The NFL is not having a full season in 2020

The NFL is not having a full season in 2020

The NFL season is my favorite time of the year, I look forward to it more than Christmas, more than summer vacation and even more than my birthday. There is nothing else in this world that I putt more attention and energy into for almost five months a year than the NFL regular season. In this year of 2020 where the world has been putt in shambles; now as we enter the second half of the year and things are begging to reopen and start up again, but this die-hard football fan does not see the NFL playing a full sixteen game season starting in September.

As the COVID-19 infection curve flattens in the United States sports leagues such as the NBA and MLB have started up training camps to continue their seasons. Though in the efforts to restart or just finish the season many players though out these different leagues have contracted COVID-19, including 31 MLB players and 25 NBA players. Not only has 56 athletes from two leagues that are restarting have gotten the virus, but during the offseason many NFL players and staffers have come down with the Coronavirus. In June it was reported that nearly half the players from both the Houston Texas and Dallas Cowboys came down with the virus. Though many players did not experience the full extent of what the virus van do to a person, probably due to the fact that these people are professional athletes and their general health is higher than the average person. Even though these athletes get the virus and two weeks later their feeling better, there is still a public health concern of the virus spreading. There is a possibility that during the season one person on a team gets the virus and the whole team gets and they have to cancel that week’s game.

Now I’m not saying to delay the season, I would love to see a full season. Though I can just see with the continual number of pro athletes contracting the virus and with how the politics of the sport business works. There is a lot of variables that can come in play by the end of August that could affect the plan for the season. The league officials could decide that the season is not worth the potential health risk to the players. The team owners could vote not to postpone the season on the same grounds that the league office would, or the players association could decide that it won’t be worth the risk to play a full season. Now all of this is speculation and it doesn’t seem that the NFL are currently planning to postpone the season. Right now, the NFL are taking precaution, such as no organized team activities, players are not allowed to workout in groups, and team meetings have been conducted over zoom. The league is taking these measures in an effort to proceed with the season as originally planned.

And why wouldn’t the league want to go through with the season considering what an exciting offseason that happened. The G.O.A.T left the dynasty in Foxborough to start a new in the red and pewter down in Tampa Bay. Philip Rivers getting out of LA and moving to Indy and Teddy Bridgewater replacing Cam Newton in Charlotte. The Jaguars dumped Nick Floes $80 million contract on Chicago and put MinshewMania at the helm. After an exciting free agency came an exciting draft with Joe Burrow become the face of the Bengals, Miami drafted the Lefty from Oahu, and Green Bay shocking everyone by drafting QB Jordan Love while they Still have Arron Rodgers. I’m sure excited to see how my boys in the Motor City do this season after reinforcing their defense in the offseason and Matthew Stafford coming back from his broken back last season. There is a lot to look forward to for the upcoming season and there is a lot to keep an eye out for as the COVID situation continues.

