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Coming up, the future of everything, plus some UFC and WWE next. We're also brought to you by Fanduel Sportsbook. I have a new boost that I created off the menu with them, like how Joe House goes off the menu at chinese food restaurants. We're going off the menu. You can't find this boost right now. You're going to be able to find it on Friday. I'm going to tweet it out as well. MilwAukee to win the division with the Lakers and Warriors to be playing teams, and we're going to try to get that four to one, maybe even higher than four to one. So stay tuned. I will tweet it out and it will be on their app as well. Speaking of things that are coming, Tate Fraser, a Carolina favorite, coming home to do one shining podcast live from Durham the night before Duke UNC and right before everyone starts eyeing selection Sunday, Friday, March eigth. He's at the Carolina Theater at Durham. Tickets Theater is above the fancy way with the re at the end. hey, you saw what happened at the Super bowl parade in Kansas City. It was horrible. Condolences to everybody that might have even known anyone that was involved with that.


Just horrible. I wanted you to go check out when you have time. because they have all the stats. They have all the stats for mass shootings, for mass murders. Children killed zero to eleven, teens killed twelve to 17, willful, malicious, accidental deaths. It's just got everything there. And just look at how different the numbers start to look from 2014 all the way through to 2023. They have charts and maps. They have congressional reports, they have explainers. If you haven't looked at that stuff, I would encourage you to look at it. And I don't have any answers for you. But the data is the data. So there you go. Coming up on this podcast, Derek Thompson, who hosts plain English and writes for the Atlantic and pops on this pod every couple of times a year to talk about the future of things. We're going to talk about the future of everything in 2024. And then Aria Hawani, who hosts the ringer MMA show for us with Pizzi and Chuck. He's going to tell us about UFC 298, why they haven't announced the main event for UFC 300 yet, why my son is now demanding to call him every three weeks, which is the thing that's actually happening.


And we're going to talk WWE as well. It's been a tumultuous fascinating WWE here, on top of the fact that this WrestleMania main event is getting more buzed than anything, at least in the last few years. So this is an interesting podcast. It's coming up next. First, our friends from Pearl Jam. Derek Thompson is here from the Plain English podcast. We're going to talk about the future of everything. But you're like a secret sports fan. Not even secret. But you don't get to do it on the plain english podcast that much. You don't get to write about it on the Atlantic that much. But you follow all this shit and you're kind of a know. You're no stranger to basketball reference and baseball reference. Know some of the stuff. So when you're following the Mahomes Brady stuff, what's your instant smart guy reaction to all of.


Know much? I don't know if I have an ability to improve on, I think a take that you had maybe earlier this week. Mahomes clearly has the best start to a career in the history of NFL quarterbacks. He combines the physical talents of Aaron Rodgers with the regular season cisco achievements of Peyton Manning with the postseason cystical achievements of Tom Brady. And we've never seen anyone do all of this at the same time. Rogers didn't have the championships. Peyton didn't have the championships. Brady didn't have the regular season stats. So he has the triple crown of excellence for the first decade of quarterbacking. But again, and I might just be ripping off your point, but I think it's the right point, what makes Brady Brady? What makes LeBron LeBron? You could even say what makes Jordan Jordan because he came back and won the three peat again is longevity.


That was Kobe more than anything. Kobe. The second part of his prime was what elevated him. What he did from eight to 2012 right when it's supposed to be going backwards and it went the opposite way, which is what happened to Brady.


And that's what we don't know. We don't know what the next decade and a half of Holmes career is going to look like. We don't know if he's going to get as lucky as he has been. And this is one place know I was a Peyton fan more than a Brady fan. And so I became adept, I guess you could say, making excuses for Peyton Manning. And one of the excuses I would make for Peyton Manning is Tom Brady is absolutely fantastic. But lots of his Super Bowls were really won by the defense. They were won by defensive coordination. And to a certain extent, I think you could know of Brady's career. He was both extraordinary because he had an individual ability and extraordinary because he was inside of a context where if he didn't have it for a Super bowl, say it's the early three Super Bowls, maybe he was fantastic in some of them, but the game against the Rams, for example, where they absolutely shut down Jared Goff, there were a couple of Super Bowls he didn't put up 2030 points and he still won. And that's why I felt about Mahomes this year where even if he didn't have it for two and a half quarters, right, and he scored what they scored six points in the last two quarters of the AFC championship game and the first two quarters of the Super bowl, they barely scored at all for four straight quarters.


But the defense was extraordinary and it kept them in it. And that's also Brady esque. To be within a system that always gives you the opportunity to be the hero in the fourth mean, it's an extraordinary early career and what's going to determine whether he's the GoAt is whether he can keep it up, because that's the difference between a Larry Bird style career and a LeBron style career.


Yeah, I think the cool thing is that we have somebody who has a chance to be legitimately great versus when we try to talk ourselves into somebody being great. And to me it's a little bit of a, you know it when you see it. It took a while for Brady, but it really wasn't until the 14, and it's kind of that middle 2010 stretch that he went up a level where he was having a great career, but he was going to lose statistical arguments to Manning. And Montana had the four Super Bowls, he only the three, and then it ascended. The interesting thing with Mahomes is that the inevitability that we were talking about on Sunday's pod is already there where you feel like, oh, man, they left the door open. This is a wrap. Which is such a rare quality. I don't even really know if LeBron ever totally got there as an NBA player, was like, oh, man, they left the door open. LeBron's closing it now. Jordan was the only guy in the last 30 years that you would really feel like, oh, man, they fucked up. There's too much time on the clock.


It's such a rare quality in any sport that just to have somebody that has it again is pretty cool. Tiger had it forever. We were like, oh, man, he missed that putt. The other guy missed a putt. Tiger's taking him down now. This is a wrap.


I wonder if that's an idea. The inevitability belt. If you went back 30 years and looked at who has the inevitability belt right now, right in the late 80s, early 90s, even in the mid 90s, you'd say, jordan clearly has it. Maybe in the 80s you'd say it's Gretzky with the inevitability belt.


Or bird. I really felt like Bird was in their probably mid eighty s, and then Gretzky, too. Yeah. But the thing is, gretzky's team was so loaded, and I know Gretzky's. I mean, I think he's the best ever. But that team, it was almost like the team had the inevitability belt. It's like, oh, my God, you just gave the Oilers a power play. This is over. They're definitely. Yeah, there are some boxers that probably had it, too.


Yeah, I remember in the fourth quarter and in overtime when in both cases, I walked over to my friend in the Super bowl and I was just despondent because I was rooting for the niners at the time, and I was like, you know, he's going to do it. You know he's going to do it. And it was so interesting to see everyone use the same word, inevitability. Inevitability. That's when you've reached a point in the cultural consciousness where everyone expects you to do the impossible and you do it. That is a very special moment. And I agree, that does feel more Jordan esque and Brady esque than it, you know, LeBron esque.


You know, the sport that has the most of this is tennis, because it almost seems like a prerequisite for being a great tennis player is you hit this point, know, it's like, oh, man, that guy double faulted. He had a chance to take down that set. Federer's taking him down now, but it seems like that there's been way probably as many tennis players combined who have had the inevitability as all the other sports. It's so hard in football. Manny never had it, in my opinion. There were stretches, but then he would have, like, the Saints Super bowl, and he just never got over the hump. I do feel like Montana had it in the some degree, but the game was so much more violent back then. I don't know if you've watched that Jim Burt hit when he knocked Montana out in the championship game. It is like, if this happened now, we would be like, oh, my God, we have to ban football. One thing you did a podcast on recently was about switching gears, anxiety. And how when something's in the air and people are talking about all the time, does that affect how people start feeling about whether they have whatever people are talking about?


What did you learn? Can you just summarize the podcast for my people that might not have listened to it?


Absolutely. So I did a podcast with a USC clinical psychologist named Darby Saxby, who introduced me to a term a few months ago that I've never shaken, which is prevalence inflation. And her theory is, we live in a world where anxiety and mental health issues have been destigmatized. It used to be shameful to say that you had depression or anxiety. Clearly, people cover that up with substance abuse for decades. But today, there's a way in which mental health issues, anxiety and depression, have become kind of like identities. People talk about them openly and sometimes even proudly on social media. And she said, I wonder whether the pendulum has swung a little too far where we aren't just getting the benefits of destigmatization, but actually the prevalence of these ideas that the normal problems of life are actually disorders of anxiety and depression that might be making people sick. It might be getting them to think of just the normal warp and weft of life as being a sign of anxiety disorder, which makes them think they have anxiety, which makes them draw back from the real world, from the physical world, which means they ruminate over their thoughts, which actually gives them anxiety.


And in this way, she said, you can see how the Internet and the way the Internet talks about mental health might be really bad for our mental health, and we need a better way of talking about anxiety and depression on the Internet if we actually want to dispel this stuff rather than just marinate in it.


Well, and then the irony of social media is triggering some of this stuff to begin with, because there's so many studies now about the more you're online, the more you're on social media, the worse that is for your health in general. So it's almost like a double whammy. I was talking to my wife about this because we were just talking about, we have a son in high school and a daughter who's a freshman in college, and it's like, all right. It just seems like this is way more of a conversation than it used to be. And my wife said, well, it's way harder to be a teenager now. You have so many things. They're way more aware of things. But I'm like, is it harder to be a teenager now? I was a teenager in the sucked. We didn't have the Internet. We didn't have a lot of this stuff. Sometimes it was super lonely. Like, I was an only child. I didn't have any brothers and sisters to play with. If you're not dating somebody or you're not in a friend group, at least the Internet being online gives you some sort of community to join.


Back in the 80s had its own. I just feel like every era is going to have some sort of detriment.




If you're growing up in the 1880s, maybe it's like, hey, it was depressing. A bunch of people stole our horses today. I don't know. It's just like, isn't every generation going to be depressing or anxiety filled in some way? I don't think this is a unique time.


This is a huge debate among psychologists and among people who follow mental health in America is how much of the mental health crisis is what you could call material conditions in the world and how much of it is just basically phones and phone culture. And when I look at the conditions of the world, you're absolutely right. We can go back to the 1880s when people were dying of bacterial infections all the time. That certainly made it hard to be young. Certainly in the 1970s, 1980s, crime was much higher around the country. And so crime clearly impacts people's childhood today.


What about the weird depression? You think the Great Depression was like a barrel?


Laughs and you had a lot more depressions and a lot more panics and financial crises before the so called moderation of the last 50 years. So to your point, I think there's a lot of grist for the argument that the world has gotten better in a lot of ways. And we can't simply lean on the problems of, say, climate change or fears of the upcoming election as being the explicit and exclusive drivers of mental health. What I would say is the physical world has gotten a little bit safer, but the emotional experience of teenagers has gotten worse. And I think it's basically gotten worse because of phones. I think it's gotten worse because, and I'm going to talk about this a little bit later in our future of everything. So I'm not going to spoil everything that to say, but a lot of young people have traded four to five, sometimes even 6 hours of a day that they would typically spend in the so called physical world hanging out with their friends, reading a book, and they've traded it for online time, hanging out with their parents, hanging out with their parents. And the Internet is not well made for protecting our mental health.


