Jeff Fisher Must Go

Today’s performance convinced me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a wholesale change is needed (yet again) for the St. Louis Rams. As early as four weeks ago, I would have bristled at the thought. However, after witnessing what can only be viewed as a horrendous offensive effort of massive proportions surpassing even the ineptitude of the Steve Spagnuolo era, there’s no doubt in my mind a house cleaning is in order.

It is amazing how many wrong decisions this Rams organization has made for YEARS in all areas of football. We watch as divisional teams surpass the Rams. We watch as other teams, despite obstacles and limitations, still manage to play relevant football in December. We watch as teams hire guys like Bruce Arians and Mike Zimmer, who turn programs around. We watch as other teams somehow find a quarterback that can stay healthy and/or be productive enough to help their teams win consistently. As I’ve said before, you’d think the Rams could at least have a winning season ONE YEAR by at least sheer accident.

This is what happens when you hand over the keys to the Kingdom to one guy, who obviously has limitations when selecting offensive personnel and has an even greater inability to surround himself with good people who can. The result is an unbalanced team on whom you place tremendous pressure to compensate for the other, deficient side of the football.

Being undefeated within the division (a stat that will change in a week) is irrelevant if you can’t beat teams outside the division. And having a Todd Gurley means nothing if you can’t pass the football to keep defenses from stacking the box.

The ultimate danger sign on any sports team is regression. And you’re witnessing it in spades with the St. Louis Rams. It should (rightly) spell the end of any coaching regime, especially after four years of running things.

Ronda Rousey’s Two Biggest Problems

Boxing and emotional immaturity.

Ronda Rousey is an Olympic level judoka. Not a boxer. She’s always had poor boxing, a wide, winged stance that opened her up for punches and a striking style that never looked good, even though she knocked out Bethe Correia back in August. In the past, she’d walked through a couple of punches she’d take against low level opponents that weren’t really adept in striking only to judo toss them to the mat and set them up in an armbar.

So, then, why is it that she tried to stand and box with a world class boxer, something I believed she’d have the wherewithal not to do?

Ronda’s absolute belief in herself amalgamated with her absolute domination of everybody seemed to put her in a pretty clear position mentally, and this gave her the irrational confidence to think she could stand and box with a multi-time boxing champion.

Confidence. It’s the food of the wise man, but the liquor of the fool.

“Nobody has the right to beat me.” ~ RR

This is a woman who apparently has her alarm/phone wake her up with messages like, “Hello, beautiful” or, “You’re the best, champ” or other things in the same vein, just to start her day off in a positive way. She needs an overt positive message like that. She needs something OUTSIDE of her own head to happen and be said to help keep her positive.

This is a woman who apparently sunk into a heavy heavy depression when she only got bronze medal in the Olympics. The game she talked was as big as any game anyone ever talked. Her self-confidence and arguable arrogance was absolutely through the roof… and all the while it was under constant positive reinforcement by her coaches, fans, the media, and even UFC brass. “Once ever”, “biggest star in the sport”, “she could beat men”, etc.

The way she screamed, “Nooo!” after realizing what happened when she woke up, the way she was so thoroughly dominated, the way she rushed out of the cage, and the way she is hiding her face from media… Observe.

I don’t want to say she is mentally unstable or that she has a lot of issues, but she has a ton of conditions and circumstances in terms of the type of personality/mentality she had compounded with everything that came with her success.

This loss just seems like it might be one of the most devastating and damaging losses in recent memory, not even just in terms of the physical beatdown that she had never even come CLOSE to receiving before, but in terms of how it impacts her mentality.

A lot of signs seem to be pointing to this being the type of shit that changes someone. As in, maybe her career very well be divided into clear “Before Holm, After Holm” sections.

That air of invincibility is what some people need to excel.

Michael Jordan had it, Arnold Schwarzenegger had it, it’s what drives some prime competitors.

Is it a desirable personal trait? No, but it’s what moves some people to greatness.

I’ve been wanting to post this excellent video for years, and now I’ve finally found the right time:

UFC 193: Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm/Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau


Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm
It’s difficult for me to give a shit about this fight. It should be Rousey vs. Miesha Tate III. I know, I know, Rousey pretty much detached Tate’s arm in their first fight and then judo tossed her around five billion times in the second fight, but in between those judo tosses in the second fight Tate tagged Ronda with plenty of shots, and let’s not forget that Tate is the only opponent to ever take Rousey out of the first round (they went for three).

Holly Holm has looked like utter dogshit in her two fights in the UFC. Let’s forget about the fact that she’s a former world class boxer, because her opponents were never up to snuff anyhow, and let’s focus on her body of work in MMA. She has no ground game, and while she is expert-like in her boxing, it hasn’t looked so crisp in the UFC, and it’s not like she’s faced opponents of a high caliber, either.

Regardless, I think Ronda is going to toss her to the mat within the first three minutes of the fight and take an arm for yet another submission win. I know that’s the consensus, but I can’t help but say it. I doubt Rousey is psychotic enough to even think about standing up and striking, toe to toe, with Holm. That would be suicide, given Rousey’s pedestrian striking abilities. Prediction: RR by first round armbar.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau
JJ (I’m calling her that, because spelling her name each time is too laboring for no pay) is my favorite women’s fighter in MMA. I reckon she’s a way better champion than Ronda in terms of personality, fighting skill, likability, trash talking, etc. I genuinely love watching Joanna’s methodical Muay Thai beatdowns, and this will be a showcase fight that could possibly help her become a much bigger star after getting that Rousey-push (being on the same card as RR). Prediction: JJ by third round TKO.

