1. He’s Not a Smart Guy
The hackneyed phrase that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” often arises when someone in sports or politics has pulled some bone-headed scheme to manipulate people, money or — sometimes — illegal drug deals. (See Omar Gooding’s drug-addicted and sexually charged character on ESPN’s ill-fated show “Playmakers” for an example of all three.)
Tangent: Omar Gooding also played Mo Tibbs, a wholesome guy on Disney’s “Smart Guy.” ESPN must have hired him as a character actor.
Anyway, it appears that Mark Cuban has been playing too close to the fire and just may have been burned. The Dallas Mavericks owner has recently been charged of pulling a Martha Stewart and may have been involved in some insider short-selling. (See 2007-08 economic crisis for potential upside of short-selling.)
In 2004, Cuban made a large investment in a search engine, Mamma.com. Apparently, no one thought it would be cool to say the site “mamma’d it” when referring to its “late-night entertainment” searches.
Well, some time later, this search engine, realizing it couldn’t raise enough money to keep up with competition — the Lycos dog really captured our attention personally — decided to raise cash using PIPE financing. Essentially, this system places more shares outstanding for the public to buy, but dilutes the value of current shareholder’s existing stake in the company.
Cuban, informed of the decision before Mamma.com made it public, decided to sell all of his shares and avoid a potential $750,000 loss. Wow, that would have been awful, right? Wrong. Cuban is currently estimated to have a net worth of more than $2 billion.
Now, many may be thinking that he could just pay back the money and all would be gravy. But he may actually have to pay a penalty of at least $2 million and potentially more if found guilty of damaging the investments of others in the company. Cuban would have no problem covering this cost, but it could damage his reputation.
Naturally, he doesn’t want that to happen. (Though he oddly has no qualms about damaging his reputation in other ways: see his appearance on “Dancing With the Stars.”)
By denying any wrongdoing, Cuban is essentially opening himself up to steeper penalties, such as potential jail time. Perhaps he would be better off to admit his wrongdoing, but it seems as though the above phrase has truly stood the test of time, and Cuban has become a victim of his own good fortune — and the Internet boom, of course.
2. Braindrain, WWE Style
Brock Lesnar is truly an American hero. Born and raised in Webster, S.D. — a town with 1,900 people that is actually smaller than Emmanuel Lewis from the “Webster” television series — he went on to wrestle at the University of Minnesota, where he won a National Championship. Naturally, he decided to continue to test his skills in the pro ranks at the WWE. (No, not the Olympics; the gold medal isn’t nearly as prestigious as the title belt. Please.) He accomplished every young kid’s dream of becoming the undisputed World Champion at the tender age of 25 by defeating the Great One himself, the Rock, at 2002 SummerSlam. We here at OnFire recall ripping our tight spandex in furious anger.
After his reign as a main draw at all of WWE’s Pay-Per-View events, Lesnar decided to destroy other giants in the mixed martial arts ranks. This past weekend, he beat the famous and destructive Randy Couture for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) crown. He did this in only his fourth fight.
Now if this rise to power in the UFC doesn’t prove that WWE is real, we don’t know what will. Four fights to take it over? Really? That just shows how toughened up he was by his practice in the WWE — yes, we just defended professional wrestling — and, even more importantly, how humble the Rock was to not go out and dominate the UFC. Instead, he decided to star in action-packed thrillers (see Disney’s “Game Plan”)