Chael Sonnen deserves a pass on failed drug tests

What did GSP say about PED’s in MMA? What did Lance Armstrong say about cycling (or at least the previous generation) of participants? What did arguably the two biggest names in baseball admit to using?

Reality check time. It’s more about who’s not using, rather than who is using. We can shun Sonnen but consider that the guy he was scheduled to face in the octagon actually ran away from the test? It says more about sports than it does about one man. This level of testing proved successful, but ultimately a complete disaster for the UFC.

There is no reason to think that if the same level of testing was done on any fighter, that we wouldn’t be creating headlines shaming them into oblivion. I do say though, if you’re going to toss Sonnen under the bus then you are being ignorant. You’re not acknowledging the fact that extreme levels of testing isn’t done equally in all sports. To suggest that your favorite NFL star is clean because they haven’t been busted? To me that’s ignorant. Isn’t it clear to most spectators of sports that testing doesn’t keep up with the work arounds?

Sonnen was simply exposed to an extreme level of testing in which Wanderlei ran away from literally. The rest of the UFC roster, and quite frankly the rest of most professional sports are not subjected to that level of testing. Sure I can’t speak to every sport and athlete but let’s just say there is no reason to believe that Sonnen was doing something out of the ordinary in terms of MMA. If that was the norm but the public didn’t realize it, then is Sonnen truly the villan? An easy target yes. If you really want to toss Sonnen into the sin bin for life, then at least advocate that all MMA and UFC fighters take the same tests that he did. He may have helped the sport in a greater way because it’s a shot over the bow to other fighters. If you’re getting these tests, then you better not to drugs or you’re going to get busted.

This is a story about the testing rather than about Sonnen. If anything, you should say it’s about Sonnen and Wanderlei together. We didn’t get Wanderlei’s test results because he ran. Let’s just assume that both fighters had something in their system going into the fight. In that sense though, in an odd way, they are going in equal. Like Lance Armstrong, was he just competing against a bunch of other racers all on the same drugs? A level playing field albeit an elevated one? Professional athletics aren’t pure and that’s just a reality. Cynical perhaps, but based on what insiders say and based on these recent test results, it’s hardly fiction in my opinion.


Intelligent defense is broken in the UFC and MMA

I grit my teeth when I write this. It’s with frustration that I write this. No question the sport of MMA is new and along with that the rules and enforcement appear to be a work in progress. I’m here to enlighten folks who dare to be shaped and molded with common sense.

Put yourself in a situation when there is 10 seconds or less left in a round. Now put yourself on the bottom of a mounted position. I’m not picky, you can be either face up, or you can be face down. It doesn’t really matter. The fact is you’re in a bad spot.

So here is the frustration. If I’m the guy on the bottom, isn’t covering my head intelligent defense? If I block a punch while standing that is “intelligent”, so why is it that blocking punches while on the ground somehow doesn’t count? Right. It’s because there is a guy on top. Still, am I smarter covering the sides of my head or am I smarter to attempt grabbing the guys wailing fists, failing and then really getting KO’d. I know which choice is actually more intelligent. Do you?

Ah, but I’m not at my point yet. How about there is 10 seconds left in a round? Seems to me that if I cover my head and the guy on top is pounding my arms, I might just be doing that because I KNOW THAT THERE IS ONLY 10 SECONDS LEFT AND I CAN SURVIVE PUNCHES TO MY ARMS FOR THAT AMOUNT OF TIME.

Imagine the ref, while hearing the 10 second clap, telling me to improve my position. Why? Uncovering my head is more “intelligent” when I know that I can survive 10 seconds of lame blocked punches from the top?

So I ask this. Why are refs OBSESSED with fighters improving their position when they are mounted with 10 seconds left in a round? If the guy on the bottom is covering up, perhaps, just maybe, it’s more intelligent that trying to do what the ref is asking. The ref asking a fighter to improve their position with 10 seconds left and while being mounted is stupid. Sorry, I’ve stooped to the level of saying it’s stupid.

Joe Rogan made the point. A mounted fighter who tried to improve his position will absolutely leave themselves open for clean strikes whereas covering up at least blocks clean shots. With ten seconds left a fighters needs to be given the benefit of the doubt.

I bring this up because of the opening fight of UFC 174. The ref, with 10 seconds left, is screaming at the guy on the bottom to improve his position. Well, the guy on the bottom was covering his head and the shots being thrown were essentially all blocked by arms. Is that reason enough to stop a fight with seconds left in the round? I saw the guy who lost motion to the ref that he had his thumb in the air. As if to say, hey ref, I’m good. I CAN SURVIVE THIS LAST 10 SECONDS BECAUSE MY ARMS ARE PROTECTING MY HEAD.

So of course when a ref is yelling at a fighter to improve their position, the dominant fighter turns it on. Make it look good! Lots of volume! Who cares about hitting arms! It looks good and the ref has ants in their pants! Maybe they will stop it! Whelp, that strategy works time and time again. It’s lame. These guys are the toughest people on the planet. They should be allowed to compete as such.


UFC in Vancouver – A review of UFC 174

For the third time, the UFC machine came to Vancouver. You might be asking yourself if it’s worth buying tickets the next time the UFC is in Vancouver. Expect them every second or third year to come to Vancouver and not every year. As Dana White and Tom Wright said, there are a lot of cities in Canada who want the UFC. Based on the crowd reaction and less than full building, the UFC won’t be back next year that’s for sure. That said, here is a breakdown of the UFC 174 action.

The Main Event – Johnson vs Bagautinov

A dominating performance by Johnson which left nothing to the imagination. The crowd was leaving during the later rounds and before the decision was read which tells you the level of entertainment during the main event. It’s hard to pin point why fans turned on the event the way they did. The fact is people flocked to the exits early which according to the media, is very rare at UFC events. The fight itself was virtually flawless and as a result, dramatic it was not. Bagautinov took the shots that Johnson offered up and certainly showed world class toughness.

MacDonald vs Woodley

An incredible performance by MacDonald that electrified the crowd. Woodley looked confused and unable to turn it on. As a result, MacDonald was able to pick Woodley apart with kicks and punches. It’s quite possible that the leg kicks to the gut of Woodley took their toll and were the cause for the hesitation. Woodley stood with his back to the fence in a defensive position for a majority of the fight which was hard to understand. Perhaps the mix of attacks by MacDonald played on the mind of Woodley. I was expecting a more competitive fight but barring news of an injury with Woodley, that was certainly MacDonald’s greatest performance.

