Kevin Iole

  • How Marv Albert, 73, could help boxing regain traction with younger crowd

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 15 hrs ago

    Boxing desperately needs a younger audience, and fast. Scan a television ratings spreadsheet and it's impossible to miss that the largest numbers of viewers for any boxing telecast almost always fall into the category of what is referred to in the ratings business as "P55+."

    It shouldn't be confused with Tony Horton's workout program, P90X, which is very popular among young people.

    No, in the television ratings game, P55+ isn't anything to be excited about. It refers to people aged 55 and older, perhaps the least desirable audience segment. Advertisers are desperate to reach a younger audience, particularly the coveted 18-to-34-year-old demographic.

    Over the last 25 years, boxing hasn't been able to do that.

    And so to some, it might seem a curious choice on the part of NBC and the Premier Boxing Champions to name a soon-to-be 74-year-old who hasn't called a boxing match since the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, as the play-by-play voice for the upcoming series.

    Then as now, Marv Albert will be the man calling the fights.

    To that, to borrow Albert's distinctive catch phrase, fans can only say, "Yes!"

  • How Ronda Rousey went from child prodigy to the UFC's most dominant champ

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    LOS ANGELES – When Ronda Rousey was 13 and in junior high school, she was doing things athletically that made her mother's jaw drop. AnnMaria De Mars suspected she may have a child prodigy on her hands.

    De Mars was not just another proud mother. She was a world-class athlete herself and in 1984 became the first American to win a world judo championship. She had an eye for talent and an analytic mind, and she believed deeply that her daughter had the potential for greatness.

    What she was concerned about was having it develop to its fullest extent. So she did what any parent in a similar situation would do with a prodigy. She sought help, only to get rebuffed.

    "I called up USA Judo, the governing body for judo, and I said, 'I have this kid and I seriously think she is going to be something special,' DeMars said. "[I said to them], I don't just say it because she's my kid, because I have three other kids. I'm telling you Ronda has something. Can you send me a program for what to do with really gifted athletes.' They kind of laughed and said, 'That would be nice to have.' So I kind of made it up as I went along."

  • Ronda Rousey destroys Cat Zingano in just 14 seconds at UFC 184

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 1 day ago

    LOS ANGELES – It used to be that Ronda Rousey needed a minute to finish her fights. Now, she's getting two of them done in half of that time.

    The most dominant fighter in the world continued her mind-boggling run of destruction Saturday, submitting previously unbeaten top contender Cat Zingano in just 14 seconds – the quickest finish in UFC championship history – in the main event of UFC 184 at Staples Center to retain her women's bantamweight title.

    Rousey blew away Alexis Davis in just 16 seconds at UFC 175 in July in what seemed to be a ridiculously easy manner. But it was done even quicker on Saturday.

    Zingano raced out of her corner and threw a flying knee at Rousey. She then flung Rousey down. But Rousey, the vastly superior grappler, quickly reversed position and got on top.

    She extended Zingano's arm toward her and then turned her hips to the right, putting incredible pressure on the joint and forcing the tap.

    "We expected she might come out flying," Rousey said.

    It was over so quickly, Zingano seemed stunned. She didn't know what to say and several times uttered an expletive as she was being interviewed in the cage by UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan.


  • Brock Lesnar cageside at UFC 184, prompting speculation about his future

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 1 day ago

    LOS ANGELES -- Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, now a star in the WWE, was cageside at UFC 184 on Saturday, prompting speculation that the big man is on his way back to the UFC.

    Lesnar is nearing the end of his contract with the WWE and there has been talk, though none of it from Lesnar, that he wants to return to mixed martial arts. Lesnar suffered from diverticulitis during his UFC career and was never fully healthy.

    After defeating Antonio Silva in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on Sunday, one-time Lesnar rival Frank Mir called Lesnar out and said he'd love a rubber match.

    UFC president Dana White smiled when asked about Lesnar's presence during the event and said, "I don't know [why he's here.]"  Lesnar was not available to media. On Thursday, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and MMA Fighting reported that Lesnar had come to a contract impasse with the WWE.


  • CSAC decides to test all 22 fighters at UFC 184 for PEDs using blood, urine

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 1 day ago

    LOS ANGELES -- The fight against doping in mixed martial arts took a big step forward on Saturday when Andy Foster, the executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission, told Yahoo Sports he was testing all 22 fighters taking part in UFC 184 for performance enhancing drugs.

    The tests, which Foster said will "come at a significant financial cost to this commission," will include both blood and urine tests of all fighters. In the event of a positive result, Foster said he would have a Carbon Isotope Ratio (CIR) test done on the sample.

    "We want to create an environment of deterrence," said Foster, who conducted out-of-competition testing of main eventers Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano. "We're not trying to suspend people or take their money, but the athletes need to know that when they come to California, we have the resources, the means and the will to do this."

    Silva then failed his post-fight test, as well. He was temporarily suspended by Nevada and faces an upcoming disciplinary hearing.

    Foster, a former fighter himself, said it was disappointing to see all the positive tests, but said he doesn't believe doping is as rampant as many.

