Wednesday, 31 July 2013

UFC not on ESPN in UK - BT Sport takes over

I was slightly disappointed and saddened when I went to see if this was true on my TV guide. The only reason I have ESPN is for UFC and sadly for ESPN subscribers BT Sport  is the new home for UFC. BT sport are even opening their UFC coverage on Saturday night with "The UFC so far" - a documentary on the history of UFC.

My lovely gloves
So my to-do list of the day has changed to cancel ESPN with immediate effect and subscribe to BT Sport. Easy enough I suppose. Okay so I find the BT site, now how much will BT sport be? Well if you have BT broadband its free and if your order before the 1st of August you get HD free, thats great apart from the fact I don't use BT Internet as I find the service slightly retarded. I wont go into my gripes with BT now!

Okay so with an existing Sky package BT sport is a measly £12 a month - pretty damn good. Oh I must not forget the £15 "one off" connection fee (as it costs £15 to push a button to activate the service?). I should not really moan as UFC is incredibly cheap here in comparison to the US where this weekends UFC 163 featuring a featherweight title fight between Aldo & The Korean Zombie is only available on PPV for $50.

One thing I do hope BT Sport do is get the timing correct for the events and put a bit of care in. ESPN often allowed other shows to over-run thus clashing with UFC events and spoiling everything. Also the timing of commercial breaks was appalling at times. I will give my predictions on UFC 163 later during the week.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Addiction hurting South Africa

Officially known as the Republic of South Africa, South Africa has a colourful history. South Africa is separated into 9 provinces – The Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape & the Western Cape. South Africa borders Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe & Swaziland. Lesotho lies completely surrounded by South Africa.

South Africa boasts one of the most multi-cultural populations on the planet. Eleven official languages are recognised within the country but many more are spoken. Over the last two decades cities and towns in South Africa have seen a huge surge in wealth and development.

With the rise in liquid assets and free time South Africa has also witnessed a dramatic rise in drug use and addiction. The alarming trend in South Africa of addiction is actually double per head compared to most other countries in the world. Street drugs in South Africa have also contributed to the epidemic. Previously South Africa was plagued by drugs as a result of being a great shipping route for smugglers from South America looking to move illicit substances to Europe through Africa. Now new street drugs are manufactured in home laboratories by amateur chemists, drugs such as Nyaope are an example of unique cheap street drugs in South Africa. Nyaope a mix of Cannabis (dagga), Heroin and other chemicals has plagued large areas of Northern South Africa. Reports suggest that as many as 80% of households in certain areas are directly affected by Nyaope addiction. It has also been reported that Nyaope has been sold merely as Cannabis to youth who then quicklty become addicted. Admission rates for under 16s to rehabilitation facilities for drug addiction has risen quickly over the last 5 years.  Some schools in South Africa are actually screening students for drug use with random testing.
Addiction South AFrica
Crystal Meth (tik) is another huge concern for the country that only 3 years ago hosted the football World Cup. Crystal Meth like Nyaope is also produced in home-made laboratories. Manufacturers are increasingly switching the ingredients to more toxic chemicals in order to make the process of production cheaper and the profits greater. Crystal Meth has caused devastation in the United States and it looks like the trend is having the same effects on South Africa. In 2009 half of all admission to drug and alcohol addiction treatments centres in the Western Cape were for Crystal Meth (tik) addiction. Crystal Meth prices vary but it is generally available for the same price of a packet of cigarettes. With prices at rock bottom and availability on the rise it is little surprise the problem is growing.

Crystal Meth leads us on to another drug that is almost unique to South Africa, Mandrax. Mandrax was initially used as muscle relaxant in the United States. It is now believed to be produced in home laboratories in South Africa. South Africa is by far the biggest user in the world of Mandrax. Mandrax is normally mixed with Cannabis (dagga) and smoked through a pipe. Often it is used to “bring down” the user from Crystal Meth.

Along with drugs South Africa also has some of the highest alcohol dependence rates in the world. South Africa has very strict licensing rules across its cities in relation to the sale of alcohol. The very latest bottle stores close at 9pm. These measures seem to have had mixed effects across South Africa with certain provinces seeing a decrease in the number of alcohol related admissions to rehab clinics and others seeing increases. Kwazulu Natal for example has seen a drop in alcohol related admission to addiction treatment centres but has seen a rise in Crystal Meth admissions. To me it seems to be six of one and half a dozen of the other. Whatever way you look at it addiction in South Africa is a problem, a very big problem.

With all the addiction South Africa has responded and now boasts some of the best addiction treatment centres across the world. People travel from all over the world for addiction treatment in South Africa. Price is a big factor for these people to travel for treatment in South Africa as it is typically allot cheaper than Rehab clinics in the Western World. Also the actual success rates of sustained abstinence from addiction after treatment in South Africa are allot higher than that of anywhere in the world besides the United States.

Nyaope Addiction
It also seems that medical insurance (medical aid) providers have realised that they can actually save money in the long run by sending there policy holders to rehab centres. Most providers now offer rehab within their plans. This no doubt saves them money in the long run by preventing numerous hospital admissions related to addiction. This also helps the health services in South Africa greatly. The strain addiction puts on a health service is dramatic and can prevent so many people receiving the treatment they need. The reality is rehabilitation is the answer to this problem as is education and a harder stance on illicit drug manufacturing.
Addiction does not just affect the addict. It is estimated every addicted person can impact on as many as 18 other lives. Relatives obviously suffer tremendously watching a loved one suffer from addiction but so does society. Crime rates in South Africa have risen in line with the rise in drug addiction. The Western Cape is often described as the drug province of South Africa. Statistics indicate that 48% of all drug related crimes were committed in the Western Cape.

