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Ocean Breeze Presentation Today, Delray City Manager Out-of-Staters

What to do with Ocean Breeze?

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Some things will be clearer this afternoon after the Boca Raton City Council hears a presentation on the former Ocean Breeze golf course. Read more

Randy Schultz has lived in Boca Raton since 1985 and has worked as a journalist in South Florida since 1974. He spent 37 years at The Palm Beach Post, the last 23 as editorial page editor. He has written the City Watch blog for Boca Raton Magazine since February 2014. He also writes a weekly oped column for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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Dolphins Tread Water Against Woeful Jets Amid National Anthem Debate

written by Ian Hest

It was a beautiful, diving touchdown catch from Devante Parker as time expired in the game.

It was also entirely meaningless.

The 20-7 loss to rival New York Jets, one of the worst teams in the NFL, left the Miami Dolphins feckless and frustrated, casting a cloud over what last week was a promising start to the season.

Just how bad was it? Here’s the entire chronological list of Dolphins drives throughout the game: Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt, Interception (thrown by the Punter), Turnover on Downs, Turnover on Downs, Interception, Touchdown. Game over.

That level of futility put Miami in jeopardy of being shut out for the first time since 2013. Only the Parker dive at the end avoided that.

A 69-yard touchdown from Josh McCown to Robby Anderson was the highlight 30 minutes into the game. Gaining only 49 yards on 24 plays through the first half, Miami was down 10-0 at the break.

But if halftime adjustments were to be hoped for, they surely fell short of the bar, as the Dolphins were dominated in almost every aspect of the game.

Much of the attention around the NFL was given off the field due to previous remarks made by President Trump at a rally in Alabama, in which he called players who didn’t stand for the national anthem “sons of b******.”

Six Dolphins kneeled during the anthem, while the rest of the team, including owner Stephen Ross, locked arms. Several players and coaches wore black t-shirts before the game that read “#ImWithKap,” a reference to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began his protest against police brutality and racial injustice by sitting and kneeling for the anthem last year.

“It just amazes me with everything else that’s going on in the world, especially with the U.S., that’s what you [President Trump] are concerned about?” Dolphins safety Michael Thomas, one of the players who kneeled, said. Thomas did not kneel in the first game. “I’ve got a daughter. She’s going to have to live in this world. I’m going to do whatever I’ve got to do to make sure she can look at her dad and be like ‘You did something. You tried to make a difference.’”

The Dolphins (1-1) next game is in London next Sunday where they will face the New Orleans Saints (1-2). The games is at 9:30 a.m. ET and will air locally on Fox.

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Last Minute Drama Leads Miami Dolphins to Win in Opener

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by Ian Hest

The Miami Dolphins might have been a week late opening their NFL season due to Hurricane Irma, but they were anything but weak late in their first game.

Cody Parkey put the Phins out in front 19-17 on a 30-yard field goal with just over a minute left to play against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers missed a game-winning field goal, and with nine seconds left, Miami earned its first win of the season.

In front of a crowd of just 25,000, half wearing aqua and orange, the Dolphins bookended Parkey’s scoring, beginning in the first quarter with his first of four through the uprights.

The Chargers responded with 10 straight second quarter points and led 10-3 at halftime.

Miami’s quarterback, Jay Cutler, is playing his first regular season for the Phins. He threw 230 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills in the third quarter to tie the game at 10.

Less than four minutes later, LA retook the lead when Phillip Rivers connected with longtime teammate and tight end Antonio Gates for a seven-yard touchdown. In the process, Gates passed Tony Gonzalez for most career touchdowns by a tight end.

With a healthy dose of running back Jay Ajayi, who ran for 122 yards on 28 carries, and the dynamic duo of wide receivers Jarvis Landry (13 catches, 78 yards) and Devante Parker (4 catches, 85 yards), Miami refused to falter.

Three consecutive field goals by Parkey, a Jupiter native who signed just two weeks ago, eventually gave the Dolphins the lead and the win.