Todd Gurley and the Rams

I’ve been busy as hell, staying bearded (inside joke) and staying caffeinated along the way with the brand new flavor of VPX BANG, “Sour Heads” (shout out to Jack Owoc and the crew for the new creation).

The St. Louis Rams are 4-3 and Todd Gurley has rushed for over 100 yards in four consecutive games. He’s the talk of the town in the NFL and has made quite a few Rams fans forget about Steven Jackson. Watching the Rams torch the FortyWhiners this past Sunday was glorious. SanFran benched Colon Crappershit in favor of Blaine Gabbert and ensuingly traded that whiny, little dunce-muffin Vernon Davis* to the Denver Broncos. I wish the FortyWhiners would have the wherewithal to trade Anquan Boldin to the Rams, but beggars can’t be choosers.

(*I have no reservations about bashing Vernon because he’s never been a team player. He’s like the less talented, poor man’s Randy Moss of tight ends. He plays well when the team is winning and his play diminishes when the team is losing. His body language is different in both scenarios. According to longtime fans of his, he was this way in both high school and in college. Fortunately for him, and Broncos fans, Denver is a winning football club, so he should show his Dr. Jekyll side rather than busting out Mr. Hyde, hence why he’s a whiny, little dunce-muffin, whatever that means.)

Nick Foles has been so-so, but then again, anytime a new quarterback hops into a new offense — unless you are Drew Brees in 2006 — it takes time to adjust. Gurley has instilled a breath of fresh air and life into the Rams’ offense, something that’s been missing for years. Tavon Austin has also came out of his shell and has been a big difference maker this season.

I still believe Jeff Fisher is practically content with the Rams being mediocre, and that they’ll finish at around 7-9 or 8-8, just like in recent years. Make the playoffs, damn it. It’s been eleven seasons.

Nick Diaz has Been Banned for Five Years by the NSAC

After 48 hours, is something old news?

Regardless, a couple of days ago Nick Diaz, one of the most decorated mixed martial artists out there, was banned from fighting for five years by the NSAC (Nevada State Athletic Commission).

For anabolic steroid use? No.

For using ‘illegal’ methods to win fights? No.

What is it, then?! Did he murder somebody?!

He smoked marijuana and had trace elements of the ol’ reefer in his system. This was his third offense, and it netted him a 5-year ban.

“Now, wait here a minute! This was his third offense, and he should have known better! He deserves it!” I hear plenty of critics spewing that line.

I have a big problem with all of this. First and foremost, third offense or not, Nick Diaz did not use a performance enhancing drug. A banned substance (imposed by the NSAC)? Absolutely. Five years, though? Read that a few more times: five years?! Diaz is only 32-years-old, but he’s been fighting professionally since 2003.

Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine metabolites back in January, and he never faced punishment for it. (Apparently cocaine is not termed a banned substance by the NSAC). Jones, then, back in March, was directly involved in a hit and run with a pregnant lady, and he even fled the scene. Yeah, he was stripped of his light heavyweight title, but the UFC nor the NSAC truly reprimanded him. (But he was stripped of the title, you might say. Well, yeah, but that’s that. That was more of a publicity stunt to say, “See! We aren’t padding our pockets by protecting Jones!”

Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz fought back on January 31st. Post-fight drug results revealed the failed test for Diaz. Well, Silva was tested, too, and he popped for three different anabolic steroids. Hmm… he was only suspended a year that was retroactively made effective in January, which means he’ll be eligible to fight again come January 31, 2016. “But it was his first offense, Troy!” Three different roids? And, y’know, Silva lied about using them, before blaming the use on “sexual reasons”. Heh. Sure.

The NSAC has effectively retired Nick Diaz, and that sucks.

I won’t claim to be a big time Diaz fan. I’m not. However, he was involved in one of my all-time favorite fights with the Fireball Kid, Takaonori Gomi, from Pride 33 in February 2007. The upcoming 12 minutes and 25 seconds are absolutely worth your time:

Diaz didn’t just win vs. Gomi. No. Diaz starched the spirit out of him. The Fireball Kid was known for his outstanding powerful striking and do y’know what Diaz did? He outboxed Gomi with volume, a relentless barrage of precise punches, and Diaz left him stumbling and sucking air at the end of the first round.

In the second round, Diaz added insult to injury by luring Gomi into a submission that practically nobody ever uses in MMA: the gogoplata. It’s a choke that involves the shin bone and is considered, by most, to be pretty impractical compared to more run of the mill submissions like the arm bar, triangle choke, or the rear-naked choke. Diaz pulled it off, and he made it look easy.

I really hope this isn’t the end of Nick Diaz’s career. He’s been a major asset to the MMA world.

The Rams. (2015)

Nick Foles has moxy.

He took off running a couple of times in today’s win vs. the Seattle Seahawks. Both times, I said aloud, “Don’t get hurt… don’t get hurt” because that’s the narrative the last few years with a certain former Rams quarterback. He stepped into the endzone once and tossed a touchdown pass late in regulation. Tavon Austin scored a pair of touchdowns — one rushing and another on an impressive punt return that saw him avoid running out of bounds. Props to running back Benny Cunningham for playing his heart out.

Two fun facts: before today, Russell Wilson’s teams had never lost in overtime before. Speakin’ of Russ Willy, he’s faced the Rams seven times, and in those seven games he’s been sacked 31 times. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to write #Merica or #Rams here.

I was still pissed off, though. The Rams couldn’t tackle worth a damn at times. They were up 24-13 in the fourth quarter before allowing Seattle to score 18 unanswered points. The Rams also turned the ball over three times (fumbles) in the second half alone.

As a fan, I can’t complain, especially compared to the product I’ve been viewing since 2005.