Wednesday, May 11, 2011
In addition to a signature career win over Joe Riggs, the knockout earned him entry into Bellator's season-five middleweight tournament.
Oh yeah, he left First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla., with a new fiancee, as well.
That's the way to start out the biggest MMA event in North American history. Pablo Garza flashed some impressive jiu-jitsu by executing a flying triangle. Garza caught Yves Jabouin in the submission and finished it on the ground to up his first UFC victory at 4:31 of the first round.
John Makdessi followed that up with an even more spectacular spinning backfist knockout of Kyle Watson. Watson caught the left hand on the chin, went down in a heap and slammed his head against the mat at 1:27 of the third round. He was actually unconscious for a few minutes following the knockout.
UFC 129 sold 55,000 tickets at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Media members on the scene report that the building is about half full with another five and half hours of fighting on the way.
Garza-Jabouin and Watson-Makdessi were the first two of five fights being streamed on the UFC Facebook page. There's a long way to go, but Garza and Makdessi certainly themselves in the mix for a postfight bonus.
The UFC hands out bonuses for Knockout of the Night, Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night. The promotion awarded record $100,000 bonuses at UFC 100. With a UFC-record gate in excess of $11 million, one can only guess how massive tonight's bonuses might be.
UPDATE: UFC analyst Joe Rogan confirmed the bonuses will be $129,000 each.
You can watch UFC 129 on PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) right here on Yahoo! Sports.
If media folks could simply duke it out, wouldn't this be a better world? Instead we use our pens, keyboards and mouths to rip and critique each other. Why not, right? We do it to the athletes, so why not crush each other?
The Toronto Sun threw a few haymakers at anonymous MMA media members by calling out the behavior of some of those covering yesterday's UFC 129 press conference:
As for the media, well, the UFC certainly attracts an interesting group of "journalists". Sure, the so-called "mainstream" media was out in force, but so too were a ton of those Dot.com media outlets. You know the ones ... they interview Georges St. Pierre and then ask for his autograph.
The mixed martial arts media do not hide the fact that they're huge fans of the sport they cover. One guy actually took the microphone and proceeded to tell Dana White how great his organization is and how intelligent the fighters all are. I can't remember if he actually asked a question.
One media lady stood by the podium taking pictures of pictures. Of course, my good buddy, Toronto Sun photographer Jack (The Scamp) Boland, then took pictures of her taking pictures.
Buffery has a point. Some of us in the MMA media are a bit too fanboy-ish at times.
That said, we could also bore you death with horror stories about members of his "mainstream" media.
I'll never forget the media center at Super Bowl 32 in San Diego. The pizza machine went on the fritz and several media members waiting in line for their FREE food, had a conniption. The pizza girl actually fled the scene crying. Nice job fellas. That was the beginning of the end for the freeloading media expecting lavish spreads at sporting event. Now many venues charge the media for pregame meals.
Don't let the mainstream media dudes fool you. There are just as many unprofessional, butt-kissing hacks running around TV, newspapers and radio stations as they are in the MMA media. Just look for the self-aggrandizing media folks on Twitter who like to update you on their latest healthy meal or even better, their� travel woes. That's a good start.
You can watch UFC 129 on PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) right here on Yahoo! Sports.
Jose Aldo is a bad, bad man. The dude who knocks him off his UFC featherweight perch will have to be a helluva fighter and probably a little bit lucky. In a game of inches, landing that perfect shot can't always be planned. Nor can life, that's why Mark Hominick needs to catch a break outside the Octagon as well.
The Canadian has the pressure of the world on him facing the UFC champ and doing it in front 55,000 faithful Canadian fans. Hominick faces Aldo at UFC 129 (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The last thing he needs to be thinking about is his wife in a hospital delivering their first child. Everything should be fine as long as the little girl doesn't come a week early. Hominick's wife, Ashley, is due on May 7.
Ashley will be in Toronto roughly 90 minutes from their hometown of Thamesford and the precautions have been taken.
"We have a doctor lined up (in Toronto) if she does go into labor," he said. "We have a pretty strong support system with my family. It's nice that the fight's literally an hour and a half drive away from where we live," Hominick told the Canadian Press.
"I'm just trying to take it all in. This is an experience that I'll look back on and say, 'Wow, that was a crazy time,' especially with my wife being due," Hominick said. "Everyone in my life knows the opportunity that's in front of me, so it's been a huge, strong support system that I have behind me."