Missing in the opener was major off-season free agent signing Lawrence Timmons. The linebacker reportedly left the team earlier in the weekend and the Dolphins were unsure of his status in the hours leading up to the game. As of Monday, head coach Adam Gase provided little about the situation that led to Timmons leaving the team, and his status moving forward is still in question. Timmons, according to ESPN, hopes to play next week.

At 1-0, the Dolphins are now in sole possession of first place in the AFC East for the first time since September 2010.

Miami heads up north next Sunday, as they face the winless New York Jets. The game starts at 1p.m. ET and can be seen locally on CBS.

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The Boca Interview: Lane Kiffin

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This is an excerpt of an interview in our September/October 2017 issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to the magazine


One of college football’s most controversial coaches gets a fresh start at FAU

Written by ALLISON LEWIS

Photos by JASON NUTTLE

Lane Kiffin has one of the most storied careers in American football history. He’s been hired and fired, loved and hated, by some of the best teams in the Pac-12, NFL and SEC.

Late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis fired Kiffin, the NFL’s youngest head coach, in 2008 after a 4-12 season. USC did the same in 2013 after a 64-21 loss to Arizona State. His short stint at Tennessee left fans and students dismayed, then angry, when he started trolling them on Twitter. In January, University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who signed an eight-year extension with the organization, relieved Kiffin, his offensive coordinator, eight days before the Tide’s upsetting loss to Clemson for the 2017 national championship.

Compare this to Florida Atlantic University, whose football program has seen similar ups and downs since its inaugural 2001 season. Legendary head coach Howard Schnellenberger led the Owls to a Sun Belt Conference championship title in 2007 and their first bowl invitation (New Orleans Bowl) the same year. Following his retirement in 2011, FAU hired Carl Pelini as Schnellenberger’s replacement in 2012. Pelini was fired after admitting to illegal drug use, and interim head coach Brian Wright finished the season with bowl eligibility in 2013. Charlie Partridge took over in 2014 and was fired in 2016 after three consecutive 3-9 seasons.

FAU’s president, John Kelly, set out to find a replacement, sitting in on each candidate interview. “I wanted a coach who could take us to the top 25,” he says.

By mid-December 2016, fate intervened. FAU needed a coach; Kiffin needed a job.

“We wanted Lane Kiffin or a Lane Kiffin-type coach,” President Kelly says. “And we got what we wanted.”

So did Kiffin. He’s now head coach of the FAU football program.

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Kiffin’s football legacy started early, as captured in a black-and-white photo displayed on the credenza in his office. Young Lane and his father, Monte Kiffin, are on the sidelines at North Carolina State University, where Monte held his only head coaching job from 1980 to 1982. The caption reads: “Dad and son clown around … NCSU head coach, Monte Kiffin, holds his 5-year-old son Lane atop his shoulders. …” Lane points a finger, his mouth agape, as if hollering at someone.

Today, Kiffin, 42, is a soft-spoken, sarcastic guy with sandy blond hair and brown eyes. He uses Twitter to invite Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West to Owls games, and shares questions like: “Is sand called ‘sand’ because it is between the sea and the land????” Someone close to him likened him, with affection, to “a diva.”

Sometimes, he works out at 5 a.m. with Wilson Love, FAU’s head strength coach. He’s always living and breathing football, a trait that remains constant, despite his regular rotation through NFL and college football teams.

Plenty have offered skepticism about Kiffin’s recent appointment, for one reason or another: his questionable hiring of offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, a former Baylor University coach who is facing litigation for allegedly coercing football prospects with sex while at Baylor; a lawsuit filed against Kiffin by former Alabama wide receiver Antonio Carter, alleging the head coach misled him about a football job at FAU.

Despite it all, Kiffin remains focused on his players and this year’s season, which started Sept. 1 with a match against the Navy Midshipmen.


FAU is different from your time at Alabama in many ways. Why exactly did you take this job?

