Let's blog it out as Ari Gold, Johnny Drama and the crew from HBO's "Entourage" return for the eighth and final season. Victory!
Mark La Monica
I write in too many blogs to create individual profiles for each. So, whether you get roped into my musings on pop culture, "Entourage," mixed martial arts or the NFL, here are some things you should know about me:
1) No one's meatballs are as good as your mother's. It's undebatable.
2) "The Godfather III" and "Rocky V" get a bum rap. They're not nearly as bad as people make them out to be.
3) Randy "Macho Man" Savage is the forgotten man when it comes to old-school pro wrestling discussions.
4) If YouTube stopped existing, it would create quite a problem for us. How would we waste time at work? Where would all the things we push off until later go?
5) The hug in the ocean between Rocky and Apollo in "Rocky III" makes absolutely no sense, but it's impossible to change the channel when it comes on.
6) MTV doesn't need to play more videos, just create more channels that play videos.
7) Just chill to the next episode.
8) When is someone going to create a garlic-scented cologne? Or perhaps a hand cream of some sort?
9) ADA Jack McCoy would kick ADA Ben Stone's patoot any day in court, but Paul Robinette would smoke Jamey Ross, Abby Carmichael, Claire Kincaid, Danielle Borgia and Connie Rubirosa.
10) I nearly dumped a girlfriend who thought my clapping in 1995 when Don Mattingly finally reached the playoffs was "childish."
11) Lauren Conrad. I'm just saying.
12) Yo Mona Lisa, could I get a date on Friday? And if you're busy, I wouldn't mind taking Saturday-ay-ay, ay-ay-ay.
13) What's up, guy?
15) Seeing Red Sox fans wretch at the mention of Wade Boggs on the horse in the Yankee Stadium is almost as funny as the episode of "Cheers" when Sam Malone and the rest of them "pantsed Wade Boggs."
16) I believe that after your favorite player retires or gets traded or signs elsewhere, there needs to be a one-year grace period before carefully selecting your next favorite player.
17) Swedish Fish, Mountain Dew make the world go round. Duct tape is a close third.
18) Twitter is the worst invention in history. Wait, how many characters was that?
UFC hit with antitrust lawsuit by Cung Le, Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry
Related mediaUFC outside the octagon
Three former UFC fighters filed a class-action lawsuit against Zuffa LLC, the parent company of the UFC, that claims the company has a monopoly on mixed martial arts and that it restricts fighters' earnings.
Cung Le, Jon Fitch and Nate Quarry filed the federal antitrust suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District in San Jose, California. The suit allows for more fighters to join the plaintiffs. Law firms for the plaintiffs include Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc. -- which in April secured a settlement in an antitrust case against Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel -- and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC, which was involved in a $1.2 billion antitrust case against Dow Chemical Company.
The suit alleges the UFC used its position as "the only game in town" to pay its fighters less than what they would be worth on the competitive market. The suit also claims that fighter likenesses appearing in various UFC video games, action figures, trading cards, fight posters and additional memorabilia were "expropriated" and compensation was "artificially suppressed."
It also alleges that the UFC holds the rights to fighters' names and likenesses in perpetuity, thereby preventing athletes from earning additional money after their UFC contracts expire.
"The UFC is aware of the action filed today but has not been served, nor has it had the opportunity to review the document," Zuffa said in a statement. "The UFC will vigorously defend itself and its business practices."
Discovery could take a year or longer, and a trial may not happen for at least three years, said Benjamin D. Brown, an attorney for the plaintiffs from Cohen, Milstein, Sellers and Toll.
UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White often have compared the UFC to the NFL. The suit references a Forbes article from April 2008 in which Fertitta was quoted as saying "We are like football and the NFL. The sport of mixed martial arts is known by one name: UFC."
The suit differentiates the NFL from the UFC in that the football league has 32 teams competing for a player's services, whereas the UFC has no "league" within to establish competition for services.
"Through a series of anticompetitive, illicit and exclusionary acts, the UFC has illegally acquired, enhanced and maintained dominant positions in the markets" for MMA events and fighters, the lawsuit claims.
Since 2006, Zuffa has purchased several MMA promotions, including World Extreme Cagefighting, World Fighting Alliance, Strikeforce, Pride, EliteXC, International Fight League and Affliction.