Hominick and trainer Shawn Tompkins feel, Aldo (18-1) has never been tested by a top-notch striker.
"I think I'm the guy to take this guy out," he said. "I really do think I have the skill set to beat him. The main thing is staying composed and sticking to the game plan," Hominick said.
Aldo has the reputation of being a great ground, but sounds willing to test Hominick on the feet.
"I feel it's a great fight," Aldo said through an interpreter. Two guys that are going to go out there and keep the fight standing and always be looking for that knockout."
Tompkins told us last month, no one has come forward against Aldo. That'll change Saturday night.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The UFC announced on Friday that Riddle was out of the bout, and taking his place will be Pennsylvania native Charlie Brenneman.
The 30-year-old Brenneman brings a 12-2 career record to this fight, including a 2-1 mark inside the Octagon. After making a successful UFC debut with a decision win over Jason High last March, Brenneman suffered the first stoppage loss of his career to Johny Hendricks at UFC 117. But he came back strong, earning a decision win over Amilcar Alves at UFC Fight for the Troops 2 in January.
Grant has gone 3-3 in six fights in the UFC, swapping wins and losses along the way. In his most recent fight, he dropped a decision to Ricardo Almeida, which will go down as Almeida's final win as he retired from the sport following his loss at UFC 128.
UFC on Versus 4 takes place from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Penn., headlined by a welterweight bout between Nate Marquardt and Anthony "Rumble" Johnson.
Penick's Analysis: Riddle's been hit by a lot of injuries over the last few years, which is really unfortunate for him because he's still only 25 years old. The multitude of injuries could lead to his career being significantly shortened, but hopefully he can work through this latest one and heal up before returning to action. Brenneman is a good replacement for him in this fight, though, and it's a great opportunity for him to fight in his home state. Grant will want to get back in the win column, but it will be another tough fight for him here. It's a good fight for the preliminary card, though.
Although Mosley came out fighting hard with a good first round, it was all Pacquiao from there on. Pacquiao knocked Mosley down in the third and dominated the fight throughout. Technically Mosley knocked Pacquiao down in the 10th round, but in reality Pacquiao fell when Mosley tripped him, and the referee made a mistake in calling it a knockdown. In reality, Mosley never had Pacquiao in any trouble, at any point in the fight.
All three judges awarded it to Pacquiao by lopsided scores: 119-108, 120-108 and 120-107. According to the pay-per-view broadcast, Pacquiao landed exactly 100 more punches than Mosley did (182 to 82) and threw more than twice as many punches (552 to 260).
After news broke that Edgar and Maynard both dropped out of this month's UFC 130 event with injuries, White revealed during a media conference call that both fighters will only be out six to eight weeks and their rematch may be ready to go by this August or September.
The loss of that fight leaves UFC 130 with a light heavyweight bout between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Matt Hamill as the headliner for the May 28 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In addition, a welterweight bout between Thiago Alves and Rick Story has been bumped up from the Spike TV Prelims to the pay-per-view broadcast.
If both fighters are able to go by early August, they could step into the main event at UFC 133 in Philadelphia. If it gets pushed back into September, it's likely to headline UFC 135 in Denver at the end of the month.
Penick's Analysis: If they can return early in August it would be a great headliner for 133 with Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes a possible co-main event. The good news is they're both likely out the same amount of time so they can put the fight together and keep the narrative in line in the lightweight division. It means Anthony Pettis is once again getting his promised fight delayed, but he simply needs to concentrate on doing what he can do, and that's going out and keeping himself in line with a win over Clay Guida next month. So while he may have to take a longer layoff between fights, he'd still be in line for the fight with a win.
There aren't many of us who understand what really went into the� Osama bin Laden kill. Tim Kennedy is one of those unique Americans who've been in the middle of an intense international man hunt. As a Special Forces Army Ranger, Kennedy served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. While awaiting his return to active duty, he's embarked on a pretty successful MMA career with Strikeforce.
Kennedy joined me on ESPN1100 in Las Vegas to give us some insight on what went down and how he feels about some people questioning the tactics of the military.
Many people were angered by the fact that bin Laden's body was dumped at sea. Americans with an eye-for-an-eye mentality certainly won't see video of the kill, and there won't be official photos to view. Kennedy doesn't understand why those things would be necessary.
