Matthew Ludwick & MMA

Diaz VS McGregor

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor, who is set to fight Nate Diaz coming up.

After Jose Aldo withdrew from UFC 189 this past July, one of the opponents proposed for Conor McGregor as a replacement was Nate Diaz.  Yet this fight didn’t take place; last December, Diaz said this was because he announced the fight before UFC did.  At the time, he was just a couple days away from his most recent fight with Michael Johnson, which ended in a solid win.  Although he called out McGregor afterwards, the Irishman was targeting a fight with Rafael dos Anjos.

With dos Anjos out of the picture and Diaz set to face McGregor on March 5 in Las Vegas, it’s hardly surprising that this history has resurfaced.  Yet this time, Diaz had a different explanation for why the two didn’t end up meeting this past summer: he wanted more money.  That was Diaz’s repeated response to McGregor’s account of how their fight was made; he had fought with the UFC over pay, spending a considerable amount of time on the bench when he didn’t get a raise.  McGregor admitted that Diaz was his first choice to replace Aldo at UFC 189, but not beause he considered him a good fight but because he wanted him to get paid.

The way both fighters see it, the story of the rematch is something different.  McGregor claims that after complaining about weight, Diaz distinguished himself by signing on the dotted line after other opponents balked, namely Aldo and Frankie Edgar.  Diaz suspects that the entire situation is a setup.  Yet in the end, McGregor and Diaz have agreed.

If you’d like to learn more, you can click here!

McGregor Vs. Ali

Conor McGregor flag

Conor McGregor

This past weekend, Conor McGregor made headlines with his 13-second victory against Jose Aldo at UFC 194.  With a cocky attitude and the skill to back it up, the Irish featherweight champion has earned plenty of attention, both positive and negative.  After his victory, commentator Kenny Florian heaped plenty of praise, describing him as “special” and comparing him to both Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali.

Despite such praise, not everybody agrees, specifically “King” Mo Lawal.  In a podcast with Tyron Woodley and Din Thomas, Lawal praised McGregor’s performance, although was quick to express his displeasure at the comparison between the scrappy Irishman and Ali.  Lawal pointed out that, as an Irishman, McGregor has got a lot going for him; “white folks love Ireland and Italy”, Lawal said.  However, he also pointed out that Ali stood for something a lot different than McGregor.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Considered one of the greatest trash-talkers to come out of sports, during his career Ali was one of the most polarizing figures in sports.  Nonetheless, he left his mark, and in 1999 Sports Illustrated nominated him as the “Sportsman of the Century”.  Sports Illustrated has since renamed its Legacy Award the “Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award”, that celebrates those “whose dedication to the ideals of sportsmanship has spanned decades and whose career in athletics has directly or indirectly impacted the world”.

While Lawal pointed out that McGregor stands for himself and his country, he said that Ali stood for black athletes, giving them a voice that when he started was seldom heard.  Therefore, Lawal feels that comparing Ali to McGregor, beyond the fact that they both talked a lot of trash, would be a slap in the face of his legacy.

If you’d like to learn more, you can click here!

Papi to Retire

David OrtizDuring his tenure with the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, also known as “Big Papi”, has become one of the most recognizable names in Boston’s history.  In an era where players change teams season after season, he has been a consistent name on the Red Sox roster…that is, until now.  It was reported today that the upcoming 2016 baseball season will be Ortiz’s last.  This also coincides with “Big Papi’s” 40th birthday tomorrow.  This in itself is a major accomplishment: only 10 positions players in Red Sox history have ever played past their 40th birthday, and out of those only three have played in as many as 100 games past that age.

When playing against the Tigers this past August, Ortiz’s base salary of $11 million for the upcoming season was guaranteed after reaching 425 plate appearances.  Ortiz finished last season with a .273 average, 108 RBIs and 37 home runs, his most for a season since 2006, when he set the team record with 54 homers.  Over the course of his career, he’s hit 503 homers, 445 of which occurred during his 13 seasons with the Red Sox.  This is the third-most in franchise history, only behind Ted Williams with 521 and Carl Yastrzemski with 452.  He ranks 27th on the all-time home run list, just one away from tying Hall of Famer Eddie Murray.  While Ortiz is more interested in adding a fourth championship ring than he is in stats, this upcoming season will give him plenty of time to catch up with some of these record-holders.

