While waiting to see what exactly is left in the Celtics’ gas tank when they take on the Cavaliers tonight . . .

True to his character, Mike Brown makes no excuses for his stunning knockout loss to Manny Gamburyan in the first round of their World Extreme Cagefighting bout last Saturday. “Two forces collided, man. I got hit, I got hurt, I went down.

“Five seconds after it was over, I said (shoot), let’s keep fighting, I want to do this again. But it was too late and there’s no worse feeling.”

Brown was favored to beat Gamburyan and line himself up for a rematch with featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who had little difficulty beating Urijah Faber in the main event at Sacramento’s ARCO Arena. But that’s the fascination of sports: little is predictable.

“In my heart of hearts I expected to win,” said Brown, a Maine native living in southern Florida. “I struck out.”

Actually, he says he leaned too much to his left after throwing a big right early in the round. Gamburyan countered with own big right. “I was confident, everything was good,” said Brown. “I was stalking the center. I wasn’t going to get pushed on the cage.

“He hurt me before I could hurt him.”

He dismissed comments that personal issues upset his training. “I trained good. I lost. There are no unbeaten fighters in this sport.”

It’s too soon to jump on another WEC fight card in June. Brown expects he’ll draw an opponent for an August fight. But with the loss, he has distanced himself from an opportunity to reclaim the featherweight title he once held and defended. . . .

Gary Bellefleur rarely won weekly stock car races. He was never considered a contender for the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway or the other big races on Maine’s short tracks. But his was the face of Maine racing, right along with the better-known Mike and Ben Rowe, Johnny Clark and so many others who found themselves in the winner’s circle.

For every Ben Rowe, there are 10 or 20 Gary Bellefluers keeping the sport alive simply because of their love for racing. Who will lend a hand, maybe even a transmission, and certainly some encouragement when that’s needed. That’s why Bellefleur is mourned. . . .

The spat between Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon highlights how wrong I was. After dominating NASCAR throughout the 1990’s, Gordon was pegged as the American driver who could switch to Formula I racing and win.

Or Gordon would jump to Indy cars, looking for a challenge and countering the move of Indy stars to NASCAR. Gordon would join Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and the late Mark Donahue, who comprise a rather elite group of American racers who could win in any series.

Instead, Gordon has taken a back seat to Johnson.

Any chance Boston College will let Brian Dumoulin take the Frozen Four trophy home to Biddeford for a long weekend this summer? Probably would be a violation of some NCAA rule but people in Biddeford are proud of their Division I star.

Ryan Martin has decided to end his dream of walking onto the University of Maine men’s basketball team after two years on campus. He will transfer to Keene State. Martin, who helped Maranacook win the 2008 Class B state title, was generously listed at 5-foot-9 on the Maine roster. Nothing could measure the size of his heart or his work ethic. . . .

Wonder if Tim Tebow has talked with Doug Flutie, past president of the You’ll Never Be an NFL Quarterback Club.

Ashley Drew of Scarborough and a member of the University of Maine band will be a guest of the football team at its annual Jeff Cole Spring Scrimmage this morning at 10. Drew has cystic fibrosis. The team has a catchy phrase: Airing it Out for Ashley. Attendees are asked to make donations to help Drew fight the disease, which would be helped by a lung transplant.

 

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

[email protected]