"If somebody hurt my family, I wouldn't want to sit there and watch that guy executed. I would just want to know that justice was done," Kennedy said (7:45 mark).
Kennedy also countered fear-mongering media members who think bin Laden's death means the U.S. is cutting back in its pursuit of terrorists around the world.
"This isn't even the beginning of the end. This is an opportunity for us to really catch them while they're scrambling," Kennedy said. "If anything it's going to stir up more reaction and more fanatics. Right now it's just as dangerous as it's ever been."
As far as his MMA career, Kennedy reiterated that he wants a fight with Robbie Lawler. He mentioned the Fedor Emelianenko-Dan Henderson card proposed for the Chicago area in late July.
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Monday, May 9, 2011
The Nick Diaz-Jeff Lacy fight may never materialize. Either way Diaz has struck a nerve in the boxing world. The MMA champion at 170 pounds has been asking for a boxing match against high level boxers for a year or so. Lacy stepped up and sounded insulted that Diaz, who is 1-0 as a pro boxer, would have the gall to call him out.
"I really don't understand what was going through his mind. I understand he may love a challenge [but] I'm up for this more than you would ever know," Lacy told ESPN1100 in Las Vegas. "I don't want to down talk the sport, I love MMA, but when you have people talking about it's taking away from boxing, no."
Lacy isn't impressed with the technical skills of most MMA fighters when it comes to their boxing.
"It's a 'Toughman' contest when they're striking. Two fighters standing up going blow for blow. That's not boxing. Boxing is not Toughman. You're using skill, dancing around what you can see, but can't hit."
"How would you figure the pressure's on me when this is something I've been doing all my life? It's somehting I can close my eyes and do," Lacy said. "There pressure's on him to step over, just like the pressure was on James [Toney] to step over to something he's never done before."
Lacy doesn't think Diaz can box with him.
"This is something I love to do, and I've dealt with way better technical fighters than this guy Diaz, is gonna present to me," Lacy said. "I've dealt with a lot of different styles. He's stepping into my ring, but it's gonna be tougher for me? I don't think so."
Lacy isn't worried about Diaz's chin and knows that the Strikeforce welterweight champ also cuts easily.
Check out the rest of the conversation as Dave Cokin and The Telegraph's Gareth Davies say Diaz has no shot of winning this fight. Davies said the fight won't last three rounds.
It may not come off at all if Diaz's ego is soothe by Zuffa management. When the news emerged that Diaz had signed a boxing bout agreement, his camp was quick to point out that it won't take the boxing match in October if the MMA star is given a shot at UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
Dan Downes didn't need to fight last night, but he wanted to stay sharp. That decision almost cost him dearly, as little known Tory Bogguess locked in two very tight chokes early in the first round of their main event fight for the NAFC event in Milwaukee. Ultimately Downes was able to escape both submission attempts before submitting Bogguess at the 3:24 mark of round 1.
Downes (8-1) accepted this fight outside of the UFC while still under UFC contract in order to stay sharp. That gamble almost blew up in his face as the undersized Bogguess came out like a ball of fire. Bogguess came out charging from the opening bell, landing a flying superman punch within the first two seconds of the fight. After knocking the larger Downes against the cage, Bogguess was able to get Downes down and sunk in a tight rear naked choke.
After Downes managed to escape that choke, he found himself in an even more dire predicament as Bogguess managed to slap on an even tighter guillotine choke. After several seconds that seemed much longer to the partisan Milwaukee crowd, Downes managed to pop his head out and was able to turn the tables on his smaller opponent.
After controlling Bogguess up against the cage from side control, Bogguess tried escaping by walking the cage. Instead of escaping, Bogguess walked into the waiting legs of Downes and was forced to tap to a triangle choke.
Having fought for a smaller organization while under UFC contract, Downes told MMA Torch after the fight that he wants his next fight to be in the UFC, and that there's a 99 percent chance that his next fight will indeed be for the Zuffa owned company.
In the co-main event of the evening, Duke Roufus' newest up and coming star Joe Cason made quick work of veteran Sean Salmon. Cason needed a mere 74 seconds to dispatch the overwhelmed Salmon. After landing an uppercut early, Cason flattened Salmon with a standing knee. From there, Cason swarmed Salmon who had no way to stop the ground and pound attack of the much larger Cason. Referee Al Weickhardt stopped the fight, giving Cason his first victory since joining Duke Roufus' team last month. Cason, a college wrestling teammate of UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon "Bones" Jones, looks to have to skills to make a name for himself in the sport's light heavyweight division.