In many ways, it is a hellscape for our mental health. There's an idea in psychology called cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT. One of the lessons of CBT is don't catastrophize things. If something is only a little bad, don't tell yourself it's the worst thing in the world. Restructure your thoughts to say, I can get through this. But on the Internet, the best way to make any idea go viral is to catastrophize it. So we've created a digital environment that totally obliterates the lessons of therapy. And so I absolutely think that it's not that the physical world has gotten so much worse in many ways. Teens drink less. They're having premarital sex less. There's all sorts of things about the physical world that are safer than they used to be. I think what's changed for the most part, it's a complicated issue. What's changed for the most part, is the emotional experience. The emotional texture of being a teen is a lot harder in a world where you're getting the judgment of social media, plus the architecture of social media, which is just not designed to make you feel good about yourself.


Yeah, there's more subtle ways to be super mean, which we've talked about on previous podcasts. The birthday party, that there's pictures and there's seven people in the birthday party, and you realize you weren't invited. All that stuff is terrible. Comments, any sort of message board. It does feel like stuff's a little better than it was a few years ago because there is a little bit of a code of what you can and can't do. People are definitely better at that than they were 1015 years ago. Even think about the early days of Twitter. Like, some of the tweets from seven to 2009 where it was almost like, treating it like it was an anonymous Reddit board, but it wasn't. It was your name on it. It's like, oh, shit, I said that. And so many people got into trouble once people went back and looked at old tweets. So I do feel like people are getting more sophisticated, but at the same time, the amount of time people are on their think, you know, you could see it in the Facebook hearings and some of the stuff that was coming out in that, right? I mean, I'm sure you followed that and you've done some podcast stuff on it, but Facebook knew they're like, yeah, we don't care.


We want to make as much money as we possibly can. There's same thing with Instagram. So until there's full accountability tech, the technology players. I don't know how much this changes.


The only part I disagree with, and I think I disagree with it pretty strongly, is that I don't think it's gotten better. I think if you look at the official data from the CDC, the youth behavior risk survey, teen anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, it's just gone up and up and up.


How they treat each other. I know the numbers are.


Yeah, the numbers are just getting worse. And because I can't see how everyone is treating each other online, I'm just going to assume that it's actually not getting better. There's actually all sorts of subtle ways, I think, in which the mere amount of time that we're spending with our phones is its own detriment to our mental health. So even if Facebook is a little bit more aware of misinformation, and even if Instagram is a little bit more mindful about negative social comparison, and even if TikTok is doing something at the margin to make sure that people don't send certain kinds of, whatever, anti semitic messages to each other. Okay, well, you're putting out spotfires in the middle of like, a continent wide conflagration. You're not actually fixing the fundamental problem, which is that fundamentally human psychology is disevolved, improperly evolved. For a world where we are getting our sense of self from a screen, from a phone, where we're open to the opinion of anonymous hordes, we're not built for that. And as a result, the results are plain to see. Skyrocketing rates of anxiety and depression and suicidality. We're just not meant to live through screens.


Well, how much did the. When they're trying to evaluate all this stuff, how awful was the COVID and the isolation from that for 18 to 20 months, depending on how long, wherever you were living, how damaging was that? Because to me, that's the number one monkey wrench. With all of this in a bad.


Way, it seemed to make everything worse. I mean, pick any metric, and it seemed to make it worse. It seemed to make loneliness worse. It seemed to make aloneness worse. Time spent alone, it seemed to increase anxiety. It seemed to increase depression. People, again, I don't think are built, are naturally selected to spend that much time away from other people. And as a result, the pandemic was people made decisions in the heat of the moment. And some of those decisions, I think in retrospect, were good. And some of those decisions, I think in retrospect, were overkill. And I think a lot of people clearly see in the data that being away from other people is really, really bad for human psychology.


I'd love to know the data for people over 65 with that, because I think it had this really strange and bad effect on older people, and I've seen it with some family members, especially people who were alone a lot who are older and just thinking about their immortality. It's not awesome. It's been a hard thing, I think, for a lot of people to snap out of. All right, we're going to take a break. We're going to come back, and we're going to do the future of everything. I don't remember the last time we did this, but it was maybe like seven, eight months ago, somewhere in the summer before you disappeared.


I think it was about a year.


Ago, before I was right. By now you had a whole dad. But I think it was before then. Yeah, we did AI, and we did a whole bunch of things. So we're going to take a break and hit all of it. All right, coming back, future of everything we're doing. What did we say? Sports, culture, tech, and health.


That's exactly right.


That's what I got. Let's leave sports for last. We'll go in reverse order. Why don't we go health first? What do you got for health? The future of health?


We got to talk about the ozempic revolution. There's so much to say and plain English. We did two podcasts about it, but fundamentally, I want to summarize those two podcasts right here and say there are three things that I think most people are underrating about the Ozempic class of drugs, and the first is right there in the name, the Ozempic revolution. In so many ways, ozempic is old news. Ozempic is what's called a glp one agonist. It mimics a gut hormone called glp one, which glucagon, like peptide one. But that's just the start. There's another drug that a lot of people have heard of for diabetes and weight loss, munjaro, or zepbound, from eli lilly, which mimics two hormones, glp one and gip. And that's not all. Eli Lilly is testing another drug called trizeptide, which has three targets, glp one, gip, glucagon. And with each additional pathway and each additional target, they're seeing more effectiveness. So trizeptide in phase two trials is showing, on average, 25% average weight loss. That is crazy. We have stumbled onto an absolutely revolutionary drug class, but at least number two, which is that most people think of these drugs as weight loss drugs, and I am on the train of, no, you should actually maybe think of them as psychiatric drugs that work through your gut.


We don't know exactly how ozempic works. It's one of those spooky stories of, like, we built the machine and then we learned the science. But one of the most important things.


By the way, that makes me nervous, and all this stuff makes me super nervous because I know it's great. It's like, is it?


Yeah. I want to talk about that in just a second, because we did these two episodes, and one of the interviews was with a guy who just talked about the downsides. So I want to hold the downsides for a second. But this is really important on the psychiatric part. These drugs seem to send a message to your brain that says, I'm full, but that's not the only message that they send to your brain. One trial found that people on ozempic went on longer walks. There was a Morgan Stanley survey that found that patients on glp ones ate 60% less candy and 40% more vegetables. It seems to reduce smoking for smoking addicts. Gambling. For gambling.


Gambling I've heard of. Yeah.


And even for some compulsive nail biting. So it's kind of like, this is the way I conceive of it.


See, that's how, you know, I'm not on a zembic because of the gambling and compulsive nail biting. Yeah. I'm still 100 out of 100 on both.


It's almost like you have the angel devil on your shoulder when you're making certain decisions about cake or gambling. And what this seems to do is, like, it turns down the volume of the compulsive voice and allows people to have more moderation over their behavior across categories, not just food, but nail biting and gambling. And that's where, again, you can call it amazing. You can call it spooky, you can call it purely effing terrifying. But the way these drugs work is essentially like a psychiatric drug. And I, as a journalist, find that completely fascinating.


I would go with spooky. What was the third thing?


The third thing is, so there is concerns that, and this is a real concern about these drugs. I definitely don't want to make it represent, like, I just think everyone should take them. And in the end, it's a miracle drug. One of the big problems with these drugs is that with really fast weight loss, people tend to lose both fat and muscle. And for older people, and really for anyone, muscle retention is really important. There's no 90 year old grandmas out there that are like, I wish I had less muscle. No, like, sarcopenia is bad. So what they're doing at Novo Nordisk, the danish company that makes ozempic, and Eli Lilly, they're starting to think about pairing these GLP one drugs with muscle retention or muscle growth drugs. And so the ozempic revolution is stimulating a revolution in muscle growth medicine. And it's possible, Bill, that the way the ozempic revolution cashes out for someone like you or your friends isn't weight loss drugs at all. It's that downstream of the ozempic revolution is we uncork some discoveries about muscle retention and muscle building. And a lot of people end up taking a healthy, FDA approved muscle retention, muscle building drug.


That happened because all these companies were pouring all this money to counteract the effects of GLP one drugs. So a lot of people are going to hate that. They're like, well, you take one drug and it creates a problem. You take another drug, that creates another problem. I don't like the path that's leading down. But as a journalist who's just interested in this is a phenomenon, it's fascinating to think about ozempic as being the beginning of a revolution in a lot of different aspects of bodily.


I mean, you're basically saying of safe steroid.


Yeah. I don't yet know how these, there's very little information yet about how these muscle drugs would work, but the effect, I suppose, would be essentially that of a safe steroid, potentially.


So the muscle mass thing is the part that has been swept under the rug with this, because I know a couple of people that are using one of the drugs, and one of the things that they're being told is you have to go to the gym more, you have to work out because you're going to lose muscle mass. So you got to basically replace the muscle mass. If you're going to do this, you're going to lose weight, but then you also have to put the muscle back. That made me super suspicious of just all this. In general, it's like, wait a second, so I'm losing weight. Some of these urges I have are going to be tempered down, but I'm also going to lose muscle. I've never heard of anything where you're like, you're going to lose muscle other than being super sick or having cancer or something. So that's why I almost feel like with these drugs, they came so fast. And I know a bunch of people that are dabbling. It feels to me like when the first iPhone happened or the first vision pro happened, and then they perfected it by the third or fourth or fifth time.


I don't know if I'd want to dive in on the 1.0 version of all these drugs. It just would make me nervous. But I'm more of a hesitant person with stuff like that.


Well, I validate the fear. I definitely don't want to be a guinea pig either. And the fears about muscle loss are absolutely legitimate. I would say though, that because GLP one drugs have been around for ten or 15 years for diabetics, yes. People taking them now are not the guinea pigs. People who were taking them in say 2006, 2008, they were the real guinea pigs. They were taking a drug that had never been tried before. At this point we have 1015 years worth of data for drugs like ozempic. And it doesn't seem like there are significant long term side effects or side effects that present in that medium term. That said, this goes to a second criticism of the drug, which is that if you stop taking it, you tend to not still enjoy the benefits. It's like statins. It's a drug that you do seemingly have to take for the rest of your life. And a lot of people are going to be really uncomfortable taking a drug like this for the rest of their life. Especially when it changes the way they think about the world so dramatically. So is this is serious stuff, I hope in the podcast I did, and again here, that I represent both the wonder of these drugs, that obesity is a huge problem in America.


And there are all sorts of cancers and diseases that are downstream of the obesity cris in America. And this seems to really combat it. But at the same time, it's a serious drug. The side effects for some people are very serious. You do have to stay on it for a long, long period of time. And it's true that you have to worry about and think about the muscle loss, because muscle retention is so important for longevity and just living a healthy later life.