The president is really committed to a winning football program. … If you look at the track record of the schools over years and years and years, almost every Florida school at some point has won. There’s a reason for that, and the reason is there are great players here. And you get to live in Boca.

What excites you about coaching FAU football?

In the interview process, it was apparent they were excited about winning and doing things differently than they’ve done before. When you go to a place that hasn’t won for a while and you do [win], it’s actually more exciting than [when] you go to a place that’s already been winning and you just keep winning. I’m excited.

Do you have plans to start recruiting more from area high schools?

We do. As we move into the next class going forward, we want the majority of that class to be from Florida, especially from South Florida, because of the quality of players and the quality of coaching here.

FAU has gone three seasons winning only three games. How imperative is it to change that record?

That’s the No. 1 goal. That’s why you’re hired. First step was putting together a really good staff. Now we’ve got to keep working with our players, continuing to recruit and then, as we get closer to it, managing the game so that those close games we win in the fourth quarter.

What’s your vision or dream for this football team and your first season at FAU?

We don’t really … say, ‘We’re aiming to have a championship in Year X,’ whenever that is, because there’s too many variables in football. It still is a team sport. It’s got 85 players on a roster. You get all kinds of variables. Injuries—more injuries probably than any other sport. All we do is try to work to be the best we can in that year, on that day.

How do you plan to get more involved with the Boca community?

We talk about that weekly. We’re still trying to get out as much as we can and meet as many people as we can. It’s unusual to be at a place where there are so many people that don’t know about the football program. We’re always trying to come up with ideas and do the best we can to change that.

Do you plan to stay in South Florida long-term?

We don’t really look at things that way. I’m in a different stage of my life than I would have been had you asked that five to 10 years ago. As you’re younger you’re trying to find the bigger, better job or [higher] salary, or whatever. Sometimes you start to realize it’s more important to find a place where you really feel comfortable, you really like the people that are there and you really feel something special—and a place you want to live, too.

Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.
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After Irma, I’m Ready for a “Not So Scary” Halloween This Year

Mamas, I’ve been scared enough during the month of September to last me a lifetime. Between Hurricane Irma—and well HURRICANE IRMA—I’ve decided there shall be nothing scary about Halloween for my family next month.

I’ve reached my quota.

That’s why we’ll be celebrating a fun and festive G-rated Halloween with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World.

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Not-So-Scary is a special after-hours ticketed event guaranteed to make boo-tiful memories for your family. With trick-or-treating throughout Magic Kingdom Park, bewitching fireworks under a pumpkin moon, costumed characters on parade and a wickedly joyous Villain Spelltacular, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party puts your neighborhood block party to shame (sorry!). The party takes place on select evenings through Nov. 1, so you can still go to your favorite local events.

My 4-year-old daughter—and her mummy and daddy—can’t wait to experience Not-So-Scary for the first time. She’ll love the activities, candy, characters, and basically everything Disney. And I’ll love the safety and security of not having to monitor every single piece of candy she puts in her trick-or-treat bag. Halloween dress-up (Disney or otherwise) is encouraged for kids 13 and under, and there are strict rules for the types of costumes kids can wear. So no terrifying clowns or Scream masks, which makes us very happy.

Disney takes safety very seriously, and that peace of mind is a win in my Boca mom book!

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As for eerie entertainment during Not-So-Scary evenings, here’s what you can expect:

  • Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular – Chills, thrills and villains join in a wickedly fun celebration hosted by the Sanderson Sisters, the trio of witch sisters from Disney’s live action film Hocus Pocus. It’s a Halloween party not to be missed in front of Cinderella’s Castle!

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  • Happy HalloWishes – This fireworks spectacle lights up the Not-So-Scary night. Guests are encouraged to sing along with some of the most infamous Disney villains, including Cruella de Vil, Jafar and Oogie Boogie.

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  • Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade – Led by the Headless Horseman, it’s masquerade mania as Disney characters dress up for the occasion and ghostly floats bring the frights and sounds of the season to Main Street, U.S.A. and other Magic Kingdom viewing locations.