The question really lies now with what authorities are going to do to try and stop the spread of these new street drugs. Nyaope is probably the scariest substance spreading across South Africa at the moment. Alarming amounts of children are already dependent on Nyaope and need treatment in rehab facilities. Will drug and alcohol destroy another beautiful country right before our eyes? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Paul Semtex Daley - Most exciting fighter not in UFC!

Paul Daley's name has been on peoples tongue this last week after he was released from Bellator. The news came shortly after he stopped Lukasz Chlewicki in Liverpool via Doctor stoppage. Bellator stated that Daley had lied about his brush with the law and had actually been convicted of two offences in the UK. As far as I was aware these charges were dropped? I have yet to see proof of him being convicted or not. Regardless Bellator let him go along with Maiquel Falcao (correct decision).

The timing of his release has however proved rather interesting. After Robbie Lawler put on a beautiful display of striking at UFC on Fox 8 at the weekend everyone is wondering who he will face next. UFC is visiting Manchester (UK) later in the year and shouts for Lawler against Daley have been coming from many heads and I'm not just talking fans.

Daley would have no visa issues fighting in Manchester but the real question is would Dana White let it happen? Dana has made many outrageous statements in the past and gone back on them eventually but will he allow Daley to fight in the UFC again? Only time will tell! All I know is a fight between Daley and Lawler would be absolutely epic. Never have I seen Daley in a boring fight (besides when Kos held him down for 3 rounds) and I would like to see where he ranks in the Welterweight division. Gareth A Davies has been calling for this fight on twitter and here's to hoping if enough people call for it, it will happen. Does Dana listen to fans? We will find out when the UFC visits Manchester and Paul Semtex Daley is either on the card or he is not.
Me & Gareth A Davies


Sunday, 28 July 2013

UFC on Fox 8 - Correct Predictions

Well I got all the predictions I made for UFC on Fox 8 correct. When it came to the actual fights I was pretty far off the ball when it came to predicting where the action would be.

Carmouche GnP beat down of Jessica Andrade    
This fight did not suprise me result wise but the dominance shown by Liz was shocking. Once on the ground Andrade looked totally out of her depth and was easily mounted and eventually finished through GnP in the 2nd. Where does this leave Carmouche in a still under developed ladies UFC division? Only time will tell but I don't think she should be fighting Rousey again anytime soon.  

Lawlor looking evil
I had a feeling Robbie Lawlor would beat Bobby Voelker but I certainly did not think he would do it so well. Gareth A Davies tweeted mid first round he sees Lawler as a dark horse at Welterweight and with his last stoppage performance (Koscheck TKO Feb 2013) he could be right. Lawlor had it his way completely and was literally sizing Voelker up for the finish towards the end of the first round. The writing was on the wall for a stoppage and it arrived in devastating fashion. A lovely Head kick followed up by a casual finishing punch on the ground and it was over all of 24 seconds into the 2nd round. I feel he was unlucky not to get KO of the night But Melvin Guillard scooped that with a great one punch KO earlier in the night.

Co-Main a lacklustre affair
In the fight I expected to be the barn burner of the night we saw nothing but a game of chess. Both fighters have drawn criticism from fans and Dana White. Rory MacDonald defeated Jake Ellenburger by unanimous decision.I believed Rory would have thrown Ellenburger about for two rounds before stopping him - I was wrong wrong wrong! What we saw was a very cautious MacDonald who worked his jab well using his reach to keep Ellenburger at range. It was evident Rory knew Ellenburger had the power to hurt him early and kept him at range before feeding him his iron jab repetitively. I personally think Rory did what he needed to do, he beat a very dangerous striker. It may have been a dull fight but the decision was clear. Will a title shot be on the cards for Rory now? And where does Ellenburger go from here?

Mighty Mouse Demetrious Johnson Destroys "no name" Moraga
The title may sound harsh but believe me its pretty accurate. Moraga was sold as being the biggest challenge Mighty Mouse had seen because of his vicious stand up and brilliant wrestling. That brilliant wrestling was not so effective. Mighty Mouse took him down at will constantly and completely dominated on the ground. Every time I see Mighty Mouse fight I like him more. Its not that Moraga was rubbish its that Mighty Mouse is so good. Moraga eventually tapped to arm bar in round 5. If people are still complaining about the flyweight division after this great show of technical skill they really don't understand MMA. I was suprised to see how empty the arena was for the flyweight title fight.

Friday, 26 July 2013

UFC On Fox 8 - Co Main the real main?

This weekend we see the flyweight title on the line - The question is will Mighty Mouse bore the casual fans again with a tecnical masterclass? Im almost certain! Moraga is a complete unknown to casual fans and many hardcore fans are actually unaware of him. I see a standard 5 round points win here for mighty mouse while displaying superior speed to any human on earth.

Now the Co-Main with Rory MacDonald & Jake Ellenburger or should I say "real main". This fight is interesting in the fact that if Rory dominates Ellenburger (which he will) then a fight between hiom and GSP is one step closer. If GSP gets past Hendricks later in the year there is no contenders left besides Rory. GSP will either have to hang them up of go after super fights if he wont fight Rory. I predict Rory getting the title within the next year through GSP chasing a super fight. I believe Rory will be a more dominant champ than GSP. Anyway enough for now. More predictions to follow!
Me & Bruce Buffer