Repealing the 8th, social media and extremes

Today we are getting controversial.

I won’t talk much about the ins and outs of repealing the 8th amendment of the Irish constitution, this blog is about each side of the debate, their similarities and their differences.

Before we get started we should arm ourselves with some knowledge. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighth_Amendment_of_the_Constitution_of_Ireland

Wikipedia may not be the bastion of truth, but it’s a good place to start. Read the above and then ask Google for more.

The context of this blog is twitter (@nkeegan if you’re adding). Someone (no names mentioned) tweeted that ‘I’m not an advocate of designer abortions by any means but our archaic laws put women’s health at risk physically and mentally’. I liked the tweet; I think it puts forward an honest viewpoint from someone who sits in the middle of the debate. Twitter being twitter, this didn’t go down well. Not the overall message but the use of ‘designer abortions’ in the sentence. While it may not have been the best choice of verbiage, the overall caring and empathetic tone of the tweet is what sealed it for me.

Now we come to comparing of each side. Now, I am comparing the far side of each side. Most of us are rational, thoughtful, caring and willing to discuss the topic in an attempt to understand each other as human being. The others are not. The ‘prolife’ side (does that mean I am pro death?) complain about media bias and not having the chance to have their message heard. The prolife side say that they are bullied and harassed online when they view their points publicly.

Remember, this is the extremes of each side.

As for the prolife side. I have been having a vigorous twitter back and forth with the prolife campaign twitter along with the person who lets them tweet for her. No need for names. This woman has been on nationwide radio more than once complaining of doctor pressuring mothers into abortions, pressuring families into abortions and complaining that she is not being heard. When challenged, she retreats to ‘choice equates to pressure’, which is another fallacy. She is yet to come forward with the names of the doctors, or confidentially report them to the Gardaí. This is why that side is not taken as seriously as their point of view should be.

I suppose that’s the point isn’t it? Both sides are 100% valid in their points of view. I respect you, whatever side you are on, whether I agree with you or not.

Then we come to the prochoice side. This is the side that backlashed against the above tweet. Instead of taking the tweet in its intention, she couldn’t get past the poor choice of wording.  No matter how many times I said that we all agreed and we shouldn’t be arguing with each other, she persisted. This is a side of the prochoice campaign I do not like. I am not saying anyone is pretending to be offended, I am saying that it serves no one in doing this. It doesn’t move forward anyone’s agenda. She wanted everyone to agree with her on her terms. That is not how society works.

People are looking to be offended, and it shortens the chance of legitimate debate. Without debate we will never fully understand each other and if we never understand each other we may as well not communicate.

In closing, I hope I didn’t offend anyone. That was not my intent. I respect all of your views and hope to discuss them with you via social media like adults. Please do share this with people on both sides.

Hug those you love

Tolerate those you done

And listen to everyone

 

Bad business, UFC using pro wrestling and the countdown to McGregor v Diaz

Another week on from the craziest UFC event (in terms of drug test failures) and a week closer to the next biggest card of all time, that being UFC202.

In between the two there is a lull in the events. More bad decisions from Holly Holms management, mixed with her complete loss of confidence have pushed her outside of the contenders list for the women’s bantamweight strap. That has been the biggest headline aside from the Lawler v Woodley smash fest that comes up this coming Saturday. I am picking Lawler for that one, I think Condit would beat him and if ‘The Natural Born Killer’ wins his next fight, we will have a rematch. UFC using the pro wrestling business model here and crossing all of their fingers again. Both fighters win, then the rematch sells itself. They have tried this regularly. They wanted McGregor with beat Diaz and then walk into a super fight (maybe with GSP) at UFC 200. That fell apart due to, it being a sport and no matter what they try, they cannot control anything in the Octagon. They have been feeding Sage Northcutt a few cans in an attempt to boost his profile and win streak, but Sage is too young and too inexperienced to take advantage. As an aside, I think Sage gets far too tough a time. He is young, very talented and is learning every day. If he can get the right people around him he will be top of the sport for years. If he doesn’t then he will keep losing to fighters he should beat.

But enough of that. Let’s start talking about the big one. McGregor v Diaz 2! UFC 202 August 20th in Las Vegas. I am already far too excited. Both camps are making the right noises. Both fighters are saying the right things and we are already on the edge of our seat. This event will draw more than the 1.2 million PPV buys that UFC 200 did. So with the money taken care of (the 2 fighters should still get more than they are being paid, but they won’t be short a euro afterwards), let’s talk about what will happen.

For Diaz, he is coming in with confidence. He knows he can hurt McGregor and hit him if and when he wants. He knows that on the ground, he is in charge. He went into that fight with a 2 week camp, took a hammering and didn’t take a backwards step. Seeing his own blood won’t stop Diaz. Hard to see what more he can do. This time he will be sharper, fitter and more confident than before. He is being treated like a start by the UFC which is another positive for him.

