REASONS TO WATCH MONON BELL; TOUGHEST FIGHT IN NY; STUPID COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONTRACTS AMONG OTHER THINGS

REASONS TO WATCH MONON BELL; TOUGHEST FIGHT IN NY; STUPID COLLEGE FOOTBALL CONTRACTS AMONG OTHER THINGS

–Kenny Rice

This Saturday the 119th Monon Bell, a classic Division III rivalry, is renewed between Wabash and DePauw and can be seen live on AXSTV starting at 1 PM ET. If you are not familiar with this storied gridiron clash, I borrow from one of Indiana’s most famous sons by offering a Top Ten list to tune in:

10. It’s just fun to MOE-non

9. How many times can you watch a team (Wabash) named the Little Giants on TV?

8. It’s the only rivalry where the crowd (11,000 plus) is more than triple the combined enrollment of both schools

7. They play for a 300 pound bell from an old locomotive

6. DePauw is co-ed, Wabash is all male

5. After 118 games Wabash leads the series by only 3

4. Nobody is trying to impress NFL scouts; they actually worry more about studies

3. Greencastle (DePauw) and Crawfordsville (Wabash) rock Monon weekends

2. It’s so intense the crowd is assigned to only their side of the field

1. A chance to hear the great Paul Maguire talk football for three hours

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Chris Weidman is almost a lock to get a UFC middlweight title shot if he beats Tim Boetsch December 29. Of course, the same can be said of Boetsch, in a fight that is a career maker for each man.

But at this moment Weidman is skipping training. There is a much more imminent fight in New York. Not the kind he had always hoped for if MMA was ever legalized in the Empire State. Hurricane Sandy almost wiped out Weidman’s house in Baldwin Harbor, Long Island. He sent us picture of the mud-splashed rooms, the peeling wallpaper and the overall havoc that struck him and thousands of others in the area much harder than any punch ever could.

As of earlier this week he was making a daily trek to his parents’ house because they had electricity. He doesn’t – and like most everyone in that situation, has no idea when it might be restored. As far as help – again like most everyone – it’s basically up to him to clean up what he can and try to restore some semblance of the house pummeled by wind and sea.

“No way I could train this week,” Weidman said. “Taking care of my family is the main thing now. I’m trying to stay focused on that but still looking to fight on the (December) 29th. I will get back in training soon but that’s not the reality of this moment.”

Weidman said it could take “four to six months” to get the house back in truly livable condition. He has applied for FEMA assistance but hasn’t heard from anyone there as of this writing.

All good wishes to Chris and his family and all those who are enduring a terrible situation. Along that line it is impossible and inappropriate to ever compare what charity is best, what situation is worse, but in seeing the pictures from New York and New Jersey and talking with several friends there, it is a Katrina-like problem that (much like that one) seems to being taking a long time for real help.

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Derek Brunson seems like a good guy. He’s a mid-level fighter with Strikeforce who has become a forgotten man after two straight cancellations by that organization. He wanted to try out for The Ultimate Fighter, went there out of his own pocket to do just that while his fighting was in limbo. But then he learned he couldn’t. He came home, he could use a few bucks because he isn’t being compensated by Strikeforce or Zuffa and there is no promise he will fight on the January card if there is one.

But the lesson learned and one every fighter in similar situations must understand, Brunson was going on what he was being told, promised, what someone else had been allowed to do. There was no signed deal allowing him to try out for TUF. Sports are businesses and certainly MMA is right there. If there isn’t something on the dotted line that can be shown in court if it would come to that, there is no such thing as a verbal deal that will stand up.

Get it in writing. Sad but true no matter what agents or promoters or friends are saying, if you don’t have a contract, you don’t have a deal.

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I wish the NHL would bring in Maximum Fighting Championship guru Mark Pavelich to gather owners and players in a room and close the door. He played the game, his uncle and father are revered in the hockey world, and Mark just has that no-nonsense approach that ruffles and riles but gets things done – as he has shown by making MFC the largest show in Canada.

I know it’ll never happen and is wild thinking, but it is frustrating to see how every time the NHL gets on a roll picking up TV deals with NBC and growing an audience in the U.S. they have a lockout. It might take some MMA striking to wake everyone up. Being in LA the night the Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup had all the excitement of the Lakers winning the NBA title.

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The Electoral College has never received a vote in the BCS Standings. Must be the weak schedule.

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Speaking of, just a feeling if everything stays the same as of now among the top 4 ranked teams, Notre Dame will play Alabama for the national championship. It’s just too enticing of a TV match up to overlook and let’s face it – that’s what the BCS is all about anyway, making money. A real attempt at having the top 8 teams playoff would be easy and obvious but would cost them the big bowl games’ support and dollars the NCAA covets.
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The Breeders’ Cup is two days of almost every top racehorse in the world gathering to compete in various classes of gender, age and distances. It’s akin to an Olympics for horse racing, given the nature of the sport annually instead of every four years works perfectly. The races usually offer a clear look at who is the best horse, and the best in their respective classes. The only drawback, it’s a bountiful weekend for horse fans but difficult to find a crossover audience with all the necessary explanation as to why each race has significance. Other than of course the fastest will win.

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All these mediocre or flat-out lousy college football teams who are firing their coaches now or will soon, should also take a look at the athletics director and board members who approved these ridiculous long term deals. Coaches are walking away from doing pathetic jobs and getting multi-million dollar buyouts. Never is incompetency rewarded so generously. Add to it the local media hacks who praise these coaches for sticking around for their final games. Of course they will – they are the smartest ones. Failures who get paid.

Bet if the AD and boards were punished by forking over some of their salaries they wouldn’t be so anxious to give unproven head coaches such lucrative back end deals. Or give discounts to parents who have to pay increased tuition every other semester to help good ol’ State U. stay financially afloat while making decisions Economics 101 would not endorse.

I’m not naive about a coach not signing anything other than a long term (as long as they can get) deal. But when an assistant or a head coach either moving up to a bigger conference or trying for one last hurrah demands more, it’s simple–don’t give it to them.

It should be an agreement for extended years based on performance, like everyone else has in their jobs. Say a deal is 5 years. Two is a given usually before anything would kick in. After that in year 3 it should be based on percentage. If the coach can’t win a third of the games and gets fired, he gets a nominal buy out, less than six figures. If after year 4 he hasn’t won an “x” amount of games he gets nothing, and so on. It’s how all of us have to work.

Some coaches are walking away from unequivocal failure to the tune of a half-million dollars or more per win. Three years is the litmus test – by this time you know the direction the program is moving in. How can someone unproven or trying to advance to a higher level ever be in a position to demand deals? How can athletic directors allow this when there are always –always– a dozen other similar candidates for the job? It’s just stupid.

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Hey, another reason to watch the Monon Bell: their coaches don’t get these stupid contracts, they actually have to produce on the field.

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Watch Kenny Rice along with Bas Rutten LIVE every Monday night on Inside MMA, and check out Kenny’s new book “Not Hit Yet” an insider look at the MMA world in 2012, available at Amazon now

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