Complete results from NAFC: Mayhem below.
Dan Downes defeated Tory Bogguess via submission (triangle choke) at 3:24 of Round 1
Joe Cason defeated Sean Salmon via TKO at 1:14 of Round 1
Matt Brown defeated John Hosman via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Matt Masterson defeated Kyle Weickardt via submission (side choke)at 3:33 of Round 2
Jose Pacheco defeated David Rhoads via submission (rear naked choke)at 4:33 of Round 1
Thiago Veiga defeated Donald Ceri via submission (arm bar)at 2:50 of Round 2
Mike Santiago def Zach Underwood via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jeff Golden def Jim Bleau via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:35 of Round 1
I will apologize in advance for the lack of prose, but somehow UFC 129, and the MMA Torch contests associated with the event, has sneaked up on me. So, short and sweet, Daniel Moore will be facing off against Danny Mellor for the Betting Game title, and Daniel Moore will be picking against Shaun Godric Louis for the Confidence Picks title.
Don?t worry; I?ll be much more verbose when I post the results on Sunday. I may also have a thought on Minnesota drafting Christian Ponder with the 12th pick in the draft. The word, "Hahahaha," may be involved in that hypothetical commentary...
Also, I have listed full rules for both games below. There are no changes to the rules, but I figured they should all be listed in one place. Any questions, please ask.
All entries are due to me by 4 PM CDT (9 PM GMT) on Saturday April 30. For reference, the PPV portion of the event begins at 8 PM CDT.
So, with no further ado, here are the lines we?re using, courtesy of bodog.com:
Georges St-Pierre: -500
Jake Shields : +300
Jose Aldo: -550
Mark Hominick: +350
Vladimir Matyushenko: -115
Jason Brilz: -115
Lyoto Machida: -325
Randy Couture: +250
Benson Henderson: -145
Mark Bocek: +115
Rory MacDonald: -120
Nathan Diaz: -110
Jake Ellenberger: -200
Sean Pierson: +160
Claude Patrick : -160
Daniel Roberts: +130
Ivan Menjivar: -135
Charlie Valencia: +105
Ryan Jensen: -140
Jason MacDonald: +110
John Makdessi : -165
Kyle Watson: +135
Yves Jabouin: -180
Pablo Garza: +150
CONFIDENCE PICKS GAME RULES
NOTE: A player does not need to play both games during each event. Players may choose to submit an entry for one game or the other, or for both, at their own choosing.
Assign a number from 1 through 12 (if a 12 fight card, 1 through 11 if a 11 fight card, etc.), with the highest number going to the fighter you are most confident in winning. Also list your prediction for method of victory, along with the round (or decision if you predict a decision)
Using UFC 124 as a template, here is how simple an entry will look:
Georges St-Pierre ? 11 - decision
Thiago Alves - 10 - KO2
Jim Miller - 9 - decision
Stefan Struve - 8 - KO1
Ricardo Almeida - 7 - sub3
Mark Bocek - 6 - sub2
Joe Stevenson - 5 - decision
Dan Miller - 4 - decision
Rafael Natal - 3 - decsion
Matt Riddle - 2 - KO1
John Makdessi - 1 - decision
The first tie-breaker is the sum of confidence points. Using the example above, a Georges St-Pierre victory would earn 11 points, Thiago Alves winning would earn 10 points, etc.
If two participants earn the same number of confidence points, the next tie-breaker will be total number of winners predicted. If Player A earns 40 points on 7 winning picks, and if Player B earns 40 points on 6 winning picks, Player A would be declared the winner.
The next tie-breaker is the number of victory methods predicted correctly. Next would be predicted rounds of victory.
If both players are still tied at this point, both players will be declared winner, and they will face off again, along with the winner of the pool (to be described later), at the next event in a three way dance.
There is no money being wagered in this game, and there are no prizes, short of bragging rights.
BETTING GAME RULES
1.) Every player has $1000 of fake, imaginary, theoretical, play money to wager on each event. This is not a real money game, it is strictly for fun.
