, elbows and knees, as well as grappling, both offensive and defensive, on the ground and against the cage, with strikes incorporated whenever possible. MMA is essentially as close to a school yard brawl as you can get with rules and settings that favor bigger, stronger fighters (though, I do believe volume striking with great defensive grappling and a gas tank that can go on for ages is the future of MMA, which, with even a slight tweak in the rules can even the playing field between weight classes).

The Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC for short, is synonymous with the sport, not because it isn’t a reprehensible organization run by a reprehensible individual, but because it has the largest brand-name value in the current wild, wild west first few decades of the sport.

And yes, despite the fact that it’s a morally, ethically bankrupt organization (more on that in a subsequent point), I’m drawn to the sport like a moth to a flame and thus to whatever matchups I can access via shady Reddit stream links replete with NSFW ads.

UFC 232 takes place tonight (December 29th, 2018). In the main event, the sociopathic maniac who leaves his entire soul in the cage leaving an empty shell to walk the rest of his time on earth, Jon “Bones” Jones, takes on a rangy Swede, Alexander Gustaffson, going by the rather to-the-point nickname “Mauler” – for the UFC Light Heavyweight World Championship. Jon Jones is undefeated, considered by many to be one of the greatest fighters ever, and a heavy betting favorite at somewhere around -300 in the latest odds. In the co-main event, for the women’s 145lb featherweight world title, 135lb pound bantamweight champion, Amanda “Lioness” Nunes (one of my personal favorites, and also the first openly queer MMA world champion – completely under promoted by the misogynistic and racist Dana White in my honest and admittedly sharp opinion) goes up a weight class to take on Cris Cyborg, an absolute beast of a champion at 145lb, whom many consider to be the greatest female fighter ever. Cyborg is almost as much of a favorite as Jones is at -260 betting odds.

I predict that both Gustaffson and Nunes will win tonight. They will both be very, very close fights, likely great fights, and will both be won by the underdogs.

I’m laying my undefeated prediction record on the line for two predictions that both run against the betting odds (for the uninformed, heavier negative odds means a heavier favorite. Any fighter at -200 or lesser is considered a heavy favorite.)

I am of course, just having fun here and am more than happy to take the 1-2 record to my crystal ball bouts. But I’m just making some points for predicting against the odds; points that I’m straight pulling out of my ass.

I’m going by the age old adage of fighting being 90% mental and 10% physical, them being professional fighters and thus as close to each other in terms of physical preparation, as can be done in this age. All four fighters seem to have access to great training, and seem ready. I’m utilizing the pre-fight press conference as well as videos, interviews etc. as the most recent, kinda stressful events they have to go through to see who has the mental edge, and thus the fighting edge.

So here goes:

(1) The pre-pubescent sociopathy that is Jon Jones is matched by the pre-pubescent megalomania that is UFC prez, Dana White. Ok, this isn’t a great reason for Gustaffson winning, but let me just get this out of my system. It’s out. I’m not gonna dwell on it cos the UFC, White, and capitalism in general assigns value only on profit and couldn’t care less about humanity. They’re scum and they often don’t care if their star fighters are scum. Rant over. Onward.

(2) Jones is a nervous shell of a person, incapable of being a genuine human being and surviving on pure id. That shit eventually crumbles. Maybe not this fight. But eventually It will. It has crumbled all around him except in the cage where his outrageous physical gifts, talent, grit, and hard work keep the shell intact. But no fighter can just be a fighter, for it is nothing more than an identity. They have to be human beings whether they like it or not.

(3) His opponent seems chill, eager to fight, and focused on only what he can control. Whatever little information I’ve been able to glean from UFC Embedded videos, pre-fight press conferences and the like, Gustaffson seems chill and ready to rock. Even when the UFC pulled the outrageous stunt of moving the entire card on a week’s notice from Vegas to LA because the Nevada State Athletic Commission wouldn’t license Jones after he tested positive for steroids yet again (yeah, the dude’s a cheater in addition to being a fake-ass sociopath), Gustaffson seemed to just focus on getting what he wanted, a fight with Jones, and not on shit he couldn’t control. A fighter with that kind of a mindset is a dangerous fighter.

(4) I just want it to happen, both Gustaffson and Nunes to win, which is why I’m kinda spell casting here. I don’t really give a crap about Gustaffson as a fighter, I just want him to defeat Jones. Fuck, I want Jones to lose so bad so he can be less of a sociopath that I’m actually rooting for the white guy here. With Nunes, I actually want her to win. I think she’s a phenomenal and completely under-appreciated pioneer in the sport whom history will treat very kindly. I saw the same mental and energy differences with Nunes-Cyborg as I saw with Jones-Gustaffson, albeit with less intensity. Nunes seemed calm, ready to go, embracing the underdog status, while Cyborg seemed just a tad more under pressure.

