Thursday, May 31, 2007

Liddell beats "Rampage" at the bank

Former Cal Poly wrestler and SLO-based ultimate fighter Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell might have lost to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson inside the Octagon on Saturday, but he beat him at the bank.
According to figures released by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday, Liddell took home $500,000 in the loss to Jackson at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. And that figure does not include pay-per-view earnings or endorsements.
Jackson, a relatively unknown fighter before Saturday, won $225,000.
The main event took $725,000 of the entire night’s $920,500 purse.
UFC reported the fight night produced a gate of $4.3 million.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rampage puts Liddell on ice

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson proved Chuck Liddell wasn't invincible, again.
Jackson handed Liddell his first loss since 2003 Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, stopping the UFC light heavyweight champion by technical knockout in the first round of UFC 71.
Jackson dropped the San Luis Obispo-based fighter and former Cal Poly wrestler with a ruthless right hand that sent Liddell to the mat for good (see video). The 28-year-old Jackson (27-6) then pounced on the 37-year-old Liddell (20-4) and finished the fight with a fury of follow-up punches before referee John McCarthy called the fight at the 1:53 mark.
Liddell, known better as "The Iceman," had not lost in the octagon since 2003 when he fell to both Randy Couture and Jackson.
The former Mustang avenged losses to Couture and Jeremy Horn in 2005 but was unable to avenge his last loss to Jackson, a former Pride fighter who defeated Liddell in Japan in November 2003.
"I made a mistake and got caught," Liddell said afterward.

Friday, May 25, 2007

More Liddell vs. Jackson prefight hype

People can't get enough of this UFC 71 stuff (Liddell stories are regularly the most visited links on The Tribune's Web site). So here's some more prefight hype looking ahead to Saturday night's Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson showdown.
Liddell (B.S., Bus. Admin., 1995) graduated from Cal Poly 12 years ago, majoring in accounting and wrestling for the Mustangs during his undergraduate years.
I was going to post the video of tonight's weigh-in, but figured a clip of the two fighters jumping around in their skivvies along with half-naked ring girls probably wouldn't fly with the higher ups.
Instead, I'll offer up the latest news links previewing the fight and you can browse the MMA sites at your discretion:

Ready to Rampage
Yahoo! Sports
”The guy breaks me up,” said Chuck Liddell, who will defend his 205-pound belt against Jackson Saturday in UFC 71 at the MGM Grand Garden. “He’s hilarious.”

‘Iceman’ guarantees knock out
SLAM! Sports, Canada
Since being defeated by Jackson at a 2003 Pride Fighting Championship card in Tokyo, Liddell has gone undefeated. And he assures that if there is a recent ...

SLAM!’s UFC 71 predictions, Canada
Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell has avenged two of his three losses in MMA. The only thing standing in his way to complete redemption is Quinton (Rampage) ...

Beatdown: Couture Talks Liddell-Jackson
TJ De Santis and editor Josh Gross were live for two hours Friday afternoon discussing the upcoming Chuck Liddell (Pictures)-Quinton Jackson ...

Liddell vs. Jackson: Keys to victory
Yahoo! Sports
LAS VEGAS – Quinton “Rampage” Jackson already owns a victory over Chuck Liddell. Here are the things he’ll have to do Saturday to unseat Liddell as UFC ...

Kudos to the UFC, Canada
Take Chuck Liddell for example: he has a degree in accounting… how would you like to audit him? The key to expanding the UFC is to help the fans get to know ...

Here are some tips to get you up to speed on the UFC
pulling a Johnny Drama and asking, “What’s a Chuck Liddell?” So here are five statements you can make before the main event to make it seem like you know ...

Four years since the fury
Though nearly four years have passed since Chuck Liddell occupied the same blood-splattered real estate with Quinton Jackson, they remain substantially the ...

Liddell-Jackson II headlines strong UFC card
With Chuck Liddell having already wiped out most of the UFC light heavyweight division, the opportunity is there for new faces to step up and claim a spot ...