2.) Players must place a bet of at least $50, but not more than $500, on each of 3 or more different fighters. Bets may be in any denomination, as long as the amount falls in the range of $50 - $500.
3.) Players may also place a parlay bet. A parlay bet is a bet placed on multiple fighters. All fighters in the parlay must win their fights in order for the parlay to pay off. Parlay bets pay off at a higher rate than a bet on a single fighter. The parlay bet may be placed on either 2 or on 3 fighters.
4.) The minimum parlay bet is $50. The maximum parlay bet is $200. This money comes out of the $1000 allotted to each player. The parlay bet is not separate from the $1000 budget. A player is not required to play a parlay bet. The maximum number of parlay bets a player may wager is one.
5.) Whether or not a player chooses to place a parlay bet, the player must still place at least three straight bets ie: It is not legal to place two bets on individual fighters and one parlay bet. No entry is considered valid unless there are a minimum of 3 straight bets placed on individual fighters.
6.) If a fight ends in a draw, any money bet on said fighter will be refunded, with no fake money commission taken. If a fighter in a 3-fighter parlay is involved in a draw, that fighter will be removed from the parlay and the 3-fighter parlay will be treated as a 2-fighter parlay. If a fighter in a 2-fighter parlay is involved in a draw, that fighter will be removed from the parlay and the 2-fighter parlay will be treated as a straight bet on the remaining fighter.
Instructions on how to read and utilize the betting lines
7.) If a fighter has a positive number such as +150 next to his name, he is the underdog, which means a successful bet on that fighter will pay off at a higher rate. That means that if the fighter wins, the bet will payout $150 net profit for every $100 bet on him. If a player were to bet $500 on a +150 fighter, and the fighter wins, the player will profit $750. If a player bets $500 on a +150 fighter, and the fighter loses, the player will lose his $500 bet.
8.) If a fighter has a negative number such as -200 next to his name, he is the favorite, which means a successful bet on that fighter will pay off at a lower rate. That means that if the fighter wins, the bet will payout $100 net profit for every $200 bet on him. If a player were to bet $500 on a -200 fighter, and the fighter wins, the player will profit $250. If a player bets $500 on a -200 fighter, and the fighter loses, the player will lose his $500 bet.
Structure for each game
9.) For each UFC numbered event, both the Confidence Picks and Betting Game will feature a champion and a challenger facing off against one another. The winner of the head to head battle will be declared the reigning champion.
10.) All other players for each UFC numbered event will compete against each other for the right to face off against the reigning champion at the next UFC numbered event. This is known as The Pool.
11.) As games administrator, I have the subjective right to eliminate any entry for any reason I deem worthy.
12.) Entries may be submitted via email (email@example.com), or on the comment section of this post. Email is the preferred method, because if a player posts an invalid entry, I have no way to make sure I can get hold of the player so that it may be corrected. Please, under no circumstances should you both email and post on the board your entry. One or the other please, preferably email.
13.) Any questions, please email me and ask. There are no new rules in this list of rules. I just wanted to have everything listed together. But that said, if you have a question, just ask.
Most important rule
14.) If you mention being a Packer fan, you will be banned. Try me. Even in the offseason, I hate you.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
If you step away from your system and someone else decides to sit down and poke around, PrivateEye will present a confusing jumble of garbled text. It'll even notify you if someone tries to peek over your shoulder -- and display a picture of your peeping Tom, throw up an alert, or sound an alarm.
Check out the video embed after the break, and share your thoughts in the comments!
The "Glitter" star and her man are now officially proud parents of a healthy baby boy and girl - giving birth on Saturday (April 30) at 12:07PM ET in Los Angeles..
Miss Carey's rep, Cindi Berger, confirmed the baby news by telling the AP the the couple's daughter weighed in at 5 lbs., 3 oz., while her brother followed suit at 5 lbs. 6 oz.
Impressively predicting the possible anniversary twin arrival, Nick previously told press, "I'm not trying to be a psychic, but we renew our vows every year so ... It's probably going to be in the hospital this year. I can feel it. We got the minister coming in, so this gown will not be a wedding gown, but a hospital gown."
Meanwhile, Miss Berger told following the babies' arrival, "I spoke to both of them and they are both completely overjoyed."
