Categories
Sports Strength

UFC Debuted Its New Uniform Collaboration With Venum And We Have Some Thoughts

I get why the UFC is so set on having uniforms for their fighters. It makes plenty of sense. This is one of the ways they can “legitimize” themselves as a major, mainstream sport. From the business side, it’s important.

And after much anticipation, fight fans have finally gotten to see the new uniforms for the UFC. The company had a deal in place with Venum to become their new apparel line, and fans were waiting to see what the new uniforms would look like.

I’m not over the moon about the new look. It feels very meh. I’m not sure what my expectations for the uniforms were, but these drew almost zero emotion from me. If I am being honest, they don’t feel all that different from the previous ones with Reebok.

All of this jersey/uniform talk had me going on a trip down memory lane.

I mean, look at those shorts. Those customized shorts were a really big part of the identifies for the UFC’s top fighters. Chuck Liddell’s Iceman shorts. Tito Ortiz’s Flames.

How could you forget the infamous Anderson Silva black and yellow shorts?

Venum seems to have a great relationship with Vasily Lomachenko and they have released a variation of colorways for his fights.

Looking ahead, I hope that Venum releases custom shorts for different events. If a fight night happens near Halloween, it would be sick to see that incorporated into the gear. I don’t think this will be the case, but I can hope.

Categories
Sports Strength

What is Teqball? A Look At The Sport’s Rising Popularity

You have probably seen some of the videos online. But you may not have known what it was or how serious it is taken. 

Think volleyball, using only your feet, knees, chest, and head. And now think about it on a table—with a table tennis-style net. Games go to 12 points and are played in a best of three series.

The year was 2014. And an engineer was playing an early version of Teqball on a ping pong table. He realized that if he adjusted the shape of the table, the game would be more user-friendly.

So he went to work. 

The popularity of Teqball grew in Eastern Europe and fast. And then, social media got its hands on the sport. From there, it grew around the world.

When you watch a clip or an entire match of Teqball, of course, it is easy to see the overlap that is shared with soccer. Being a good soccer player certainly gives you some of the basics of Teqball. It requires a lot of mental endurance and can be a great tool in developing their first touch on the soccer field.

But some of the best players have not come from soccer. Teqball has a very diverse talent pool that includes athletes from all sports, including volleyball and karate.

The Sport’s Potential For the Future

The goal for Teqball is to be an Olympic sport by 2028, and with the Olympics being hosted in Los Angeles, the Teqball brass is really hoping to capitalize. 

The LA Teqqers are the first pro team in the US, and they have put in a lot of effort to promote the sport across town. When in Los Angeles, you might see the team in highly populated parts of town, like the boardwalk, having random people try the sport.

Teqball organizations have been running tournaments for the last year and a half in different states and cities. Teqball has placed emphasis on diversifying its audience, and its tournaments prove that. The sport has an abundance of co-ed and female-only tournaments. 

This map of the United States really gives you a feel of how big this sport is getting. All of the cities listed currently have Teqball teams organizations, so this sport is not just limited to the West Coast.

Ajay Nwosu

Like Los Angeles, New Jersey is another part of the United States that has become a hub for the sport. The New Jersey pro team, the NJ Teqballers have made their mark on the area.

Outside of the United States, there have been tons of countries to adopt the sport with open arms.

It should come as no surprise, but Brazil has been one of the countries that have embraced Teqball the most. In addition to Brazil, Eastern Europe, parts of Africa, and Thailand have shown a lot of interest.

Over the last year, Teqball has added 105 clubs in the US. Each team uses an Instagram account as a way to connect eager newcomers and bring them to the nearest table. And like it was said earlier, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need years and years of soccer training. 

The support for the sport has been overwhelming. When you think about other sports, it can be really hard to continue playing at an advanced age. Teqball is unique in that sense. The youngest player competing is 16 years old, while some of the oldest players are in their 50s. There is no discrimination when it comes to who can and cannot play.

When it comes to what stands in the way of the sport, the biggest obstacle is time. To become admitted into the Olympics, the sport needs to be adopted by every country. That is why grassroots initiatives are so important and are the focus of the sport’s leadership groups. 

The Teqball World Cup was last in Budapest, Hungary. There are tentative plans for a world cup in 2021, but like everything else in this covid life, it is flexible.

If you want to see some high-level play, check out this match. Many people consider this to be one of the best games ever played.

On April 10th and 11th, Teqball will be hosting the Challenger’s Cup in Los Angeles. There, fans will get to see some very high-level play.

If you are interested in learning more about Teqball or signing up, check out their website.

Categories
NFT Sports

Jack Settleman’s Thoughts on the Current NFT x Celebrity Landscape

If you wanted to make a quick cash grab with NFTs, that ship has sailed.

