Kenny Rice – “Sometimes It Comes Down to Guts”


Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley, now the Miami Heat president, laid it out strongly and simply in a press conference addressing the future of superstar LeBron James and his team. The master motivator who built the Lakers’ dynasty of the 80’s delivered the challenge to keep James in South Florida.

“This stuff is hard. And you’ve got to stay together, if you’ve got the guts. And you don’t, find the first door and run out of it.”

Whether it works in keeping a team together that has had an amazing run of four straight NBA Finals, is yet to be seen. But in this era of the ‘call out’ Riley exhibited his usual smoothness, glazed over with a disdain for giving up when a championship isn’t reached.

It had an MMA styling, with a bit more rounding of the edges. You could almost hear Dana White with expeltives thrown in directing tough love at a fighter gloom about an outcome.

Guts. The operative word of sports. We hear it from Little League on up, regardless of how far our athletic abilities take us. Even in the workplace of an over indulgent PC atmosphere, ‘guts’ to stay the course; to stay longer and work harder than the next person, is an evergreen enticer.

How many times have you been told to trust your gut? There is something about that inner voice, not always defined but a series of actions based on it that can define you.

No one wants to be gutless, which doesn’t always mean you are the toughest, or have to be. It does reflect on the character of a person to have convictions, to fail and try again; to redirect or recreate yourself at times.

Bellator made a gutty call this week, replacing the organization founder Bjorn Rebney, with Scott Coker. Coker developed the strongest threat to the UFC with Strikeforce, to the point the UFC bought him out and brought him into the fold.

Coker is a proven commodity with a track record of successes. Still for Viacom, the media power that controls Bellator, it is a decision from the gut. They have a system that is working, but not at the pace expected or needed for Spike TV ratings and pay-per-view buys. They obviously feel Coker can rearrange and refocus the course of Bellator and can separate it from the cluster of groups vying for the undisputed second rung on the UFC ladder.

Coker himself is displaying guts in taking the job. One success doesn’t assure a follow up, especially in a landscape that has dramatically changed since his Strieforce merger with the UFC.

Whether it works, like James staying in Miami, remains uncertain. But throwing down a gauntlet, challenging the status quo is the essence of sports and success. It takes guts.


Got something you’re burning on? Tell the man himself on Kenny Rice’s Twitter or Facebook page.
Watch Kennyalong with Bas Rutten, LIVE on “Inside MMA” Fridays on AXS TV!
Check out Kenny’s book “Not Hit Yet,” an insider look at the MMA world.

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