Heavyweight title picture moves forward at UFC 252

Heavyweight title picture moves forward at UFC 252

Tuesday June 9, 2020 the UFC announced that the Heavyweight Championship will be defended once again as Stipe Miocic will defend against Daniel Cormier. This fight will complete the epic Heavyweight trilogy between Miocic and Cormier. The two first fought at UFC 226 in 2018 which Cormier won the Heavyweight championship with a first round KO/TKO. Then Miocic vs. Cormier II came just over a year later at UFC 241 where Miocic gave Cormier his only loss at Heavyweight and recaptured the Heavyweight championship from Cormier. Neither Miocic or Cormier has fought since their last bout and since then the direction of the Heavyweight title was going to be Miocic vs. Cormier III. Since we entered 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic Cormier and the UFC were ready to go and make the fight. The issue with moving forward to make the fight was the champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic is based out of Ohio and like the rest of the country in April and May everything was shut down so Miocic had no where to train. As well as not having a gym to train in, Stipe is also a fire fighter and has been busy with fighting the Covid-19 outbreak. With the country shut down there was no real rush to have Stipe fight until after UFC 249 in May when #2 Heavyweight Francis Ngannou knocked out #6 Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds of round one. This was Ngannou’s fourth straight first round knockout, solidifying him as the next challenger for the belt after Cormier. With the future of the division unknown Ngannou and his camp put pressure on UFC management to push forward with the title picture. Ngnanou even pleaded with UFC management to make his bout with Rozensuik an interim title fight, but that request was denied. Now that the country is reopening and Miocic vs. Cormier III is happening, the big question is now what will happen in the division after the fight.
After this fight Daniel Cormier will retire from fight and focus on commentating for the UFC and working on his ESPN show with Ariel Helwani. So, with DC retiring after this title fight what will happen if Cormier wins the belt. If DC wins, he rides off into the sunset as Heavyweight Champion and the title will be vacated. The fight at the top of the list to make would be #2 heavyweight Francis Ngannou vs. Former champion Stipe Miocic. Or UFC could pit Ngannou against any other of the top ten heavyweights, tough the issue with that is Ngannou has already beaten the rest of the top heavyweights. In the case that DC wins the belt, the bout of Miocic vs. Ngannou would probably be the best route to go. UFC could also go the route of a lit tournament of sorts to determine who will face Francis Ngannou for the vacant belt. As with is DC wins there are also many possibilities to move forward if Stipe retains. If Miocic retains then his next challenger will be Francis Ngannou. That match will be a long waited for rematch, as the two clashed in January of 2018. their first bout when the distance and Stipe won by the descion. It will be interesting to see what Francis has learned from the bout and how he will adapt for his next title fight. Though Miocic vs. Ngannou II is the most likely thing to happen next if Stipe retains, there is a possibility that Stipe Miocic could retire if he retains against Cormier. If Miocic retires then the UFC will be at cross road they would be if DC wins, what to do next with the belt. No matter what happens as the #2 Nagnnou is getting the next title shot, so if Stipe retains then retires, Ngannou would probably face Curtis Blaydes. Like Ngannou, Blaydes is on a four-fight win streak and is rising up the ranking. There are many if, ands, and buts the match makers are going figure out in the future. One thing I can say for sure is that Miocic vs. Cormier III at UFC 252 on August 18th is going to be one hell of a title fight.
WWE uses Jeff Hardy’s Substance Abuse to Advance Smackdown Storyline

WWE uses Jeff Hardy’s Substance Abuse to Advance Smackdown Storyline

The May 29th episode of SmackDown opened with a chaotic scene in the parking lot of the WWE performance center, with paramedics attending to Elias and a car totaled in the background. With paramedics, police, and backstage officials trying to sort things out, Jeff Hardy was being hauled of in handcuffs seemly intoxicated. In storyline this was this a poly by King Corbin and Shamus to get their respected rivals taken out of the Intercontinental Championship tournament. WWE has done angles with arrested and substance abused before, but the issue with this angel is that WWE is using Jeff Hardy’s very real and on-going alcohol abuse issues to advance a storyline. Jeff Hardy has had many WWE wellness policy violations, was arrested for drug possession in 2009, showed up to TNA Victory Road PPV in 2011 intoxicated and unfit to wrestle in his main event match against Sting, was arrested for public intoxication in July of 2019 and arrested for DWI in October of 2019. It is very distasteful for WWE to use Jeff’s addiction issues for a soap opera like angle to progress a storyline, consider his addictions issues have ended many of the storylines he has been involved in.

Substance abuse is a hard problem to shake and is one that is found often with pro wrestlers. Wrestling legends such as Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Scott Hall, X-Pac, William Regal, Mr. Perfect, Lex Lugar, and Kurt Angle have struggled with substance abuse. Umaga, a cousin of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson had his career and life cut short by substance abuse. Within Professional wrestling a such as substance can be cause by the fame and success of a wrestler and/or injury. Stars like William Regal and Umaga never reached their full potential in the ring as the money, fame, and crazy lifestyle of pro wrestler lead to constant partying and nights of drinking and doing drugs to the point that they dependent on the substances. Though professional wrestling is scripted and practiced to avoid getting the athletes injured, but with any sport serious injury can be unavoidable. With serious injury comes major surgery and with major surgery comes with rehab usually involving power narcotic painkillers. One of the biggest stars of the late 90’s early 00’s, Kurt Angle has had several major surgeries including four neck fusion surgeries which lead to Angle’s sever painkiller addiction. Angle’s addiction got so bad that his children became terrified of him, his wife no longer wanted to be around him, and he damaged his relationship with Vince McMahon which lead to Angle leaving WWE and going to TNA.

