When Stipe Miocic knocked out former UFC titleholder Andrei Arlovski in a mere 54 seconds at UFC 195 in Las Vegas, his first reaction was to spot president Dana White in the audience and demand a title shot. That title, of course, is the UFC Heavyweight Championship, and will be held by the winner of the Cain Velasquez-Fabricio Werdum bout on February 6th.
White, of course, appeared to agree with him. “Who the hell was going to say no to him?” he said with a laugh in the post-fight press conference.
Throughout his rise up the UFC ranks, Miocic has never been shy about his love for Cleveland, even still working as a firefighter and paramedic in Oakwood Village. That’s probably because the Northeast Ohio native was also, at one point in time, well entrenched in Cleveland State athletics.
It should come as no surprise that Miocic was a part of the 2002-03 wrestling squad that sent six grapplers to the NCAA Championships that year. And naturally, Miocic was a qualifier, joining teammates Phil Mansueto, Rocco Mansueto, Russ Davie, Anthony Coleman and Gerald Harris, who, like Miocic, also moved into mixed martial arts with multiple fights in UFC.
What may be surprising about Miocic, who was also a Golden Gloves champion, was also a pretty good baseball player. In fact, in addition to wrestling, he was an infielder for the Vikings as well in 2003. Eventually, Miocic would close out his collegiate baseball career at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, all the while attracting scouts from the major leagues.
After his baseball career was over, Miocic would get back to what he had learned from his boxing and wrestling days to give MMA a shot. And he steamrolled his competition to start out, while he was with North American Allied Fighting Series (NAAFS), a fighting promotion based locally. After six straight wins, all by either knockout of submission, and , the UFC came calling.
Even as he waits to find out who his next opponent will be (most likely the winner of Velasquez-Werdum), Miocic has always kept tabs on CSU. That includes lending his support during the wrestling defunding and eventual reinstatement.
So, when Miocic makes the inevitable bid for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, it serves as a reminder that he is and will remain a Viking.
Levitt Out, Hamilton Possibly Out and the Wheels Have Fallen Off
Cleveland State men’s basketball coach Gary Waters has, over the years, stressed that his team should be judged on what it does in the final months of the season, rather than the beginning.
Well, at 5-11 and with three straight losses to open the Horizon League slate, are we ready to judge yet?
The historically stalwart Viking defense, a Waters hallmark, has disappeared. In fact, in the losses to Oakland, Detroit and Wisconsin-Green Bay, Cleveland State has given up at least 86 points in each of those games.
When Green Bay’s Turner Botz is torching you from the three-point arc, it may be time to re-think your defensive strategy.
Even Rob Edwards, who started the conference schedule on fire, was neutralized against the Phoenix. Fans worry if this is an omen of things to come.
To make matters worse, the backcourt is starting to thin out, and not in a good way.
First, Daniel Levitt, the walk-on three-point specialist, suffered a knee injury in the loss to Oakland. According to Waters, doctors have pointed to a possible ACL and MCL tear. If an MRI shows that to be true, Levitt will be lost for the remainder of the season.
And then there’s Myles Hamilton, the Kennesaw State transfer that was supposed to be the answer at point guard. Well, if limited production and a crappy attitude define answer, then there you have it.
Hamilton was probably already on thin ice with Waters, starting the season being suspended for violating team rules. After making his debut against Kent State, he virtually disappeared in the win against Belmont, and things haven’t really clicked.
Then the Green Bay game happened.
After playing a minute, Waters yanked Hamilton not only off the court, but off the bench, sending him back to the locker room after they got into it. Tom Mieskoski tweeted that this may very well be the last straw, as Waters is contemplating cutting Hamilton loose.
The original thought was that this season’s team, full of underclassmen, would somehow get it together in time for conference play. Now, it just looks like any hope of that happening has been beaten violently into the ground.
At this point, CSU president Ronald Berkman could very well be sweating bullets that he’ll get a call from Quicken Loans Arena president Len Komoroski telling him the deal’s off.