12 March 2011


Look, I know that I post about the world of MMA more than a teacher on his teaching blog probably should, but this is pretty substantial news that broke today, so it feels timely and poses so many questions that there was no way I could ignore it. Sure, I COULD have ignored it, but I don't feel like ignoring it. I promise to write something non-MMA related prior to my UFC 128 rundown.

In fact, click on the link for all of the available details because rehashing them here isn't my goal. My concerns center around the two big questions this purchase raises. 

Question #1: Does this purchase make Strikeforce the UFC's farm league?

I can't see any other alternative. Dana White claims that it's "business as usual" over at Strikeforce and that all contracts will be honored. The idea is that it will be run as a separate brand, independent of Dana's influence, especially since he has had some choice words for many of the fighters, commentators and several decision makers over at Showtime. And there has been some precedent set before when Zuffa (UFC's parent company) owned WEC. The latter was run as a separate group with its own matchmakers and separate television deals. But now all of that has changed. If the rating of UFC on Versus 3 tells us anything, it's that more fight nights ultimately means that fewer of the live TV events are special and people can pick and choose what they want. If this is diluted even further with five more championships, all that does is create more market confusion. My prediction is that once the existing television contracts run their course, which could be as far out as three years from now, Strikeforce and any existing contracts will be folded into the UFC. What does this mean for guys like Josh Barnett, Paul Daley and Dan Henderson? By that time, Barnett and Henderson could be retired so it may be a moot point, but guys like Daley, a guy fired and banned "for life" from the UFC by Dana White for throwing a sucker punch at Josh Koscheck after the end of their fight? Or Frank Shamrock, a commentator who has never had a great relationship with UFC management? I guess it's no fun to be them.

Question #2: With the only viable alternative North American league now under the same corporate umbrella as the number one promotion, does this make the case for a fighter's union all the stronger?

There's a lot of talk about unions in the news lately, and that's another discussion for another time. But theses fighters are now under, for all intents and purposes, a monopoly. They are at the whims of Zuffa. For all of the talk about Scott Coker and Strikeforce operating under their own jurisdiction when it comes time to negotiate contracts with free agents, I can't see that working out well for the fighters involved. Is the solution a union? If Dana White doesn't think so, then I can't see how a fighter's union would ever get off the ground. Major League Baseball has a union, as does the NFL, NHL and the NBA. A union could provide security, pensions, health insurance and insure that fighters have security and negotiating leverage. The examples I've cited aren't sports that operate in the same fashion as MMA operates, and I'm far from an expert on labor practices. I definitely don't have the answers here, but I think the question is worth exploring by those who study these things a bit more closely than me.

This past Monday, you received the R & J Timeline assignment, which is due on Tuesday, available on School Loop and soon will be here on this site also. 

Wednesday, you received the Character Quote Sheet which you can use as a method of pre-writing for your previously assigned Character Analysis Essay. This will be due when you turn in your final draft.

Thursday, I gave you the Act IV/V Review, which is due on Monday along with your Act IV/V Study Guide. We also reviewed thesis statements on Thursday, something I hope everyone remembers, but if not, well, that's the whole point of review. To reiterate, please remember that thesis statements are ONE sentence, located at the end of the first paragraph and establish the main idea of your entire essay. If you needed to answer the prompt and could only do so with one sentence, the thesis statement would be it. Utilize the ATSO(3/4) formula (author, title, subject, opinion with 3 to 4 sub-topics) to guide you:
In William Shakespeare's play, Romeo & Juliet, ______ and ______ are the most responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet because _____________, _______________, and _________________.
Fill in the first two blanks with who you believe to be the most to blame for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The three (or four) final blank spots should be short phrases (between 5 to 10 words long) that serve as reasons why the one or two people you choose are most to blame. Keep in mind that you can pick anyone in the play but be very careful in choosing because the whole point of the essay is to support your choice with evidence from the text.

The essay will be the main focus of the week prior to Spring Break since we also spent the majority of Monday through Thursday to finish reading the play. The tragedy finally unfolds almost exclusively due to a breakdown in communication: Capulet never listens to what his daughter truly wants; Romeo doesn't listen to Friar Laurence's warnings about taking things slow, Tybalt never listens to Capulet about letting Romeo's party crashing go; Juliet doesn't listen to herself about not wanting to get married; the letter never gets to its intended target explaining to Romeo the plan to let the star-crossed lovers live happily ever after. And so on. The lesson here is to never fall in love. Wait, no. The lesson is to listen. Or maybe the lesson is something else entirely for you to determine. Still, that listening part is still a good idea.

On Monday, we read "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Albert Camus and toiled endlessly to understand it. HAH! See what I did there? Camus' take always reads to me as an optimistic view of existentialism. Your results may vary. Tuesday, you spent the period answering questions dealing with Camus' impression of Sisyphus as well as your own impression of the guy destined/doomed to push a rock up a hill.

Wednesday, my wife was sick, so I allowed you the period to read The Stranger.

Hopefully, you took advantage of that opportunity because Thursday, you had a quiz on part one of the novel. Remember to have the whole book finished by next Friday, March 18. There'll be another test on it, this one a bit longer and a bit more difficult.

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