Bader vs Calvacante

If you don’t know the Bader style, then I can describe it in one word. Smothering. Bader doesn’t exactly have a crowd pleasing style but put the blame on opponents who don’t enough ability to stop Bader’s takedowns. Match making wise, it’s pretty clear how this fight was going to go. Calvacante doesn’t have the defense that can stop the Bader smother. I get that the refs don’t want to step in when a fighter has top position, but Bader’s style is ideal to keep the fight on the ground. At one point, in an effort to keep busy, Bader landed a number of knees to the rear end of Calvacante. Can’t say in all the fights I’ve watched that I’ve seen shots to the rear like that. It did however provide some entertainment and a couple chuckles. I guess a strike is a strike? Bader is an amazing grappler and if his opponents aren’t up to par, the fight is going one way.

Arlovski vs. Schaub

The crowd certainly showed a lot of love for Arlovski, but the fight itself didn’t deliver as expected. Arlovski talked at the post fight press conference about excess nerves and how that played into the hesitant nature of the fight. The crowd wasn’t booing, but certainly there was some restlessness. The two heavyweights stood and there wasn’t a lot of ground action, so that saved the fight to a large extent from an entertainment perspective. That said, the third round saw Arlovski spend 90% of the time on his back. I’m realistic and these are humans competing. Sometimes things don’t click and turn out as people think they should. These two fighters showed each other a lot of respect for each others power and it made for what I would describe as a stale mate situation. The win for Arlovski was shocking to many in the arena and for anyone watching. Surprise decisions seem more normal than unexpected, and this was no exception. The first two rounds didn’t see a lot of action and as a result, they would have been a challenge to score. From a feel perspective, I was fully expecting Schaub to get the win but I was wrong.

Saint Preux vs. Jimmo

This fight had the makings of something special. Two big guys with heavy hands going at it. Once on the ground, Jimmo gave a verbal tap from an apparent broken arm. Saint Preux essentially ripped the arm off Jimmo and that’s how I would best describe it. Sort of a Kimura but it could be described as a “chicken wing”. On the replay  you saw an arm move in a very unnatural way which led to say gasps from the crowd during the replays. It’s a tough sport and bad injuries can and do happen. It’s too bad this fight didn’t go longer

Sarafian vs. Kunimoto

This fight was over pretty quickly with a Kunimoto rear naked choke finish. This fight was the prelim headlines and by all accounts, it was a big upset according to how the odds makers had the fight. Not a lot of action to analyze here.

Letourneau vs. Phillips

With a possible broken orbital bone early in round one, Letourneau took the decision win. This was an electrifying fight that went the distance and had the crowd standing at the end. No ground action and a great striking battle. These girls are tough and the fight was very entertaining. It was close and the score card were accurate in that regard. My feeling was it could have gone either way but Letourneau seems to land a few more strikes and had a bit more left in the gas tank by the end of the fight.

Jaboin vs. Easton

A very entertaining and fast paced fight with plenty of accurate strikes. A close decision went in favor of Jabouin but it was the grappling which helped him get the nod in this one. A fast paced fight that didn’t slow down in the third round. Well conditioned athletes who wanted to put on an entertaining fight and they did just that.

Johnson vs. Bang

With Johnson being from Burns Lake BC, there were a lot of supportive fans in the crowd for this fight. It was a war in the cage with both guys getting banged up. To the disappointment of the fans in Vancouver, Bang got the KO win in Round 3. These guys were throwing bombs and you had the feeling that somebody would be going down. No question that this was the fight of the night and these guys both got a bonus for their efforts.

Delorme vs. Tanaka

This was a grappling affair which surprisingly, went in favor of Tanaka with a decision victory. Delorme has a great ground game but Tanaka was up to the task and showed a tremendous amount of strength which overpowered Delorme.

Saggo vs. Shockley

Saggo took this fight with a referee stoppage with less than 10 seconds left in Round 1. It did seem that Shockley was complaining to the ref and indicated a thumb up which the ref may or may not have seen. Saggo had top position over a flattened out, face down Shockley who was covering up both sides of his head with his hands. It’s a familiar position in MMA and it’s a tough one to escape from. The ref was yelling for Shockley to do something which in turn made Saggo throw even more punches to the side of Shockley’s covered up head. With three seconds left in the fight the ref waved it off. I have a rant about fights being stopped with less than 10 seconds left but check back later for that.

Summary of UFC 174 in Vancouver

With fans pouring out of the arena during the main event between the 4th and 5th round and even more leaving right at the final bell might suggest that the event was a failure. I would suggest that’s not exactly the case. With a live sporting event, there is no safe bet. There are no guarantees about entertainment or finishing at a UFC event. I will say that the fans of Vancouver may have been a bit underwhelmed by a flyweight title fight. When it came to the main event, certainly that’s the feeling that came over the arena.

The next time the UFC will be in Vancouver is going to be two years at the earliest and maybe it will be three years just like the time between UFC 174 and the last event. Dana White wouldn’t have been happy with the fans leaving early. I think people may assume that it was simply because the main event of the evening was boring, but I think it had more to do with many comp tickets and the fact that people were a bit let down going into the event. People in Vancouver really wanted a top end, high profile main event. Instead they had a headline fight that consisted of one fighter who most people have never heard of. That, in of itself, is quite bizarre. A headliner that you are unfamiliar with? How does a relatively unknown fighter headline a card exactly for a title fight? Good question. I guess in the end it didn’t turn out very well if you take the fans leaving early as any indicator. To me though, I was entertained. I’m a realist when it comes to live sporting events. You can’t expect or demand a result or entertainment. It happens or it doesn’t. You can’t manufacture it.



How to win free UFC tickets from Dana White on Twitter

Dana White is legendary when it comes to free tickets before UFC events. It’s exciting and it’s part of any UFC event that they bring to a city. I’ve been a part of these free UFC ticket events around a couple cities and I can share with you what I know. Consider this a list of tips that will improve your chances of being a lucky fan who scoops up free tickets.

First, you need to be following Dana White on Twitter. If not following Dana White, then you at least need to be on his Twitter feed. If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, there are some keys. First, you are going to be on your mobile phone. In that case, be sure to install the Twitter app either for Android or Apple iOS. Get familiar with it and the notifications system before the UFC and Dana White shows up in your city. There are some other tips I have about using Twitter, but those are coming later in this post.