Shortly thereafter, Firefox's new channel system will be implemented. Firefox 5a2 will be introduced as the first Aurora build, and we should also see a Firefox 6 Nightly build. While we we're not sure where they came from, one Sören Hentzschel seems to have unearthed the new Nightly and Aurora logos (see above), along with new About Firefox dialogs (after the break).
In other news, if you want to take a sneak peek at the new 'channel changing' technology that will be introduced in upcoming Firefox builds, head to about:config and create a new string called app.update.desiredChannel -- the value doesn't matter. Then open Help > About Firefox and you'll be able to switch channel, but it doesn't do anything just yet (image after the break). Here's hoping that Firefox channel switching is smoother than Chrome.
I’m not too much for pomp, circumstance, or royalty, but if the princely couple came out in this carriage, I think I might actually care (a little).
Reza Esmaeeli, a London-based designer and architect, sought to throw out the traditional, old-fashioned carriage the royal couple rode in and [...]
The Femme Fatale singer takes to Twitter to encourage fans to 'check out this incredible ... remix.'
By Jocelyn Vena
Last week, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" got the Bollywood treatment when Indian composers Salim-Sulaiman remixed her feel-good disco track. Now, Britney Spears is feeling the Indian love from entertainment website Desi Hits! and the Culture Shock production team, who put their Bollywood-style spin on "Till the World Ends."
"Check out this incredible Desihits remix of Till The World Ends. I LOVE it!!!" Britney tweeted on Monday about the track.
The swirling take on Spears' hit tune boasts a "Punjabi breakdown" section that features some South Asian-sounding vocals from Culture Shock's Lomaticc and Sunny Brown. The track includes some added Desi flavors courtesy of dholki, dhol and tumbi beats, which are common in Indian music.
"Our goal was to take Britney's smash hit single and give fans a total Desi adrenaline rush," Culture Shock's Baba Kahn explained. "The result is a Culture Shock musical Desi roller coaster that hopefully everyone around the world will want to join."
It seems that Spears' camp was crucial in orchestrating the remix. "We wanted to build an even greater connection between the world's biggest pop star and one of the world's largest audiences," Mark Flaherty, senior vice president of Jive Label Group, says of the reimagined tune. "Britney has been engaged with South Asian culture for many years. From the groundbreaking Bollywood-inspired remix of 'Me Against the Music' to her recent collaboration with Indian fashion designers Falguni and Shane Peacock on the 'Hold It Against Me' video, she has embraced the incredible sights and sounds of this vibrant community throughout her career."
The original version of "Till the World Ends," the second single from Britney's Femme Fatale album, was produced by Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Billboard. At last look, the tune held the #8 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Are you loving the Bollywood-style "Till the World Ends" remix? Tell us in the comments.Related Videos
Raising Sand, from Led Zeppelin vet and bluegrass superstar, wins five Grammys on Sunday night.
By James Montgomery with MTV News staff
"I'm bewildered," Robert Plant said onstage as he accepted the Grammy Album of the Year award with Alison Krauss on Sunday night. "In the old days we would have called this selling out, but it's a good way to spend a Sunday."
He was probably one of the few who were surprised, because Raising Sand, which won five trophies at Sunday night's show, is in many ways the perfect Grammy album. It features two respected veterans, a critically lauded producer, some sandpaper-and-velvet vocals and a baker's dozen of time-tested standards.
You're probably familiar with Robert Plant from his Led Zeppelin days, and you might be aware of producer T-Bone Burnett's work on the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack (it won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2002). And if you don't know who Alison Krauss is, she possesses a haunting set of pipes and is one of the meanest fiddle players in the world. Oh, and she's won 21 Grammys, more than any other female artist and the seventh-most in history.
Really, she's the key to Sand's success, and not just because of her voice (or her fiddle playing). She and Plant first met in 2004, at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute to legendary bluesman Leadbelly, and the former Zeppelin man was amazed by her knowledge of American Roots music — so much so that they began kicking around the idea of recording an album together. Three years later, Sand was released.
And while Plant possesses the more famous voice, the album's finest moments radiate from Krauss. Whether she's getting bluesy on Little Milton's "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson" or entwining with Plant's husky voice on songs like "Please Read the Letter" and Roly Salley's winsome "Killing the Blues," she more than carries her end of the bargain.
