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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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McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

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