Iceman looking to add to his MMA legacy Saturday against Rampage ...
CBC News, Canada
LAS VEGAS (CP) - When Chuck Liddell nodded off during a TV interview on “Good Morning Texas” in early March, it looked like the UFC light-heavyweight ...

MMA News: Rampage Jackson vs. Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell at UFC 71
Bodog Beat, Antigua and Barbuda
Mixed martial arts warrior Quentin “Rampage” Jackson (26-6-0) defeated UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (20-3-0) in ’03. ...

SportsCenter to Focus on Liddell-Jackson II
Friday, during the 6 pm ET edition of ESPN’s Emmy-award winning SportsCenter, May 26’s UFC light heavyweight title fight between Chuck Liddell (Pictures) ...

The Iceman cometh

Former Cal Poly wrestler Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell is quickly becoming the Central Coast’s biggest celebrity.
He’s on the cover of ESPN Magazine this month.
He’s mentioned in a Sports Illustrated cover story on ultimate fighting this week.
He was on Jim Rome’s TV show and The Best Damn Sports Show this week.
He’s made appearances on Entourage and Blade, and recently found himself in the middle of a Punk’d episode.
Tonight’s weigh-in for the fight will be featured on most sports highlight shows (live on ESPNews at 3:50 p.m.) with Saturday’s fight against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson likely dominating headlines for the remainder of the weekend.
But you’ll have to pay to see him fight live Saturday at 7 p.m. from the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The fight is a pay-per-view showing, unless you get out to one of the local sports bars that will be carrying the fight.
So far, The Graduate and The Shack have announced they’re showing the fight. I’ll add to this list if I hear of anywhere else.

Who do you like to win Saturday's fight?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vote for Desme

Grant Desme could win the Big West Conference’s first triple crown in baseball in who knows how many years (I’ve posed the question to the sports information department but have yet to hear back).
Cal Poly's junior right fielder broke his wrist in the final game of the UC Davis series and ends his season leading the Big West Conference in hitting (.405), total bases (143), on-base percentage (.494), RBI (53), slugging percentage (.733) and home runs (15).
Desme, still projected by many to be a first- through third-round selection in the June draft, is going to miss the final six games of the conference season, but nobody’s numbers are as dominant. Should he be the Big West Conference Player of the Year?
Or will he be penalized by the coaches because he missed the final two series of the season and played for what is currently the fourth-place team?
Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee believes Desme deserves POY honors but realizes the title usually goes to the best player on the best team.
“Yeah, he should get it, even with the injury,” Lee said. “He has the best numbers in the league, but it might be one of those Andre Dawson (Cubs’ runner-up in ’81 and ’83) things, he’s not playing on the first-place team.”
If Desme wins he’ll be the first Cal Poly player to take home the award since Kyle Blumenthal split it with Sergio Pedroza of conference champion Cal State Fullerton in 2005 — a year when Cal Poly finished tied for second place with Long Beach State.

Who do you think deserves the award this season, keeping in mind the Big West also announces a pitcher of the year next week as well.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Picking AOY won't be easy this year

The academic year is nearly over at Cal Poly, which means the Night of the Mustang is right around the corner.
This year’s awards banquet is scheduled for May 15, which brings up a good question: Who will be Cal Poly’s Athletes of the Year.
There’s a handful of worthy candidates on both the men’s and women’s side.
Frontrunners for the women’s award have to be volleyball player Kylie Atherstone and softball standout Lisa Modglin.
On the men’s side, football player Kyle Shotwell and distance runner Phillip Reid are top candidates. How you decipher between the two standouts for each award is beyond me. All four players will probably have been players of the year in their respective conference, or in Shotwell’s case, Division I-AA defensive player of the year. Reid was an All-American in cross country and could also go for a conference title in track and field this weekend.
Atherstone was the Big West player of the year, should’ve been an All-American selection and Modglin is the top choice for Big West player of the year this spring. Atherstone helped lead the Mustangs back to the playoffs and Modglin appears to be doing the same thing on the diamond.
Cal Poly had co-male athletes of the year - Chris Gocong and Travis Bertoni - last year. Could it happen on both sides this year?
Who do you think deserves player of the year honors on the men's and women's side?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Shotwell working out with Raiders

