By In Mixed Martial Arts

If ‘The Eagle’ Ever Loses, It Will Be At UFC 254

It’s hard to appreciate just how difficult it is to be an undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder. Almost everyone suffers an early defeat that serves as a valuable learning experience, partly because there are just so many ways to lose in mixed martial arts. You can get knocked out by kicks or punches or slams, submitted in any number of ways or suffer stranger fates, like losing via injury stoppage or horrible decision. If you fight at the highest level for long enough, you lose. That’s true of virtually everyone in every weight class.

There is less overall talent at light heavyweight and heavyweight, which may seem like a favorable environment for undefeated dominance, but whatever is lacked in depth is more than made up for in average power; it’s simply easier to get knocked out in heavier weight classes. Still, being undefeated is especially difficult in the stacked divisions between featherweight and welterweight. Those tend to be the best divisions top to bottom because there are more people in the world who are in those height and weight ranges, and there aren’t as many competitive alternatives for the best 145- to 170-pound athletes in the world. The already small population of heavyweight-sized athletes is further diluted by other, often more lucrative competitive options.

That is why current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s 28-fight winning spree—12 of those victories have come in the UFC—is one of the most impressive runs any fighter has had in this sport’s short history…

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By In Hawaii, surfing

Here’s Why We Should All Mourn The Loss Of SURFER Magazine

Earlier this month, SURFER Magazine announced its first presidential endorsement in its 60-year history, for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

“The decisions made in the political realm have tremendous influence over our surfing lives and the health of our coasts,” the magazine posted on Instagram in a preemptive rebuttal to the “keep politics out of surfing” types.

The comments fell along predictable fault lines: those who thought it was a bold move given the magazine’s sizable readership in conservative Orange County, and those who treated the endorsement as polluted runoff seeping into the crystalline waters of their favorite surf break…

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By In education, Hawaii

It’s Time For Some Kids To Start Learning In Person Again

I recently saw some of my students for the first time this year. Saw them in person that is, as opposed to a floating head on a screen – or worse, a black square with a name on it when the computer camera is turned off.

After two months of distance learning, a select few students have started coming to school. They still participate in the same virtual classes, but they are sequestered in small groups on campus where they have more reliable internet access, quick tech support and adult supervision.

This is a good thing. While everyone has had to make adjustments this year, for some students and their families there are simply no conditions under which distance learning is going to work. Their disabilities are too incompatible with the independence required to succeed in this format; or their home environments are too unstable to be effective classrooms; or they are left alone while the parents are at work and they never really show up to class…

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By In education, Hawaii

COVID-19 Gives Us A Chance To Change How We Teach. Let’s Not Waste It

Somewhere between the initial uncertainty of the pandemic and the current ongoing delirium of it, there was a brief moment of clarity, a few weeks where hope for the future felt rational.

In the face of a crisis unseen in over a century, everyone seemed to get it. People complied with emergency orders and Congress managed to pass stimulus legislation in days – proving the previous gridlock to be a matter of conscious decision, not political necessity.

People collected their $1,200 government checks, and Gov. David Ige appeared to be getting most of the major responses right: clearly communicating how to apply for unemployment and small business relief, putting a moratorium on evictions. National poverty fell, and Hawaii’s case numbers steadily dropped.

People came together to support small businesses. Restaurant and grocery store workers were regarded as the vital pillars of community they’ve always been but for which they were rarely appreciated. Countless commuters were given back hours of their day as they began working from home. Summer vacation was on the horizon for students, presumably granting enough time for the Department of Education to learn from its abrupt pivot to online instruction and prepare for the fall.

It felt, briefly, like a saner world. The pandemic shook society by its ankles, holding us all aloft long enough for us to see what fell out of our collective pockets and wonder what, if any of it, was worth salvaging. Evidently, we don’t need to be at our job every day to get our work done, and yes, all of those meetings could just be emails instead.

But … of course, there’s a but…

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

A Safe Space for Racists

There were few surprises in the UFC Fight Night 178 main event between rivals Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Woodley, a former welterweight champion who had looked like a husk of himself in back-to-back losses to Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns, looked exactly as bad as he did in those two drubbings. As it turned out, Woodley’s habit of backing into the fence and barely throwing any punches did not work out too well against Covington, a former interim champion who wins via relentless pressure and high-volume offense.

It was also not much of a surprise when Covington got on the microphone after the fight and trotted out his tried-and-true MAGA schtick, nor was it unexpected when that schtick careened into unvarnished racism. To Covington, a renowned economics expert educated by a variety of Facebook memes, Woodley is a communist and a Marxist, and Breonna Taylor—who was killed by police in Kentucky in a botched raid while she was sleeping in her apartment—is a “lifelong criminal.”

Surely it was pure coincidence when Covington later attempted to insult Usman, a Nigerian-American, by asking if the champion’s “little tribe” sent smoke signals to congratulate him. Yes, that backwater country of Nigeria which—let me check my notes here—has only suffered 1,100 COVID-19 deaths in a population of nearly 200 million people. Nothing like 200,000 patriotic body bags to Keep America Great…

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