No city has been the butt of more jokes than Cleveland. Some even told by famous son, comedy legend Bob Hope, who actually moved to the city from England as a boy.
As a sports town, few rival Cleveland for loyal albeit frustrated fans. But 2016 has at last brought respect to the city by Lake Erie.
LeBron James is perhaps as revered now as football icon Jim Brown, who led the Browns to the 1964 NFL title, the city’s last team championship in a major sports league until the James led Cavaliers past Golden State for the long hoped for NBA crown in June.
The Cleveland Monsters took the minor league hockey championship of the AHL this season.
The Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948, but they are playoff bound leading the American League Central Divison.
The person who started this sports revival will be in action Saturday night in the same arena LeBron has made famous. And just like with King James, Stipe Miocic the UFC heavyweight champ, will play to a packed house at Quicken Loans Arena.
When he upset Fabricio Werdum May 14, a month before the Cavs title, it was Miocic who brought this city it’s first championship in decades, a good month before LeBron was cutting down the nets.
During his open workout to non-stop cheers Wednesday in preparation to defend his title for the first time against Alistair Overeem, he smiled at the mention his win got the proverbial ball rolling.
“I’m just excited for Cleveland, all the teams and these great fans. It’s an honor to be defending the title in front of them.”
Of course he knows well the underdog going into the champ’s home and taking the belt, as he did in Brazil almost four months back.
“I don’t worry about that happening, there isn’t added pressure because of it.” Miocic says between shouts from the well wishers gathered around the tent set up on the plaza in front of the arena known as “the Q” where the workouts were held.
“I’ve gone into every fight feeling I’m the underdog throughout my career. That feeling hasn’t changed for me. I plan on taking that into the fight and winning for myself and my city.”
Cleveland is famous for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While the inductees are enshrined here, the official ceremony and now famous all-star jam is held in New York. Miocic has KO’d the Hall. His star power has brought UFC to Cleveland for the first time.
As another famous Clevelander, Drew Carey, once said “Cleveland Rocks.” Miocic has made it rock again as this year’s City of Titles.
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