"Because of the UFC's coercive practices, competitive market forces have been strangled, future earnings power of the athletes is stripped away, and purses to the fighters are artificially depressed," Le said in a statement.
The suit refers to existing MMA promotions such as Bellator MMA and Titan Fighting Championships as the "minor leagues" of MMA. Bellator is owned by Viacom and airs on Spike TV. Titan FC has a TV deal with CBS Sports Network, and World Series of Fighting, which was not mentioned in the lawsuit, can be seen on NBC Sports Network. One of its fight cards also aired its main-card bouts on NBC Sports.
Le had four fights in the UFC and eight in Strikeforce before it was purchased by Zuffa. Fitch went 14-3-1 in the UFC before he was released in 2013 shortly after a decision loss to Demian Maia on Feb. 2. Quarry, who was a contestant on the first season of the UFC's "The Ultimate Fighter," fought 10 times under the Zuffa banner from April 2005-March 2010.
Le lost his last bout in August against Michael Bisping, tested positive for elevated levels of human growth hormone and was suspended for a year. Two weeks later, Le's suspension was overturned amid testing irregularities with the lab used by the UFC for the fight in Macau, China.
The suit also states that the UFC "forces" its major venues for fight cards to "supply their services to the UFC exclusively."
"UFC's threats are taken seriously by fighters because they know that a UFC ban will substantially diminish, if not end, their ability to earn a living at their chosen profession," said plaintiffs' attorney Joseph Saveri of Saveri Law Firm, Inc., in a statement. "These MMA professionals deserve the right to take back their careers."
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Gray Maynard, King Mo, Joe Warren among MMA fighters to compete at Grapple at the Garden
MMA returns to Madison Square Garden later this month. Well, sort of.
The third annual Grapple at the Garden on Dec. 21 will feature more than a dozen professional MMA fighters on the mats in wrestling matches.
Gray Maynard, who twice fought for the UFC lightweight title, and Bellator bantamweight champion Joe Warren are among those scheduled to compete at Grapple at the Garden. Maynard was a three-time All-American wrestler at Michigan State. Warren earned All-American honors while wrestling for Michigan.
Other MMA fighters to wrestle at the Garden include Bellator light heavyweight Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal, an All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State, UFC flyweight Scott Jorgensen, Rolles Gracie, Gregor Gracie, Igor Gracie Damacio Page and Ozzy Dugulubgov.
The pairings for these matches are part of a Team Joe Warren vs. Team Renzo Gracie dual meet. Of the 16 people wrestling in the dual meet, 13 have professional MMA experience.
140 pounds: Stephen Abas vs. Rollie Peterkin
150: Joe Warren vs. Scott Jorgensen
150: Shawn Bunch vs. Damacio Page
155: Jordan Oliver vs. Frank Molinaro
170: Gray Maynard vs. Ozzy Dugulubgov
185: Gregor Gracie vs. Darryl Christian
190: Igor Gracie vs. Brennan Ward
Heavyweight: "King Mo" Lawal vs. Rolles Gracie
Grapple at the Garden is a wrestling showcase event featuring top college programs and individual matches between some of the world's elite wrestlers. It will be televised on pay-per-view. It also will stream live on GFL.tv.
The all-day event culminates will the main event of U.S. Olympic hopeful Kyle Dake in a Greco-Roman match against 2012 Olympic silver medalist Arsen Julfalakyan of Armenia. Dake, 23, was a four-time NCAA champion at Cornell, winning in a different weight class each year.
The co-main event features Khadzhimurat Gatsalov, the 2004 Olympic Gold medalist from Russia and five-time world champion since, and Tervel Dlagnev, a two-time NCAA champion for Division II Nebraska-Kearney from Bulgaria.
In the college team competition, there will be 25 schools representing all divisions of the NCAA, plus junior colleges and NCWA club programs. Among the schools competing are Cornell, Lehigh, Edinboro, Hofstra, Rutgers, Princeton, Northern Iowa, Stony Brook, Army and LIU Post.
Three Long Island high schools -- Glenn, Long Beach and Eastport-South Manor -- will compete in Grapple at the Garden's high school invitational on Saturday, Dec. 20.