But who the fuck knows, amiright?

Regardless, a change in my crystal ball record awaits in another few hours

I’ll follow this with post-fight post…all for myself and the larger universe…therapeutic blogging and dreamy shadow boxing.

PS: Ok, gotta get this out of my system too – Fuck the misogyny and racism in MMA…it makes the sport shittier by allowing scum like Dana White to rise to the top.

PPS: Up is probably on of the best animated movies out there on positive masculinity. I realized that as we saw it, as a family, for the fourth time last night.

Training Diary – on the difficult lessons of honorable manhood

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Sadness is always ok.

Fear is to be accepted.

Frustration is but a part of this noble grind called life.

Anger, so easy to deploy but so very dangerous, must be used as nothing more than fuel to defend love, justice, and higher knowledge.

But never to hurt.

Or control.

That is one of the struggles towards honorable manhood that dismantles the patriarchy.

(The earthen green goddess will help with the rest)

***SUSAMMAN VAZHGAI***

***RADHAMMAN VAZHGAI***

***KALIAMMAN VAZHGAI***

Training Diary – manhood, family, and MMA.

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My heart has been stolen by this most glorious and visceral sport that is MMA. I am truly quite grateful for it’s existence and my ability to access it in multiple forms.

And I often ask myself why?

Combat sports are without a doubt the closest we have in the sporting world to brute self realization.

And with that comes a brief glimpse into a larger realization of personhood…who we are deep down.

MMA is my guilty pleasure because it can sometimes provide battle theatre for the noble struggles of life itself.

Fatherhood and domesticity asks similar questions for myself.

Who am I as a man and a human being?

What am I made of to take on the struggles of tomorrow with as little whining as possible?

What do I stand for and what am I willing to die for?

***Kaliamman Vazhgai***

Training Diary – Time to be grateful again

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While on the job yesterday, I was inadvertently and fortuitously reminded that I had a lot to be grateful for.

It’s been a while since I put it out there and I know it’s a practice that helps deal with life’s tougher times. Since my training is just as much about balancing mind and spirit with heart and body, it feels like it’s time to be grateful again.

I am indeed grateful for the life the goddesses have blessed me with. For while life’s struggles will always present themselves from now till the end of time, I swim in an ocean of love while dealing with those struggles head on…

Every day I’m reminded of just how lucky I am when I see the brilliance of my partner’s soul, the glory of my daughter’s spirit, the impishness of my cat’s being.

Every day I am in awe of the plenitude of our first world lives even as I navigate the guilt of wallowing in it with nary an understanding of poverty or hunger.

Every day I live with the unbearable truth that tomorrow it could (and indeed, eventually will) all come crumbling down to the never ending march of time.

So I guess I’m grateful for the timelessness of today.

Kaliamman Vazhgai

Training Diary – When the poisons start upsetting the balance

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Dang, when you work full-time as a grunt for your city’s school district while navigating life as a bumbling family man, daily workouts occasionally present themselves as a challenge.

Motivation is so very easy to lose.

More pertinently, numerous daily poisons always present themselves as such easy aids to help deal with the struggles of life.

It’s always a tricky act, maintaining that balance.

Occasionally, the poisons start upsetting the balance.

Coupled with an injury, it’s enough for a person to take stock of lofty, but undying, athletic goals.

And focus on the more immediate, and likely far more important, goal of finding balance in life again.

Training Diary – when our inherent fragility sucker punches us

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Threw my back out this morning.

Not badly, but still.

It really sucks.

A combination of trying a new workout two days back with a ground ‘n’ pound bag, shitty hydration, daily poisons (of course), the sudden onset of below freezing weather in Minneapolis (thanks climate change), and a shitty nights sleep had me get that humbling, literally breathtaking, twinge while I got up wrong from the couch this morning after my morning coffee.

It’s healing better this time around (seems to be an annual thing).

But I get depressed when I don’t train and get soft around the midriff.

So I decided to slow dance to music with some defensive movements inspired by kalaripayattu (look it up if you care). I could only manage about 15 minutes. Really all I wanted was to just confirm to myself that despite the shortness of breath, the ribs getting tightened, and the clearly torn muscles and tendons of my middle back…that I could still move with a moderate amount of grace and confidence (helps with defense I feel).

And I daresay I might have just found another workout. A physically less stressful one for sure, but one that actually requires more focus on breathing and balance due to the temporary fragility imposed on my back.

It still doesn’t justify the beers I’m going to swig or the ciggie I’m going to smoke to numb the daily demons.

But whatever…at least I drove away fear for a brief moment.