Kyle Shotwell is the first former Cal Poly football player to open a minicamp with an NFL team this month. Shotwell, who signed a rookie free-agent contract with Oakland after the draft, suited up with the Raiders during their three-day mandatory camp in Alameda over the weekend.
Former Mustangs Courtney Brown (Dallas), Chris Gocong (Philadelphia) and Jordan Beck (Atlanta) open minicamp in the next week or so.
Shotwell was one of seven rookie free agents in camp with the Raiders. The others were wide receiver Chris McFoy (USC), defensive tackle Larry Brown (Oklahoma State), cornerback Marquis Cole (Northwestern), cornerback Kenny Patton (Hawaii), linebacker J.J. Milan (Nevada) and offensive lineman Eddie Keele (BYU).
Shotwell, No. 17 at Cal Poly, wore No. 41 during drills.
If that 41 looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same silver 41 that four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Phil Villapiano wore from 1971-79 with the Raiders (a little fun fact courtesy Tribune copy editor Ashley Conklin). The 6-foot-1, 222-pound linebacker was at the center of the Raiders’ 1976 championship team under the direction of former Mustang John Madden.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Little Van Ostrand putting up big numbers

Got my first look at David Van Ostrand on Thursday in the Cuesta College baseball team’s 17-4 win over Allan Hancock.
Van Ostrand, younger brother of former Cal Poly slugger and current Astros farmhand Jimmy Van Ostrand, is a sophomore first baseman for the Hancock Bulldogs who has signed to play at Cal Poly next spring.
A very big first baseman. Van Ostrand is listed at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds.
And the younger Van Ostrand is making quite a name for himself, entering the week hitting .422 with 35 RBI and six home runs.
He hit a towering, laughable home run in Thursday’s loss. A shot that cleared the batting cage beyond the right-field wall and bounced in the access road between the campus and Camp San Luis Obispo. The ball would've rolled all the way to Cal Poly if not for the Camp SLO fence.
Should be interesting to see what he does on those windy afternoons at Baggett Stadium next season – that is if he doesn’t follow in his brother’s footsteps to the minors a couple years early.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Shotwell learning to love Raider Nation

Kyle Shotwell is a good guy.
Before graduating earlier this year, he helped spearhead the football team’s bible study group and was a member of Cal Poly’s Block P society – whose purpose is to increase community service, promote sportsmanship and unity, and elevate attendance and spirit for Mustangs athletics.
On Sunday, the final day of the NFL Draft, he spent much of the morning at church, and during interviews leading up to the draft he first thanked – almost ad nauseam – the Cal Poly coaching staff, athletic department and everyone in the community who supported him and the football program during his five-year run.
He shrugged off his dwindling draft stock on multiple occasions, saying the most important things to him right now are, “No. 1 God, No. 2 Family and then No. 3, my career.”
The guy even hugged a reporter from the school newspaper after his final game at Cal Poly. What star football player does that?
So it’s kind of funny that the former Cal Poly linebacker agreed to a free-agent contract with the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Yes, those Raiders, the bad boys of the NFL. Raider Nation. The Black Hole. Silver and Black. Spikes and skulls.
It’s tough to fathom: Shotwell lining up alongside Sebastian Janikowski and Co., screaming down the field as parents Steve and Cynthia Shotwell – faces painted in silver and black with leather dog collars and spiked mohawks – berate the opposition along with the rest of the Skull Patrol.
That's if the rookie free agent makes the team, of course.
Now the question is, can a kid who’s more Luke Skywalker than Darth Vader find his way on the dark side? We’ll start to find out later this week when the Raiders open minicamp.
Start sharpening those spikes.
“I have to admit, growing up (in Goleta) I was more of a Niners fan,” Shotwell said. “With the Raiders, you kind of love ’em, or you love to hate ’em. Trust me, I can learn to the love them.”

• • •
Note to the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s Kyle Shotwell, not Josh. There’s a Kyle, Ryan, Troy and a Matt Shotwell, all brothers, but no Josh.