While the past 10 years have been good to Boston, this is a team that has had a long history of not doing well.  Before their fabled 2004 World Series win, the last time they had won was in 1918, which baseball fans attributed to a “curse” from Babe Ruth after he was traded to the Yankees.  During his tenure with Boston, Ortiz was present for three World Series wins (2004, 2007 and 2013), helping turn the Red Sox from the butt of MLB jokes into a well-respected team.  Before his season is up, Ortiz is looking to add ring #4.

Rousey/Holm Fight: the Aftermath

Ronda Rousey Holly Holm

Ronda Rousey gets stunned by a well-placed kick from Holly Holm.

Over the weekend, the world was shocked after Ronda Rousey suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Holly Holm.  Previously undefeated, Rousey had developed a reputation as one of the fiercest UFC fighters around, thanks in no small part to her flamboyant attitude.  As one of the more recognizable faces in sports, and certainly in MMA, how her image will recover from the fight remains to be seen.

Characteristic of UFC, the lead up of the fight had no shortage of tension and trash-talking, much of it coming from the Rousey camp.  Before the fight occurred on Saturday, Rousey refused to touch gloves with Holm.  Spurning this traditional sign of respect before a match, Rousey turned away, put up her fists and prepared for a fight.  Then in the second round of the match, Holm knocked out Rousey, turning her swagger and braggadocio against her.  While Rousey remained quiet for about a day, celebrities took no time to discuss the fight, and Ronda Rousey, over social media.

The day after the fight, Donald Trump took to Twitter, saying that Rousey was “not a very nice person” and he was glad that she lost.  This may have something to do with an earlier incident between the two of them earlier in the year; Trump had said that Rousey supported his Presidential campaign, a statement she quickly shot down, saying that she actually supported Bernie Sanders.  It wouldn’t be surprising that the notoriously thin-skinned businessman-turned-politician would take this personally and not turn away from taking a jab at Rousey.  But he was hardly the only celebrity to discuss the fight at Rousey’s expense.  Boxing enthusiast 50 Cent posted a meme on Instagram mocking Rousey, and Muhammad Ali’s daughter Laila, herself a retired undefeated champion, simply said that “you definitely don’t ever get beat up like that in your prime”.  Many criticized Rousey’s refusal to touch gloves with Holm before the fight, even Lady Gaga.

All year round, Rousey and boxer Floyd Mayweather had traded blows on the media, most notably when Rousey called him out on TV during the ESPYs after winning the award for Best Fighter.  Therefore, it would hardly be surprising to hear Mayweather to gloat after Rousey’s defeat.  Yet for Saturday and Sunday, the boxer was silent, although 50 Cent claimed that his Instagram post was on Mayweather’s behalf.  When Mayweather finally did break his silence, his answer was surprisingly diplomatic, saying nothing more than “you win some and you lose some”.

Without a doubt, Rousey has no shortage of physical and mental wounds to recover from, and whether or not this loss will shatter her ego or steel her resolve remains to be be seen.  She suffered some serious physical damage after the fight, and was brought to the hospital.  It might take a while for it to happen, but there is already talk of a rematch between Rousey and Holm, a match that would certainly be one people want to see.

Exercise in a Bottle?

The health benefits of exercise are nothing new, and can serve as powerfulExercise in a bottle therapy for such diseases as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders.  Yet the sad fact of the matter is that many people aren’t able to exercise.  But it looks like those people are in luck, as research has been studying 1,000 molecular reactions to exercise that will open the door for drug treatments to mirror the health benefits of exercise.  The research, published in Cell Metabolism by the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, exposed a thousand molecular changes that occur within our muscles when we exercise, providing the world’s first comprehensive exercise blueprint.

The researchers, in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen, analyzed human skeletal muscle biopsies from four untrained, healthy males after 10 minutes of high-intensity exercise.  Using a technique called mass spectrometry to study the process called protein phosphorylation, the researchers found that short and intensive exercise triggers more than 1,000 changes.  Most traditional drugs target individual molecules, and with an exercise blueprint, researchers claim to have proven that any drug mimicking exercise will need to target multiple molecules.  The researchers found that the majority of changes they discovered had never been associated with exercise before, with existing research just focusing on a handful of changes.

