Five quick military-sports hits for a Monday morning:
1. Who gets ‘The Count’? While the smack talk between former Marine Capt. Brian Stann and Michael “The Count” Bisping has reached impressive proportions, it’s important to remember the proposed September middleweight clash between the two is still just that — proposed. Bisping’s initial blast called out both Stann and Alan Belcher, whose 18-6 record includes a four-fight win streak dating back to mid-2009. As usual, there’s no shortage of opponents eager for a piece of the controversial Bisping, and Belcher wants to be at the front, telling our good friends at MMAJunkie.com that he’s already called UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and wants the fight done immediately. Expect a three-way war of words until Silva and UFC President Dana White weigh in.
2. ‘Beast’ is back. While the middleweights sort things out, a featherweight matchup has been set for UFC 152 in Toronto — Marcus “The Bama Beast” Brimage, a security forces airman in the Alabama National Guard, will battle Jim Hettes on Sept. 22, according to MMAJunkie. Both fighters are 2-0 in the UFC, with Brimage 5-1 overall and Hettes a perfect 10-0. Check out After Action’s coverage of some of Brimage’s antics here, including the interview during which he modestly noted that he was “chiseled like a chocolate Greek god.”
3. NFL-themed homecoming. The Eagle-Tribune out of North Andover, Mass., has a feel-good feature on the return of Army Capt. Nassar Jabour from Afghanistan. What makes it a sports story? How about welcome-home video greetings from a trio of New England Patriots — linebacker Jerod Mayo, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Tom Brady? Not bad for a Saturday night out with friends and family. Mark E. Vogler of the Eagle-Tribune has more of the details, including a look at Jabour’s life in the Army and as a fan of the Pats.
4. Lester preview. TheMat.com continues its Olympic wrestling review with a look at the 66-kilogram Greco-Roman class, which includes Army Spc. Justin Lester. His key competition in London — 22-year-old defending world champion Saeid Mourad Abdvali of Iran. Lester tied for fifth in the 2011 world championships; all the grapplers who placed before him will be in action in London.
5. Ticket update. Some new numbers provided by the Navy sports information folks place a different spin on ticket sales for the Notre Dame-Navy game in Dublin than reports by two Ireland-centric publications that we passed along here. According to the numbers straight from Annapolis, 23,000 of the 48,000 tickets were sold via ticket brokers, including the game’s official travel partner. The other 25,000 were sold by the schools, according to the Navy figures, contradicting the reports of ND issuing 30,000-plus tickets to its faithful. Will the Irish fans still outnumber Navy fans in Dublin? Probably — until they see those cleats.