Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend reset: Mark Hominick has a big lump on his face

Go vote† today and really show those terrorists who's boss.

The picture over at Deadspin pretty much captures it all. Mark Hominick, the Thamesford, Ontario native, fought against Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight championship at Rogers Centre on Saturday, and came out a little worse for wear.

That said, Hominick certainly won some people over. He was decimated in the first four rounds, but had Aldo, regarded among the top three pound-for-pound fighters in the world, on his back and taking abuse in the fifth round. Unfortunately, Hominick wasn't able to close the deal and lost via unanimous decision 48-45, 48-46, 48-47. For a fighter in a division that hasn't gotten much exposure in the past, he certainly turned some heads. Hominick spent the weeks leading up to the fight throwing out the first pitch for the Blue Jays and signing an endorsement deal with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He really integrated himself into the Southern Ontario sports community as if to become a fixture for years to come, and, at 28 years old, there's still plenty of room to move up. The fight with Aldo also earned him "Fight of the Night" honours which comes with a $129,000 paycheque.

In the night's main event, Georges St.-Pierre, the Montreal native, held onto his UFC welterweight belt with an effective victory over challenger Jake Shields, who won two rounds over GSP, the first time St.-Pierre has dropped a round since August of 2007. St.-Pierre won 50-45, 48-47, 48-47 which is a score that doesn't really reflect the fight. It was close, but St.-Pierre controlled the pace despite not going for early or mid-round takedowns, opting instead to stand with Shields rather than grapple on the mat with the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. St.-Pierre also took a jap to his left eye in the second round which restricted his vision, and he was overheard on the microphones between rounds saying he couldn't see out of it. He pressed through, as, this is a man who fought through a groin tear in a fight against Thiago Alves two summers ago.

What's next for GSP is a bit of a mystery, as there has been speculation for years that he'd move up to middleweight to face Anderson Silva in a superfight between the two most high-profile UFC champions, but UFC President Dana White suggested that the fight could be against Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz. The Diaz fight is more likely, as the UFC would not want to lose the lustre of one of its biggest stars by guaranteeing a loss for either St.-Pierre or Silva, although the fight would indubitably be the biggest in the history of MMA and would be this generation's Ali/Foreman.

On that comparison note, Stephen Brunt published a lengthy, well-written essay in The Globe on Saturday on the decline of boxing. It's far more than a look by an old-guard journalist at how 'the game ain't played like it used to be' but this paragraph in particular caught my attention:
Someone like Georges St. Pierre is indeed iconic, but in a single dimension, contained entirely within the sport and its marketing machinery. No one in this sport – or in any other sport for that matter – will ever carry the political and social heft of an Muhammad Ali, or a Joe Louis, or a Jack Johnson. We consume sports, and sports heroes, in an environment of cynical brand awareness. Celebrity athletes tiptoe around any issue that is remotely politically or socially controversial, committed only to their own commercial enhancement. And none of them, however successful in their own games, can be what was the Heavyweight Champion of the World, because no title equals that – not even what is now the heavyweight champion of the world.
That's if you live in a fantasy land where athletes who are socially conscious are supposed to be an exception, and not the rule. Most boxers in those days, as hockey players and baseball players, were drinkers and smokers and fornicators, just as they are today.

Missing from the week, just because he wasn't on the Olympic team, doesn't mean Vincent Lecavalier doesn't like beating Russians, the Toronto Blue Jays are trying to steal too many bases, and, though it falls outside the realm of hoserism, we at the Eh! Factor urge you to tune in to the start of the Philadelphia/Boston game tonight, where you may hear the greatest rendition of God Bless America ever.

† But don't tweet any results. That could net you five years in prison

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