This breakthrough in the study of exercise now allows scientists to design a drug that could mimic the true benefits that come from exercise.  With this goal in mind, researchers have narrowed down the therapeutic possibilities within the blueprint by using mathematical and engineering-based analysis.  The researchers have discovered that the responses from exercise are extremely complicated, meaning that this theoretical drug will have to target multiple parts of the body.

If you’d like to learn more, you can click here!

Most Haunted Places in Virginia

As one of the first parts of the United States to be settled by Europeans, Virginia is a place steeped in history.  Whether it’s Pocahontas, the American Revolution or the Civil War, Virginia has been playing a vital part of America’s history for a long, long time.  With a place so deeply entrenched in America’s history, it’s hardly surprising that there’s no shortage of haunted places in the great state of Virginia.  Whether or not you believe in ghosts, these are some great spooky stories to add a little fear to your Halloween season.  After doing some research, here is a list of ten of the most haunted places in Virginia:

Fort Magruder Williamsburg

1. Fort Magruder Hotel, Williamsburg: Planted in the middle of the Civil War’s Battle of Williamsburg, it’s hardly a surprise that guests here have experienced ghostly activity.  Many have reported waking up in the middle of the night to see a red-headed Confederate soldier sitting on their bed.  The hotel is the site of an annual science fiction convention, MarsCon, where ghost hunts sometimes occur.

Peyton Randolph House Williamsburg

2. Peyton Randolph House, Williamsburg: While it’s easy to see Colonial Williamsburg as nothing more than an amusement park, it was once the site of one of colonial Virginia’s most busy towns, and is filled with history.  Since it was built in 1715, the Peyton Randolph House has seen its fair share of tragedy: children have died of diseases or in accidents, one family member committed suicide and several boarders met untimely deaths.  There have been reports of mirrors shattering, thumping footsteps and no shortage of ghostly apparitions, including a young man, an older woman in a flowing gown, a little girl and a woman who seems like she’s trying to warn guests of impending danger.

Ferry Plantation House

3. Ferry Plantation House, Virginia Beach: The area around the Ferry Plantation House has been inhabited by as far back as 1642.  It was the site of a courthouse, where the trial of convicted witch Grace Sherwood was held in 1706.  It later became the site of a plantation owned by the Walke and later the MacIntosh families, the latter of whom built the current house in 1830.  This house is said to be home to at least 11 ghosts, including a cat, a couple of young girls, a grumpy slave, a lady in white and a boy who fell out of a second-story window to his death.  The house is also said to be the site of an Indian burial ground, which as we all know is a recipe for all sorts of paranormal activity.

St Albans Sanatorium

4. St. Albans Sanatorium, Radford: When it comes to haunted places, there are two kinds that are particularly scary: Indian burial grounds and old insane asylums.  St. Albans is both and then some.  Built on top of a hill that was once the site of conflicts between Indians and white settlers, it also served as an artillery battery in the Civil War before the current building was built in 1892 as a boys school.  The school, which had a reputation for bullying, closed after about 20 years and was converted to an insane asylum in 1916.  Described by many paranormal teams as “the most active location on the east coast”, claims have been made of floating objects and the ghosts of schoolboys, patients and a former staff member who doesn’t like women.

Weems Botts Museum House

5. Weems Botts Museum, Dumfries: Built in the mid-18th century, this is one of the oldest houses in the historic port town of Dumfries.  It served as a poorhouse for the town of Dumfries for a while, but has been owned by an array of families over the years.  The spirits that haunt the house include Civil War soldiers, the previous owners of the home and a mysterious older man.  According to investigators, these spirits have a great thirst for publicity and generating attention.

Jordan Springs haunted

6. Historic Jordan Springs, Stephenson: Like many of the haunted places in this list, Jordan Springs served as a military hospital in the Civil War.  According to paranormal investigator John Rossi, psychics have suggested that Jordan Springs is a portal, and there have been reports of all manner of ghostly spirits from various points in history: Indians, Civil War soldiers and nurses and many others.

Battle of Cold Harbor

7. Cold Harbor Battlefield, Mechanicsville: In what proved itself to be one of America’s bloodiest conflicts, the Battle of Cold Harbor has stood out as one of the most bloodiest, lopsided battles in American history.  Therefore, it can hardly be a surprise that the spirits of the dead soldiers still haunt the area.  Locals frequently hear the sounds of men screaming, gunfire and cannon fire.  When people take photos, strange apparitions have been known to appear, and visitors to the battlefield have claimed an overpowering smell of gunpowder and a heavy feeling of pain and sadness.