Being first in NFTs is over. 

If you’re an athlete or celebrity who wants to cash in on the NFT craze… I’m here to tell you, you missed the boat on being first. 

Over the last few weeks, we have seen a ton of athletes and celebrities jumping into NFTs. They want to create their own and snag a quick buck. They normally collaborate with someone, but it is owned by them.

I don’t blame people for hopping in. If I could release an NFT for a million dollars today, I would. But I truly don’t believe the short term mentality will win. 

If you want to separate yourself from the others, you will need to do more.

Those who are thoughtful about community, access, and technology will win in the long term. 

If a celebrity wants to release a digital sports card, at least make it cool. You need to make it a cool piece of art. Just making one for the sake of making one won’t cut it anymore.

AGAIN – I WANT TO CLARIFY – I GET IT. 

If I could make a quick buck right now, it would be awfully tempting. 

But those going for the quick cash grab are very obvious.

However, I think there is a way to enhance the art. 

The next step would be to create value by offering access and adding to your community. If you own 1/50 NFTs that I release, I will follow you on IG. Or I will give you a signed jersey. 

Let’s continue to go to the next level.

If you grab one of Post Malone’s digital cards, he could offer you backstage access to his concerts. That way, it comes with a community engagement dynamic.

One thing I feel passionate about is that consumers are too good at seeing through the bullshit. The hype of your favorite athlete coming in is starting to settle. It has become clear that people can tell if you are trying to build community or if you are trying to cash out. 

That is why these cash-outs are coming to a halt.

Categories
Sports Strength

Randy Costa Talks MMA Debut, Candy, and Putting on Weight

UFC bantamweight, Randy Costa, talked with Bo Templin for this week’s episode of In The Fight.

The Massachusetts native is so young in his MMA career. He has a 2-1 record in the UFC and a 6-1 record overall in MMA. In September of last year, Costa earned Performance of the Night with a spectacular head kick knockout.

Costa and Templin talked on the seven-year anniversary of his MMA debut, which they spent some time reflecting on. Templin asks Costa how he would like to see his career in another seven years.

After going through his career, the two talk about what motivates Costa. Some fighters are obsessed with getting the belt. Other fighters want the big pay day.

“Unlike a lot of people, I don’t give a fuck about the belt” Costa says.

“I’m chasing something bigger than that, I’m chasing happiness. If I’m happy dude, then I don’t care. I get to live my dream. I live on the beach. I work out every day and I get to fight a couple of times a year.”

The convo then pivots to something important to the both of them… and that is candy.

Costa is known for being a huge fan of Reese’s. He’s a madman about it. And Templin isn’t a slouch when it comes to sweets either.

Categories
Sports Strength

Fighter Pay, Jon Jones vs The UFC

You know, this was was SUPPOSED to be a more mild week in the fight game. With no UFC fights lined up for Saturday night, I thought, “I don’t know if I will have anything to write about.”

Who was I kidding?

The week started with some Twitter venting from Jon Jones. Following Francis Ngannou’s victory over Stipe Miocic, many fans were asking for a Jon Jones vs Ngannou super fight. Jones has spent the last six months training for a move to heavyweight and has teased a heavyweight debut for some time now.

Jones believes a fight between him and Ngannou could be one of the biggest fights in the history of the company. The truth is that I don’t know how many pay-per-view buys the fight would get, but I know I would be one of the first in line to buy it.

When it comes to fighter pay, I really doubt that I will be the one to fix the problem or find the solution. There are much brighter women and men than me in this sphere, but maybe I can add a touch of insight. We’ve heard that Jones is looking for ~$10 million for this fight with Ngannou. Some folks think that is too high, some think it is undeniably fair.

You know what I think?

It doesn’t matter.

What does matter, is the percentage of the pie that Jones will receive. To me, throwing out numbers is only giving us one half of the story. In order to understand if a fighter is underpaid, the first thing that needs to be understood is what the UFC is bound to make.

I think a very fair and reasonable guess for a Jones vs Ngannou heavyweight title fight would be just above 1.2 million pay-per-view buys. Last summer, Masvidal vs Usman did 1.3 million buys. This fight feels bigger, but Masvidal vs Usman also had the pandemic working in their favor.

1.2 million multiplied by $70?

In just the pay-per-view buys alone, that would be over $80 million dollars. That doesn’t include revenue made at the live event (tickets, merchandise, etc.).

All of a sudden, that eight million doesn’t sound like that much.

But hey, I’m a writer. What do I know about math or money? What I do know is that Jon Jones is NOT afraid of anyone. Even someone as scary as Francis Ngannou. These fighters are not like normal people. Jones has fought KILLERS for a decade straight… and has never lost.

If I am wrong here, tell me. I’m never going to be this high, almighty voice. I’m all ears.