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  • Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet. Deadpan humor and other antics from this Dapper Dans-style “band” scare up the fun in Frontierland.

We are really looking forward to a Not-So-Scary Halloween this year, but also a tame (hurricane-free) rest of 2017! I hope you and your families are safe and well after the storm and that Boca Raton gets back to normal as soon as possible. #floridastrong

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The force was with the Rogers family last Halloween as we dressed up as Luke, Leia and Rey from the Star Wars franchise. Photo provided by Michelle Olson-Rogers.


All photos courtesy of Walt Disney World. 

Admission for select nights to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party starts at $74 per person ages 10+, $69 ages 3-9. Hours: 7 p.m. – midnight.

Visit www.modernbocamom.com for even more fun Halloween ideas! And be sure to subscribe to Modern Boca Mom’s weekly e-newsletter: http://bit.ly/mbmsubscribe.

Michelle Olson-Rogers, a native to Boca, is the founder of ModernBocaMom.com, a lifestyle website for the stylish & modern South Florida Mommy. Modern Boca Mom features family events, activities, classes, fitness, dining, travel, home improvement and shopping options—as well as a weekly MOMpreneur spotlight! She and her husband Andrew have one daughter, Avery.
Smokin' Rays Pork Wings. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

How To Tailgate Like a Pro With Smokin’ Ray Rutenis


This video is part of our “Parking Lot Party” story in the September/October 2017 issue. For more content like this, subscribe to the magazine

Smokin’ Rays Short Rib Sliders

Pork Rib Sliders. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

Shot Rib Sliders. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

Yield – 1 dozen sliders, prep – 4.5 hours, tailgate – 10 minutes

  • 4 lbs. short ribs of beef
  • 4 tbsp. SmokinRays® BBQ Rub
  • 4 tbsp. bacon (diced)
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • Mini hamburger buns

To cook:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Remove any membranes (or silverskin) from short ribs.
  3. Cover BBQ Rub into the ribs.
  4. Using a cast iron or other heavy wide skillet or pan that is also ovenproof, sweat the bacon until fat covers skillet. Add short ribs and brown on all sides.
  5. Remove ribs and brown onions, carrots then garlic.
  6. When browned, pour off all but a small portion of the drippings remaining in pan.
  7. Add remaining ingredients and bring the sauce to a boil, then cover the pan and transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 3.5 to 4 hours, basting occasionally.
  8. Remove ribs from skillet and let rest. Boil the liquid until thick and strain.
  9. Place in refrigerator until game day.
  10. At tailgate, slice in 2-ounce pieces and warm on grill, brushing with reduced sauce. Serve on small buns with BBQ sauce and melted cheese.

Tip: Chef Ray likes gouda cheese!

Roasted Corn Salsa

Roasted Corn Salsa. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

Roasted Corn Salsa. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

Yield – 10 servings, time – 30 minutes

  • 2 fresh corn on the cob (shucked)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 small cucumber (peeled and seeded)
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, roasted (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 red onion (small diced)
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. SmokinRays® Herb Citrus
  • As needed SmokinRays® All Mixed Up (optional)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

To cook:

  1. Roast corn in broiler and cool.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill in refrigerator.

Tip: Use All mixed up for spicier mix.

Smokin’ Rays Pork Wings

Smokin' Rays Pork Wings. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

Smokin’ Rays Pork Wings. Photo by Aaron Bristol.

Yield – 1 dozen, prep – 15 minutes, tailgate – 15 minutes

  • 1 dozen pork wings (already cooked)
  • SmokinRays® Pork Rub (as needed)
  • 12 bacon strips (thin sliced)
  • BBQ sauce (optional)
  • Toothpicks
  • Pam spray

To cook:

  1. Thaw pork wings in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Cover wings with Pork Rub.
  3. Spiral wrap each wing with bacon and secure with toothpick.
  4. Spray with Pam and cook on grill until bacon is crispy (165 degree internal temp).
  5. Brush with bbq sauce and enjoy.

