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April 27th 2013. A big date in the history of the UFC and all of MMA. The marketing angle used by the UFC had a decidedly WWE feel. Chael Sonnen (Challenger) calling out John Jones (Champion). Sonnen was to play the bad guy and Jones the good guy. Both guys coached on the UFC reality show and marketing tool, “The Ultimate Fighter”.  What was built up to be a super fight turned into a super DUD.


Sonnen vs Jones on The Ultimate Fighter minimized most of the tension that was palpable when this fight was announced. On the show it became pretty clear that Sonnen wasn’t the guy who enjoyed being in front of a mic running through his various WWE routines of playing a heel. Sonnen showed that he is not the arrogant villain he has tried so hard to create in the public eye. He ultimately beat Jones on the show in a number of Coaches vs. Coaches challenges. Most importantly, Sonnen owned the Ultimate Fighter Finale. Two of his students competed for the show’s title and six-figure contract.

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Watching the season I waited for the moment when Sonnen would put Jones in a position to retaliate. That moment never happened. We witnessed two guys who would eventually attempt to beat the day lights out of one another be total gentlemen. The twitter feud between Jones and Sonnen was supposed to be the lit fuse leading into the show. Instead, the viewing audience learned that they were both good guys who are passionate about their sport. They got along. They talked with one another. The best part of the season was the lack of practical jokes teams in the past felt was a necessary component on the show.

A week from the big showdown the UFC had its seventh card on FOX. In true Chael form, he set the stage for his fight with Jones the following week. At the end of the FOX broadcast Chael used 3 minutes to talk directly to Jones.  He brought his best for that moment. Calling out Jones. Telling the world he was going to beat Jones. But at that point his words rang hollow. I knew this wasn’t really Chael speaking. I knew this because Sonnen opened up to the world on The Ultimate Fighter.

As I settled in to watch the “mega super fantastic brawl” that was to be Jones vs. Sonnen, my only hope was that both guys beat the hell out of each other. We all wanted to witness that. What we got was Sonnen being dominated by a far better fighter, again.


Chael Sonnen is a great guy. He is someone who is willing to teach his craft and share his experiences with a group of guys who want to achieve what he has achieved. They want to fight on the stages Sonnen has fought. They want to be seen as Sonnen was seen.

My only advice to those up and comers? Don’t write a check your butt can’t cash. Walk the walk. When you’ve had your hand raised and the belt put around your waist, THEN let your voice be heard. Any talk before that and you could find yourself speaking meaningless, hollow words. At this point, any trash talk from Sonnen will no longer hold water. His performance from here on out needs to speak louder than the words he chooses to spew before a fight.

MMA: UFC 159-Jones vs Sonnen

Manny Palomarez


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Baseball is in decline. The important numbers say so.  Football is king.

Let’s take the above as gospel.  I’m not here to debate the why or how.  Yesterday I sat with my wife and two young sons at Minute Maid Park. For those three and a half hours none of baseball’s issues mattered.

My family and 22 thousand diehard fans watched a very entertaining game that in the grand scheme of the season will mean nothing.  It had home runs, controversial calls and great plays. When the Astros bases loaded rally in the ninth fell just short you would have thought it was Game 7 of the World Series.


We were at the game for the 1st Annual Astros Little League Day.  Kids in the area who play Little League were given a free ticket and parents were able to buy tickets at a discount.  The players and coaches were allowed to walk the field pre-game, and the kids got to run the bases afterwards. The smiles on the faces of those kids were priceless.  Kudos to the new Astros regime for starting this.

I watched my son and his buddies from our Little League team scream for autographs from players 99 percent of even hardcore baseball fans have never heard of and may never hear of.  I saw my three year old scream “CHARGE” and become mesmerized by the train atop the stadium when the Astros hit a home run.  My wife, whose interest in sports comes from watching our children play them always enjoys a day at the ballpark.


Baseball is about nostalgia.  It lingers in all of us.  The sights, the sounds, the smells never leave us from the time we attended our first ballgame.  Every time I step in a baseball stadium I remember the great times I had as a kid at the Astrodome.  Walking up the ramp to look out from center field and see rainbow colored seats sprinkled throughout the ballpark.  Spending summer days with my buddy.  First to Astroworld, then to a “Business Man’s Special” game at the Dome for $1, then right back to Astroworld.


Baseball is a sport linked to family and tradition.  You remember playing catch with your dad or brother as a kid.  You haven’t forgotten playing homerun derby with your friends.  You used all nine innings of those days at the ballpark to interrogate the unfortunate soul who decided to bring you along. Why did they bunt?  You think you could hit a home run?  Can I get some nachos?