Well, think about in the those fad Diets that people would do and they'd lose the weight, and then you stop doing the diet and what happens? And then in some ways it's even harder for your body to lose the weight the second time. There's like subversions of this that are a little less ozempicy, where peptides have been around for a while, right? There's been modified versions of peptides just like to maybe get it going. A little bit, but not exactly the same. I guess the muscle mass part, just in general, is the part that makes me. Sorry. All right, I lost all this weight. Now I'm off ozempic. All right. Now I'm putting the weight back on, and I've lost 20% of my muscle, that's never coming back. So I don't know how that's a win. So, in a way, they're trapping you to just take this stuff forever, which that makes me nervous too, because who benefits from that? The people making these drugs.


I think you're right. Just see this as a cost benefit ratio, and that makes us focus on the benefit. If you have 30, 40% of Americans who are obese and we don't have an answer to obesity at the food system level, we don't have an answer to obesity at the behavioral level. There's no master class that we can show people online that gets people to totally change their diets. This is one of the only things that works. And if people who are suffering from severe obesity, and I should say it also seems to help people who are type two diabetic, but if someone's suffering from obesity and they haven't been able to lose weight and they take a drug that has a relatively safe side effect profile that causes them to lose weight, and also wherein the doctor encourages them to go to the gym a lot and lift weights, that all sounds positive. That's altogether an obvious improvement. But you're right to point out that, all right, for some people, this is an obvious diagnosis or prescription, but for a lot of people, it's a marginal cost benefit. And I think it's really important to be clear about both the extraordinary promise of these drugs and the very real fact of their side effects and downsides.


I'll tell you, this very popular drug in the Los Angeles area is that you want to do culture next. Let's do culture next, and we'll do tech. Then we'll finish with sports. Give us culture.


Okay, so, culture. A few years ago, I played around with the idea for a book that I ultimately abandoned. And the title of that book was going to be, everything is a cult, and everything is a cult, sort of. You have to start by defining what is a cult.




A cult is an intense and relatively novel movement that defines itself in opposition to a mainstream right. Fundamentally, it's about how the normies are bad. It fosters intimacy within the group through a blend of resentment and superiority over the mainstream and adopts ideas or rituals that bind people within the group but those same ideas and rituals seem effing insane to people outside of it. And everywhere I look in media, I'm like. I see more and more cults. So the first place I started to feel like everything is a cult is in news media. Our business news media, to me, is clearly becoming more cult like. I don't know if you saw Tucker Carlson's little videos from Russia. I don't know how.


Maybe you're on my radar.


Okay, so Tucker Carlson takes his little ex video team to Russia, and it's not what he said. Know, he had this two hour long interview with Putin. It's the way he sold what was being said, which I'm starting to hear everywhere. The media is lying to you. They. And it's always that amorphous, undefined they. They don't want you to know the truth about the war. They don't want you to know the truth about reality. This is advertising by conspiracy. It's straight out of the cult playbook, right? The mainstream is poison. It's designed to build this allegiance around a cult. And it's funny that even, like, non tucker news sites that are launching, their thesis upon launching is always like, they've got it wrong. No one in sports is covering sports.




We'll get it right. No one in tech is covering tech.




We'll get it right. That's what you have to say to enter the mainstream. And as a result, in order to be a new entrant, you have to criticize the mainstream. So media is becoming cult like. Celebrity fandom is becoming cult like. I'm not just talking about the Taylor Swift fans. Love you guys. The fragmentation of media means you have all of these incredibly powerful affinity groups in YouTube and TikTok forming around people that most Americans have never heard of.




Culture splintering off into cults. Politics finally, clearly is becoming more cult like. It's not just polarization, where Democrats don't even understand MAGA Republicans and MAGA Republicans have no idea why anyone would vote for Joe Biden. But also the big sort. How people move around the country means that the two sides barely speak to each other, because all the liberals live together and all the conservatives live together. So, culturally, my sort of future of everything in culture is that the erosion of the mainstream across categories, news and politics and celebrity media, has turned culture into a portfolio of cults. And that's made it really hard for people to talk to and understand each other.


That's really good. It's like culture.


Right? Yeah, exactly.


I went on Dana Carvey and David Spades podcast, it hasn't run yet, so I don't want to spoil too much, but it was really fun. But one of the things we were talking about was when they were on that show in the early ninety s, and they did this sketch. It was the Partridge family versus the Brady bunch, and Susan Day was the host, right? So I was in college, and literally, that sketch, everybody watching that sketch understood the sketch, because we had all grown up with the Brady Bunch and the Partridge family. There was two generations. We only had a couple of channels. So it's like, yeah, this is like a 100% approval rating. And we were talking about, like, SNL in 2024. I think one of the problems with it is there's no sort of mainstream backbone like that anymore. Like, if you're 18, what's your backbone? It's like Taylor Swift. Maybe it's some NFL stuff. I don't even know if the NBA is in there. You might have an opinion on Olivia Rodrigo, but then everything else splinters in all these different directions. So what's the version of the Brady Bunch Partridge family sketch ten years from now for my daughter when she's, like, 28?


What is it? What are her common culture experiences with everybody else? It's basically like Taylor Swift and a couple of songs and like those Netflix movies with Jacob Elordi. The other piece of this is. Netflix is a way bigger piece of this now than I think people fully realize, because this whole generation of 22 and under, that's the first place they go to. That is cable, basically, in general for them. So anything that's been on there in the last ten years is some sort of reference touch point to them, and then it just turns into all these TikTok, like the David Dobrik, all those. The YouTube, and all the Mr. Beast. And maybe that's what it is, but I don't know how you would have uniformity on what that partridge family Brady bunch sketch is. I don't know if it exists.


And I feel like I almost wish we could bring in closerman here to talk about this, because I know that he's obsessed with this subject, but I am so interested in the relative anonymity of enormous hits these days, right? Like how a YouTube clip can be absolutely ubiquitous among 18 year olds. And I don't know who made the clip. I don't understand what they're talking about. It might as well be an alien speaking in a foreign language. To a certain extent, the popularity of even big podcasts like Rogan, where there'll be some crazy viewpoint that's shared there for 25 million people. I won't even hear about it for six months. And it's like one of the biggest news platforms in the world. You can do this for so many different hit. One thing that I found, I think I was talking to Matt Bellamy about this when Netflix released its hours watched list.


Oh, my God. Fascinated by that list. It was like the night, right?


The night agent was watched something like 7 trillion hour. The mother was the most popular movie or one of the most popular movies of the first half of the year. In the six months of data that was shared by Netflix, the mother, I think, was one of the most popular films. And I did the math. And according to the math, how would you fact check by this? The mother was watched the same number of hours on Netflix as Barbie was watched in movie theaters in 2023.




So I'm not saying the mother is bigger than Barbie. That's not my point. Barbie is going to be released, or has been released on whatever it is, Max, and it's going to get another trillion hours of viewing there. But in the same period of time, as much time was spent with humans watching the mother on Netflix. According to Netflix, as people sitting in movie seats watching Barbie, I don't know what the mother is. I had to look it up. And so this relative anonymity of hits seems to me to be absolutely downstream of the phenomenon of culture is now a bunch of cults.


Well, and also, how do we measure audience? Because like the night agent, which solid show, it was like in the 24 phylum. It was like 24 for the. Watched the entire show. I don't think I fully watched even five minutes of it. It was on. And I was kind of looking up and doing work and looking up. I'm like, oh, but if you like, quiz me. If you gave me a quiz right now on what happened on the night agent, can you name four characters? I'm not kidding. I watched every episode. Can you name four night agent characters? I cannot have the night agent in. I just remember something was outdoors and people blew up. So I think it's almost like passive viewing is at an all time high, but I don't know in the watched shit, because that was it. It was like, I'm going to watch this. What else am I going to do? And now it's like with people doing five things. So when I saw those Netflix numbers, to me, it was like the passive watching, like that show the summer I turned pretty Amazon. My daughter likes that show on Amazon.


My wife watched it, but if I quizzed her on it, I don't think she would be able to name two characters. But I know she watched the whole show. There was some movie they had this week called players, and my wife was watching it. It was a, but she wasn't really watching it. She was texting with my daughter. We FaceTime and it was just kind of going. And that just seems like where we are now.


Jenny and Georgia will be that for my wife. I've seen probably six total minutes of Jenny and Georgia walking in and out of my bedroom while my know, folded clothes or sat with our dog or did work in the bed. Jenny and Georgia was know. Might as well have been like, jenny.


And Georgia get in a fight and you're like, oh, what's going on here? And you watch for two minutes and then go back to the. It's weird. It's weird times for content. One of the things, I don't know if I'll get in trouble for this, but Spotify, they do all the data on podcast consumption and what they've really found with the data over the last few years, and it's not rocket science, but everybody has their five to seven podcasts, and that's it. It's really hard to crack that list. Once you have it. People have their go to, right? They might love you, and they're like, you know what? Derek's on twice a week. When I see that pop up, that's my guy. They don't have 30. It's five to seven. It might be less than that. It might be three, it might be two, maybe it's eight, but it's somewhere in that range, and that's real consumption. But when you think, like, how many podcasts are there now? Like 3 million, 2 million? To actually build a hit, to actually get traction is harder than ever because not only are you competing against the 3 million pods, but you're also competing against the circle that you've already decided on, like 2024.


Maybe you were listening to a little more because you're a media consumer, but just in general, you're going to have your hits. It's like an NBA team. I can only play five guys. I can play eight guys Max. That's it. That's all I can do. Any last thoughts on this, or should we go to the next one? Let's go to the next one. All right, let's take a break, and then we'll go to the next one. All right. Future of everything. We have two left. I'm on the edge of my seat for this one. Wanting to know what your future of everything for tech is. Let's hear it.


All right.


So last year for future of everything for tech, I did AI. I still think there's really compelling evidence that AI adoption solid w for you. I could keep talking about it, but the truth is, I don't think there's a huge demand for me to keep talking about AI. I said everything I had to say about it last year. I want to talk about Vision Pro, about Apple's new mixed reality headset, and I want to talk about it in a way that might be a little bit unexpected. Did so. The reviews are rapturous. The price is exorbitant. The price is in fact so high at $3,500 and really more when you add all of the add ons, that I'm a little bit interested in how it acts, how it works in the marketplace of attention. I could imagine rental markets. I could even imagine movie theaters that sell vision pro access. Like, you can get a seat, you can get an IMAX seat, or you can get a vision pro rental where know antiseptic wash the vision pro. We put it on your face. You're not watching Oppenheimer on a screen. You are immersed in Oppenheimer.


I'm interested to see, for example, I think Ben Thompson wore it on a plane. Our mutual friend, no relation Ben Thompson.


I had the same thought.