Gator Jello Shots

Go Gators! Photo by Aaron Bristol.

Go Gators! Photo by Aaron Bristol.

Yield – 16, 2-ounce shots

1st stage:

  • 3 ounces gelatin (flavorless)
  • 1 cup boiling Gatorade (blue)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) vodka
  • 1/2 cup Gatorade (blue)

2nd stage:

  • 3 ounces gelatin (flavorless )
  • 1 cup boiling Gatorade (orange)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) vodka
  • 1/2 cup Gatorade (orange)

To make:

  1. Combine the liquor and cold Gatorade and place in the refrigerator so they are a consistent temperature. You should have 1 cup of cold liquid.
  2. Pour the gelatin into a bowl.
  3. Add boiling water, stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  4. Stir in the chilled liquor and cold Gatorade mix. Add food coloring if you want to enhance or change the color.
  5. To make layers, begin by making one flavor of jello shot and fill cups 1/2 or 1/3 of the way full. Chill these until almost set (about 1 to 1 ½ hours) then add the next flavor.

With this basic recipe your can change flavors and colors to promote your own team.

For non alcoholic substitute the vodka for Gatorade

Aaron Ekblad wields a rainbow hockey stick. Photo provided by the Florida Panthers.

Florida Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad to Gay Athletes Scared of Coming Out: “Don’t Be Afraid.”

Aaron Ekblad wields a rainbow hockey stick. Photo provided by the Florida Panthers.

Aaron Ekblad wields a rainbow hockey stick. Photo provided by the Florida Panthers.

The world of hockey is ultra-masculine. Big egos, macho attitudes and “boys will be boys” aggression all come with the sport.

That said, when 21-year-old Aaron Ekblad, the 6’4” defenseman and alternate captain for the Florida Panthers, appeared in a Nike commercial promoting LGBT pride in June, it, of course, got people talking.

Was his appearance in the commercial some sort of mistake? Nope.

Ekblad, the National Hockey League’s 2015 rookie of the year, is one of many young athletes who not only believe in LGBT representation in professional sports, but who are becoming increasingly vocal about it. “It was a great experience,” Ekblad tells Boca, about appearing in the commercial. “On Facebook and Twitter some people congratulated me and thanked me for speaking out. I appreciated that.”

In the advertisement, which features Nike’s new BeTrue line of clothing, Ekblad dons a black shirt that says “Equality” in rainbow lettering. He appears alongside basketball player Brittney Griner, who identifies as lesbian; skateboarder Lacey Baker, who identifies as queer; and 41-year-old skateboarding legend Brian Anderson, who came out as gay last year.


In interviews, Anderson admitted that the reason it took him several years to come out was a culmination of factors. Mainly, he felt pressured to be straight or at least hide being gay, and he was scared that a negative reaction to his true sexual orientation would harm his career.

Ekblad says that he hopes this fear of being discriminated against diminishes in the years to come, and he has a strong message to LGBT athletes who are scared of coming out.

“Don’t be afraid. You’ll be surprised by how many people are accepting,” he says, elaborating on how sports teams across the U.S., particularly hockey teams, have become friendlier in recent years—at least in official parlance—toward LGBT individuals.

Aaron Ekblad. Photo provided by the Florida Panthers.

Aaron Ekblad. Photo provided by the Florida Panthers.

Although homophobic talk still occurs in locker rooms, Ekblad believes that overall, society’s tolerance for and acceptance of LGBT people has progressed. Though Ekblad is not LGBT, he says he identifies as an ally, someone who is openly supportive of the LGBT community.

“Do I think it’s getting better? I think so. People are getting more educated and more understanding,” he says. “I would like to think the climate is getting better.”

When it comes to inclusion in sports, Ekblad’s stance is clear. He doesn’t believe that sexual orientation should be a factor when deciding whether someone is allowed, or welcomed, to compete on the ice. “If you’re good enough to play, you’re good enough to play on my team,” he says.

