The king of ultimate fighting promotions, UFC, makes its local debut tonight at the Patriot Center. UFC boss Dana White says at least 7,000 tickets have already been sold for the show, which will be televised on Spike TV.

Luke Thomas calls the Fairfax card “arguably the most significant combat sports event since Tyson fought at what was once the MCI Center.”

Thomas should be proud. The way I see it, nobody’s as responsible for making DC an MMA stronghold, or for putting this area on Dana White‘s radar, as Thomas. But you’d have to get Thomas in a rear naked choke before he’d take proper credit for UFC’s setting up shop here.

“I can’t in good conscience take credit for the UFC’s arrival,” Thomas tells me. “They should pat themselves on the back.”

Thomas, a Brookland resident, runs the popular MMA website,, and was hosting an ultimate fighting radio show, MMA Nation, weekends on WJFK-FM long before the station went all-sports. I don’t share Thomas’s views about the level of artistry or science involved in ultimate fighting — to my lay eyes, it’s light years behind boxing in those terms, and I’ve never gotten beyond the fact that the feature finishing move in MMA is called a “rear naked choke.”

(AFTER THE JUMP: A gratuitous “human cockfighting” reference? Does somebody snowboarding for America make your butt water, too? Rink is rigged to keep Ovechkin and the Russkis from winning gold? Gratuitous Pete Townshend kiddie-porn reference? No “Pictures of Lily” at Super Bowl halftime? Reason #1047 why the media despises Dan Snyder? Et tu, Marv Albert?)

But if you listen to Thomas’s radio show you know right away he believes everything he says. He’ll be on WJFK with live broadcasts from the Patriot Center throughout the day today talking up the UFC card, and will host a post-fight show on the station. “It’s the first time MMA has ever been covered by radio like this in the DC media market,” Thomas says. “A true and powerful milestone.”

Everything ain’t rosy for MMA as UFC makes its local bow. The biggest star in the sport, heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, bowed out with some sort of internal health problems that his camp is playing coy about late last year, just as he was taking UFC and the whole ultimate fighting realm further into the mainstream than it had ever gone. Lesnar will find out how long it’ll be before he returns to the octagon, or if he ever will, this week.

Thomas, however, says MMA in general, and specifically around here, will survive with or without Lesnar.

“MMA is here to stay in DC,” Thomas says. “And it’s only going to get bigger.”

John McCain probably won’t be showing up in Fairfax. (Media man-law requires that every ultimate fighting piece include at least one reference to McCain’s “human cockfighting” description of mixed martial arts from the last century.)


Ultimate fighting isn’t the only athletic endeavor I’m too old for. Check out this write up on the L.A. Times outdoors blog of the injuries suffered by snowboarder and Olympic hopeful Kevin Pearce:

Pearce had been training in the halfpipe at Park City, Utah, for this week’s Olympics qualifier at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and was knocked unconscious when he caught his toe-side edge while landing a cab double cork.

Why, of course he caught his toe-side edge while landing a cab double cork! How else would the kid have been hurt other than from catching his toe-side edge while landing a cab double cork!

Good god, do I hate the Winter Olympics, where rich people land cab double corks for you and me and all of America! And now I learn that Olympic hockey, the only reason to put up with the whole nationalist shebang, will be diminished greatly this time around: Smaller, NHL-sized rinks will be used for the first time in Olympic history, the only point being to slow down the play and give the North American players a chance to hear their anthems in Vancouver next month.

On the traditional big rink, Alex Ovechkin and his Russian buddies — fellow Caps Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov and the most stocked Olympic squad since USA’s Dream Team in basketball — would surely skate to gold.

As Al Michaels would say: DO YOU BELIEVE IN HOME COOKING!?!!?!


And what about being bludgeoned by blurbs for the Who throughout Saturday’s WRC-4 playoff broadcasts for the band’s upcoming Super Bowl halftime gig? I’m surprised by the choice, since there are a whole lot pages in the Who songbook that, because of Pete Townshend’s past foibles, and the recent protests those foibles inspired, he and Roger Daltrey won’t be touching during their mini-set:

The Kids are Alright
Pictures of Lily
It’s a Boy
I’m a Boy
It’s Hard
Slip Kid
Little Billy
Young Man Blues
Imagine a Man
Cousin Kevin Model Child
A Legal Matter
When I Was a Boy
Real Good Looking Boy (Yes, the Who put out a song with that title AFTER Pete’s wayward Net surfing, and threw it on their latest greatest hits package.)

I can’t see how the Who can get offstage, however, without playing “See Me, Feel Me” — “touch me” references and all.


The wondrous Norman Chad admits in today’s Washington Post that his 2009 “Team of Destiny,” the Detroit Lions, let him down: “They won one more game than the Rams,” he wrote, “which is akin to having one more girlfriend than Harvey Fierstein.

Chad has, for years, averaged more laughs per column inch than anybody in newspapering. Why his genius isn’t more celebrated by the Post and the rest of the world escapes me.


Dan Snyder hates the media. The vicey versey’s also true. From the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick:

Marv Albert didn’t call Westwood Radio’s Giants at Redskins, Monday night, Dec. 21, because his deal allows him to miss some broadcasts, and he chooses to skip Skins’ home games because club owner Dan Snyder put the visiting radio booths near the end zone, making accurate calls impossible. Snyder made luxury box seats out of the former radio booths.

Before games in D.C., Giants’ radio man Bob Papa has apologized to his audience for uncertain calls that are coming. “Our position is now low, end zone,” Papa said, Friday. “It went from bad, to worse, to ridiculous.”


Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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