I was thinking, what if united for $150, rented sterilized vision pros to people in coach to allow Orton first class, to allow people to immerse themselves in Barbie or whatever. You won't even notice if you're sitting in coach that they've shrunk the distance between coach seats by six inches. If you're strapped into your vision pro, so they get an extra upsell, they put a vision pro on your face, they get to cham more people into the airplanes. But the point I really wanted to make about Vision Pro is that it's the extrapolation of a trend which is ever higher quality screens, ever improving resolution, ever more content. We've just been talking, delivered closer and closer to our faces. And in the last 15 years, you and I and everyone we know have participated in an experiment. We've been enrolled in an experiment to see what happens to the human brain as we spend more and more time in front of screens and less time in the physical world. And Vision Pro is the most spectacular screen that's ever been invented. I just wrote an article in the Atlantic about what I called the sudden decline of hanging out in America.


It was good.


In the last 20 years, Bill, average socializing time, average face to face interactions between humans have declined 30% for men and women in America and 50% for teenagers. And most of that decline has happened in the last ten years. What happens when we make screens ten x better? I don't know that I want to know the answer to that question. It's not clear to me that even though I am a huge technology booster, I'm a huge fan of physical world invention. It's not clear to me that better and better screen technology is really the medicine that we need to fix our problems. And so I am both kind of excited about Vision pro, but also fundamentally concerned about what it says about the future of human psychology.


So, obviously, I read Ben's review, and it was just classic Ben. He was mad at certain things, but then when he started talking about what the experience was on the plane, that was the first time I was like, oh, might have to get one of these. And your brain starts going, all right, what else would this look like? Could I watch a celtic game from my dad's seat? Is that where we're heading? Is like, I put these things on, which we've been talking about, really for a decade, but I put these things on. What are the possibilities? Am I all of a sudden in IMAX theater? Am I all of a sudden courtside at a celtic game? Because they put a camera on the basket support right under the basket, and now I'm sitting courtside with the best seats in the house, watching these guys, and I'm able to turn and go, this goes back to what we're talking about with the zenpic. I want to know what the 3.0 version of this thing is.


As the.


Experience gets better, as they figure out stuff. The part you said about how this will lead to less interaction, less people being social, less people wanting to be around other people, maybe that's just where society is headed. That's my biggest fear. It's not just like people are hanging out less are people going to want to hang out? Are people going to still want to be with each other in 15 years if we hit that point? To me, that's a fucking game ender if we're not interacting with each other. And I would just rather be home with my vision pro on. And that's. And I'm 40 years old, and that's it. That's going to be my Friday and Saturday night. I don't see how that's normal for your brain.


I don't see how it's normal either. And it's really hard to predict the future of technology. But one thing that kind of freaks me out a little bit is as you think about various use cases for vision pro, one of them is that it allows any space you're in to be turned into your living room or your home office. You think about a coffee shop and you think about the culture of a coffee shop. You think about the historical role that coffee shops have played in human history. They've been places where people come together and share ideas, launch revolutions, launch political parties, sometimes just hang out, get a little bit of work done, and hang out with your friends. Coffee shops are a really important third place. Not your home, not your office, but a third place that builds community in any neighborhood. What if a bunch of people realize that with Vision Pro 5.0 in 2027 or whatever, you can go to a coffee shop and you can put your opaque glasses on and you can just turn that coffee shop into a virtual home office with 17 different screens that you can use to do your day trading or your excel filing.


People are just watching you from 5ft away.


No, Bill, no one's watching you from 5ft away because they're wearing their vision pros too. And so the coffee shop ends up.


It'S a pro coffee shop.


I'm saying, if this technology becomes as ubiquitous as the iPhone, then it's not just everyone with naked faces and the ability to see each other looking at their iPhone, it's everyone with these opaque goggles on, sitting in a coffee shop, doing their work, turning that coffee shop into their home office. I mean, there's a way in which that sounds maybe weird and dystopic, but it's actually, you could see how on a one to one basis, for every individual person, that's a benefit, right? They're like, oh, it's fun to be able to go to a third place and get my coffee and then turn to my home office. But collectively, it ruins the culture of that coffee shop. It ruins the culture of third places.


Why would I go to the coffee shop with my goggles on if I could just do that at home? What's the point of even being in the coffee shop near other people?


Maybe you want to get away from your family, you want to get out of the house for the first part. You need to be closer to the office. Maybe you just need, maybe you like.


To get away from your roommate.


Get away from your roommate, right, exactly. And you always have the ability, of course, to just take off the goggles and then walk around and get your scone or whatever and bring it back to the table. So it's a way to be away from home while also creating whatever kind of room you want to be in.


Still sounds depressing.


It is. And that's why I think that I'm simultaneously interested in what vision pro represents for content, what it represents for entertainment, how, for example, it could allow you to enjoy, to sort of like co stream your father's experience of a Celtics game. That sounds kind of cool to me, right? Yeah, and an amazing three D version of Madden 27. That seems kind of cool to me. So it's not as if I want to write off the metaverse entirely and say, this is only going to be bad. I don't think that at all. I just think that we need to analyze the societal implications of a technology like vision Pro as if it's the extension of all other screened technology and what screen technology. The history of screen technology, I think teaches us is making more content ever more available to us. Yes, allows us to amuse ourselves, but often we choose to be alone when we're amusing ourselves in front of these screens. And that kind of sucks because it means that socialization declines by 50% among teenagers and anxiety rises to all time high levels. So I'm not trying to exclusively shit on the technology, but I do think that especially with the rapturous reception that DejinPro got, we should sort of keep in balance the incredible achievement of the tech with its possible negative implications for society.


So if we had a tech czar and this person was in charge of basically all behavior and things we're allowed to do with all the tech, like within reason. And the tech czar was like, you can use these things, but it can only be for 3 hours a day. We don't have enough studies yet to know whether how damaging this could be. If you're using this for 10 hours a day, people be like, no way. That's not constitutional. We can't do that. But it really does seem like these things should have time limits. I think all this stuff. Should you be on your iPhone, on FaceTime and all the social apps for more than like 4 hours a day? Probably not. The parents can put time limits on it for their kids. But do we need, like, when I think about this vision pro thing, what if somebody's just on their vision pro for 14 hours a day? What is that going to do to their brain after a while? Are they even going to be able to interact with other people after, like, six months. There's so much we don't know.


There's so much we don't know. And the metaphor that I've used before is that social media in particular, and I guess to a certain extent, you could say, screened content in General is a little bit like attention alcohol. I love whiskey, and I love wine, and I don't drink beer as much anymore, but I love making mescal cocktails. So I drink a lot of alcohol. But there's also, like, an understanding with alcohol of how much is too much. And we have a social infrastructure and social vocabulary around telling each other and telling ourselves, you've had too much to drink, and you should drink this with water, and you should drink with responsibility and make sure that you eat food before you drink. We understand, because we've lived for thousands of years with this technology, and we know how wonderful it can be, and we also understand that we can use it to excess. To a certain extent, I see screens as being analogous, because I think that the iPhone is unbelievably useful to me. I think social media, frankly, even Twitter, is incredibly useful to me. I'm very happy that Netflix exists. I've gotten a ton of joy out of it.


And the truth is, I probably will use the vision pro at some point in my life and do something that's a lot of fun with it. So in that way, all these technologies are kind of like attention alcohol, but we need a clearer understanding. So if I'm the tech SaR, I'm like, let's study this. We have so much research on the effect of alcohol on our livers and our minds and our metabolism and rates of substance abuse and how to wean people off of it, and the effect of alcoholics Anonymous. Why don't we have any of this for social media? How do we build the sort of research backbone for a similar understanding of what this is doing to our bodies? That's where I would start before ramping down like the CCP and essentially saying, you can't use this technology. No adult can use this technology for more than x hours a day.


It feels like we're in the same spot with gummies and micro dosing. There's so much more trial and error in the gummy community and the micro dosing community. It's like, oh, man, I took two gummies yesterday, and I was under my bed for 9 hours. That just kind of popped out of nowhere. We know people here who they just microdose every day. Now, that's like, no, it's totally safe. It's like, is it? Didn't this stuff just start a couple of years ago? It's like, my mood is much better now. It's great. Is it?


We had an episode on the show about ketamine, and about ketamine is another one.




About psychiatrists researching the effects of ketamine, because I'm very interested in mental health. Ketamine seems to have incredible effects for reducing depression really quickly and for several months. So it's different than if you see a therapist, which many people should. That effect can take a long time to materialize with ketamine. That's really fast. But what's interesting is even experts don't really know what's going on. They don't understand the mechanism. Is it the high that people are responding to? Is it the molecular experience behind the high? And so, yeah, we're allowing ourselves here to be guinea pigs for drugs that do seem to be doing something good. But the mechanisms of their success are pretty mysterious.


Last thing on the vision, like, you buy one, your wife can't use it, right? It's tied to you. That's what Ben was like. You can't buy, like, a family vision pro. And then just anyone could put it on. It's tailored specifically to you.


I don't know enough about that to be sure, but let's say that Ben is right on that point.


That seems like something they could adjust for, the 2.03.0. Like, the price is going to come down, maybe it's tailored. Almost like how you have the Netflix account with the five people on it. That just seems like that's probably where we're headed for future durations. All right, last one. Sports. Are we doing micro dosing for the NBA? Where are we going?


Yeah, you stole it right out of my mouth. It's microdosing for the NBA. No. Here's what I want to do for sports. I want to describe to you, Bill, my relationship with the NBA, and then I want you to tell me if I'm crazy. So I listen to you and Ryan and the NBA show and mismatch. I probably listen to hundreds of hours of NBA podcasts every year. Do you know how much basketball I watch before May? Like probably 20 minutes. This year at my best friend's bachelor party, we watched the fourth quarter of a Knicks game at our Airbnb in Florida. That's it. So I was doing the math on this, and I was like, my consumption of professional basketball is 100 hours of ringer podcasts about basketball to every 20 minutes of watching the actual NBA. That's a 300 to one ratio of analysis to actual sporting event. And on reflection, I was like, this is kind of psychotic behavior. It's totally counterintuitive. I can't really even explain it to myself. In one interview, I said, it's kind of like the NBA is a piece of audio gossip for me. It's like a reality show that lives in my ears for six months that transforms into a live sport every spring.


And if this is common, and I get the sense that it is kind of common, that a lot of people have this kind of relationship with sports, I wonder what it means for the economics of sports media from a consumer standpoint. Because there's a way in which I am not actually an NBA fan. I am a Ringer podcast network fan who becomes an NBA fan for the playoffs. And I don't know how this cashes out for some sports wherein people become dependent on and reliant on analysis for their entertainment, but they don't actually watch the underlying product. Like how, if you're Adam Silver, do you deal with the fact that attention to and enthusiasm for the NBA might be going up, but ratings are barely budging? That's a really bizarre phenomenon. And so this mismatch, no pun intended to Koc and Verno, but this mismatch I find more common and incredibly interesting, where people are becoming sports fans without consuming the sport.


So basically what you just laid out, which was a great point, is exactly what happened to the late night tv shows.