Ekblad’s spirit is not shared at the White House, as President Donald Trump recently rolled back an Obama-era directive that allows transgender people to serve in the military.

Since sports commentators such as Georges Laraque have reportedly said there are same-sex attracted men in, perhaps, every team in the NHL, Ekblad’s encouragement of coming out speaks to a new standard of manliness and macho attitudes in professional hockey—one where virility isn’t based on being straight, but is founded on just being yourself and allowing others to be, too.

“I hope it helps a little bit,” Ekblad says about his appearance in the Nike commercial. “I’m just trying to do my part on helping people become more accepting.”

Jonathan Kendall is an editor and writer based in South Florida. He writes for several award-winning publications, and is a 2016 graduate of Harvard University, where he studied journalism under several Nieman fellows. His byline appears in Atlas Obscura, Bal Harbour Magazine, bocamag.com, Cultured, Miami New Times, New Times Broward-Palm Beach and more.
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Mayweather vs. McGregor Fight Signals Shifting Preferences in South Florida

Written by Ian Hest

The tall, cavernous walls echo with every strike. In this gym, the roar of the crowd is only deafening inside the mind of the two fighting. A single voice is all that’s really heard.

“Watch your feet. Step. Step.” the voice calls, a calming presence in a chaotic situation.

“Switch!”

That word, in this moment, could not be more appropriate.

The man behind the voice is Din Thomas, former fighter and world-renowned coach at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, where the next generation of fighter is being groomed.

Din Thomas at his gym, American Top Team. Photo by Ian Hest.

Din Thomas training at American Top Team. Photo by Ian Hest.

But they’re not doing so in a boxing ring. They’re in an octagon. And there are no ropes, only caged wiring.

“Here you’re getting thrown right in. And if you make it you did it on your own,” Thomas says, reflecting on the exciting possibilities that so many of his fighters share in. “And then if you excel, you’re a helluva fighter. That’s just the way it is.”

In many ways, Thomas, a black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu and veteran of 36 professional fights, and his ATT gym exemplifies the switch in popularity from boxing to mixed martial arts over the past four decades. And while the fundamentals of boxing thread their way into MMA, making it a valuable tool they still coach, this gym trains some of the best MMA fighters in the world.

That rise in popularity, beginning in the late ‘90s, and coinciding simultaneously with a declining interest in boxing, has created a new wave of combat sports fans.

That progression will be fully on display Saturday, when, for the first time on a big stage, the two sports will literally go head to head, as MMA superstar Conor McGregor fights undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather in a 12-round boxing bout.

It’s a seminal moment in the history of combat sports, which has a long and illustrious history in South Florida.

Beginning in the 1950s, boxers from around the world flocked to Miami, specifically Miami Beach’s 5th Street Gym. Names like Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, George Foreman, and 1976 Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis, who’s son Dyah is now the head boxing coach at American Top Team, would train there, making South Florida the soul of the sport.

American Top Team gym is known for its MMA fighters. Photo by Ian Hest.

American Top Team gym is known for its MMA fighters. Photo by Ian Hest.

“Back then it was the best {boxers} fighting the best,” Dyah says. “If the public demanded a fight, then usually you got to see that fight. But now it’s been a little more strategic, more business minded.”

Davis still coaches boxing, but many of his students are using his expertise to improve in MMA.

In 1992, the 5th Street Gym closed. A year later, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, launched a fighting promotion combining elements of Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, Judo, and other martial arts, and the term “MMA” was formed. By 2001, American Top Team would open, and along with other influential gyms in the area, South Florida would turn from a boxing paradise to an MMA mecca. By the time 5th Street Gym reopened in 2009, MMA had cemented itself into the South Florida sports pop culture.

“South Florida has become a hotspot for MMA,” Thomas says. “I believe it’s become the best place in the world for it.”