Jeff Hardy’s addiction has formed out his lifestyle combined with personality and injury from wrestling. Hardy and his brother Matt were WWE’s most creative and inventive Tag Teams, with Jeff being the highflying daredevil of the duo. Hardy has jumped off and through ladders, tables, cages, and chairs, leaving is body in ruins after years and years of doing such things. Jeff channels his creative through art work as well as his wrestling, he uses his personal demons, visions, and dreams to create some nightmarishly interesting works of art that represent the mental and emotional turmoil Jeff deals with. Jeff’s mental and emotional state combined with major injuries lead to Hardy’s ongoing issues with Drugs and alcohol. Issues that WWE realizes are hurting Hardy and after his most recent arrest have provide the services and resources to help him with his addiction. After helping Hardy and a history of big stars’ careers being cut short due to substance abuse, WWE still sees it fit to exploit a troubled soul’s addiction issue for a soap opera like angle to progress a storyline. There has been backlash from critics and fans alike about this angle, even Hardy’s brother Matt who recently left WWE for AEW spoke out on social media to show his disapproval. Substance abuse is major issue that effect millions of peoples’ lives all over the world. It is disgusting and low down for WWE uses Hardy’s past in a storyline and display it in trivial manner for the world to see.
Sami Zayn stays home and stripped of Intercontinental Championship

Sami Zayn stays home and stripped of Intercontinental Championship

In mists of the COVID-19 pandemic WWE are allowing their wrestlers to not work during the pandemic if they do not feel comfortable without any consequences. WWE said this back at the end of March and now in May, WWE is going back on their word. The WWE Intercontinental Champion, Sami Zayn did not feel safe travel back and froth from his home to the WWE Performance center. Zayn choose to take up WWE on their offer to not work during the pandemic, the company did not take to kindly to one of their mid-card champions opting out of work so they stripped him of the Intercontinental Championship. WWE announced on Monday, May 11th that the Intercontinental Championship was vacated and starting on Smackdown on Friday May 15th there will be a tournament to crown a new champion. WWE said that the title was vacated due to the champion not being able to defend the title. This is hypocritical of WWE, not only because they said there would not consequences for those who choose not work, but there is another champion in the company that currently can not defend his championship.
The NXT cruiserweight champion Jordan Devlin is currently stuck in his home country of Ireland and can not come to the US to defend his title on NXT. The company decided to have a tournament, but not to crown a new champion. NXT is currently holding a tournament to crown a new Interim Cruiserweight champion. This is a neat idea for the WWE to do and hopeful something they do in the future. The company has a history of champions get hurt or sick for a few months and having to vacate and then usually never get a chance to reclaim the title. Continuing to use the interim champion model in future, the WWE would more mirror the UFC and give WWE a more real sports feel. The WWE is currently using the interim championship as a way to keep the Cruiserweight championship on NXT TV, while being fair to the undisputed champion Jordan Devlin. So why is WWE not doing the same for Sami Zayn? Plain and simple, Sami Zayn choose to put his personal health and safety over defending his championship. WWE said that there will be zero consequences to those that do not want to work during the pandemic, though their actions towards those that chose not to wrestle show otherwise.

Along with Zayn, Smackdown’s Roman Reigns and NXT’s Leo Rush decided to not do the taping during the global health emergency. Reigns pulled out of his WrestleMania 36 match against Goldberg for the Universal Championship and has not been seen or heard from on WWE TV since before Mania. You can read all about the fallout between Reigns and WWE here. Leo Rush was the first Superstar to go public about not wanting to wrestle during the pandemic. Before WrestleMania Rush made his decision to opt out of wrestling during the pandemic then was released as part of WWE’s mass releases a few weeks after WrestleMania. Reports are now coming out that Rush was released because of his public opinion of not wrestling during the outbreak. It seems that the “zero consequences” statement from the WWE was a PR move with no intentions of honoring the statement. The WWE has a history of pulling shady moves like this and Sami Zayn has felt the wrath of WWE management before.

