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Barry Laminack: MMA is a sport, and sports shouldn't be scripted

Brock Lesnar has not been seen in a real fight for a long time, which is why his spectacle seemed fake. Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

This past weekend at UFC 226 a lot of strange, interesting, and weird things went down inside the octagon, but none more so than after the final fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

Cormier, a heavy underdog, got the surprise knockout victory in the first round over “the baddest man on the planet,” solidifying himself as one of the better fighters in the history of the UFC; so it's a shame that such an occasion would be followed by making a complete mockery of the UFC and MMA.

Before we get to what happened you need to know that prior to the fight they (the UFC) felt it important enough to take the time to point out that Brock Lesnar, former UFC fighter and current WWE "fighter" had  walked to the cage to sit and watch the fights.

Right away I thought it was odd that they were pointing this out, especially since Lesnar was really making a show of it and making sure that everyone in the arena could see him, as well as the TV cameras could find him.

Fast forward to the end of the main event Daniel Cormier is in the cage and during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Cormier grabs the mic from Rogan and proceeds to call out Brock Lesnar by saying he wants him next.

OK, first things first, it’s pretty odd for a guy who just beat the champ to call out another fighter. Usually it’s the other way around - challengers are usually the ones who call out the champs.

Secondly, why is he calling out somebody that’s not even active in the UFC? Lesnar hasn't fought in the UFC since 2016 partially because he's not good at MMA anymore and partially because he was suspended for steroid use so he went back to pretend fights (aka pro wrasslin’).

But for some strange reason, rather than calling out the No. 1 contender or anyone else that’s been active in the sport over the last 18 months, Daniel Cormier decides to call out Brock Lesnar.

So Brock Lesnar enters the cage immediately after Cormier calls him out and, in true WWE fashion, grabs the mic, shoves Cormier and drops a very WWE style rant. The whole spectacle had a very rehearsed feel to it. None of it seemed genuine (at least not to me).

It was fake, it was set up, and it was garbage. It's not needed.

MMA is a sport.

What happend was the equivalent of Nick Foles standing on the stage after the Super Bowl, trophy in hand, and calling out Tony Romo - only to have Romo rush to the stage, shove Foles and tell him he’d see him next season.

Now look, I understand the dynamics of the fight game. I get that “bad blood” and other forms of conflict help to promote fights. And even if the antics of guys like Conor McGregor are calculated and not 100% genuine, at least it doesn’t SEEM fake (at least not as fake as the post UFC 226 main event stuff did).

And stop with that talk of mutual hatred between the two. This isn’t a case of bad blood. In fact, DC went on record saying how he and Brock have had a great relationship and that Lesnar was even nice to his kids.

If all that is true, then why are they acting like they hate each other all of a sudden?

Maybe I’m getting all worked up over nothing. After all, if you believe Dominick Cruz this fight is probably a no-go anyways.

“If he makes it to the fight I’d be shocked,” Cruz told the Scott & BR Show on 1090 AM in San Diego. “And I just mean that because USADA is the toughest anti-doping system there is on planet Earth, and that guy is absolutely doping. Period. No ifs, ands or buts about it. And he’s not been in mixed martial arts, so of course he’s been doing that stuff. How they’re going to get him to be clean on fight night is beyond me.” - (source: mmamania.com)

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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