The Gameplan:

In most cases, I would suggest that 2 days before the event is about the earliest that you can expect tweets from Dana White about free tickets. The chances of ticket giveaways is much higher on the actual day of the event. Should you take a day off work to play the “get free tickets” game? I suggest not. There is a large element of luck involved in this.

Location: Obviously location is everything. This is going to be somewhat random but you can narrow it down. Expect these locations to be central areas in your city. Perhaps close to the arena. Key tourist spots or high traffic locations. It’s not going to be a location that’s in the middle of nowhere. Expect to be on foot and not in vehicle. You need to be out and about waiting for tweets.

Solo or Group: There is strength in numbers. Two is far better than one. If you go out in a group of three and you win a pair of tickets? You better have a plan for how to deal with that. Of course you increase your chances if you can at least have a friend join you. I highly recommend that. With that said you should never be in the same spot together. Spread out!

Free UFC Tickets – How it Works:

So in some instances a tweet from Dana White will say a pair of tickets for 2 fans. In some instances a tweet might just say free UFC tickets at a certain location. The point is that if the Tweet doesn’t specify a pair or two pairs, then it is worth running down the street with other people. The third, fourth, etc fans showing up may actually get tickets also.

As an example, at UFC 174 in Vancouver, two days before the event, Dana tweeted this:

Vancouver!!! Come to the bottom of the stairs by the Olympic Torch at Seawall now for tickets to Johnson vs Bagautinov!!!

That tweet occurred at 6pm local time. At 6:20pm local time, this tweet went out:

Tix are all gone!

As you can see, the window of opportunity is pretty slim. Regarding that particular location in Vancouver, yes it’s a tourist spot and yes it’s a location where the UFC in the past did the weigh-ins. So you can see that it’s not 100% random in terms of location. You could scout out your city and narrow down a few spots where free tickets could happen.

Here is another example from the same UFC 174 event in Vancouver. This time, the tweet went out on the day of the event. Here is the tweet:

Vancouver!!! Doing a #Hunt4UFC with EA Sports UFC today. Be near downtown to win the game and a pair of tickets to UFC 174.

The time of the tweet:

That was followed up by this tweet:

Vancouver! Be near Granville and Nelson in 1 hr for a chance to win a EA SPORTS UFC game and UFC 174 tix.

The time of the tweet:

With a lot of anticipation, here was the tweet everyone was waiting for:

1st two fans to find Kristin at Speakeasy on Granville to yell “FEEL THE FIGHT” win a EA SPORTS UFC game and a pair of UFC 174 tix

The time of that tweet:

At that point, you’re likely to see people running like mad down the sidewalks and or street. But here is the tweet that came next:

We have our EA SPORTS UFC #Hunt4UFC winners! Thank u!!

Time of tweet:

There are some key points here from that series of tweets from the June 14 UFC ticket giveaway.

The first point is that the “Be near Granville and Nelson in 1 hr” wasn’t that accurate. The tickets were tweeted before the hour. More like 45 minutes. The point? Don’t trust the times said in tweets and prepare to get a location sooner than advertised.

The second point, and this is the big one, is that the tickets are gone very very fast. In fact if you see people running, you’re pretty much too late. In this case, it specified first 2 fans. That means if you’re not lucky in where you’re standing, you’re just out of luck. It’s over very fast. You could join the sprint if you think you have a chance, but say it’s across the street from where you are? Better just accept defeat and not do anything crazy like crossing a busy street when you shouldn’t be.

The third point in this example goes back to what I mentioned before. The location isn’t random and there is something you should note. The particular establishment had a UFC sandwich board in front of their business. In other words, this bar/restaurant was advertising the fact that you could watch the event there. So in other words, you could stake out a location, and in this free UFC ticket giveaway, the tweet from Dana White gave a general area. Also there was time to look around the area before the tickets were handed out. I mean would a coffee shop be more likely of a location than a bar/restaurant with a UFC promotion in front of it? Logic says it’s a bit obvious. So to summarize, if you have the time, look around and make an educated guess. You really need to narrow it down.

The Keys to getting free UFC tickets:

So I’ve already discussed the preparation aspect to give yourself the best chance of winning free tickets. It’s all about making an educated guess. Most times when Dana White tweets about tickets, there is advanced warning. So for example they will mention a certain area or district of your city near the arena and that there will be tickets given away. I would suggest they are giving out locations ahead of time because they don’t want people getting hurt or killed driving or running across a city. So in general the location will be shared with you and then from there, you might have 30 minutes to scout out the area and find a most likely location.

I can give you another example and how important it is to actually decide on a location and using an educated guess. So a few years ago I was partaking in UFC ticket giveaway. I was reading the tweets which mentioned a certain area or district in a city. I went there as did many people. This is what happens. People are milling about looking at their mobile phones with great anticipation. This was my first experience and I learned a valuable lesson. The #1 rule is to pick a business or location. Don’t be in between spots or central. You are going to have to decide what is a most likely restaurant or business that they have chosen. Well in my example I decided on a certain restaurant which made the most sense given the location we were in. However I decided not to stick on that restaurants corner for whatever reason. Instead I was in the middle of nowhere and when the tweet went out and I saw people running, I knew it was all over. And yes, as it turned out my gut instinct was correct. That restaurant that I suspected would have been the best spot turned out to be the exact spot where the tickets were given away. Again, the key point here is that I didn’t commit to a location and tried to be central. It won’t work! Central won’t work unless there are a handful of people doing the game. The may be hundreds of other UFC fans trying for the free tickets! Don’t be in the middle of nowhere. Pick a location, stick with it. This is why it’s best to have a friend with you. You can pick two spots instead of one. You can do a lot better just by the percentages.

Another major key is regarding when the tweets are made and when you actually get them on your device. Part of this is how familiar or unfamiliar you are with Twitter and how it works. If you are using wifi you may get tweets later than by your mobile phone. All data and internet connections aren’t the same. I would suggest that using your phone’s data plan is the best option. I will say this. A second makes a huge difference here. If you see people running yet your Twitter hasn’t refreshed, you’re out of luck. That has happened to me! I will say this. REFRESH AND REFRESH AGAIN. Keep doing it. You want to get that tweet the second it comes out. In most of the free ticket giveaways you will need to say something specific. They will say the first fans who say (insert random phrase here) wins a pair of tickets.