Are you buying a Jon Jones vs Francis Ngannou pay-per-view? I think the answer is yes.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

‘Entourage’ Creator Doug Ellin Talks ‘Victory! the Podcast’ and Potential Reboot

Oh yeah.

What started as a small little project to pass the time in quarantine has now turned into a podcast that has been downloaded over three million times.

Called Victory! the Podcast, series creator Doug Ellin is “getting the gang back together,” so to speak, where he and Johnny Drama himself, Kevin Dillon, talk to members of the cast and recap the show, one episode at a time. Kevin Connolly, the podcast producer and “E” from the show, also pops in from time to time.

It would be hard to talk about television during the 2000s without mentioning Entourage. To this day, the show has a community of die-hard fans who frequently rewatch the show from beginning to end.

I’ve watched the show maybe six or seven times from start to finish. I saw the movie when it hit theaters. It is one of my favorite shows of all time.

So when I reached out to the creator of Entourage, Doug Ellin, and he responded back… I was f**king stoked.

Templin: How has it been getting those Entourage juices flowing again? Has the nostalgia really kicked in?

Ellin: It’s been great getting back together with the cast and reminiscing but it’s been even more fun talking about our lives now and things we’re doing outside of Entourage

Like the show, the podcast has been filled with star-studded cameos and appearances.

Ellin: Getting Charlie Sheen and Jordan Belfort… Having  Jeremy Piven surprising us with Mike Tyson has all just been awesome. And it’s had the same feel as the show—kind of the underdog. We didn’t have any expectations, and now everywhere we go, we’re hearing people talk about it, so that has been very cool. 

Templin: The Entourage community is still so strong. The success of your podcast proves that. What is it that makes fans of the show so loyal? 

Ellin: I think our fans can feel that the friendships that were displayed on the show really carried off-camera as well. And I think the ideas of friendship and loyalty really resonate with people much more than any of the Hollywood stuff that some people think the show was about. To me, it was always about family and sticking together no matter what and I think people really can relate to that.

With the insane success of the podcast, the chatter has already begun. Can someone say, “reboot?”

Ellin: I really had no thoughts or desire to do a reboot before the podcast but now who knows. 

The bottom line is this: If you liked Entourage, then you will LOVE Victory The Podcast. In addition to some really fun behind-the-scenes details, the podcast also keeps that friendly vibe that Entourage fans love so much.

You can check Victory! The Podcast here or wherever podcasts are available and be sure to follow Doug Ellin on Twitter and Instagram.

Categories
Sports Strength

Nate Diaz Returns on May 15th Against Leon Edwards at UFC 262

He’s back.

On Tuesday night, it was reported that Nate Diaz is scheduled to fight Leon Edwards at UFC 262.

  • Five rounds
  • Co-main
  • Non-title fight

That will be the first-ever fight of that nature in the history of the UFC.

Diaz just does things differently.

For every single fan of the fight game, there is a fighter or two that you connect with. When they fight, you are hooked and when they talk, you listen.

For me, that fighter is Nathan Diaz.

The reality is that he was the first fighter I was ever a fan of. In 2007, season five of The Ultimate Fighter aired on Spike. I was 10 years old, so it was probably an ill-advised program for me to get into, but hey – that’s life.

Ever since that season of the show, I was all-in on Nate Diaz. You will never hear me claim that he is the perfect fighter or that he deserves a title shot out of place… but when his fights get announced, I get pumped.

Leon Edwards is coming off of a somewhat bizarre matchup against Belal Muhammed. It was his first fight in almost two years, so fans were eager to see how he looked.

Well, in what we saw, he looked good. Until it didn’t. Early in the fight, Edwards poked Muhammed in the eye, and the bout was stopped. It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill eye poke either. This one was nasty.

A lot of fans, including myself, thought that the fight should be rebooked. And while I’m thrilled about the Nate Diaz news, I do feel for Muhammed.

When you step back and look at the bigger picture, this fight makes tons of sense. For Edwards, he gets a big name and payday. For Diaz, he gets a fight where he doesn’t have to cut weight and if he wins, I have no doubt that the UFC would try to give him a push for a title shot.

Damn, I can’t wait. The UFC just continues to deliver exciting fights.

Categories
NFT Tech

The Most Important Word in NFTs, According to Jack Settleman

When I first wrote about NBA Top Shot, one of the reasons I was, and still am, so attracted to the product is the utility of it. There are so many different uses for NBA Top Shot and the league is constantly looking to expand the integration of the product. 

So, utility

That brings us to digital horses. 

I can’t believe I am writing that out loud.

When I was growing up, I would go to Dave and Busters quite a bit. Good ol’ D&B. My favorite game was Derby Owners Club.