Cavalier Hotel Virginia Beach

8. Cavalier Hotel, Virginia Beach: In the roaring 20s, this swanky establishment was a hangout spot for various movie stars and historical figures, including Al Capone and Woodrow Wilson.  It was then used in World War II by the US Navy.  According to legend, the hotel was used by the Navy to store dead bodies, and there are reports of a mysterious man in a military uniform who warns guests that there are “dead bodies”.  The site was also where Adolph Coors, founder of the Coors Brewery, committed suicide in 1929 by jumping out of the sixth floor of the hotel, and guests on the sixth floor have experienced voices, cold spots and the sound of flesh hitting the pavement.  Most unusually, some guests have reported their towels changing color on occasion.

Boxwood Inn bed and breakfast

9. Boxwood Inn Bed and Breakfast, Newport News: When it was built in 1897, this building served many different functions: the hall of records and tax assessor’s office for Lee Hall Village, a general store, a country post office and ultimately a home.  Although the house isn’t as old as the other ones on this list, it has no shortage of ghosts, including an elderly woman, a man with a cane, a salesman who died in one of the rooms and a mysterious woman in a bonnet.  The dining room is another scene for strange activity, such as forks that disappear only to show up in another place.

Bacon's castle
10. Bacon’s Castle, Surry: While it might not look like much of a house nowadays, looks can be deceiving: it’s one of three Jacobean houses in the Western Hemisphere, and at 1665, it’s one of, if not the, oldest houses in Virginia.  With 350 years of history, it’s no surprise that this house has earned its fair share of hauntings.  There are several ghostly phenomena connected with the building, including a roving fireball, rearranged furniture and ghostly faces.

Cerrone Discusses Diaz

Donald Cerrone cowboy hat

Donald Cerrone with his signature cowboy hat

Even though it’s been four years, Donald Cerrone has yet to hear the end of his 2011 loss to Nate Diaz.  In arguably the marquee performance of his career, Diaz clobbered Cerrone over the course of three rounds on his way to score a unanimous decision victory in the co-main event at UFC 141.  Cerrone admitted that his rival has an “incredible” cult following, on par with Conor McGregor.

Nate Diaz middle finger

Nate Diaz, known for his “go-to-hell” attitude

However, that’s not the only one of Cerrone’s problems; he’s currently preparing to challenge lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on December 19 in Orlando, Florida.  Yet Cerrone’s admitted that the fight with Diaz got into his head, which he claims has taught him to not let that happen again.  Through fighting “out of anger”, Cerrone admitted that he played poorly, which is the only reason that Diaz was able to beat him.

The two fighters had a bit of beef that began during an incident where Cerrone tried to shake hands with his opponent to-be at an open workout.  Later on, Diaz slapped the hat off Cerrone’s head at a pre-fight presser.  Adding insult to injury, Diaz missed weight by coming in a pound over the allotted lightweight limit.  All of these led to Cerrone saying that he would be motivated by anger during the fight, a move that ultimately proved disastrous.

With a few years to reflect, Cerrone has decided that he actually likes the Nate and his older brother Nick, since they have “no front on them at all”, and what you see is what you get.  In the world of MMA, where it isn’t always clear what’s real and what’s a persona that somebody’s just putting on for show, this is especially rare, and Cerrone has even expressed an interest in sitting down and having a beer with them.  A real change of heart from four years ago, no doubt, but it would be interesting to see what would happen if they were to meet in the cage once again.

If you’d like to know more, then click here!

Resistance Training & Fatty Liver

Matthew Ludwick Resistance TrainingAccording to the definition “fatty liver disease” is defined as a fat rate over 5-10% of liver volume.  It affects about 30 percent of the public, and is considered to be the most common liver disease in the Western world.  Excessive weight, abdominal obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia and triglycerides all increase the risk of developing fatty liver disease, which can lead to inflammation and cirrhosis of the liver.  Due to such complications as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and even the developments of cirrhosis and liver cancer, fatty liver disease causes morbidity and mortality, and drug treatment for the disease is extremely limited.  Recently, however, a study was carried out that proved resistance training leads to a fall in liver fat levels.

