Friday, June 10, 2016

Sports this 'n' that

They are laying Muhammad Ali to rest today, one week after he passed away at 74 after a 30+ year bout with Parkinson's Disease. One ill-informed fellow on a message board I frequent mistakenly assumed Ali had Alzheimer's. Big difference. A memorial service was held Thursday in Ali's hometown of Louisville, and the funeral procession seemed as if Ali was a head of state, not a retired boxing champion.

On Wednesday, the El Rey Network, home of Thursday night kung fu theatre marathons and Lucha Underground, followed the latter with a marathon of Ali's short-lived foray into children's television, 1977's I Am The Greatest: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali, which lasted half a season on NBC. I would have expected El Rey to pull up anything else, like, for example, Freedom Road, but nope.
Could Brock Lesnar be the man that unites WWE & UFC?

Lesnar, a former champion of both promotions, had to get clearance from WWE to appear at the 200th UFC PPV event, set for next month. He'll then return to WWE for Summerslam, scheduled for mid-August in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. Talk is that one of UFC's female fighters, such as Paige Van Zant, and not Ronda Rousey, will cross over in exchange. Rousey, you'll recall, appeared at Wrestlemania in 2015. I shan't be surprised if UFC frontman Dana White exchanges other ideas with WWE's resident lunatic-in-charge, Vince McMahon, ere long.
By now, you know that Shenendehowa pitcher Ian Anderson was drafted by the Atlanta Braves with the 3rd pick in the MLB Entry Draft on Thursday night, and will by-pass his intention of pitching in college for Vanderbilt. It's too bad Atlanta doesn't have a team in the NY-Penn League, which begins its 2016 season next week. The Plainsmen will play in the Class AA Final Four on Saturday at Binghamton, and it would be fitting if Anderson ended his high school career with a state title on his resume.
In the wake of the fight earlier this week that broke out between Kansas City's Yordano Ventura and Baltimore slugger Manny Machado, both players decided to appeal their suspensions. Ventura, because he's had past issues, was hit with a 9 game ban, but Machado got fewer games. I say, screw the appeal, take the punishment, and move on. Why bother appealing at all?
I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the passing of internet icon Kevin Ferguson, aka Kimbo Slice, who passed away earlier this week at 42 after heart failure. Ferguson went from having his street fights go viral on YouTube and other sites to landing a deal with first EliteXC, where current WWE trainer Seth Petruzelli shattered Slice's aura of invincibility on national television, and then later with UFC. Slice also appeared in "The Scoripion King 3", which went direct-to-video, and was his last film role.

Finally, hockey icon Gordie Howe has passed away. Howe, you might remember, had retired in the 70's, but then jumped to the then-upstart World Hockey Association (WHA) to play with his sons, Mark & Marty, for Houston. The league folded, and Howe would return to the NHL before retiring for good.

Rast in peace, gentlemen.

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