Stepping into the McGregor camp is slightly different. Baring in mind that this is coming from the couch and not the actual camp. He is coming in after being dismantled on the ground. Conor knows he can make Nick bleed, but that didn’t help in the last fight. He threw some serious punches that mostly connected and opened up Diaz. But Diaz didn’t move. What does that do to the psyche? I have been training with monsters that take my best shot and stay upright, it’s a frightening prospect. I know there are talks of better camps and less movement coaches, Conor is the better fighter but it’s all about what happens between the ears.

I am picking McGregor, that is mostly based on my green tinted glasses. Diaz is a monster.

 

I can’t wait

 

@nkeegan for more.

Golf, the Olympics, Amateur Status and Arrogance.

Today we take a complete right turn in terms of sport. We go from the testosterone fuelled (according to USADA) world of mixed martial arts to the calm and relaxed world of golf. A game that has driven more people to alcohol than mortgage repayments.

Golf in the Olympics has been in the news lately, various tour chiefs have spoken out about the mass exodus of top players from the Olympics in Rio this year. Today we will talk about the arrogance on some people along with looking at the other side, how a professional athlete deals with being asked to go back to an amateur competition.

It all starts with Rory McIlroy and the pressure he was put under to pick a side. We need to remember that he was asked to pick a side (tricky to begin with considering our little island) for a competition that he hadn’t pledged to compete in. A competition that no business advisor would advise him to play in. Eventually he chose Ireland over the UK and the storm died down for a little while. The Olympics was a long way away at that stage, it was put on the back burner by McIlroy LLC.

As we get closer the pressure began again. Rory decided to bow out. This opened the gates for other top players to back out. The Zika virus was blamed by all. While I back any player wanting to not take any sort of risk to their health, the Zika virus was not the main reason for backing out. It was a handy excuse.

Let’s look at the Olympics as an event. The athletes stay in the Olympic village, share rooms, are told what to do, where to be along with having to wear the team uniform 24/7. A team uniform that may not be your own sponsor. This just doesn’t work with professional golfers who have their every whim catered to, especially the top players. When Rory (and this is not just about Rory) wants something, his team or wherever he is staying will move mountains to get it for him. And rightly so, he is the money generator in the business that is Milroy incorporated.

How do you take an athlete like that and put them into the Olympics. Whoever came up with that idea is arrogant, naïve and downright stupid. In an attempt to ‘grow the game’ they assumed that the top players would fly to Rio, stay in the Olympic village and do what every other athlete would do.

It just makes zero sense.

Amateur athletes spend their lives attempting to get on the podium in the Olympics. That is what Katie Taylor has spent her life doing. While Katie is a company in her own right, she is protected because she was an amateur athlete when she signed with Adidas and Lucozade. Those companies knew that she was going to compete for Ireland and she would be wearing New Balance uniforms etc. at the event. That is the difference. Nike didn’t sign Rory under the assumption that he would be wearing another companies gear in front of millions of people. That is a mistake that Nike wouldn’t make.

This is just another piece of pressure on the professional athlete.

When we get to the bottom line, what is in the Olympics for Rory McIlroy? He never grew up yearning for that gold medal. He grew up wanting to win the Masters. Why would he put himself in the position to be uncomfortable? You and I might think ‘why wouldn’t he want a gold medal’, but we are not in his position. We don’t have Nike and others watching our every move. Rory is an industry, that doesn’t match the Olympic ethos.

I agree with his decision not to play.

For golf, it should be in the Olympics. It should be the final stop for the top Amateurs before turning professional. The 4 year cycle works perfectly. The walker cup players make it in, and then there would be worldwide competitions for the rest of the spots. It lines everything up perfectly. It gives amateurs another target and it grows the game.

 

But the powers that be have an arrogance about their sport that makes them look childish.

 

As usual @nkeegan for debate

 

Until next time

UFC 200, Emotional Rollercoasters, Beasts and Underestimation

So now it is time to exhale. Last week was a roller coaster of emotion in MMA and the relaxing of this week is like an ice bath after training. It feels strange but good.

I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t stay up. I was training on Saturday and was on the verge of full on body failure so I was in bed early.  I did watch UFC 200 first thing on Sunday morning and here are my thoughts.

Aldo looked like he was back to his best. He physically looked near his best (cough cough) and he dealt with Edgar on every level. Edgar was coming in off a winning streak and was at the top of his game. You could see that he felt like it was going to be a different fight to their first. He tried, but was just a level below Aldo. Edgar is a great fighter but Aldo is elite. As an aside, the picture of McGregor standing up watching this fight was amazing. No one in the arena was telling him to sit down. I remember watching the dark knight in the cinema and someone stood up in front of me, I had no problem telling them to sit down. Safe to say it wasn’t Conor McGregor.

That rematch will be epic. Aldo feels good, but he also knows that it can be over in an instant with that left honey punch from Conor. A lot of questions, firstly how is Conor going to drop all of that weight to get back to 145? More on that in the months to come.