So if I love, let's say, kimmel, I'm experiencing him either on social or I'm watching his YouTube thing, but I'm not necessarily going to ABC at 1135. And you've seen the ratings. Like his ratings his first year was like five, 6 million people per show. Now it's probably way lower, but the effect of the show is bigger because it's amplified in all these different platforms. And I think that's what's happened to the NBA. They would argue that the last ten years have been incredibly successful because look at our YouTube, look at our Instagram, look at our facebook, look at our like and the way people consume the clips. I think Wembin Yama is the test case for this. I don't think people watch the Spurs. I don't watch the spurs. I'll go back because they get blown out like three out of every five games. So I'm not watching them in live time ever. If there's an awesome Wemby game. That's like, oh, that was actually a good game. I'll just go in their app and watch the fourth quarter of it and be like, okay, now I watched that awesome wemby game. I'm not watching it in real time with the expectation I'm going to see an awesome wemby game.


I think people can. It's really like the cheat era. You can cheat being a sports fan without consuming different sports. I think football is the only one that people still actually watch in the moment because it's so perfect for visual. And there's the gambling, there's the fantasy, there's the in the moment stuff. It's only basically 17 Sundays, 15 Thursdays. NBA is like, all right, which game am I watching? There's ten going at the same time. I have multiple tvs because of what I do for a living. Most people have one which 01:00 a.m.. I going to watch? Am I doing something else at the same time? I just think people cheat with it. I don't know if it necessarily means the NBA is less popular because I actually think in a lot of ways it's more popular, but the ratings speak for themselves. It's really one of the only content things where I did this on Tuesday, where the ratings are down, it doesn't make sense because they've changed all these ways. Ratings can go up and yet their ratings aren't going up.


Except it does make sense from the standpoint that when Adam wants to talk about how popular the league is, what does he point to? Everything but the ratings. Here's our TikTok hashtag and here's our YouTube views. And here's everything that isn't the main dish. Right? Here's everything that isn't the core.


Look at our sweet potatoes.


Yeah, right. Exactly. We're the top yams maker in all of sports. And it's like, meanwhile, the stake is atrophying. And so I think the comparison to late night is perfect because I can't remember the last time I stayed up to watch late night purposefully. But I have caught so many just browsing whatever, Instagram or Twitter, so many different clips of Kimmel saying something or some joke on. I don't watch SNL either, but some joke on SNL. There's a certain kind of media that lives to be sort of aggregated by delay and late night. Is that SNL? Is that? And it's weird to think that basketball is becoming that because you would think that basketball is a live sport. People have said for so long in.


Playoffs news and live sports, in playoffs, that's when it becomes kind of what the NBA is. Yeah, during the season. First of all, the season is too long. We're not positive when people are playing. It's hard to quantify what's a really big game like. There was a huge game Monday, Bucks Nuggets. Well, the Nuggets were losing by 20 in the second quarter. Sony men's I'm not going to watch that. You just go to the next thing so you can kind of jump off the big games really fast. In the regular season, I think the players are more, in a lot of ways more famous than ever, and especially people. The concept of foreign players becoming as popular as they would, I think that would have been really hard to predict 30 years ago. But it's a weird time. You could spin it either way. If you're the NBA, you could say, we're in trouble. People aren't watching our games the same way. Or you could say, no. Look at is we wanted this to happen. This is why we wanted our stuff anywhere and in short bytes and bigger bites and all these different ways, look at all the people that are talking about our league.


So you could spin it as a success.


And fundamentally it comes down to what are people willing to pay for the rights? What are people willing to pay to lease the rights to broadcast live NBA content? And I guess the optimistic read for NBA and silver would be that as tech comes into the sports picture, Amazon has so much more money than the old fashioned tv broadcasters, and Apple has so much more money than the old fashioned tv broadcasters. So even though linear television seems like it's in structural and maybe just permanent decline, you're going to get something else to replace the dying cable bundle. And that is whereas before sports was subsidized through the cable bundle by all the people who didn't watch sports because everyone who know watch ESPN was still paying every single month in order to pay that affiliate fee to ESPN. Maybe in the future, just people who don't watch sports but still shop on Amazon are going to subsidize sports and so the NBA will benefit from that subsidy anyways as Amazon comes in and Apple comes. Just really, I'm interested both in the sports economic side of it, but I'm also just interested. It's kind of like philosophy of like it's just bizarre to me to have enormous numbers of people relationship with the sport move from I love watching the sport because it's so fun to watch to I love hearing stories about the sport for 80% of the season and then only tuning in at the very end, that's a very od relationship to have with a sport, but it's absolutely mine, and I just gather that it's a lot of other people's, too.


It needs a name. Like, I was thinking as you were talking, you're a shadow NBA fan. It's something like that where you're shadowing the league and you're ready to jump in at any time, but you're really not actually consuming it. You're consuming the shadows around it, but not the actual content itself. It's some name like that.


Yeah. The way that I've described it to other people is the word that I've used is gossip. That essentially what I'm listening to, my relationship to the league, is I'm listening to gossip about the league. I'm listening to you talk, know, here's the gossip from various teams. Here's the analysis. That's just gossip. It's just talk. I'm just listening to know the most.


Fun thing that happened this week. I did a little YouTube short on it because it was my first thought. I was like, I got to get this one out. I'm fired up about this one. But when it got leaked that LeBron was getting traded or that the warriors asked the Lakers about a LeBron trade and that the owners talked, that Draymond was lobbying rich Paul and then that the Lakers actually went to LeBron and were like, hey, do you want to go to the warriors, or you want to stay here? And he's, no, no, I want to stay here. But then all this stuff comes out, and you start thinking, well, why did this come out? Who had the most to gain? Well, obviously the Lakers, because they have to play the warriors in the playing game, probably the warriors were doing well. Their chemistry is good. It's like, let's sabotage that. And then you also want to get the message out. Like, we gave LeBron an hour to leave, and he didn't want to leave, so he can't say shit anymore. So that all comes out. That was more interesting to me than any game that happened last night.


So you're right. It's like, there's this real housewives element of the NBA now where it's like, holy shit. And then guess what? The warriors lost last night, and Clay Thompson was terrible because you put that shit out. And there's three people that could have been traded for LeBron, and Draymond's trying to convince, allegedly, according to the report. LeBron's agent come to the warriors. Now, if I'm Clay Thompson, I'm like, well, wait a. Like, I would probably have to be in that trade. Now you're looking at Draymond kind of sideways, and it's just like, I think people are more fascinated in that shit. They're in the regular season than the Clippers warriors game last night, where the Clippers came back and beat the warriors. It was like, oh, man, look at Norman Powell. Like, the LeBron story is way more interesting. So that's just kind of where we are.


Yeah, I'm a Bravo sports fan. Maybe that's what it is.


Bravo sports fan. I like that. It's better than shadow. That's good. What else are you working on? Coming up. Can you talk about it? No.


Yeah. Friday is we're talking to the CEO of a company that's developing drugs to extend the lives of dogs and the ways in which life extension drugs for dogs, which have gotten sort of not tentative FDA approval, but the FDA has essentially checked off the progress that they've made. And so this is the first.


What are we doing? How are they doing that?


So the way they're doing it, Selena Lewa is the CEO of loyal, and they have a drug called lo y one loy one that essentially inhibits a growth hormone in large dog breeds.


Oh, that spurs cancer.


This is amazing that once they become adults, you can't give it to them as puppies because this is the growth hormone that's making them become large. So once they become fully grown, you can, theoretically, if the drug fully works, you would give dogs this drug, and it would hopefully extend their lives by slowing down the production of this particular hormone. And they're working on a couple of other drugs to increase dog longevity in a couple of other ways because that one only works for the large breeds, and they care about extending the lives of small and medium breeds as well. So we talk about the future of doggy life.


Small. We're probably good with small dogs.


16 years.


Yeah. Small dogs, they live forever anyway. Yeah.


So we're talking about life extension science for dogs and the implications for humans, because ultimately, we would love the discoveries from this science where we can test it on dogs. And because they've aged seven times faster, we get to learn seven times faster. What if we learned some things that really, really worked in dogs and then found a way to get that into humans and increase all of our, slow down our aging process as well? It's not about living forever, just about slowing down the aging process.


Well, just wait till we have dog ozempic, Derek Thompson. You can listen to plain English. You can read them on the Atlantic. Great to see you, as always. Great to see you. Well, this guy, we were afraid to have him on for a couple weeks after another tragic bills loss. He's here now. At least you lost to the Super bowl champion, Ariel Hawani. I mean, you got that at least?


Sort of. I'm still not over it, to be honest. I'm still very sad. But you know what? I'm actually happy that I wasn't on a few weeks ago, and I'll tell you why. I started to believe, and there were others who were throwing out this theory as well.


That was jinxing.


Yes. Yes.


Come on.


And the truth is, the people don't know this. We did have a plan in place to do this little thing before the Chiefs game, and I think the whole Belichick retiring, something happened, and you just didn't reach out. So I'm happy that didn't happen because then I would have blamed it on you had they lost. So now I know that it has nothing to do with any of this, and I don't know. I'm just not over it. I'm very sad. I'm very, very sad. Sunday was depressing, for sure.


What are the rankings for you for worst bills loss of your lifetime? Were you old enough to remember Norwood or.


Oh, yeah, actually, Norwood is how I became a fan of the bills. I was eight years old. I was at my uncle's house. I'm watching it. I'm like, this is not a proper way to lose. I feel bad for these guys. And then, so I immerse myself. And then, of course, the two cowboys losses were horrible. My brothers were Cowboys fans, Washington horrible as well. So those were very tough. I would cry to my mom. It was tough. I would say of this adult life that I'm living now. 13 seconds.


That's the one. I'm with you.


It should be. It's still the one. Because for two reasons. A, it was right there. I can't believe they let them score with 13 seconds left. And I can't believe the defense. And sayonara, Leslie Fraser. No problem here. I believe we would have beaten Cincinnati at home, and I believe we would have beaten the Rams at home, as well. Their home. So, like, it was right there. It was right freaking there. And by the way, as I'm watching on Sunday, I believe we're better than both those teams. And I'm sorry if I'm delusional Bills fan. We're better than the Chiefs. I'll take Josh Allen over Patrick Mahomes any day. If I'm starting a franchise. I'm not delusional bills fan any day. I'm taking Josh Allen. He's a better quarterback.




And I'm taking our entire squad over them.


My computer is catching fire. Jesus.


No. I'm so annoyed because it's right there, Bill. It's right freaking there.


It's right there. You don't want to end up being the early 90s trailblazers. We're like, man, that team was so talented. What happened?


Guess what? I'm a Knicks fan, and I'm experiencing the whole thing all over again. We're right there, and there's one guy in our way every damn time.


Yeah. Before we talk about 298 this weekend, which you're covering on the Ringer MMA show, which is a fantastic show that my son. Thank you. My son, who followed you on YouTube, had no idea you had a podcast, much less that it was at the Ringer. So that was a really fun moment over the holidays as he found out that you were actually two and a half years later. He just doesn't listen to podcasts.


I do enjoy the chats with your son very much.


Every time you're for the people listening, my son makes me call you every once in a while with UFC questions because he's really into it.


And by the way, he's not just into it. He's asking like, yeah, he's kind of high level. Rumor, Twitter stuff. He's not surface level fan.