It was a horse racing game. You could breed, train, and jockey. When you were done, you could store the information of your horse on a ticket. When I returned back to D&B, I could plug my ticket back in and all of that information was saved. I had a horse. I had my jockey. I could pick up where I left off from during my last trip to Dave and Busters. 

This week, everything came full circle. 

Some of you may have seen that I have been tweeting heavily about digital horses and a site called zed.run.

Zed.run has the breeding. Zed has the racing. And the third element is that you can bet on the actual races with fake money, but in the future, the assumption is that you will be able to bet with real money. 

Instead of going out and buying an actual horse, hiring a jockey, and needing a ridiculous amount of money… I could own a digital race horse. 

This is a GREAT example of the importance of utility in NFTs. People want to be able to use and/or incorporate their investments into something useful. 

Like most other NFT market places, there are still problems with the sites themselves. As I said last week, it is early. 

Zed had a drop where you could buy new horses this past weekend and sold out in just a few hours. There were some small hiccups along the way, but that shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. 

This blog isn’t about zed. This is about utility in NFTs. Every week, there is a new way for people to understand how NFTs work. As more and more inclusions to the NFT space are welcomed, I am going to stay focused on that singular word: utility. 

What can I do with it? 

So as we continue to navigate through the early days of NFTs, I want to encourage everyone to keep utility at the forefront of it all. 

Categories
Sports Strength

Previewing UFC 260: Francis’ Dominance, Stipe’s Legacy, and more

There is nothing like a UFC heavyweight championship fight. Nothing. It is the stage where the world finds out who is the baddest man on the planet.

If there was ever a fight that I wish could happen in the Roman Colosseum, it might be this one.

In one corner, you have, The Predator, Francis Ngannou. Coming from the sand mines of Cameroon, Ngannou’s rise to superstardom as unlikely as it gets. He told that story in a very powerful and moving episode of JRE. I highly recommend it.

Ngannou has dominated his opponents. Obliterated. He has become the king of the first-round knockout and has the most impressive power striking I’ve seen in my life. Don’t believe me? That’s ok, the official voice and play by play man of the UFC, Jon Anik, agrees with me.

In addition to Jon Anik, Vegas also seems to hold Ngannou’s power in high regard as he is listed as the odds on favorite to win the fight at -120.

When Ngannou got his first chance at UFC gold, he was certainly a much more raw talent. His wrestling was still a work in progress and that showed when he lost a clear-cut decision to the GOAT of the division, Stipe Miocic.

Now, that was some time ago. But something worth mentioning is that in every fight since then, we haven’t really gotten a chance to see if Ngannou’s takedown defense has improved. I don’t want to take anything away from what The Predator has done, but his most recent wins are just further proof of his outlandish power and not his improved skills as a martial artist.

It actually reminds me of my favorite NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

For the last few seasons, the Bucks have killed opponents during the regular season. They would obtain a 30 point lead in the 4th quarter, and their best players would sit the final six or seven minutes of the game.

But when the playoffs would come around, they didn’t have experience competing in close games.

I’m not saying Ngannou hasn’t improved. I’m saying that we don’t have any evidence to show that he has. One big difference in the rematch between these two is Ngannou will have the UFC’s welterweight champion, Kamara Usman, in his corner. Usman has been coaching Ngannou on his grappling skills for parts of this training camp.

From Stipe’s side of things, I really feel like there is something in play that not enough people are talking about.

Stipe’s resume would certainly back up the idea that he is the GOAT of the heavyweight division.

He has the most title defenses, the most strikes in a heavyweight fight, the most bonuses in the division…

At some point, we have to ask the question. When are we going to talk about him being the greatest fighter in the history of the company?

Man, it just feels like we are taking his career for granted.

Does the division’s greatest competitor have another trick up his sleeve? Or does will the undeniable power of the challenger be too overwhelming?

I can’t fucking wait. See you tomorrow night.

Categories
Sports Strength

Kenny Florian Dissects 2021’s Best Fights in the UFC

This week on In The Fight, Kenny Florian joined me to talk about some of the standout moments from the UFC in 2021. Florian is a UFC legend, former commentator, and current podcaster. This week, he was announced as the new commentator for the Professional Fighters League.

Bo: You have such a higher fight IQ than an idiot, like me. Do you ever have a hard time dumbing down your knowledge to people like me?

Florian: “I hope and my goal is to explain things on a level that anyone can understand.”

The fight game has changed so much over its short history. Even just the style of fights and fighters has drastically changed. And Florian notices those changes.

Florian: “So many fighters look the same today.”

For the remainder of the episode, the two look back on brilliant performances from Max Holloway, Michael Chandler, and more. To finish off the conversation, they look ahead to Chandler’s bout against Charles Oliveira.