  • Cat Zingano on what to expect from her in UFC 184 title bout: 'Just watch"

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 2 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – Champion Ronda Rousey and No. 1 contender Cat Zingano each made weight on Friday at LA Live, making official their bout on Saturday for the UFC women's bantamweight title at Staples Center in the main event of UFC 184.

    Rousey, who appeared more gaunt in the face than usual, weighed at the bantamweight limit of 135 pounds. Zingano, who weighed first, was 134 1/2.

    She was asked by UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan for a comment about the fight following the weigh-in. She said simply, "Just watch," and then turned and headed to the locker room.

    Rousey (10-0, 10 finishes) praised Zingano (9-0, eight finishes) as her most dangerous opponent, which she said is a good thing. As her hometown crowd cheered her, Rousey said, "I'm going to show you guys the most fantastic win ever."

    Holly Holm, a former boxing champion making her UFC debut in the co-main event, weighed in at 135 1/2, the same as her opponent, Raquel Pennington.

  • Ronda Rousey likes drug testing plans, but admits to partying 'a year straight'

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 3 days ago

    LOS ANGELES -- UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who defends her title against No. 1 contender Cat Zingano Saturday at Staples Center in the main event of UFC 184, has long been an outspoken proponent of drug testing.

    She admitted Thursday during a media scrum that she is pretty much a homebody and doesn't do much other than work and relax at home. Part of that, she said was as a result of the year she spent as a bartender following the 2008 Olympics, where she won a bronze medal in judo.

    Rousey has been able to juggle all sorts of projects and remain successful inside the Octagon -- in addition to fighting, she's acted in three movies and will appear in more, has written an autobiography, appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, makes public appearances to promote the UFC and has been a frequent guest on late night talk shows -- which she said can do because she prioritizes fighting above all else.

    It's also because, from the sound of it, she got sick of partying.


  • Former boxer Holly Holm trying to slow 'hype train' going into UFC debut

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – It's never easy for the new kid in school, and the adjustment is often awkward and fraught with problems. It often gets harder before it gets easier.

    In an odd way, 13-year boxing veteran Holly Holm is the new kid. There is a significant difference, however.

    Holm hasn't had the chance to blend into the background and find her way in her new surroundings. Rather, she's been brought to the head of the class and singled out on her very first day.

    Holm is not only a former world champion boxer, but is one of the most successful boxers to ever transition into mixed martial arts. Her boxing record is long and glorious.

    She was 32-2-3 as a boxer and won multiple world titles in different weight classes. She's a member of the New Mexico Boxing Hall of Fame and was a two-time Ring Magazine women's Fighter of the Year.

    Almost from the day she first considered giving MMA a try, the sport's fans anticipated her arrival and potential opponents looked forward to schooling her.

    She's been mentioned as a potential Rousey opponent almost from Day One, and there has been speculation that if Rousey beats Zingano, Holm could be next if she defeats Pennington.

  • Why Ronda Rousey-Cat Zingano is the biggest fight of Rousey's career

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    LOS ANGELES – On Saturday at Staples Center, for only the third time in UFC history, two unbeaten fighters will meet for the world title.

    Ronda Rousey (10-0, 10 finishes) will defend the women's bantamweight title in the main event of UFC 184 against Cat Zingano (9-0, eight finishes).

    The only other undefeated championship bouts in UFC history were Rashad Evans-Lyoto Machida for the light heavyweight title at UFC 98 in 2009 and Rousey-Sara McMann at UFC 170 last year.

    The Rousey-Zingano fight will attract a horde of celebrities who are coming out to watch what could be the match that, 10 years from now, 25 years from now, 50 years from now, is the one that all other women's bouts are judged against.

    Just as major boxing matches are measured by the standard of Muhammad Ali (31-0, 25 KOs) against Joe Frazier (26-0, 23 KOs) on March 8, 1971, it's possible that future women's MMA fights will be judged against Rousey-Zingano.

    "A lot of celebrities we don't normally get," White said.

    One of the marks of the greatest athletes in any sport is that they perform their best when the stakes are highest.

  • How Ronda Rousey's journey helped cultivate her aura of dominance

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Ronda Rousey is hardly just a mixed martial arts star, though she's easily the most dominant athlete in the sport.

    Rousey will defend her women's bantamweight title Saturday in the main event of UFC 184 at Staples Center in Los Angeles against Cat Zingano in a rare title bout pitting opponents with unbeaten records.

    But Rousey is far more than just the UFC's brightest star. She's an Olympic medalist, a popular movie actress, a swimsuit model and a media sensation who frequently guests on late-night talk shows such as Jimmy Kimmel Live and Conan. She's also a favorite of Jim Rome's and appears regularly on his national radio and Showtime television shows.

    There are six statues that sit outside the various entrances to the Staples Center, honoring some of the greatest men to work in Los Angeles. In addition to legendary Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, there are bronzed statues of Lakers stars Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson, ex-Kings star Wayne Gretzky and boxer Oscar De La Hoya.

    Given that there are no women so honored, it is hardly a stretch to think that one day Rousey, a native Californian, could be the first.