And perhaps that's also due to producer Burnett, who handpicked the 13 songs the duo cover on Sand. His arrangements are sparse — giving the two voices ample room to breathe — yet dense, warm and crackling at the same time. It's a testament to his work that he's often given just as much billing as Plant and Krauss on the project ... and it's certainly justified.
To date, Sand has sold more than 1 million copies, heaped tons of acclaim and actually earned a Grammy last year — "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" took home the award for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.
One expert was surprised not by the album's success, but by the fact that it's actually quite a good album.
"At first, the album seemed like a vanity project. ... Two names, clearly a one-off record, didn't have to be any good, you know?" New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica said. "Led Zeppelin fans would buy it because of Robert Plant, Alison Krauss would get a check. But it actually turned out to be a really thoughtful, really good record. So when you combine all that with the fact that the Grammys love to lionize one of their own, I could really see it taking home some awards."Related Videos
'You've got big egos on these superheroes,' he tells MTV News.
By Kara Warner, with reporting by Josh Horowitz
All of MTV News' recent interactions with Chris Hemsworth, a.k.a. the man about to grace movie screens as the God of Thunder in "Thor," have naturally been very focused on the highly anticipated film and all the nerdy details that come with portraying a comic book superhero.
We love everything "Thor," of course, but since the Norseman will also be appearing in the possibly even more anticipated and mysterious "Avengers" movie, we can't help but pester everyone in the high-profile cast about the film, which just started production.
So when we caught up with Hemsworth recently to expand on our ever-growing database of "Thor" information, we prodded the Aussie for some "Avengers" details. Although he couldn't give us much, he seemed excited that his onscreen brother Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston) will be joining him on set, as well as the potential for a superhero smackdown.
"[It's great] to have my brother there. Even if we don't get along," Hemsworth joked. "[Hiddleston] is fantastic. [He gave] an incredible, incredible performance in the film, and he's going to do the same in this one."
With regard to how all those superheroes will be interacting, particularly Tony Stark, Hemsworth said the environment will be tense.
"There's certainly some tension. You've got big egos on these superheroes," he said. "None of them want to be told what to do or form an alliance with these people who they don't understand anything about," he said. "In the comic books, you see that it's not an easy mix; that's definitely in [the movie]."
When asked if we'll see the ensemble cast (Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Hemsworth and Hiddleston) come to blows, Hemsworth surprised us with an answer in the affirmative.
"Well, you'd want it, wouldn't you? Otherwise, why are we all there? I think it would be safe to say you can expect something like that," he said.
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Singer left behind more than $400 million in debt.
Between album sales, movie profits, licensing arrangements and lucrative deals for Cirque du Soleil shows, the estate of late King of Pop Michael Jackson has raked in more than $300 million since the singer's shocking death in June 2009.
According to TMZ, legal documents released on Thursday reveal that executors of MJ's estate have managed to make a major dent in the more than $400 million in debt that Jackson owed at the time of his death.
The first accounting from the executors shows that they have already spent around $159 million paying back various debts, income taxes and other expenses, which include providing support for the pop star's mother, Katherine Jackson, as well as his three young children.
"Although there remain unresolved creditor claims, pending litigation and additional challenging business, tax and legal issues, and the estate is not yet in a condition to be closed, the executors have made substantial progress in reducing the estate's debt," the documents state, according to a Reuters report. Two of Jackson's longtime confidants, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain, were named as administrators in a will sign by the pop icon.
In addition to paying to make "substantial improvements" to the Jackson family's Havenhurst estate in Encino, California, the executors also spent an undetermined amount of money on "last illness and funeral and memorial service expenses." Those costs included a $900,000 payment to the Forest Lawn Memorial cemetery where Jackson is buried and $35,000 on expenses described as "costume for memorial."
TMZ reported that not only did the famously cash-strapped Jackson have more than $400 million in debt, but his estate also owed more than $40 million to concert promoter AEG tied to the scuttled This Is It Tour, for which MJ was rehearsing when he died unexpectedly. They've also paid $27.2 million in taxes and $4 million in mortgage payments on Jackson's properties.
Despite the solid sales of the Michael album and millions of units of the singer's back catalog being sold, as well as the box office of the "This Is It" movie and DVD sales, the estate is not nearly out of the woods. TMZ noted that the administrators have received more than 65 creditors' claims, some of which are subject to "extremely high" interest rates, and there are several outstanding lawsuits against the estate in several countries.Related Photos