On July 19th the O2 in Dublin will host a UFC event for the first time since 2009, with Dublin’s Conor McGregor touted to headline a card featuring other Irish fighters who have plied their trade on the European circuit’s Cage Warriors over the last few years, desperate to break into the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion.
In the organisations first visit to Ireland in January 2009 the total gate at the o2 was a reported 9,369, with Dublin’s Tom Egan the only Irish representative on the card. Five years later and it’s anticipated that roughly double that amount will attend this July with McGregor, Paul Redmond, Neil Seery, Paddy Holohan and Aisling Daly all expected to compete in front of their home fans. Cathal Pendred and Chris Fields would almost certainly feature too, were they not currently starring in the UFC’s reality series The Ultimate Fighter which will begin airing on BT Sport this week.
After typically protracted negotiations, endemic within the highest levels of boxing, George Groves finally signed the contract to fight Carl Froch for the WBA and IBF super middleweight titles live on Sky Sports News last Friday and put an end to speculation that the most highly anticipated rematch in British boxing since Benn-Eubank in 1993 would not happen.
Despite the irritating and shallow “reporting” by Sky Sports, particularly when it comes to boxing, the rematch should deliver on its promise. The first fight last November was a highly entertaining spectacle, with Groves dominating for the first eight rounds before being controversially stopped by referee Howard Foster in the ninth.
I’ve been asked by this site’s editors to write a piece on the NFL AFC championship game from this past weekend. Initially I was thrilled, as I believed I could reveal my critical, play-by-play breakdown of the game. However I came to the realisation that the casual observer may become restless reading an article loaded with technical terms, hypotheticals which no one could answer and a general “anorakish” feeling to it. I have decided to ignore all my previous knowledge of the technical aspects of the game for the benefit of the readers. Let’s get to it, shall we?
‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.‘ Bill Shankly, 1981.
As medics attempted to resuscitate Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba out on the turf of White Hart Lane, fans of both sides were faced with one of those moments they genuinely dislike. It was one of those moments that forced them to admit that they are humans first, sports fans second and that Shankly’s assessment, witty as it is, simply doesn’t hold true. Today, as sportsmen and football fans of all allegiances continue to show their support for Muamba, Australian football fans of all colours are united in mourning the loss of one of the most colourful and inspirational characters to grace their sport, or indeed any sport. On the 20th of March 2012, Dublin born AFL legend Jim Stynes passed away.
With the recent ban handed down to the best stage racer since Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, the question posed by most people when talking about cycling is “Are they still all drug cheats?”. The short answer is “No”, but there will always be those who think they can get away with cheating no matter what the sport. Such is the pressure to perform and win consistently that is put on top riders especially by sponsors, errors in judgement are inevitable. At least the days of team-wide systematic doping are over and anyone who has been caught in recent times has admitted to doing so alone and without the knowledge of team staff.
When Eli Manning announced at the start of the season that he was in the same class as Tom Brady, I assumed he meant that they were in the same cookery class or something along those lines, but this was not so. When asked if he felt he could be held in the same regard as a Quarterback like Tom Brady, Eli answered with 100% conviction that indeed he believed he could be. No matter what your opinion on Eli Manning is as an NFL Quarterback, you’ve got to feel for him, as he will most likely be forever known as “Peyton’s brother”. Living in the shadows of one of the greatest Quarterbacks of all time must be tough, especially when, even with a Super Bowl ring, he still can’t shake off that tag. Peyton Manning, four time NFL MVP and one time Super Bowl Champion and MVP in 2007, missed this entire season through injury and still all people wanted to talk about was his future and recovery rather than Eli’s own season with the Giants.