Some argue baseball has too many games and they are probably right. I used that to my advantage and had a great day with my family.

I coach my son’s baseball teams today and see baseball is being passed down to another generation.  America’s Pastime isn’t dead just yet.



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With the NBA playoffs set to begin, the promos and endless storylines we see every year are out in full force.  Can Carmelo carry the Knicks? Will the high flying Clippers finally breakthrough? Will Indiana and its physical style wear down Miami? Does Boston have one last run in them? Facts are none of those question matter! I will go on record right now. Give me OKC and Miami and you can take the field.


Lets rewind back to October. According to Las Vegas the four favorites to win the title were the Heat, Lakers, Thunder and Spurs. Here we are in April and really nothing has changed other than the train wreck in LA.  The NBA is and always will be the most predictable of the three major sports. Yes, there are the exceptions just like with anything else.  The eighth seeded Knicks making the finals in ‘99. The sixth seeded Rockets winning a title.

Facts are the Lakers and Celtics have won half of the leagues 66 titles.


Throw in the Spurs and Bulls and that is a combined 43 of 66 NBA Champion coming from just four teams. Those numbers are funny/sad for a league where over half of it members qualify for the “postseason”. This is a problem that seems to have gotten worse recently with divas demanding trades to big markets and players forming their own version of the Avengers on South Beach.

Game 5 NBA Finals - Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Lakers

As it is, we will sit here for 2 months and watch the “drama” unfold during the playoffs.  TNT will tell us its win or go home… ESPN will play a new Will I AM song that we will all be sick of by mid-May.  ABC will run its commercials of guys like CP3, Melo, Harden, and Curry sitting in the rafters saying how there’s only one thing that matters and that’s winning a title.  Well hate to give you guys the bad news but you’re not winning a title. Not this year at least.

What happens in the other two major sports? Wildcard teams win the World Series and sixth seeded teams can and do win on the road for three straight weeks before winning the Super Bowl. In the NBA? We will sit through 2+ months of playoff basketball only to see the most predictable outcome. Miami or OKC holding up the Larry O’ Brien trophy.



Joe Palomarez

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As a child I remember the feeling of being part of a team. It was the greatest feeling in the world at the time. For a moment I wasn’t me and my friends weren’t them. We were Hakeem, Ralph, Chevis, McCray, and Sweet Lou. We were Glenn Davis, Alan Ashby, Dickie Thon, Kevin Bass, and Billy Hatcher. In the fall and winter we were Warren Moon, Ernest Givins, Haywood Jefferies, Mike Rozier, and Webster Slaughter. We played as if we were in the Astrodome or the Summit. We played as if H.S.E. and its crews were broadcasting our games. We played.


As I’ve grown as an adult and a parent I’ve realized a very disturbing trend. The games and sports children play these days have little to do with them. Instead of a child playing the games he or she chooses out of a love and passion for the sport, they play for their parents. This shouldn’t be considered a bad thing if it’s the child’s choice to play for their parents. I’ve seen less “want to” and witnessed more and more “have to” in these children. It saddens me. It angers me. It worries me.

By no means am I going to tell parents how to raise their children. I respect that they are the parents of their children. Who am I to suggest they are doing the wrong thing by forcing their child to play a sport when it’s so obvious the child doesn’t enjoy it? It isn’t my place to tell a parent, “It’s a shame you’re more interested in the team’s win, than the effort of your child.” I could do this, but again, who am I? It gets harder and harder for me to stand by while fathers belittle their sons for missing a ground ball in front a large crowd.

GBR:  FA Respect Pr Shoot - Ray Winstone 23/02/2009

It’s also getting tougher to sit in the stands next to the parents who think the officials at a junior high game are on the take and aren’t calling it both ways. Once the game is over these parents feel the need to follow Mr. Official to let him know “he shouldn’t be officiating”. It’s frustrating. When the game becomes bigger than a child’s development in said game, it becomes a problem. And this problem has spread like pythons in Florida, it happens everywhere.

The beautiful thing about sports is its ability to build confidence in a child. The ability to support and create and unbreakable bond with our children might be its best attribute. Don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say here. I do believe in instilling discipline. I do believe in making children accountable. If handled the right way these lessons will be absorbed and a competitive edge in our children can be created.


Maybe we can witness our children playing not because they “want to”, but because they LOVE to.

Manny Palomarez

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Boston Strong

Del and Manny express their feelings on the tragedy in Boston, The NBA Playoffs, a little MLB and NFL


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