Now, McGregor vs. Mayweather is set to change the landscape again. It’s a challenge of two worlds colliding: these over-the-top characters are bringing a renewed attention to one sport, and a continued evolution to the other.

Even still, most experts don’t expect a very competitive fight due to Mayweather’s legendary 49-0 professional boxing record, and McGregor’s novice status in boxing.

Tale of the Tape for Mayweather vs. McGregor.

“I mean, anybody with two hands has a chance,” Davis says. “ But there’s nothing new that Conor [McGregor] could show [Floyd Mayweather] that he hasn’t seen and won’t be able to overcome.”

But the result is not why this matters. Rather, that same progressive history, a paradigm shift, provides a spotlight that many everyday fans haven’t seen before.

It’s another win-win for MMA.

“There’s already this underlying notion that if it’s a ‘real’ fight, Conor wins,” Thomas says, the implication being “real” equals more ways to hit your opponent other than punching.

That implication, however, depends on public perception. If McGregor loses, well, he’s supposed to. If he wins, it’s proof positive of the sport’s established pedestal in the genre.

MMA belts from professional fighters who train at American Top Team. Photo by Ian Hest.

MMA belts from professional fighters who train at American Top Team. Photo by Ian Hest.

But regardless, the attention, and the money that comes along with this fight will grow.

And in an age where hype and promotion matter more, the spectacle to be seen will be worth more than the price of admission.

Thomas says that in this age of social media and instant gratification, the thrill of a three-minute MMA fight will resonate more with younger fans than drawn-out boxing matches.

Davis and Thomas believe that while this historic fight is the first in the public sphere where boxing and MMA square off, it certainly won’t be the last.

“To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if out of this, the UFC creates their own promotional company for boxing,” Davis says.

“I think that something they’ve been talking about,” Thomas added, “and I wouldn’t doubt it.”


 

Mayweather vs. McGregor airs at 9 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 26. The fight airs on Showtime pay-per-view for $100 as well as live online streaming


 

Ian Hest is a Boca Raton native who has been a journalist around the country for the past 7 years. He is a University of Miami graduate and spent 2 years as a sports anchor and reporter on WPTV News Channel 5 and Fox 29. He has also worked for ESPN radio, and has covered the FIFA World Cup, NCAA Tournament, College Football Playoff, and many other high profile sporting events.

The Sea Emperor Wreck, AKA "Aqua Zoo." Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

5 South Florida Diving Spots Worth Taking the Plunge

Whether snorkeling or scuba diving is second nature or a brand-new hobby, there are plenty of sites across South Florida for everyone—and a chance to explore life beneath the Atlantic Ocean. Here’s our summer dive list to get you started.

Blue Heron Bridge at Phil Foster Park

Divers under Blue Heron Bridge. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

Divers under Blue Heron Bridge. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

Voted “Best Shore Dive in the USA,” this snorkel spot on the Intracoastal Waterway in Lake Worth is prime snorkeling real estate to see batfish, frogfish, octopus, pipefish, seahorses and sea turtles, to name a few. It’s ideal for new divers, snorkelers and photographers because of its shallow depth between 5 and 20 feet. Grab a pair of goggles, a set of fins and a snorkel, and take in the sights.

Breakers Reef

A whale shark swims with a school of fish at Breakers Reef. Photo by Dennis Whitestone.

A whale shark swims with a school of fish at Breakers Reef. Photo by Dennis Whitestone.

Named after the Breakers Hotel, this West Palm Beach site is great for Open Water-certified divers, with depths of 50 to 65 feet. The east side of the dive is deeper, and divers who want to lobster or spearfish are allowed to do so. In the spring and summer, keep an eye out for green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles.

Lady Luck Wreck

The Lady Luck Wreck in Pompano Beach. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

The Lady Luck Wreck in Pompano Beach. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

This casino-themed shipwreck in Pompano Beach gives divers the chance to explore 16 rooms, the captain’s deck, engine room, galley and surroundings. Look for the statue of the mermaid cocktail waitress, the faux casino in the main deck and other details, which were designed by Pompano artist Dennis MacDonald. Nikole Heath of Force-E in Boca Raton says this is one of the most popular dives in the area and is between 80 and 130 feet deep.