I will also say that on the day of the event, and perhaps depending on how tickets sales are going, there may be more than one opportunity. I’ve seen times where mid day there was a free UFC ticket tweet, and then about 1 hour before the event there was another tweet with another location for free tickets. So don’t rule out the fact there could be a second opportunity in the same day as the event. I would suggest that if the time is nearing the event start time, then the locations for free ticket giveaways will be very close the the arena holding the UFC event. I’ve seen these happen as close as two or three blocks from an arena.

Be realistic is also important. It’s a crap shoot as it were. Right place, right time with lots of other UFC fans all wanting the same thing. When I mentioned working in a group, you could always decide beforehand that if you happen to win a pair, that you draw names from a hat. Two people out of your group of four get to go, but at least it’s going to improve your chances. If a location or general area has been tweeted, I’m sure that with four people you can pick the most likely venues. Stake them out and start hitting the refresh on twitter and or watch people in your area if they start running in your direction. Again, yes you need to be at the spot but you will also need to say the secret phrase or word!

Good luck. I would be grateful for comments about your experiences with these free UFC tickets Twitter giveaways. We can make this a valuable resource and it can be our little secret!


How to fix UFC and MMA Judging? Shorter Rounds.

I have a solution to judging in MMA and the UFC. It’s a simple as shortening the rounds. I haven’t heard the suggestion from the media or anyone else for that matter. Am I the first to break ground on this idea? Perhaps I am, but I’m sure it has been said before by someone other than myself.

I’m going to lay this out (no pun intended) using a deck of card as an example. Let’s say we have 20 cards. If I say to you, close your eyes, do it. I will turn the 20 cards over, all face up. I will say open your eyes and I want you to take as much information as possible from those cards because I’m going to quiz you. You have 10 seconds to memorize as much information as possible. After those 10 seconds, I will flip over the cards. I’m going to ask you things like what was the highest card? What was the lowest card? How many face cards were there? We there any pairs? Etc. Let’s say that’s like a 5 minute round in the UFC if you were to judge it. It’s a lot of information to compute in a short period of time. That’s the parallel I’m drawing here.

If we take the above example and instead of 20 cards, we used 10 cards, what would happen? Naturally your human ability to memorize that information is going to improve. It’s going to be easier to remember what the 10 cards were vs. the 20 cards example. That cannot be disputed.

So imagine the UFC vs. boxing judging. Boxing has a few different scoring techniques whereas MMA has many many many different scoring techniques and nuances. One sport would be simple to judge and the other would be advanced to the extreme. It’s not even comparable.

So difficulty or simplicity of scoring aside, consider that the UFC judges have 2 more minutes of information they must compute at the end of the round for MMA in comparison to boxing. It’s like a double whammy! First, it’s harder to score. Second, the round are longer the thus creating more information to digest and remember. These are humans at cage side and to be real here, the poor decisions in the UFC might come down to human limitations and not so much the judges ability or knowledge of the sport.

It’s simple to say the judges don’t know MMA. That’s the easy way out. The easy argument. I’m going to suggest that the issue is too much information to compute accurately on a consistent basis. Sure some rounds and some fights will be easy. But overall, a shorter round makes the judges ability to remember a round much easier and much more accurate.

I’m don’t know the history of MMA. I do know that yes, in Pride they had an opening 10 minute round. I also know that their judging wasn’t conventional either. My point is, how or who decided that 5 minutes is a perfect amount of time for a MMA round? Is it because it’s clean? Like 4 minutes would sound weird wouldn’t it? So to say blow up the idea of the 5 minute round is certainly drastic. Then again, I will need somebody to address the issue of human limitation. The human brain and the ability to process information and recall that information in a short period of time. So if you ask me whether it’s a problem of judges not knowing the sport or if it’s information overload, clearly I’m saying the issue is information overload.

Why is it a 5 minute round?

Why did MMA end up at a 5 minute round? Inform me. Educate me why this number is set in stone and is so pivotal to the foundation of the sport. Pride had a 10 minute opening round. How did they come up with that? GSP in fact said in the recent past that there should be no rounds at all. If we’re at 5 minute rounds in the sport today only because of popular opinion, then all the more reason to look possibly changing it. I’m asking whether there is a real science behind the 5 minutes that makes it magical. For Pride, they found it magical to have a 10-minute first round and a 5-minute second and 5-minute third round. Explain the logic behind that please.

Overlooked advantages to a shorter round in the UFC

So if you’re not a believer in my suggestion or arguments for the short rounds from a judging perspective, then I have a real good one for you. There is a saying in MMA and the UFC. Every fight starts standing. Thus, a striker still has a chance to land a “lucky shot” and KO the superior grappler or wrestler before the fight gets to the ground. So in a sense, couldn’t we think of a shorter round as meaning there will be a better flow in the fight? It would be like a glorified stand up. A rest for the fighters, and then they are back into the most exciting position for the fans which is standing up, facing each other. If you make the rounds 3 minutes, you are potentially going to have 2 more stand ups in every fight. Three 5 minute rounds gives 3 chances for a KO strike whereas a shorter round can potentially create 5 chances for a KO strike. It’s an interesting and certainly though provoking situation. In addition, if you’re getting dominated on the ground, the round can end faster, you can escape the bad position and start fresh with a better opportunity the next round. This is apposed to 4 our of 5 minutes of one guy smothering another guy. Instead a shorter round means it might only be 2 out of 3 minutes that you have to watch one guy smothering the other guy. Again, regarding judging and a shorter round, if you are smothered for the three minutes, the round clearly goes to the one opponent. That’s the point right? Make judging fights easier and more accurate.

But let’s look at one other major improvement with a shorter round. It’s called more energy for the fighters. They will be more rested and as a result there should be more action. More breaks between action means a more rested fighter. That cannot be disputed and from an entrainment perspective, the value goes up. It has to.

What about TV breaks to run advertising? In the UFC there are only 2 commercial breaks in a 3 round fight. If you had these fights with 4 rounds, that means an extra commercial break. Surely that can’t be bad for business can it? Heck, the NHL put in “TV time outs” so that they could get enough commercial breaks into the game. Prime commercial breaks are the ones that occur during the fight and not the breaks between fights. As an advertiser you want the eyeballs and during a fight people aren’t going to be channel surfing or taking a snack break.