The study was undertaken by a team of researchers from the University of Haifa, who decided to examine the impact of resistance training on fatty liver disease.  The study included 82 subjects between the ages of 20 and 65 who were diagnosed through an ultrasound as suffering from fatty liver disease over the six months before starting the study.  They were divided randomly into a resistance training group and a control group that was asked just to undertake stretching exercises.  The participants were asked to not change their physical activity habits during the study, continue their usual diet and take their prescribed medicines.  During the study, participants went through examinations of weight, blood pressure and a blood test for liver enzymes, lipids, blood sugar and insulin.  Resistance training in the gym was defined according to a uniform protocol, with the level of resistance adjusted to the patient’s capabilities.  The training included several sets of different resistance exercises that involved the arms, chest and legs and lasted for a total of 40 minutes three times a week.

At the end of the three-month study, the researchers found that resistance training in the gym led to a decrease in liver fat based on the fat content of the liver as detected in the special ultrasound examination they employed for the study, which enables the quantification of liver fat.  The study found that while overall weight loss was very slight, resistance training had a specific impact in terms of a fall in liver fat levels as measured in the ultrasound examination.  The study also revealed that gym training led to a significant fall in blood cholesterol levels, and that resistance training led to a reduction of ferritin levels in the blood.  Ferritin is a protein found in the liver that facilitates the storage of iron, although elevated levels of the protein can be indicative of liver damage.  Accordingly, a decrease in ferritin levels may reflect an improvement in the liver’s condition.

Fitness By State

It’s a well-known fact that people aren’t exercising as much as they should.  Yet according to experts, Matthew Ludwick runningeven those people who are committed enough to log all of their workouts into their smartphones aren’t exercising enough.  This data comes from 2014 statistics from a popular workout tracking app, with 22 million users, called “MapMyFitness”.  Users will tell the app they’re taking a walk or run, and then it tracks the number of minutes and registers their location.  That means, for example, that somebody from Connecticut vacationing in Santa Fe would show up in New Mexico’s workout minutes.  Data scientists at Under Armour analyzed the information tracked through MapMyFitness to determine state rankings.

Considering the high importance that cities like Los Angeles put on exercise, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that sunny California topped all states in exercise, with 87 workout minutes a week per user.  It was followed by Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Arizona, all places known for their emphasis on an active and healthy lifestyle.  There’s also a pretty big environmental contributor to this fact, with access to parks being a major incentive to go exercise.  California also topped the list with 35.2 minutes a week of walking.  While Los Angeles is a driving city, other major metropolitan centers in California, such as San Francisco and Oakland, rank among the US’s top 10 most walkable cities.

The national average was 73.2 minutes of exercise a week, less than half the 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  While it’s possible that app users aren’t logging every workout, Americans who exercise are more likely to use a fitness app.  The vast majority of the MapMyFitness workout data comes from logged runs, walks and bike rides, while other types of workouts, such as skiing and yoga, make up an average of 3% of MapMyFitness minutes in any state.  This could be in part due to MapMyFitness’ global-positioning technology for tracking workout routes and distances.

Massachusetts was top in running for the analysis, with an average of 37.5 minutes a week.  Considering that this is the home of the Boston Marathon, and a state with plenty of running clubs, this isn’t too surprising.  Utah, which is a hub of trail running, ranked in second.  While Utah has less than 1% of the US population, it ended up hosting 5% of the nation’s 2,500 trail races in 2014.

While weather would seem to limit certain outdoor exercising, many parts of the country with extreme weather, such as Texas and mountain states, actually ranked very high on the list for exercise.  Texas, for example, is an extremely active running state, particularly in urban and suburban areas, and ranked #4 in running.  Even if excessive snow would seem to limit biking in northern and mountainous states, four cold-weather states – Colorado, Utah, Minnesota and Idaho – ended up making up the top five of bicycling states.  This might be in part due to the rise of “fat bikes”, thick-tired bikes that can ride on the snow.

On the other side of the coin, the lowest-ranking state was Washington DC, logging in just 43.2 workout minutes a week.  This low finish seems to contradict Washington’s recent finish on the American College of Sports Medicine’s fittest-cities ranking.  However, in those average of 43.2 minutes, Washingtonians spent about 62% or their workout minutes running, the highest percentage in the nation by far.  This could be due to the large number of military and ex-military in the area, who prefer to run over other forms of exercise.

First Post!

Hey everybody, and take a look at my first blog post!  Stay tuned – there’s plenty more to come!

Matthew Ludwick & MMA