San Remo Reef

San Remo Reef is about 3 miles north of the Boca Inlet. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

San Remo Reef is about 3 miles north of the Boca Inlet. Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

For a change of pace, try night diving or drift diving at San Remo Reef. The caves and overhangs make for great scenery and are home to octopus, squid and tropical fish. This reef is only 3 miles north of the Boca Inlet, and the depth ranges from 45 to 65 feet.

Sea Emperor Wreck

The Sea Emperor Wreck, AKA "Aqua Zoo." Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

The Sea Emperor Wreck, AKA “Aqua Zoo.” Photo provided by Nikole Heath.

Also known as the “Aqua Zoo,” the Sea Emperor in Boca Raton is the perfect place to spot moray eels, stingrays and nurse sharks. The barge is upside down and contains 1,600 tons of drainage culverts at a depth of 70 feet. A second dive site, the United Caribbean wreck, is only 300 feet south of the “Aqua Zoo” and is easily accessible—just follow the coral trail.


This story comes from our July/August 2017 issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to the magazine

Allison Lewis is the associate editor at Boca Raton Magazine and a native St. Louisan. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cooking, playing Ultimate frisbee, reading, traveling and watching sports.
boca raton bowl

Who Will Be The Next Boca Raton Bowl Idol? You Decide!

Deep House/pop singer Kendra Erika performed the national anthem at the 2015 Marmot Boca Raton Bowl. Image provided by Kaye Communications, Inc.

Deep House/pop singer Kendra Erika sang the national anthem at the 2014 Boca Raton Bowl. Image provided by Kaye Communications, Inc.

Absolutely nothing, I repeat, *nothing* is like a college football game in Florida.

The crazy tailgating, team rivalry, unbearable heat and excessive beer add up to unforgettable college experiences. (Note: The amount of beer you consume on college game day might make you forget the experience.)

Right now we’re stuck in a football-free period of the summer. But before college football officially starts in late August, you can get a whiff of things to come by voting for the 2017 Boca Raton Bowl Idol. The winner will perform he national anthem during opening ceremonies of the Bowl, which takes place December 19. The winner also gets 10 tickets to the game, so, you know, if you know one of the idols it’s worth spreading the word.

FAU Stadium held the first Boca Raton Bowl in 2014, and it is one of 41 postseason college bowl games in the country (and the only in Palm Beach County.) The Bowl matches teams from the Mid-American Conference with either Conference USA teams or American Athletic Conference teams every other year.

Online voting for the idol opens Thursday, where you can choose among the top 20 finalists ranging from singers and musicians, amateurs and professionals, groups and individuals and young and old. Online voting (you can vote here) will run through Sunday, July 23 until 11:59 p.m., and you can vote for your favorite semi-finalist once each day until closing.

After the online votes are in, the finalists will be whittled down to eight, and they will perform onstage for a panel of judges and a live audience on August 1 at the Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery in Boca Raton. A combo of judge selections and audience votes will determine the top three, who will perform again that night. By the end of the evening, a winner will be chosen.

Tickets to Finalists Night are $10 and sales will be donated to Spirit of Giving. You can purchase tickets at spiritofgivingnetwork.com/bocabowlidol.

Until I make it to another Gators game (can I get a “Go Gata!?”) I’ll let the hype around the Boca Raton Bowl fill the void in my heart and stomach that is mostly longing for beer on a hot Gainesville game day. But there is one thing FAU Stadium has to offer that no other stadium in the nation can: Views of the Atlantic Ocean from the skybox and press box.

Now that’s something to look forward to.

Shayna is the Web Editor of Boca Magazine. She is a 20-something sorta-recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in journalism. Most of her time is spent fawning over cats and kittens; cooking food at home for her family; and observing Florida’s greatest asset: nature.