Why shorter rounds won’t work in MMA and the UFC

Be it 4 minutes or 3 minute rounds, it’s a complicated move. Boxing can handle 3 minutes but in MMA the fights are different. It’s certainly not the same. Setting up a submission attempt takes time. Pushing up against the fence grappling takes time. Imagine the round being eaten up by two fighter pressing up against the cage and nothing major happens? Now that would be equally hard to judge and score.

With that argument in place, I have a solution. It’s two fold. First, the UFC and their staff can look at fight footage. They can evaluate five minute rounds and see for example how long a ground sequence can take place for. Do the refs let it go on for 4 minutes before a stand up?

The biggest issue will be the refs. They might need to step in faster than they have before. Would that cause fighters to complain because they don’t have time to ground and pound or go for a submission? Perhaps. It will certainly take a different mindset on the part of the refs and also the fighters. But a ref perhaps doesn’t need to change their handling of stalled action. Rather it could just allow one fighter to prove that they won the round clearly by dominating the other opponent. A shorter round doesn’t necessarily require fast stand ups or breaking up action against the fence. It could require swifter action on the part of the refs, but it’s not mandatory.

Sometimes players in sports need to adjust to dramatic rule changes. It’s painful at first, but it does end up working. Lots of complaining for sure happens in some sports league when rules change and players have to change their styles or techniques. It often comes down to the good of the game or sport. Fighters could in fact embrace such a change by adjusting their urgency. Like anything, if you have all day to do a task, most people will take all day to do it. If you set a time limit, a person will need to make it happen. By the same token, a shorter round would require fighters to be more proactive. If you have top position, will you lay there or will you speed up your attempt to improve position and go for the finish?

If you think about boxing, a lot of those fights can see a lot of tying up and not a lot of punches thrown. The MMA equivalent is seeing cage grappling for 80% of a round. In that instance, a three minute round in MMA might be frustrating. That said, if there aren’t points being scored and there isn’t a submission being attempted, perhaps the refs need to decide how long is too long in letting that happen for. I would argue that even right now, the refs let it go on far too long. A fight isn’t being won by two guys neutralizing each other on the fence yet refs are absolutely reluctant to step in and break the fighters apart.

Shorter rounds means more rounds, so the extra break times will alter or change what exists today for the broadcast, but this isn’t a mission impossible scenario is it?

Implementation of Shorter Rounds

With the UFC and MMA being a young sport, something drastic could happen if there is the will to do it. Creating a shorter round is a major change and thus it needs to be trialed first.

Priority one would be trialing at lower level MMA. Like other sports, major rules changes often occur at the lower levels and amateur competition. In these fights, there will be less concerns about length of fights, record books, commercial breaks, etc.

Pride had a unique round system so perhaps a new MMA league/organization could use a shorter round as marketing play.


The issue plaguing MMA is judging. Until we are able to enhance the human brain, I do not believe that 5 minutes of MMA action can be consistently judged accurately. Too much information to digest and to remember. Making judges more accountable still will not resolve the issue of the human brain and its limitations. MMA needs to look at a shorter round to alleviate judging limitations. Even reducing a fight to a 4-minute round would help. In that instance, you will have 4 round fights instead of 3 rounds,  and the duration of fights goes from 15 minutes to 16 minutes. Overall the fight is essentially the same length. Fighter health is preserved.

If fans, observers and special interest groups of MMA are serious about fixing judging, then it’s time to talk sensible solutions. I’m arguing that we’re pointing fingers and blaming the wrong issues at play. Some of the problem might be educated judges, but more than that, it’s simply information overload.

I understand the argument that it’s the judges lack of knowledge being the core issue. It may very well be part of the problem, but it’s not the main problem. Does the sport of MMA stagnate while we all wait for the judges fight IQ to improve? I think if that was true then bad decisions should be fewer and fewer but there has been no indicator that things are getting better. We’ve seen some awful decisions which is likely about the way it was 5 years ago or longer. I’m not seeing enough improvement in scoring to suggest it’s judges fight IQ as being the core issue. It’s something else at play.



A Guide To Watching A Live UFC Event – What You Need To Know

I’ve seen the UFC at a live event once in my life. Now I’m going to see my second event. This time I’m making the trek to UFC 174 in Vancouver, British Columbia. I want this article to help you to get the most from a UFC event. I’m talking about before tickets go on sale all the way through to the actual live event. There are things you want to know about and details that are going to make the experience spectacular. Please join me, learn from my experiences so you don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made.

Step 1: The UFC announces an event in your city. What to do?

If you’re lucky you live in the city of the event. If you are daring, you can travel to the event. If you’re traveling to a UFC event your costs are obviously higher and at the same time you need to have a clear understanding on what happens once the UFC announces an event.

The most important aspect of deciding whether to buy tickets to a UFC event is that you want to see the event itself. Understand that there are good chances that the announced fights will change. Many time injuries happens. At times you’re going to see multiple changes on a card. The point is, focus on the excitement of the event itself and not so much on being dead set on seeing a particular announced fight. If you’re basing your investment on a fight match-up, just understand that there’s a chance it’s not going to happen. Would you still be happy with buying a ticket if the fights change? That’s a big question you need to ask yourself. UFC tickets are not cheap, especially if you’re looking to get close to the action.

Typically the UFC will announce a city that’s going to get an event and then hold a press conference in that city with the main event and the co-main event fighters. That’s to prepare the market and typically tickets will go on sale shortly thereafter. The remainder of the card will fill out over the months leading into the card. The undercard fights are equally fantastic so don’t discount these match-ups and announcements.

So in summary, once you hear of a UFC event that is close enough to attend, make a decision whether you still would buy tickets if the main event of fights of interest to you end up being scratched from the card. It’s best to have that conversation with yourself unless you’re fine with buying tickets just before the event which is certainly another safe route to take if you’re most interested in the names on the card than the UFC event itself as a whole.

Step 2: Buy tickets to the UFC event.

Here is where I have two different stories to tell. The first UFC I went to, I decided with a friend to buy tickets hours before the event. The hope of course was to score a deal. Did we score a deal? No we didn’t. What we did do though was waste a lot of time, got frustrated and missed a good portion of the fight card. Standing outside while you know the action is going on inside is just a terrible feeling. If you’re undecided about attending and just are looking for a deal and can walk away without going, then fine. In our situation we wanted to go to the event and weren’t going to be walking away. They had the hammer, we didn’t.