Being striped of the IC title is the most recent bump in the road of Sami Zayn’s relationship with WWE management. Sami Zayn has had many start/stops pushes due to disagreements with Management, the biggest disagreement being over the WWE’s deal with Saudi Arabia. In 2018 the WWE signed a huge ten-year deal with the Saudi government to do two shows in the country a year. Superstars such as John Cena, Daniel Bryan, and Kevin Owens along with Zayn disagreed with the company’s deal with the Saudi government. Zayn is of Syrian decent and was not allowed into Saudi Arabia because of the bad blood between the two countries. Because of this and he his public disagreement with WWE, Zayn’s push was halted. Just like then Zayn has now publicly spoken out against the company and his push as champion has ended. WWE has done this too many in the past and will continue to do it in the future. This makes me wonder how much longer Sami Zayn will tolerate this abuse from the WWE management.
Will Khabib vs. Ferguson ever happen?

Will Khabib vs. Ferguson ever happen?

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson is the UFC super fight that we may never see. When their fight set for the original main event for UFC 249 fell through, that was the fifth time that the lightweight match fell through. Khabib vs. Ferguson is regarded as what could be the biggest fight in the history of the UFC, this is even more true today then it was a few years ago. Not only do both fighters have impressive win streaks on the line with Khabib being undefeated at 28-0 and tony winning 12 straight, but this fight will unify the Lightweight titles. A unification fight that the Lightweight division desperately needs. Ferguson won the interim championship by defeating Kevin Lee in October 2017, then Khabib vs. Ferguson was booked for the unification fight. Unfortunately, Ferguson tore his ACL before the fight and that fight fell by the way side. Then Khabib won the Lightweight championship in April 2018 by defeating Al Iaquinta. Then in 2018 Khabib got suspended for several months when he jumped the cage to attack Conor McGregor’s coaches after that fight. So, there was an interim title fight between max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier, which Poirier won. Then after suspension Khabib came back to retain his title against Poirier. So, there is a need for this is a fight that needs to happens and it seemed that it was actually going to happen at UFC 249. Then the world started to shut down and Khabib got stuck in Russia and the main event of UFC 249 became Ferguson vs. Gaethje. If Gaethje wins the fight on May 9th then he gets the next shot at Khabib, not Ferguson.
With the possibility of Gaethje winning the Interim Lightweight Championship at UFC 249, that could shut the door on Khabib vs. Ferguson forever. Not only will a loss at UFC 249 will take Ferguson out of the title picture for now, but there is a lot of talk that when or if Khabib gets to a record of 30-0 he will retire from MMA. If the fight is for the Lightweight title or not, 30-0 is just two fights away for Khabib. For the sake of this argument let’s say that on May 9th Justin Gaethje goes in to the octagon in the main event and knocks out Tony Ferguson. That will drop Ferguson out of the #1 lightweight spot, with his record I would say that he would have to at least win two fights in a row to get back in the title picture. With training camps and recovery time factored in there, I’d say it’ll be close to a year in a half if not more before Ferguson is close to having another title shot. If it was any other fighter then Tony Ferguson, I’d say it be much longer. Fast forward two years Ferguson gets back to the #1 contender spot, but oh wait Khabib gets his 30-0 record, gives the belt back to Dana White and rides off in the sunset back to Dagestan undefeated in his professional MMA career. And we never get Ferguson and Khabib. But of course this all speculation and there’s no telling what the future has is store.
Still there is a high chance that when the Lightweight title gets unified it will not be Ferguson vs. Khabib that will unify the titles. It would be a shame if we never saw the fight between Khabib. Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson will be an Erath shaking, bone shattering, box office breaking mega fight that the UFC needs to happen. we are talking a sold-out area, massive PPV buys, and probably the most hype for a fight in the UFC history. though all parties involved want this fight to happen, if I was a betting man I would put my money on this fight never happening.