No, he's into it, which I respect. So before we do 298, let's talk 301st. Because this is a big obsession with my son. He doesn't understand why this isn't the biggest card of his lifetime. This should be it. This should be like five Super Bowls into one. He'll be telling his grandkids about this. You explained why to him, but explain it to the audience.


Well, all these youngsters out there who have convinced themselves of this, as we say in the world of pro wrestling, they have worked themselves into a shoot, Bill. They have convinced themselves that this is bigger than anything out there. The truth is, you can make a strong case that 299 on the 9 March is better than 300. And the main card this weekend is fantastic as well. You can't have a Super bowl end all, be all card in April when you're doing a big pay per view every single month. There's just not enough talent. There's not enough superstars, there's not enough names. And so, yes, everyone's been fixated on 300. Forgetting the fact that they have to deliver a pay per view in December, in January, in February, in March and December. February and March. January was a little so so have all been spectacular. And so when you have spectacular cards leading up to another date, the cupboard is going to be a little bare. And so right now, it's a little bear. Now, I will say this, it's still a fantastic card. If it was 307, people would be going gaga for it.


It's just because they've convinced themselves that 300 was going to be like Brock Lesnar versus Andre the giant versus Conor McGregor versus Hulk Hogan on top of the moon. They've just convinced themselves that it was going to be some insane thing, and they're left disappointed. As we are recording this right now on Thursday afternoon, they don't have a main event just yet, and that is leading to some anxiety. I would say it's time to announce this main event. Dana says he's going to do it on Saturday, and I just don't know if the fans are going to be okay with anything because they've convinced themselves of some insane fight that just doesn't exist.


Well, can you explain why McGregor will not be on 300? Because you have an explanation.


Yeah. So McGregor is not going to be on 300. And you know what's the crazy thing about this? He's ready to go. He's healthy. He wants to be on 300. All this could have been avoided had they just put him on 300. But there's multiple reasons why they don't want to put him on 300. Number one, they think that 300 on its own, UFC 300 with these fights is going to sell a million plus pay per views.


So the main event is the number over the fighter?


Yes, in this case. I mean, just witness the fact that your son is thinking about it and debating it all this time for so long. I've been asked questions about 300 for the last year and a half. What's going to main event 300? This is April of 2023. I'm like, I don't know. I don't even know what's going to main event the next month's pay per view. So anyway, that's number one. And so they think, okay, if we save Connor for this summer, now we get two bites at that apple. A million plus buys in the summer. June 29 is the current working date, and a million plus buys with UFC 300. So we don't need Connor to elevate 300.


Also, it's kind of like how I didn't need to write a 700 page book. I could have just written 2350 page books.


That's accurate. And also, you probably should have had a ghost writer. I don't know if you did have.


One, but I wish I had.


The other thing is Conor McGregor is instant million plus buys, right? Yeah. When you have other champions who aren't as big as Conor McGregor is, as far as superstardom and drawing power, they are owed per their contract of being a champion. Pay per view points, meaning they get a piece of the pie. The fighters who are on the card who aren't champions don't get a piece. They don't get to participate. But if you're Zhang Wei Li, the strawway champion of the UFC, and you're on UFC 300 now, you put Conor McGregor on that card, you're now participating in a Conor McGregor pay per view, which is always blockbuster. So that's why every time Conor McGregor fights, there aren't any other title fights on the card, because they don't want to divvy up those pieces to other people who they deem not worthy of sharing in that pie. So when Connor fights on June 29, there aren't going to be any other champions on that card because it's going to be the Conor McGregor show. There are already champions on this 300 card because they had to stack the deck. They don't want to put Connor on top of that.


And now start dividing that pie to people who didn't necessarily contribute to the baking of the pie. Do you get what I'm saying? The great bill parcels once said, if they want you to cook the dinner, the least you could do is buy the groceries. Remember that?




I'm not really sure how this fits, but I just wanted to throw that out there for all the listeners.


It's one of the great senior yearbook quotes for the high school students out there. So what is going to lead 300, then? What's the ods on favorite and what I'll get. Actually, two questions. What's the ods on favorite? And if Dana came to you, which probably I'm going to bet won't happen, and was like, what should I do? What would you tell him? So what do you think is going to happen, and what would you tell him should happen?


Okay. And I'm going to put Connor to the side because that should have always been it, right?


But I get the financial piece of it. You want to make your own money out of a Conor pay per view? I get it.


But by the way, they announced Conor McGregor on the ultimate Fighter last March. Right? Imagine. Imagine it would have been a year build. It would have been march to April. It would have been John Cena rock esque. We would have had a year long build if they would have said, and then he's going to headline 300. All this anxiety, all this nervousness would have been out the window. But unfortunately they're not going that route, so that's off the table. Dana White comes to me right now. First thing I say, dana, long time no speak. Good to hear.


Dana. I didn't realize we were talking again. How are you?


This is great. Second thing I say, izzy, DDP, Israel, Desanya, Drikus duplic. That's the fight. Those two guys hate each other. They have a deep rivalry that extends.


Far beyond bringing some baggage into that one, though, that I don't get uncomfortable. Okay, we're fine.


It's going to happen. It's blockbuster. It doesn't feel thrown together. Like there's a fight on this card which people are excited about, Max Holloway versus Justin Gaethje for the BMF title, but it's just thrown together. That fight isn't being made if 300 didn't need big fights. And I don't like that. I like a backstory. I like a build up. There's a build up. Last July they got in the cage together. They're going face to face.


I was there.


Oh, yeah, you were there.


It got uncomfortable.


Legitimately uncomfortable, yes, but it was theater and it was heat and it was legit. And now DDP is the champion. Not to be confused with Diamond Dow's page trick is duplexy. Is the champion at 185. He just won the belt against Sean Strickland in January.


Now you have Izzy trying to get Sean Strickland performance.


Yeah, I had a feeling it was going to go that way.


Yeah, that was rough.


So that's the one. Put that on the top of the bill. Everyone's happy. It doesn't feel cobbled together. They've tried to do Hamzad and Leon. Hamzad has visa issues. They've reached out to everyone under the sun. And again, like I said, some of the big names Volka is fighting this weekend, Sean O'Malley's fighting in March. These guys just aren't available. So you have to make do with what you got.


I don't feel great about the DDP moniker.




It just makes me think of Diamond Dallas Page. It's like when Daniel Tomlinson stole Lawrence Taylor's LT, it's like, I don't know if I'm ready to give up Diamond Dallas page as the DDP yet. I don't feel great about it.


In fairness to him, we gave it to him. I don't even know if he knows DDP, the original DDP, but I don't know. It's kind of fun to say. I mean, I thought it was done, and now we've got a new DDP.


Okay, that's fine.


How often do you get someone with the initials DDP in your life?


I get it.


You got to run.


I get it. I just think of Diamond Dallas Page, who I never was really a huge fan of, but had a nice little run there in the 90s.


He was tremendous.


All right, so what's your backup plan, actually? What do you think they're going to do? Are they going to do the fight you just said, or are they going to do something else?


So I'm not ruling anything out because I'd like to think if they've taken so long to book this fight, they've got a rabbit in their hat. But you think of rabbits. You think George St. Pierre, Habib Nurmagomedov, Ronda Rousey, Brock Lester. Those people aren't available right now. Connor obviously bigger than all them. He's clearly not being discussed, available. So there's Leon Edwards, who's out there. He had said back in December that he's in talks to fight at 300. The number one contender is Balal Mohammed. They don't love that.


Just not excited.


The Internet would just explode if that's the announcement. They would lose their minds. I'm just saying there's not a lot of options. There's just not. It's just not there. I think the one that checks off all the boxes is Izzy, DDP. That's it. Make the fight happen. It's right there. Call them up. And by the way, you know, what's the problem, Bill? This is less than eight weeks away now.




You can't just call guys up and be like, okay, you ready? You got to make the call now. You got to sell tickets. You got to get things going. And as of last night, when I checked in with a bunch of different people, they're still not telling anyone. And you know what the problem is also? They're afraid of it leaking, and so they're not telling the fighters. And I know the managers aren't lying to me, and they're just kind of sitting around waiting for the call or the announcement, and it's all just very weird. In my opinion.


There's no Lesnar potential. Right.


I would be shocked. I mean, again, this was a year.


Ago, a strong 2024.


Yeah. So if this was a year ago, you could say, oh, he's on the outs with WWE. He could go to UFC, but now it's the same company.




What about available for WWE?


No way.


I would be more shocked about Rousey coming back than Brock coming back.


And there's no other out of nowhere famous person that could lead 300, other than McGregor.


There's like the gsps of the world. No, Nate Diaz.


No, not available.


Jorge Masvidal Nate Diaz. People were trying to will that into existence. Not happening. They're going to box.


Jake Paul versus Logan Paul. Probably not happening.


Would be sick.


Brother against brother. That would be the ultimate wrestling thing. So I just want to say, we're headed toward Izzy and DDP. It sounds like that's where we're going.


Feels like it has to be it. But look, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. They pulled the rabbit out of their hat at UFC 200. Brock Lester. No one saw that coming. And so I want to give them the benefit of the doubt that they've got something, but right now, no one's talking about it, and I just don't know who that rabbit is. So let's see. And the weird thing is, he told the media on Tuesday that he's going to announce this at the post fight press conference on Saturday. That's the best you got? They famously got mad at me.


The worst content day.


Brock Lesnar coming back because they had a big promo, and now we're announcing it at the post fight press conference at 02:00 a.m. On YouTube after a pay per view when half the country is asleep. I don't know something.


I don't know if I trust that information. I don't trust that dropping it on today or remember.


Do you remember a few days ago when the MMA fans, including perhaps your son, convinced themselves that they were going to announce it during the Super bowl? Like they were just going to call up CBS and say, hey, it's not.


Hard to convince my son of anything.


I was shocked by this. You know how many times people ask.


Me on $7 million Super bowl ad just to announce a fight? Why would they do that?


And also, don't you have to buy those? Many months ago they even have a fight. They have nothing. What are they going to air?


The move would have been royal rumble.


Yeah, just do it. Listen, do it. Now the Internet will explode and maybe they do now and this is all out.


Or say you're doing it on Monday at 09:00, right in time for. But you're only making a big announcement if you have something big to announce. And even if the best possible fight is Izzy and DDP, I don't know. Is that going to like breaking news on first take? I don't know if that quite gets.


No, it's just 300. 300 will get a lot of popping circumstance and I'm sure ESPN will be out there and all that stuff, but it's just kind of missing that. Genesaque, trust me, it's got a lot like, I love the card. It's just not what everyone has convinced themselves it was going to be.


What's your favorite 298 fight?


Oh, my God. 298 is amazing. That's the crime in all of this. 298 and 299 are fantastic cards. Truly fantastic. Obviously, the main event is tremendous. I love all the story. There's like eight storylines going into this one. Very quickly, you've got Alex Volkanovsky, the featherweight champion, in a rare spot. He's coming off a knockout loss because he moved up on eleven days notice to fight Isamachev back in October, and it couldn't have gone worse. He got knocked out first time in his UFC career.