One thing to consider is the city which is holding the UFC event. Is it the first time they have had the UFC in town? If so, don’t hope for last minute bargains. A market that is in less of a frenzy makes your chances a bit better. Ticket brokers aren’t going to be offering up last minute deals because that’s bad for their business. They just can’t afford to do that and if they eat tickets, so be it. The point is if you’re a last minute shopper, you better gauge accurately the excitement level of the city that’s holding the UFC event. Use that as your guiding light.

So in my first UFC live event, I was first couple rows of the upper deck, center of the octagon. Certainly not bad seats but how do I know whether they are good or bad unless I’ve experienced a more up close event? That’s what I’m doing for my second UFC event. I’ll be sitting lower bowl, row 12.

Ultimately if you’re going to buy tickets to the UFC you need to know your budget. I’m going to update this article with an strong opinion about the real value in up close seats and whether spending the money is worth it. So if you’re looking at lower bowl tickets or floor tickets, I can tell you that in 2014 in Vancouver, you’re looking at $400 or thereabouts. That’s for a seat that is right there at the center of the octagon. Obviously as you round into the corners of the lower bowl a cheaper ticket can be had. So for UFC 174, tickets start at $63 and go to $403.

So if you are absolutely juiced about seeing a UFC event and 100% want tickets and you know it, then consider signing up for the UFC Fight Club. I didn’t, but the end result is that the prime seats are gone. Those first rows in the lower bowl are grabbed up by the UFC Fight Club members who has a chance at early ticket sales. The UFC Fight Club isn’t just for getting tickets before everyone else, but certainly it can pay for itself if you really want the best of the best. Prices at the time of writing, $75 “Ultimate” membership gets you access to pre-sales. If you go for the $150 “Elite” Fight Club membership you also get 2 pay-per-view events on UFC.TV. Likely this isn’t an option for a lot of people but I thought it would be worth mentioning here. If you are absolutely committed to getting the best seat possible then this is about your only option, next to of course finding a ticket broker or other avenue to get a prime ticket. Of course though, consider that those after sale prime tickets will be inflated in price. At that point, would you have been better off just getting the Fight Club membership? It’s all about being realistic about your intents. What you’re okay with getting. Roll the dice or take a sure bet.

I would also be remiss not to mention another aspect of the UFC Fight Club which is the Q&A sessions which happen after the weigh-ins for an event. With your membership you get to be part of those Q&A sessions. It’s not something to scoff at. I’m telling you that for the UFC 174 event I wish I had the Fight Club membership so that I could take in the UFC experience even more. Depending on where you live, you have to ask yourself how many events will your city get. How many opportunities will you get to see these fighters? If you’re investing a lot of money in a ticket then I would suggest being at every possible UFC event prior to the card in your city. Soak it all in.

Okay, if you went for the Fight Club membership, then a day or two before the public get their chance to buy tickets, you get to buy yours. From what they said on the UFC site, you should get an account setup ahead of time with whoever is going to be selling the tickets. In other words, you will still be competing with other Fight Club members for getting those prime tickets. You don’t want to be bogged down with setting up an account as the clock is ticking. Don’t screw it up!

So when it comes to general public UFC ticket sales, again the same advice applies. Sign-up with whoever is selling the tickets well in advance of the actual day tickets go on sale. Get that out of the way. Enter in your credit card and payment information and just have it done, out of the way. If you haven’t bought tickets online for an event, you have my sympathies, but I’m right there with you. There is a sense of panic the moment the clock strikes the start of ticket sales to the public. Yes, you can opt for physically lining up to buy tickets but based on what I researched, buying online gives you the greatest chance of getting the best ticket. You might find articles about how to use two computers, different IP address and other tricks of the trade, but do what you’re comfortable with.

So for UFC 174, I simply hit ticketmaster at 10am and went from there. As I mentioned before, I was a bit shocked to see that row 12 was the best I could get in the lower bowl. I was buying a single ticket, but yes, certainly the computer wasn’t lying to me. Row 12, lower bowl for about $400 was the best I could do. I checked back during the day to see that the same row had tickets available so that panic for me wasn’t completely necessary. It does appear to me that the lower tickets were simply taken by Fight Club memebers and not by people like me logging into Ticketmaster at 10am that morning. So based on my experience, I would certainly be strongly considering getting access to the presales via Fight Club membership. If you’re paying $400, is another $50 going to kill you especially when it gets you into the fighter exclusive Q&A event? That’s my regret so take that experience and decide for yourself what to do. I’m going to have a strong opinion about how great row 12 really is and whether I will get access to better tickets the next time I decide on making a trip to a UFC event. I believe that row 1 of the lower bowl is going to be the same price as row 12. That should tell you something.

One other consideration when buying tickets or considering buying tickets is whether your friend or friends has the same level of interest. If you want the best possible seat, then you might have a hard time getting a friend to drop $400 or more on a close seat to the Octagon. Can you handle going and sitting by yourself? It’s something to consider. For the UFC 174 Vancouver for example, my friends weren’t going to pay top dollar for a ticket and instead of trying to convince them of doing the same or me having to compromise and buy a cheaper ticket farther away from the action, I decided that I would go by myself. If you have a smartphone and get the internet inside the arena, is there really anything wrong with a bit of alone time? A good seat is a big investment and you may struggle to find a friend to go with you.

 Step 3: Day of the Event – What to do. What to bring.

I’m going to give you my most recent experiences while watching a UFC event. This is a collection of tips and advice based on my personal experience. What I might advise or suggest might not be something you are interested in or care about. That’s fine, but at least you have an idea of what to expect.

Camera, Smartphones, Mobile Devices

Should you bring a camera? I didn’t bring a camera. I have a smartphone. I find that the features of my Nexus 5 are excellent and I can do panoramic or sphere photos which are beyond what most digital cameras can do. To be honest I looked to see official policies around cameras at UFC events and I honestly couldn’t find a solid yes, no, maybe, etc. Fans expressing opinions on what is allowed are all over the internet but is that enough to make a decision on? I decided based on this possibility. Do I want to bring a camera, show up at the door and be told that it’s not allowed? How bad would that suck? No way I’m risking that hassle on fight day. The fact is my smartphone camera can do most things well and I’m not looking to create professional photos. If you don’t have a smartphone? I suggest digging around to find accurate, up to date, and official information from the UFC or the actual event. What I can say is that at the event itself, it seemed that everywhere I looked people were snapping photos, taking videos, etc. I don’t recall seeing point and shoot digital cameras around but who is going to bring that along? I’m not suggesting that I didn’t see any there because they were disallowed and turned away at the doors. I have no idea about that other than I would suggest most people are happy just packing their camera on their iPhone or smartphone.

