Falcon Points

Here's why Dana White and the UFC deserve some praise

Photo by Getty Images.

It has not been the easiest couple of months for UFC President Dana White. Fighters are "retiring" over money and there is clearly a rift going on within the organization.

Those are other topics for another time.

This is about how White also faced significant criticism for putting on fights during the Rona epidemic. For all of that, the cards have gone off smoothly and his organization has provided a blue print for bringing back other sports.

They did a card on March 13 with no fans, then stepped back. Since then, there have been five fight cards and just two positive tests, both from the first event back where a fighter and his cornerman test positive and were quarantined. The event went off without a hitch beyond that. The four since then have gone smoothly. That is enough of a sample size to call what White has done a success.

For all the criticism that White was risking lives to make money, he was simply ahead of the curve. Other sports are trying to come back now, and they have an inspiration.

It might not work for everyone else, because fight camps keep contact with others low, and the actual fight involves just two people and a ref. Basketball, hockey and soccer bring a lot of people into contact and close proximity, so the risk will be higher.

But these sports should come back to give us distraction in a world that is falling apart around us. The economic impact they have will be helpful as well. White has shown them the way.

But it was not just the UFC. Horse racing has been going full bore without fans the entire time. Very few cases have been reported. The no fans policy has had zero impact on the televised product and in fact, record betting has taken place at many tracks due to online wagering. There are a lot more people to come into contact with at a racetrack, and so far, that has been a success as well. No one has really criticized the tracks. That burden fell on White.

As the other sports come back, they should thank White for being the first and absorbing all the criticism that came with it.

White was determined and had a vision, and he followed through with it. So far, it has to be called a complete success.

Now maybe the same will happen for the other sports.

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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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