DC attempted to put the weekend from hell behind him and step into the cage with the greatest fighter of all time *who got popped for steroids and erection pills. Anderson Silva is fantastic. Even with no training he scares everyone. Always fantastic to watch. DC did what he had to do and won fairly handily. The tide was turning slightly when Anderson stuck his big toes in between his mid ribs, but that was the third round and too late. I do not understand people booing DC, it is ridiculous. He is a champion who took a fight that 99% of people wouldn’t take. I would like to see this fight with both fighters having a full camp. It would be a great one.

Then we had Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt. Captain concussion versus the beast. Hunt didn’t look his normal self coming out and then the lights went out and enter sandman blared over the speakers. Brock had a look on his face that was similar to the look he would have if he caught you slapping his wife on the bum. He was ready to go. I had forgotten how fast Lesnar was/is. That first take down was as quick as any bantamweight fighter. Unreal from someone so big. He bossed round one fairly easily. That surprised everyone. Round 2 he got tired. Stayed at distance and got through the round. In the third he got on top again and made a sound that was just horrific while punching Hunt on the head while on top.

With that win, Brock has become the most valuable fighter / athlete / wrestler in history. He now writes his own cheques in 2 companies worth in excess of a billion dollars.

Then it was time for the main event. Tate v Nunes. Tate looked like she didn’t want to be there. Nunes looked like someone with nothing to lose. You could tell that this was the way it was going to go. Tate had an awful weight cut that involved her having to do a nude weigh in (something I have been known to do even while on weight). Nunes was always going to start quick and fade, the question was, and can Tate handle the initial onslaught and grow into the fight in the later rounds? The answer was no. Nunes put a beating on Tate which was amazing to watch. The punch choice was spectacular, the consistency of her attack was fantastic and Tate has zero answers. I think Tate thought this would be easy, this explains the bad weight cut. With this, Tate has ruined at least 2 massive paydays for herself.

The lesson from this, at every level, never take an opponent lightly.

So now it’s time to relax a bit and keep calm until UFC 202. I imagine that there will be ups and downs until then.

 

As usual @nkeegan for debate

Until next time.

Fights, Failures, Fragility and Legacy

So, have you heard any news lately?

If someone came up to you and said that the main event of UFC200 is off due to a failed drugs test, you wouldn’t believe it. You wouldn’t believe that a fighter would be so stupid as to put themselves in a position to cost them a frightening amount of money, a world title and most importantly (in this case) the bragging rights of beating your biggest rival.

But that is exactly what has happened. Our favourite constant mistake maker, Jon Jones has been served with a potential USADA test violation 3 days away from the biggest fight of his life. Most have just written it off as stupidity, but I think there might be something more to this. Before we get to my theory, I used to think that potential violations shouldn’t be made public. But after research, a potential violation follows a huge amount of testing on the sample. They announce it when they are 99% sure. This is the same as the Chad Mendes failure 2 weeks ago.

Now, to my theory. Do you think Jones really wanted this fight? Do you think that maybe Jones felt so far away from his best after the OSP fight that he was looking for a way out? He is not stupid he is far from stupid. His team know exactly what is on the banned list and what is allowed. He is more tightly controlled now than ever, and yet this still happens. I think that Jones wanted a way out without losing to DC. I think he knew he was going to lose if Cormier was fit. He had seen the huge improvements in the champion since their last fight; he had seen the wars that DC went through, and that along with seeing his own skills diminish he wanted a way out without losing.  In his mind he still has a win over the champ and hasn’t been beaten by him, this will be the next thing he says. After the fake press conference where he talks about mistakes, asks for forgiveness and promises to be back, he will be putting up instagrams espousing never losing to Cormier.

I am gutted for Cormier. This was his moment to exorcize his demon. The one blemish on his record. He knew he was in a position to do that. The work was done, the weight was made and it was all for nothing. The mental aspect is the biggest worry. How will this let down affect him? This was his moment and it was taken away from him.

The money aspect isn’t an issue. If he was due to get $4-5 million, he will get that from the UFC down the line somewhere. But who else can he fight? Who is the next in line?

With that out of the way, we have Lesnar v Hunt. The beast versus captain concussion. Hunt can stop a Volkswagen with his right hand and Lesnar can…….what can Lesnar do? He is a genetic freak, he is an elite athlete and if this was the Middle Ages we would all be cutting his grass. But in terms of MMA, what is he? At 39 he is not as quick as he was. He isn’t as strong as he was. His technique wouldn’t have improved as he hasn’t had a proper camp. That along with the break from the cage puts him in the cross hairs of defeat. If he charges across the ring, Hunt will snap him. If he tries to keep Hunt away with a big paw, Hunt will walk through it and snap him.

As much as I want Lesnar to win, I just don’t see how he gets the W.

Either way, I’ll be sneaking around my house like a ninja watching the event. They have my money!

@nkeegan if you want to debate, shout or discuss the above.

Until next time.