My son's out. He thinks he's too old.


Well, there's the too old thing that has popped up and now there's the damaged goods know, like, you get knocked out all of a know, you can't take a punch the same and you're fighting a guy who has all the makings of being a superstar. Ilya Toporia, the pride of Georgia. Not the state, the country and Spain. Talks the talk, walks the walk, looks the part. Has already updated his social media bio to state that he's the UFC featherweight champion and has already made his record 15. And, oh, he's currently.


I want somebody in the NBA to do this. Like just when heading into a series against the Lakers, like first round 2024. I'll see.


Amazing. Yeah. He is so cocky that he says, I'm going to win this fight. He was walking around with the belt yesterday, wearing the belt, and Vogue saw him and he's like, all right, that's the only time you're going to get with the belt. But it's just great.


Cockiness is not looking good for Vogue.


And then he said, not only am I going to win in the first round, I'm not going to give any of the contenders at 45 a chance at the belt because it's my time, my era. I'm going to fight Conor McGregor at the Bernabeu, which is where Real Madrid plays later on this year. Like he's calling all his shots now. I doubt this is all going to happen, but I love the cockiness, the brashness, and so if he stumbles, they're going to come for him. But if he calls this shot and this all comes to fruition, they've got a superstar on their hands.


Even ods on Fanduel right now.


It's a great fight. It's a great fight. And I think a lot.


I actually thought he was going to be like -150 something like that. Because of all, I'm with you when the guy gets knocked out, especially an older guy, I just feel differently from that point on.


That being said, I'm not disregarding folk. I get it, you can't do it. One of the best, smartest fighters in the game, incredible fight iq. I think it's going to be a tough fight and I think he has a very good chance. People forgot he took that fight on eleven days notice. He was out of shape. He shouldn't have taken it. He got paid great. But the beauty of this whole situation is we're going to finally be able to answer the question, was that a huge mistake? Did that change the trajectory of his life, his career? Or was he able to now have a full camp, regroup, reset and he's back to his winning ways? And I love everything about it and the res like Paolo Costa versus Robert Whitaker is an amazing fight at 185 pounds with a lot at stake. Robert Whitaker just lost to DDP in July. Costa hasn't fought in two years. Almost. Big fight for him. Fan favorite Ian Machado. Gary, in some people's eyes, the next big irish superstar. Very polarizing. Everyone wants to see him get his sort of humble pie. Undefeated. Walked around wearing a t shirt of the guy he's fighting, Jeff Neal has a mug shot.


He got arrested for a DUI. Walked around wearing the t shirt with the mug shot on the t shirt. I mean, that's bold, aggressive.


How does Petey feel about he.


It's a very interesting thing. Thank you for asking. He'll be happy that you asked. He doesn't have the same connection with the irish people that Conor did, who are a very passionate bunch because he left Ireland and he now lives in.




And they don't feel like he's kind of like connecting with them. Connor still lives in Dublin, he still trains in Dublin. Same team he came up with. And the connection with Ian is a little bit different. So it's a very hot topic in Ireland right now. PT has talked a lot about this and even yesterday at media day, he said, maybe I'm too big to headline the Dublin show that has been rumored. That doesn't go over well with the Irish. There's also another huge fight. Marab Dewali Splie, who's won nine in a row going up against Henry Cejudo, the two division champion Olympic gold medalist, who says if he doesn't win on Saturday, he's retiring. Done. Marab, if he wins, could be next for the shine. O'Malley Cheeto vera fight. It's a great card, man. It's a really good card. It's worth the pay per view. 100%. You guys going?


Not going. Why not doing it. Well, don't throw. Can't be rolled out. Yeah, it's like an hour and a half away. I don't know, the Saturday night pulling him. He's up to stuff. God only knows what he's doing.


I don't believe that he'd rather go there than do anything with his friends.


It's a hardcore fan in 299.


Oh, gosh.


Which is better than 298?




And probably better than 300 at the moment.


Without a main event. 100%. I mean, the main event right now for 299, Sean O'Malley versus Cheeto vera, is. I'm sure your son loves. He is a fan favorite for the younger kids. He's just amazing. He's got the look.


He came through in Boston. He won over the entire. You were there. I was not there, but yeah, no, I think there's like a list star power with him, potentially, but he's got to win like two more, I think.


And he's fighting Marlon Vera, who's very popular. He's from Ecuador, who beat Sean O'Malley earlier in their UFC run. But it was a somewhat unceremonious when Sean injured his foot and he kind of claims that it wasn't a loss. In addition to that, Dustin Poirier against Benoit Saint Denis. Remember the name Benoit Saint Denis on our 2024 preview show, pizza actually said that he was going to be the breakout star of 2024. They're fighting in a five round comain event fight and he is there. Like, he is the guy. He could be the face of french MMA, which is exploding right now. He beats Dustin Porier, who's a legend. That's huge for him. And also a guy named Michael Venom Page, who's coming over from Bellator, who dances in the cage, who does all kinds of showboating, hot dogging. He's going up against Kevin Holland. That's a huge fight. Gilbert burns against Jack della Matilena. I mean, it's just. 299 is amazing.


I like how french MMA is exploding.


French MMA is nuts. When I gave out my awards at the end of the year, the crowd in Paris was my crowd of the year.




Oh, yeah. Because they took so long to legalize MMA, it only got legalized a couple of years ago, and so they're just foaming at the mouth, and they're producing an incredible amount of talent. They're singing the national anthem in the middle of the main event. The whole crowd is singing in unison. It's like a soccer.


Like the end of victory was slashed alone. Yeah, you probably don't remember that.




Probably not on your radar. French MMA scene exploding. Well, my son's favorite country. What's that country that all the toughest guys are.


Like, bent to Dagestan.


If Ben ever did a gambling manifesto, that would be one of his rules. Just bet on the guy from that country. From that country. You're probably going to be okay.


There's a lot of people who believe that there's a certain spelling of last names they believe in. Also, if you've got the beard but.


Shaved mustache part, that'd be my moves.


That's awesome.


Well, also, the beard protect, first of all, you should have some sort of protection on your head from hair. But the beard, I think, really helps with the jaw because it's almost like this extra face helmet.


Also, you can't find it. Can't find the target, right? That's what people said about Kimbo slice back in the day. Like, can't find the target.


I see someone with that beard, and I don't care if I'm on the street, if I'm watching a pay per view, whatever, I see that beard, I'm like, that guy's a badass. I don't want to mess with that guy. Before we go, can we talk 2024 WWE? This Wrestlemania situation, which I can't tell if it's a work or whether they've planned this all along. WWE, I mean, the Vince McMahon thing, I think, was a level one catastrophe for them in a whole bunch of different ways. It just couldn't be a worse story. It couldn't be uglier. I don't think they really even fully know what to do with it other than hope it goes away. But when this happened to him, in the past, it was always like, he'll be back. I don't believe he's retiring this time. He's gone. We will not see him again. And now there's a real fear that what else is coming? How bad was this? It's just gruesome. It's awful. And as all that's happening, royal Rumble is in motion. Wrestlemania is coming. Like, this is the playoff stretch of WWE. And just watching from afar, it really feels like they're kind of thrusting rock into all this as a little bit of a red herring.


Would you agree with know?


I don't know. And by the way, I thought you were going to bring know the eventual Knicks win over the Celtics in the Eastern Conference final as the final point.


But we can do that at the end.


No, I know you don't want to go there. It's totally cool. You guys are afraid. It's all good. I think that the plan was always the rock to come back.


So you subscribe to that one?


I do. What I'm not sure about is, was the plan always for him to be a heel? Was the plan always for Cody to reassert himself back in the main event after it seemed like they were taking him away from the main event and then the audience just craps all over it? Was that always the plan? Oh, also, by the way, CM punk tears his tricep. We all figured it was going to be punk against Seth Rollins night one. Now he's not available, and now Seth is involved in the storyline as well, so they've had to maneuver things. But I have to say, this is theater. I can't wait to see how this all plays out. Is it going to be a triple threat?


It has to be a triple threat, right?


What if it's Cody rock on night one and then he has to get through the rock to get to Roman on night two? I don't know. That's kind of cool.


Or Roman. Both nights would be the other way to go.


Roman versus who on the first night?


Well, I don't know if they're not going to have a triple threat. I think those are the only two options.


I kind of don't like the triple threat for Wrestlemania. I feel like Wrestlemania main event needs.


To be hot or take. I don't like triple threat matches. And I'm still going to talk about wrestling even though Larry David disparaged it a couple of weeks ago.


Yeah, no, I heard that. I was disappointed.


It's fine. We've all gotten through it. We're fine.


They're on fire, though. They're on fire, obviously, from a creative standpoint right now. The other stuff, I echo everything that you said. Horrendous. And you're almost like, kind of just waiting to see what other shoes are going to drop, if any horrific details, uncomfortable. And one of those things where you're almost embarrassed to be a wrestling fan because parents of my kids are going like, did you read this Vince McMahon thing? You like this stuff? And I'm like, no, I like the guys in the A Bret, by the way, I'm a Bret Hart, Owen Hart fan. All right. I always had some weird feelings about Vince McMahon, if I'm being honest, if you get what I'm saying. So this is obviously a whole other level. But the actual product with the stars they have right now. I mean, look at the difference between booking 300 and booking Wrestlemania 40 and what a week that's going to be for TKO, right, for the company. Well, the Wrestlemania 40 is 6th and 7 April, and then 13th is 300.


The mistake was betting on centimer punk that he could both stay healthy and have good matches because he really hasn't been reliable as a main attraction for, I would say, 1011 years at this point. So even before he got hurt, to me it was all entrance and he was 90% entrance and then 10% the other stuff. And it was kind of like the matches were the worst part of CM punk, which is bad for WrestleMania. It just seems like the crowd would die. But the entrances were great, and maybe that's who. Sometimes this happens with wrestling. Sometimes you just become about the entrance, but nobody wants to see you wrestle for more than, like seven to ten minutes. That's not what he was in the beginning of the mean.


He was the best in the world. He would call himself that, and I.


Think he was justified.


Yeah, he did have that super long layoff. And I would say when he came back to AEW, he had some good matches. Like, his feud with MJF was pretty darn great.


But was that because MJF is a top five guy now?


MJF is tremendous, but I think together they were magic. And then he got hurt, and then when he came back, that was like an all time moment, and then didn't really wrestle. I know he did some house shows, and then obviously the Royal Rumble was, I thought, solid. I mean, obviously he's older. He's in his late, darn it. Yeah.


Just think for the kind of wrestler that he is, it's really hard to hit like your mid, late forty s and have didn't even happen to Rick Flair, who's the greatest of those matches of all time. But even him, by the time he hit the mid 90s, he wasn't the same guy. Couldn't have the same matches. He couldn't sell stuff the same way. It just wasn't as believable.


You know who I love?