One issue is battery life. Two issues with that. First, if there isn’t an accessible wifi signal in the arena then you’re depending on mobile data. When you are getting a weak signal that become a serious hog on battery life. If your phone can’t connect to the internet for any length of time, then your battery will just drain much faster and yes that is what I experienced. Half way through the event, I’m like yikes! So the first piece of advice is to turn down your phones brightness. From there I would put the phone into plane mode when you’re not surfing the internet and that way it’s not going to be seeking out that mobile data connection. Need to check something online? Just simply turn off plane mode. Those two tips should help. Now understand that if you’re showing up later in the event, then there isn’t as much concern. However if you show up at 3pm and the event runs to 9:30 or 10pm? That’s a long time especially when you’re killing some time between fights.

So clearly you want to have you phone charged up to 100% before you leave the house. Beyond that, it’s always a bonus to have a second battery. Some phones give you that opportunity but most don’t. I didn’t have that luxury with my Nexus 5 and ultimately I paid the price for that. I can tell you that I took a lot of “fancy” photo which required extra processing power (battery juice) and I also showed up at the event around 3:30pm and left the arena around 9:30pm. I literally had about 4% battery life by the time I left. I didn’t use my phone as much as I wanted to otherwise I would have been out of battery by 7 or 8pm. Yes I had the brightness down fully and was utilizing phone mode. My phone connection was terrible and as the arena filled up getting online was next to impossible. Your results of course will vary.

What to wear

Here is something that’s interesting. I don’t think I can speak to everyone on this one. Obviously some cities are shorts and sandals on a yearly basis and others are very seasonal. However we’re talking about a live event with professional athletes competing under hot lights. In other words, I would suggest that the venue/arena must keep the inside at a certain specified temperature. So I don’t really think that it’s going to matter what the outside temperature is. I haven’t dug deeper or asked the UFC about arena temperatures and if it’s a specific requirement or if it’s varies wildly from city to city. I can only say that in most live events that I see, the octagon girls are putting something over their legs to keep them warm. That means? Says to me that sitting at a UFC event can be somewhat chilly.

At the event in Vancouver, UFC 174, I can tell you that I decided against shorts. I can’t tell you whether that would have been a bad idea or not, but I can tell you that the guy beside me tried taking his light jacket off and he grumbled that it was cold and he ended up leaving in on. Same with me, I wore my light jacket throughout the event. Wearing shorts might have been an issue. Afterall I’m sitting for hours and hours. It’s not that it’s cold, it’s just that it’s less comfortable having a slight chill while watching a UFC event. It’s worth thinking about but perhaps I can ask the UFC for some clarification about temperature requirements inside an arena. It’s like being in an air conditioned movie theater if you’re looking for a comparison. Thing is that a movie is a couple hours whereas a UFC event is from 3pm to almost 10pm.

What time to show up

This will depend on the venue, but it takes some time in line before you make it through the doors into an arena. You get checked and possible patted down and that takes time. Be very aware that when they say the first fight is at 4pm, they really mean it. Ask yourself if you want to spend big money on a ticket and be standing waiting in line while that first fight is starting. Why stress about it? Being early, getting into your seat and people watching can be entertaining also.

One other side benefit can be moving up closer to the action during the early card. I had friend who moved from row 24 to row 8 and watched the entire under card. Of course it depends on the arena staff and whether the event is sold out, etc. It never hurts to try right? The worst thing that will happen is that the people who bought those seats show up and tell you that you’re sitting in their seats. You might not be as lucky as my friends were, but if the event isn’t a complete sell out and if the market isn’t raging for the event, it’s possible that the seats may not have beens sold at all or the people who bought the seats aren’t hardcore and will only show up for the main card. Showing up early can have its benefits!

What to expect from UFC fans attending the event

No question there will be a mixed bag of people showing up to a UFC event. The higher price tickets you’re likely to find more hardcore and perhaps less rowdy fans. One thing is pretty interesting about UFC events is that there aren’t many if any fights in the stands. Makes sense doesn’t it? We’re talking MMA and how do you know if the guy you’re picking a fight with isn’t a fighter themselves? An amateur or somebody with a background in fighting sports might not be the best person to scrap with. I’m sure that has something to do with it. Additionally, people tend to spend a lot of money on tickets to watch the UFC so who want to get kicked out of an event? Seems pretty silly to me getting kicked out for being rowdy in the stands. If you attend a rock concert I’m sure the crowd isn’t going to be much different. There will be an interesting mix of people attending.

Actually watching the live UFC event. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Depending on your seat, you may spend some time watching on a screen rather than on the octagon itself. The UFC does an amazing job in having big screens all around an arena so that regardless of the action in the cage, you can get a view of what’s really going on. Most times you might use the screens to view the action is during ground fighting or for submission attempts. It basically helps paint a complete picture of what’s going on. It doesn’t detract from the live event, it only enhances it. Even in row 12 I found myself looking up at the big screen for clarification on what I was watching. Additionally you won’t know the round or the time left in the round unless you check the screens. You might here people whining about spending more time watching screens than the live action in the octagon, but I see the screens as optional.

Okay, have a clear understanding that there are 3 cameramen standing on stools around the octagon. In addition to that, there was a plump camera guy standing on a stool. The fans sitting beside me definitely were voicing their displeasure at the camera guys getting in the way. Perhaps I was more educated and knew going in to the event. If that’s true, then it’s good you’re reading this and that you understand that it’s part of the event. It doesn’t ruin the action, but it’s part of it. In this sport you simply can’t see everything all the time from your seats and because of that, you need to appreciate that cameras which can be viewed on the screens around the arena. If they weren’t there you would in fact be guessing and missing out on more of the action and ground fighting. If you look at the pros and cons, it’s clear that the benefits outweigh the negatives. The only nitpicking that I could do is with the camera guy and whether it’s necessary, but I suppose it is. From that vantage point you can get close up, high detail photos which trumps the needs of having one post free of a body around the octagon. I think though it’s just better to know what to expect beforehand and that way you won’t show up and be disappointed. I can tell you first hand at this UFC 174 event that the fans beside me were whining about it. It’s not like they complained the whole night about it, but it was just during the initial fights when they complained about it.

