Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lesnar vs. Couture could be finalized next week

Sources close to the MMA world indicate that a November fight between Brock Lesnar and Randy Couture could be finalized as early as Tuesday of next week.

If a deal can be reached, the fight would likely take place in Portland's Rose Garden.

Sources also say that in a perfect world that the legendary Couture would like to have three more fights before he retires and those fights would all be for the UFC.

Lesnar vs. Couture would be an extremely intriguing match up if contracts can be worked out. One would assume that getting a deal done quickly after the Labor Day holiday would allow both fighters to officially begin their preparation within a few days.

It will also be interesting to see where the betting line starts and ends for this
one if it does happen. This match blows away the previously discussed Lesnar-Kongo fight and should do huge business on PPV. (Credit: JR)

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

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The wheeler dealer players of the sporting world, by Ray Chesterton - The Daily Telegraph - 28th August 2008

Like so many good ideas intended for public benefit, including cane toads and Patterson's curse, the rise in importance of players' managers in sport has perverted into a grotesque situation.

Players' managers evolved from justified player concerns that they were being exploited by experienced club administrators into signing contracts for less than they were worth. From that simplicity, player's managers have risen to become powerbrokers, intruding into all aspects of their clients' lives often with headline-making drama.

The latest bizarre example is Cronulla rugby league star Greg Bird, who has been charged with grievous bodily harm against his American girlfriend Katie Milligan.

Bird allegedly blamed his temporary flatmate Bret Watson, who has since been cleared by police, for the attack and texted him the lines: "My manager is helping us sort this s..t out", and "Don't answer your phone - life or death."

On Tuesday, Bird's manager Gavin Orr was photographed leaving leaving hospital after visiting Ms Milligan. Orr's action may breach a court order.

The Bird case again raises the public profile of sporting managers in not just rugby league, but also AFL and cricket and the entertainment world.

Managers offer varying interpretations of circumstances affecting their clients. Some shield them from reality. Others are just after the money. Neither is admirable.

It was manager Jason Warne who provided the remarkable explanation that his brother and cricket star Shane failed a drug test because their mother had given him a diuretic to lose weight.

Some are opportunistic. When triathlete Candice Falzon was caught in a flagrant situation in a hotel toilet cubicle with rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams, her manager Max Markson sought a deal for her to flog hangover cures.

The worst managers have records portraying them as avaricious, unethical, unscrupulous and dishonest.

Orr also managed Parramatta rugby league forward Fui Fui Moi Moi and admitted forging the player's signature on a contract to join Melbourne. Parramatta protested and Orr admitted his guilt.

Managers don't even trust each other. "They're always trying to steal each other's players," one said.

It happened this year when Sonny Bill Williams walked out on the deal Orr had negotiated with the Bulldogs and signed with new manager Khoder Nasser, before joining a French rugby union club.

Managers take up to 8 per cent of a client's sign-on fee and as much as 30 per cent of endorsement deals.

Some are indifferent. One manager did not even turn up to see his client sign a $450,000-a-year contract with a club.

Leading sports manager Steve Gillis admits some of his colleagues could use a refresher course in behavioral standards, but insists things are improving.

"There are around 90 accredited player managers. Clubs learn who they can trust," he said.

Players' managers came into sport when naive young men struggled for traction in tricky negotiations with older and intimidating club officials.

Young men fresh from reaping wheat in some small country town had no idea of their financial worth as players.

Grand final forward Peter Peters remembers a trick Parramatta CEO Jack Argent used to sway newcomers.

Argent would produce what he'd claim was the contract Test players in the team like Ron Lynch had signed.

The false contract would say Lynch signed for $2000 - well below their real value of say $10,000 and that the deal offered to the newcomer was appropriate.

He used that leverage on Peters, who signed for a year before going to Manly.

"It was a bit much for a country boy from Goulburn and Wollongong at a Sydney club for the first time," says Peters, now a respected administrator.

One St George Test star recognised his need for advice. He took his employer's accountant to talks about a new contract. When Saints offered their star more for playing football than the accountant received for full-time employment, his negotiating inexperience rang loudly.

He told his client to take the deal, not realising it was simply an opening gambit and only a third of the final offer the club intended to make. Club officials laughed about it for years.

Another star player from another club was involved in tense talks over a new contract when the club CEO was unexpectedly called away from his office.

The player grabbed the chance to rifle player contracts in a filing cabinet and was much better equipped to negotiate when the CEO returned.

Canberra's grand final hero Paul Osborne, now in charge of the Accredited Player Agents scheme says players are not above criticism either.

"I wish they would read their contracts more carefully and know exactly what they include and when they end," he said.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fighter takes aim after his Olympic dream vanishes, by Adrian Proszenko - The Sun-Herald (Last Word) - 17th August 2008

Olympic hopeful Mick Cutajar has taken aim at the Australian Judo Federation, claiming he was denied a chance to live his dream of competing at the Games in Beijing.

Australian competitors Matt Celotti fled the Olympic village on Friday after it was revealed he took part in the Games despite facing an assault charge in Melbourne.

Cutajar, the man who says he should have been in Beijing had the appropriate checks been completed, claims the AJF knew about Celotti's court case...

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cutajar will fight to be known as an Olympian, By Chris Roots - Illawarra Mercury - 16th August 2008

Wollongong's Mick Cutajar is furious about being denied his Olympic dream by "the dishonesty" of judo player Matt Celotti and has vowed to fight to be recognised as an Olympian.

Celotti, who was beaten in the first round of the 100kg division of the judo in Beijing on Thursday, will return home to face an assault charge in Australia next month.

Celotti edged Cutajar out of the team by a single point, beating the Wollongong warrior at the Oceania Championship in March.

Cutajar admits he is no saint, having spent three years in jail for his part in an armed robbery in 1995, and was devastated by the news.

"It's the same thing as that swimmer (Nick D'Arcy) and the AOC contract was very clear about anything like that because I had to go through it very closely with my lawyers," 39-year-old Cutajar said.

"I can't believe he wasn't upfront with this and it has cost me my dream.

"I want to be recognised as an Olympian because that will help with funding for London 2012, when I will hopefully fulfil my dream."

D'Arcy and mountain biker Chris Jongewaard were not nominated for the Olympic team despite qualifying because they were facing criminal charges.

It was revealed yesterday that Celotti faced a charge of intentionally causing injury from an incident at the Lower Plenty Hotel, Victoria in November 2007 and was due to appear at the Heidelberg Magistrates Court on September 12.

Cutajar has turned his life around since being the cell-mate of serial killer Ivan Milat in Long Bay jail, and is a devoted family man with a degree from the University of Wollongong.

He has never denied his past wrongdoings, and will meet his lawyers in the next few days to discuss his next move.

"I had to be up front about (my past) with the AOC because of their rules," he said.

"I did what I did in 1995 and served my time (in jail) and I was honest with them right the way through.

"I knew everyone was watching me when I fought Matt for the (Olympic) spot and to find out he has hidden this (charge) has gutted me.

"I was the first reserve and I would have been on the first plane over there if (the judo) was on on Sunday."

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Monday, August 11, 2008

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