Welcome Craig Nelson to the Team!

By | June 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm | No comments | Boxing, MMA

Hi folks, my name is Craig Nelson, and I am the new kid on the block, so I thought I would introduce myself and tell you a little bit about me. I live in Colorado Springs, Co, where I grew up and have spent most of my life. I grew up in the “Golden Age” of boxing, when giants of the sport like Muhammed Ali, George Forman, and Ken Norton still stalked their foes in the squared circle. I was privileged to get to see all time greats like Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, and Hitman Tommy Hearns fighting in the prime of their careers. I was devastated, like many of you, to actually witness a death in the ring, when Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini fought Duk Koo Kim, as Kim succumbed to injuries suffered in the ring after a vicious battle with Mancini and passed away 4 days later. I got to see the rise and utter domination of Larry Holmes, who proved on several occasions that it IS possible to knock out an opponent with a jab. I was stunned by the debut and rapid rise of the 20 year old Heavyweight Champion Iron Mike Tyson, and equally stunned when, near the end of his career, he fought a rematch with Evander Holyfield. Boxing fans will know what I am talking about, for this was the infamous ear biting match, with Tyson essentially losing his mind in the ring, and biting off pieces of both Holyfield’s ears. Incidentally, that was the last boxing pay-per-view I ever bought; I just couldn’t swallow (no pun intended) the fact that Tyson got paid $30 million dollars for that farce, and I got rooked out of $50 to watch it. Still, for his body of work, Tyson is often talked about in the same sentence as Ali as being the greatest of all time, and was just inducted into the Hall of Fame. It’s an argument you cannot win, since everyone has their personal favorite, but if forced to choose between the two, I would pick Ali every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. I watched with pleasure the rise of young boxing studs “Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya, who set all kinds of pay-per-view records, Roy Jones Jr., Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, Sugar Shane Mosley, and many other great young fighters. And, I started to hear about this crazy new sport that would be fought in a cage with “no rules”. My first thought was “Oh, great, some stupid professional wrestling stunt pretending to be a real sport.” As a Jr. High School wrestler (my knees were destroyed in 8th grade, preventing me from competing beyond Jr. High), I had a hatred of fake wrestling, especially since at that time they still claimed it was a real sport, and so, thinking that this new Ultimate Fighting Championship¬† was similar, I resolved to boycott it, even though it was only 90 minutes away in Denver, Co. And so, I missed UFC 1. But, I kept hearing about this guy Royce Gracie, and how he dismantled guys WAY bigger than him. Eventually I had to check it out. Many were immediately captivated; I was not. I have always been a fan of the science of fighting, the skill required to be the best, and other than Gracie, there wasn’t a lot of that in evidence those first few events. So, I shied away from MMA, as it was being called, for a while. But at some point in the late 90’s, my love of martial arts in general, and fight sports in particular, brought me back around, and when Dana White and the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC in 2001, and changed the look and feel of the sport, I was fully on board. I have rarely missed an event since. I found that MMA offered a much more exciting product for me, since it was as close to actual street fighting as you could legally get. I laughed at Sen. McCain’s “human cockfighting” characterization, figuring that anyone with any sense would quickly figure out what a lame comparison it was.¬† I was wrong, and the sport went through a “Dark Ages” period for a few years. Then, in January of 2005, a new show premiered on a new cable network called Spike, a show that was to change the face of MMA as we know it. That show, of course, was The Ultimate Fighter. Today, 6 years after the show debuted, it remains one of cable TV’s most popular shows, and MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. And, due to the quality and talent of today’s fighters, I remain one of the sports biggest fans. So, in a rather large nutshell, that is my background, what I bring to the table, so to speak. You’ll notice that there are no journalistic accolades, for I am not a journalist in the traditional sense. What I am is one of you. A fan. A guy who wants to see the best fighters in the world fight, and then talk to you about it. Some of you will agree with my points of view, and some of you will not. I look forward to lively discussions with both types! Either way, I am happy to be here, with you, my friends, my fellow MMA aficionados. I look forward to the challenge.

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