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Sponsored: Right Guard For the Win

Right Guard

So let's get one thing straight here, we all use antiperspirant and deodorant (or at least I hope we all do. Seriously.) and know that it can sometimes be a pain in the ass. For most of us it is a bit of a strange ritual that we have to partake in to apply it without making a giant mess of our shirts. If you roll some on first, no matter how careful you think you are when you pull a shirt over your head, there is a good chance of some unsightly white marks appearing somewhere on it. Then there is the whole thing of if you do end up sweating even a little bit, your shirt will have white stains that you have to scrub out.

Antiperspirants and deodorants are a part of our everyday life, so why not have them not be a hassle, right? That is what Right Guard is going for with Right Guard Xtreme Care. Right Guard Xtreme Care promises the same level of wetness and odor protection without all of the white residues all over the place. That's Right Guard for the Win.

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Steven Wright: I Know That Cyborg Lost, But Jorina Won!

Jorina

When I think about my prediction of Jorina (pronounced Yorina as the J's are pronounced like Y's in Holland) over Cyborg, I didn't even have to mull it over long. In truth, I don't even think I picked an upset. Jorina Baars is way better than Chris Cyborg in Muay Thai and kickboxing. Jorina Baars has beaten far better fighters than Cris Cyborg. Jorina throws solid combinations, lands flush low kicks, moves extremely well, has awesome timing on her teeps and step up knees, and most importantly for someone fighting Cyborg, Jorina is big for the weight class. She is 5'11 and has fought over 150 pounds before. So this means that a clinch and pressure game is tough to do on her, even though Jorina isn't particularly strong in the clinch for a tall fighter. The only thing Cyborg had going for her was aggression. Some thought power would be an obstacle, but Jorina has been hit harder by other fighters, including one that used to be a guy. Not to mention, the gauntlet of training in Holland. Cyborg's only chance was to make the fight ugly, throwing Jorina on the ground and landing wild shots. She was only able to do this in spots, and was beaten throughout the five round fight. Yet I couldn't help but be bothered by the fact that on the strength of her name and history in MMA, people thought that she would be able to just show up and dominate in Muay Thai. This is the lost narrative of a fight that people only see value in discussing the loser, not the winner.

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Cris Cyborg: Negative Narrative, Uplifting Performance

LF

 

There’s something awfully self-serving about wanting a fighter to lose. It reflects a deeper emotional connection to the fight that elevates it from a mere contest of skill and athleticism to a form of theater. The fighters are suddenly characters in a play with the fight and its outcome having a profound outcome on their narrative trajectories, and as viewers, we are emotionally engaged in that. Savvy promoters who appreciate this may find clever ways to engage our feelings, using various tools and devices to frame the story and its characters in a way that’s more gripping and engaging, where Fighter A becomes that person from Nowheresville who is looking for their big break while Fighter B is that person who’s been talking big and acting like they own the sport. Some readers might go further and call these characters Faces and Heels. That’s a line, however, that some fans don’t like to cross: scripted drama, they say, yet deliberate or not, the narrative process is exactly the same.

What then do we make of Cris Cyborg? The drama is well known and the key words require no elaboration: Steroids. Cheating. Ronda Rousey. Tito Ortiz. Dana White. Why do some fans (at least in the MMA world) choose to hate her? Because of her appearance combined with her accomplishments? Because they think all of her success is due to taking steroids despite only being busted once? Because she calls out Ronda Rousey? Does that make Rousey (ironically) the Face in all of this? Who’s writing the script now?

As powerful and *natural* as narrative is, sometimes it may blind us from appreciating something that’s far more important in this instance: that last night, Cris Cyborg and Jorina Baars put on one of the best fights of the year and possibly one of the all time best fights in women’s kickboxing. It was a battle that saw both fighters dig deep physically and technically, putting on a performance that was worthy of a stage far grander than the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. It was a spectacle that should rightly serve as a career highlight for both fighters, who each landed incredibly hard shots and rallied back from dangerous positions. This is a fight that we should be grateful for seeing with both fighters deserving our admiration and praise.

One of the best things about the K-1 promotional model was its tendency to highlight positive storylines and gloss over negative press. This could be frustrating at times when honesty was demanded, especially with regard to issues like Badr Hari’s behavior and fighter pay. Yet, the ability to sell these storylines allowed us to focus on the fights, not the mud and dirt of the fight business (which believe me, goes to far murkier depths than you or I will ever get to hear about). After all, does having a front row seat to situations that should play out behind closed doors really accomplish anything? Why are the petty squabbles between Dana White and Tito Ortiz every fan’s business? As fans, let’s focus on enjoying the fights and let the so-called “businesspeople” (such as they are) worry about the rest. Let’s enjoy the moment. If you’re new to kickboxing and watch MMA predominantly, I can say that last night, you got treated to a certain caliber of a fight (for free) and an experience that is rare, so rather than dwelling on what this means for Cyborg and the UFC, let’s take a moment to celebrate the incredible toughness of Cris Cyborg and the awesome talent of Jorina Baars.

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Kickboxing Needs to Bring Their Content to the Fans

Enfusion

Kickboxing is a frustrating sport sometimes. There, I said it.

Kickboxing has been struggling to find its identity over the past few years. That might seem like a bit of an ominous statement, but when you look at how many different organizations we’ve seen in different mediums, how many star Kickboxers we’ve seen retire or rise to prominence, or how many we’ve seen languish in smaller promotions you’ll see what I’m talking about. Right now is an interesting transition period for the sport of Kickboxing and a vital time for the sport where it could either grow to be huge or it could fail and return to obscurity. How that product gets to the fans is probably the most vital part of the sport right now, even more important than the quality of the fights themselves.

The landscape right now is like this; GLORY airs on Spike TV in the United States and then has various, smaller television deals throughout Europe and Asia. K-1 is currently attempting to negotiate television deals while providing free streams via their website. SuperKombat airs on EuroSport and a few smaller networks in different spots in the world. Enfusion is in a similar spot to SuperKombat. Then there are various, regional Kickboxing events that get solid coverage locally but not much anywhere else.

Like I’ve been saying, it’s a very strange and fragmented sport for the time being. There are talks of GLORY considering moving some select, bigger events to PPV here in the United States, starting with GLORY 17. It would probably be in the vein of the UFC model, where the prelims would be on Spike TV and the main card on PPV, which is fine, the only issue is that PPV as a medium is a dying one. The concept of Pay-Per-View in the United States began in the 50’s but came to prominence in the 70’s and 80’s when Boxing took a shine to the concept of selling live broadcasts of big fights through cable systems.

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