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By In Hawaii, rap

Breakin’ Da Mold

It was 1980, just seven years after hip-hop was born in a Bronx apartment party and less than a year after it rhymed its way into national consciousness with The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” Before the internet allowed anyone and everyone to call themselves rappers, before MTV became the arbiter of music and culture for an entire generation, hip-hop travelled 5,000 miles from its New York City birthplace to the shores of Hawaiʻi…

 

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Let’s Not Get Ahead of Ourselves

It’s taken a few days for the dust of UFC 227 to settle, partially because so much of it was stirred up. The most dominant champion in MMA history was upset in a fight that was close enough to resemble controversy if you squint hard enough, and another champion slammed the door shut on a rivalry while simultaneously cementing his spot atop the division. There were numerous ways to dissect these two fights. Expectedly, some dissections were more levelheaded than others.

Given the events that took place — and how they took place — it’s no wonder how exaggerated some of the analysis has been. When people attempt to wrap their heads around new realities, it’s natural for convictions to funnel into hyperbole. Alas, they still deserve to be challenged…

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Three Former Champs, Three Different Stories

It’s easy to think of a fighter’s career in a narrative arc. We are, after all, the storytelling animals, but beyond that general appeal, familiar tropes abound from fight to fight. Most of us recognize the component parts of Freytag’s pyramid of dramatic structure: introduction, rising action, climax, falling action and conclusion. We get to know fighters early on, see them climb the ranks and string together wins, put on career-defining fights and then slowly fade into retirement.

Applied to combat sports, the climax of any fighter’s career is certainly winning a title. Often, however, things only get more complicated from there…

 

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By In Social Media

Score One for the Good Guys

In the aftermath of UFC 226, there was a mixture of buzzed excitement and bemoaned frustration about Brock Lesnar getting a shot at the heavyweight title. Both responses are understandable. On one hand, Lesnar has done nothing to deserve a shot at the title: His last official win in the Octagon was in 2010, and his last appearance two years ago saw him melt the post-fight urinary sample cup with a banned fertility drug that doubles testosterone. On the other hand, he’s really big, and he called some other heavyweights pieces of s—. You can understand the conflicted emotions here.

Yet the naked cash-grab of another title fight for Lesnar is easily forgiven. The Ultimate Fighting Championship is in fact in the business of money-making, and Lesnar is an undeniable means to make said money. The question is why he’s still a draw at 41 years of age, despite back-to-back first-round technical knockout losses and a dud of a fight that ended up as a no-contest…

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Daddest Man on the Planet

While “DC” is a fine and alphabetically consistent nickname, Daniel Cormier should really consider changing it. I’m sure Lucas Bourdon, who to my knowledge originated Cormier’s rightful soubriquet, would not mind.

The fatherliness of “DC” is self-evident beyond his audacious dad-bod. He has the confidence of a man who publicly wears socks with his sandals and tucks his shirt into his sweat pants. He has the swagger of knowing that he can make anything uncool just by liking it. He has the aura of someone who can’t cook but knows his way around the grill and, if all else fails, isn’t afraid to order a pizza. He’s the type who doesn’t blush when he admits to knowing all the songs in “Coco” or “Moana” by heart, the type who has mastered the appropriate tough-love tone when he says “this will hurt me more than it will hurt you,” the type who doesn’t get angry, just disappointed. You know, a dad.

It’s deeper than that, though. Being a father is central to who Cormier is as a person. The story of his life has been marked with tragedies and triumphs, the most devastating and instructive of which have centered around family and fatherhood. When Cormier was 8 years old, his father was murdered on Thanksgiving Day. When the Lafayette, Louisiana, native was 24, his 3-month-old daughter died in a car accident. These are the random, sinister lapses in life’s judgment that leave talking points about theodicy empty and hollow-out lesser men into husks of their former selves. Not Cormier, though…

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