Gunther. Gunther. A zembic. Gunther has been. I don't know what he's doing, but skinnier. Skinnier in shape, more athletic Gunther. But he's a guy from when he was on NXT five, six years ago. And my son and I would go, he was just a little bit big. He was basically all about the chest slap. That's it. Now he's like, I would say he's one of the three or four best wrestlers they have.


Oh, my gosh, yes. And he's got the look. He's got the vibe. I think right now, like we were saying about wrestling and the storylines they're doing amazingly as far as creative is concerned. And I think it's only going to level up with Raw going to Netflix next year, because now all of a sudden, you're sitting on your couch and maybe you're a lapsed fan and you're like, oh, wow, Monday night Raw. I'll watch this. I was curious to get your take on all of this because I think this is, like a watershed turning point moment for the, it's, I think, the.


Smartest business decision they've made, probably since they launched their own streaming service, really, like three, four, five years before everybody else was thinking that way. They really did see the future with that stuff. We were talking about it. We were at Grantlin at the time, and we played up. We were like, this is amazing. We can get libraries, old matches. We can get the pay per views would be there. This seems really cool now. It's kind of the standard of how things have gone. I think in this case, they're just betting on the biggest platform in the world, which is only getting bigger every month. Who's investing in live? And if you're investing in live for Netflix, are you investing in the NBA? That's eight months a year. Are you investing in WWE? That's every Monday night. It's the same type of thing. I thought it was really smart for both sides. I have no idea how to. It was so much money. I don't even know what is that worth? What's Raw worth? I don't know. But when you think, like, cable tv ratings going down every single month, and they're going to the place where the ratings and the viewership and the eyeballs are going up every month.


It's a no brainer. If anything, you could argue. Netflix should have said, this should be a cheaper deal for us because this is so good for you guys. But WWE was able to get the money, too. That was my take.


No, I agree with everything you said and sell smackdown to USA. So they're getting more money there. It's not like they're giving them everything. CW has NXT, and then in 2026, the pay per view rights are up with Peacock. And so who knows? If you bring that to Netflix now, you're killing it even more.


To me, that is a must. ESPN has to get that.


You think so?


Yeah, they basically have to get all the stuff TKO is doing, and especially if boxing is coming next. ESPN's got to make a deal for everything we want, all of it. Whatever pay per view you're doing, we want on ESPN plus, they have to get it.


That's fascinating because the UFC rights are up at the end of next year, 2025.


ESPN has to get all that stuff because for two reasons. One, they need, if you're, if you're one of the struggling streamers, you could argue we have to overpay for this because this could keep us alive. Like if you're like Paramount or like, I want everything TKO is doing because at least now we'll have an identity, we'll have this thing. We'll be able to make money on.


The pay per views.


ESPN plus is the, they, it helps them the most because the pay per view business is. Know how they're going to make ESPN plus succeed? I think.


But do you think it'll be one of those things where they're charging people $50 or $60 because now you get Peacock, you get the WWE pay per views. If you go to ESPN plus, where they sell UFC pay per views for $70, are you now going to go back to that model if you're WWE after the last, how many years of.


I think you kind of have to.




Do you think that Peacock deal was worth it for them?


I think so. Wasn't it like a billion or something?


But if I have Peacock to get all the pay per views and there's what, 14 pay per views a year, give or take?


Twelve to 14.


I'm only paying $20 for those pay per views a month versus 70, how is that a good deal for WWE?


I think they were starting to recognize that people weren't buying every single pay.


Per view that they were picking and choosing.


Yeah, but I wouldn't be against some sort of plan where you go to ESPN and I always wonder why they don't do this with UFC. Maybe they don't have to, where they offer it in a bundle. Like you get three for the price of four.


TKO package. You get $400 a year. You get everything or whatever it is.


But we are starting to see, finally some synergy between the two brands. Actually, they just announced on Thursday that they did a deal with the Honda center in Anaheim, which is hosting this pay per view for three UFC and WWE shows a year to come for the next few years. So we're starting to see package deals, which I think is going to be.


The way, which would be the paper. Yeah, I think we talked about this the last time. One of the futures of this is the weekend where it's like UFC on Saturday night, big wrestling event, TBD on Sunday. And then they could say, hey, for $101 you get both events, or you could pay $80 for UFC separately and you could pay whatever. But for the package, it's $100 and it's like it's available for one week only. You can step in now and I think they're going to start doing shit like that. The boxing is the piece that I'm the most interested with them because that's Nick's dna. And as you know, the boxing is so disheveled right now. It's all over the top ranks. Maybe, or maybe there's some out of the US thing they can snap up, but that's the next piece. They're going to have all three. And that's going to be what the destiny is. Who do you think is the best wrestler alive right now?


Pro wrestler.




Who's number one in the world?


Who's number one for you?


Well, I would say my favorite is actually MJF. I love MJF. I don't know if a lot of people would agree with me right now.


MJF is the one that if he was in WWE, I feel like he would be easily the biggest star in WWE. I don't even think I think he'd be bigger than reigns to me right.


Now in terms of who is must see. And I feel like it's just firing on all cylinders. It's Cody or Seth. I love what Seth is doing. I know he's a little banged up, but he's just amazing. And you know what's the most amazing thing about Seth Rollins? He reinvents himself. He's had so many different iterations of his Persona over the last 5678 years. It's really remarkable. And now we're seeing a different iteration because he's kind of turning babyface again to help out. Montez Ford, I think, could be a huge star. I think ricochet is great. And by the way, what about Logan Paul? This guy, he's must see tv.


Stunning. He's like a legitimately good wrestler. I don't understand it.




You would have no idea. Background.


But, like, the moves he pulls off, I don't quite understand. Has he been secretly training for ten years? How is this possible? How could he do this stuff? It's crazy.


I don't get it. It gives me hope for my son when he just steps in the ring someday. All right, before we go, Knicks, quickly, how many rounds? I give you the over under on two and a half rounds over the Knicks make. You're going over.




So you think you're in the eastern finals.


The question is health. If we're healthy, we're smoking. You guys, I'm not afraid. Wow.


Just coming right at us.


So we're Vogue. We're Vogue.


You're the other guy.


I got a love for Vogue. I'm not going to go down that route, but best point guard in the east, maybe in the world. Come on. If we're healthy. Listen, if we could get Julius back, if we could get Mitch back, if we get OG, and I won't lie, I'm a little nervous. They're so, like, I'm expecting any moment to get a tweet, know Julius has surgery and he's out for the year. Like, everything is so. Oh, OG's out day to day, and then all of a sudden, what? He had surgery on his elbow. How did this happen? But I'm praying to the gods if those three guys come back, we've got Boyan, we've got Alec Burks. Now the bench is.


Boyan is a fantastic pickup. I really like that to see. I want to see when Randall looks like Randall again.


He'll be fine.


He's going to be out for a month and then he's going to come back. And how long does it take him.


To get non shooting arm?


What seed are you going to be? Is another thing.


This is the problem. Last four games have been tough. Maybe the worst call in the history of the NBA. On Monday night on Jalen Brown, I.


Was watching that game. I had it on the smaller tv so I couldn't hear the sound. And when they were reviewing it, I just assumed. I didn't realize the Knicks didn't have a challenge left, and they were reviewing, and I was like, oh, they're overturning that. That's one of the worst calls, was honestly, like calling pass interference on a Hail Mary or something. You just don't call that. The guy's not making the shot. No, it's a fall away 32 footer. So it would be amazing if that I'm against the challenges where they have to replay the end of the game. I think the first one in a while, I'm like, they should actually replay the game. That was how they do it was.


They'Re not scheduled to play each other. How could they actually pull this off a five minute game? Wouldn't that be amazing? I think a lot of people would buy tickets to that. Am I crazy?


I think it would be cool. But if you can't challenge that result, then what's the point of having challenges?


Can I tell you my idea? NBA makes a quick decision. Said, all know we screwed this up on us. You guys want to run this overtime, all star Saturday night.


You bring, everyone shows up, just come.


In five minutes, you gotta make the call.




You gotta make the call now. Yeah, do it. All star, Saturday night. Overtime, Knicks, rockets. Let's go.


Or do a rip for the all star game or the all star game.


On Sunday, whatever, but do it this weekend. Make it into a thing. There's still time. A couple of days.


I am definitely 100% afraid of the Knicks. As I've said. People are like, oh, it's a bit. You're just doing that. It's like, no, I'm afraid of any tough team that can execute down the stretch against my Celtics team. I just am. But I do think if we have poor zingas for a Knicks series, that's too much for you guys.


And I love a.


And he's got a little extra when he plays the Knicks, too, but it's just too much. Uh, I don't know what you do on that, actually. And I think we would hunt Brunson because we could just put out a pretty big team with one of the guards and just go after him on defense.


Better coach.


I don't believe Joe Maz.


Yeah, right. I take Tibbs over him any day. I trust him down the stretch.


You'll be taking him this year, only I think his contract's up after this year. It's like kind of the underrated NBA story right now. He doesn't have a contract next year. Yeah.


You think he's on the hot seat.


I don't know if he's on the hot seat, but if he's done really well, could he get hired by another team?


Nah, he loves New York. And we love of one of the most annoying Twitter things is like, someone gets hurt. Oh, Tim's played him too much. Like, come on, relax. What do you want the guy to do? He's playing his stars, right? Like. Like Jalen Brunson twists his ankle against the Grizzlies. Yeah, they were up 30 points. And then the Grizzlies came back and they're up seven. Of course Jalen's going to go back in the game. What do you want? You want Deuce McBride out there in the fourth quarter? Like, come on.


The only time it gets dicey, if it's like a three and four nights and he doesn't.


I get it.


Ease it up a little bit. But other than that, there's so many stoppages in games now. I just feel like the difference between 36 and 40 minutes in a game is not that dramatic. There's 100 timeouts, right?


I had to survive Larry Brown and Isaiah Thomas and Derek Fisher and Fizzdale. Like, come on.


Derek Fisher is now coaching high school in LA.


Is that true?


Yeah. He went from NBA to WNBA to high school. He's coaching crespy. It's not even one of the best teams.




So that's what happened to him. All right, Ariel, so we got ringer MMA right after the weigh in on Friday.


No, after the event. We did our preview show on.


Oh, that's right. You did the preview show already. Yes, right after the event. You guys are on.


We're on. And perhaps we'll talk about the event, obviously, but maybe even the 300 main event, because he says he's going to announce it on Saturday, so we'll have a lot. I don't believe it.


All right, good to see you.


Good to see you, too. Thank you.


All right, that's it for the podcast. Thanks to Ara Hawani and Derek Thompson. Thanks to Kyle Creighton and Steve Saruti as well. And don't forget, you can find clips and videos from this podcast on Bill Simmons, as well as some walk and talk shorts as well. And I don't know when I'm going to see you again. It might be Sunday, might take next week off. We'll play it by ear. So you will see me soon. Enjoy the weekend. Don't see him on a waste. I don't have period with him on the wayside on the first.


Must be.


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