Timing bathroom breaks and or grabbing food.

There are a couple distinct breaks in the action. When the first couple bouts finish (like the Fight Pass prelims they are called) there is one break. That means the octagon girls leave their seats, Bruce Buffer leaves. Those indicators say it’s a good time to take off for a bit. The next break happens at the end of the prelims before the main card starts. The break will give you enough time to do what you need to do. Once the main card starts, it’s going to be more of a hassle getting in and out of your seats. What worked best for me was to use the washroom and buy food after the early 2 prelim fights. It was around 5pm and I figured using the bathroom at that time meant I wouldn’t need to get up during the main card and if I grabbed food then, I could just eat slowly between 5 and 6pm at my seat. Another factor was that I could get in and out of my row because some fans hadn’t showed up to the venue yet. Less hassle meant better timing in my books.

Summary and Closing Thoughts

So at UFC events I’ve sat in the upper deck and I’ve also sat row 12, center of the octagon. To me, spending the extra money to be up close was worth it. If I spend 1/4 the price, my view of the action and the overall experience would be about 1/4 of what I got from row 12. Because at the end of the event I went down to the first couple rows of the lower bowl, I can also say that those were superior to my row 12. If I could do it all again, and I likely will in a year, I will try to get into the presales and score seats in the lower bowl, perhaps 1 to 6 would be the ideal. The point is that I don’t see how I could pay face value for those tickets unless I was a Fight Club member with access to that first batch of great seats. Row 12 is great, but spending the extra to get presales to me seems well worth it. In the end this is the most I think I’ve paid for any live event in my life. The card and fights were average if not slightly below average and yet it was still an amazing and worthwhile investment.


Beards in MMA are for cheating

I’m going to rant here. Beards suck. I’ve said this for a while and although Dana White thinks they suck too, I have a different reason. As Mr. White says, in boxing you aren’t even allowed to have one. In MMA? It’s allowed for whatever reason.

Dana White doesn’t think it’s fair to have some guy and his beard dripping sweat on you or hanging in your face. Fair point and it makes sense. I personally don’t see beards as a fashion statement. I see it as cheating.

Check out Travis Browne in this photo:


I think a side profile puts my point into perspective. Fighter A on the left? I see a defined target. HIS CHIN! Fighter B on the right? I see no defined target. Where is the jaw? Where is that target?

I’m not suggesting that a fighter can’t find the chin, but I’m suggesting that a pile of hair like that is only to an advantage. Cheating to me is when one person has an unfair advantage. A beard isn’t a skill. Clearly though, a beard can hide the target. That’s the point I’m making.

Beyond hiding a target, I would suggest (without any real evidence) that a bushy beard like that offers greater cushioning than a fighter with no beard. I’m sure it’s minimal, but it’s noteworthy.

I’m not picking on Travis Browne. He just happens to be the one in the most recent press conference and stare down. You can pick any bearded fighter in recent memory and I have the same feeling. Did you notice that all beards are over the top in MMA? No real partial beards. Imagine that. I’m sure it’s a fashion statement in some opinions out there, but to me the evidence is clear. It’s a masking agent.

Case closed. (that said, let’s debate in the comment section your thoughts on beards in the UFC)


GSP vs Hendricks 2 – Full Fight Details and Info

It’s clear that GSP is coming back and he will face off against Hendricks. Let me say it here. GSP vs Hendricks 2 is on the way! The MMA Hour is having GSP on the show in about 15 minutes and it’s clear to me that there is an announcement coming. In recent days, GSP said “don’t blink” regarding him coming back. Yes, I’m stretching a bit, but I want this and I’m sure 100% of the UFC fans want this.

Update: Well, a bit disappointing. I’m listening to the MMA Hour and no big announcement. I really thought with GSP being on such a show was going to be used for a platform announcement. Not so. GSP is certainly still steadfast about PEDs and seeing changes in testing before he steps a foot back into the octagon.


Women’s MMA should eliminate elbows

I’m new to the women’s mma scene as I’m sure many of you are. I’m going to suggest here that there should be a rule change for their fights. No elbows allowed. That’s what I would like to see.

Bellator rules during tournaments do not allow elbows on grounded opponents. Perhaps that’s a compromise. I just think it’s an unnecessary weapon in mma when it comes to women. I’m not sexist. I believe in equality. I have no issues other than I don’t think women need to subject their faces to cuts in order to fight in mma at the highest level.

At this stage of women’s mma, there haven’t been a lot of blood bath fights. I just think that from a popularity perspective and long term health perspective, most people aren’t going to flock to women with their heads split open. Sorry, in this regard, I see women in a different light. I just watched hockey in the Olympics and guess what? There is no body checking in the women’s hockey, but of course there is checking the the men’s hockey. That’s at the highest level of that sport yet those rules differ. That’s accepted in olympic hockey, so should mma be insecure and not consider a different set of rules for the women?

I would suggest as the women develop their skill sets, we will see some more vicious ground and pound. The inevitable blood bath with occur. As most fighters will tell you, elbows split people open but they are never a KO strike. You might find a couple exceptions, but 98% of the time they are a skin splitting strike. A women’s blood bath on FOX for example isn’t going to result in greater popularity. MMA is a tough sport but in this case, I would be happy to have one element different than the men.





UFC Taste Test: How is the UFC tasting these days in your opinion?

2013 was a great year for the UFC. 2014 though?

What I’ve noticed is a lot of fighters on cards that I know very little if anything about. That tastes a bit off to me. I think the thrust of events and the expansion into global markets is making cards not as strong. To me a strong card is one that has fighters I recognize or have heard about.

The transition to Fight Pass? That’s leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. I don’t like that my free option no longer exists to watch fights.

Title holders are the best, but I just can’t seem to identify with many of them.

Having the women in the UFC is great, but I can’t identify with most of them at this point. The women are warriors, but I just can’t get there yet. There is a lot to learn about them but who is there telling the stories? More TUF will help and the new division will help.

The stars of the UFC that I grew up with are approaching the twilight of their careers. Many of them are retiring. Their prospects of making a title run are less and less. That for me makes things transitional and a bit less interesting.

I need to acquire a new palette. If you’re like me, it’s bitter sweet because the old guard is going away and I’m trying to relate and appreciate the new talent as they deserve. The problem is that my access will be more hampered if I’m not paying for Fight Pass. I will be signed up, but will the bulk of UFC fans?


Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes