It's been more than three years since Brock Lesnar said he was “closing the door” on his UFC career—but that door just keeps opening back up. Lesnar is returning to the UFC, the mixed martial arts organization's president, Dana White, revealed on FOX Sports Wednesday night.
Lesnar “retired” for a second time in February 2017. Lesnar's return details haven't been finalized, but Ariel Helwani—perhaps the most plugged-in MMA journalist on the planet—reports that he's really coming back.
According to multiple sources, this isn’t promoter talk from White. UFC is confident Lesnar will be back after his WWE duties are wrapped up on Sunday. A deal is in place. Key now is to finalize it. https://t.co/ttaxduf15J
On Friday, Kimberly Jones shared a video on Facebook of her son Keaton delivering a tearful message to anyone else who is the victim of bullying.
For the record, Keaton asked to do this AFTER he had he me pick him up AGAIN because he was afraid to go to lunch. My kids are by no stretch perfect, & at home, he's as all boy as they come, but by all accounts he's good at school. Talk to your kids. I've even had friends of mine tell me they're kids were only nice to him to get him to mess with people. We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere.
Keaton, who was picked up from school early by his mom because he was afraid to go to lunch, explains his own situation where kids make fun of him, and pour milk in his hair. The video has since gone viral and everyone from athletes from his home state of Tennessee to artists across the nation are showing their support for Jones.
Tennessee Volunteers Tyler Byrd says he plans to visit Jones's school with some of his teammates on Tuesday.
UFC president Dana White personally invited Keaton to the company's headquarters in Las Vegas.
Meet Keaton Jones a very smart little boy who is being bullied at school. This video is heartbreaking!! I want to bring Keaton to Vegas and hang out at UFC Headquarters. If anyone knows how i can reach the family please let me know. Thank u everyone pic.twitter.com/BR8c4ldDFc
Manny Pacquiao’s heralded accomplishments in the ring have him listed as one of the 25 best pound-for-pound boxers of all time in some circles. But his negotiating tactics are not as up to par, and they may land him in some hot water with UFC President Dana White.
When Pacquiao was asked about securing a multimillion-dollar bag similar to the one Floyd Mayweather hauled in for his August fight with Conor McGregor, Pacquiao apparently ruffled some feathers.
“Pac-Man” then said he reached out to McGregor’s camp directly but they “have not yet had any follow-up conversations.”
Dana White, on Manny Pacquiao allegedly reaching out to Conor McGregor … “That would be weird, because he's under contract with us. If that's true, I'll be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever's representing him.”
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Pacquiao directly negotiating with McGregor would theoretically pose a problem with White, who has been blunt when addressing the matter of McGregor’s UFC contract.
“That would be weird, because he's under contract with us,” White reportedly said, when told of McGregor directly negotiating with Pacquiao. “If that’s true, I’ll be suing Manny Pacquiao and whoever’s representing him.”
That’s a big “if” surrounded by a lot of tough talk. The business of negotiating a fight can be both tedious and complicated. Negotiating the Mayweather-McGregor bout took all kinds of involvement from White, Mayweather, Mayweather’s manager Al Haymon and longtime business partner Leonard Ellerbe, Showtime sports general manager Stephen Espinoza, and Ice Cube. It turns out Cube already had T-Mobile Arena booked for a Big3 event the weekend the fight was scheduled and wanted to be properly compensated for giving up his arena date.
On today’s episode of #OutOfBounds, special guest UFC Welterweight Champ, Tyron Woodley joins us with an unfiltered interview. He speaks on being UFC’S most hated fighter, his love/ hate relationship with Dana White, why Mayweather and McGregor was good for UFC, and Kevin Durant evaluating his brand.
Even if you're actively trying to avoid the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, chances are you've developed a firm stance on the bout by now. There are very few people out there who are thinking to themselves, “You know what, I think I need more information before I take the plunge on the pay-per-view fee.” And if you are still thinking that, I'd have to ask you what the rock you've been living under is like.
The odds are heavily in Mayweather's favor, and why wouldn't they be? He's 49-0 and one of the best boxers of all-time, facing a near amateur in a new sport. That should be the start and end of it, but to keep themselves interested in the fight, a lot of observers are clinging to crazy beliefs, hoping the fight will somehow live up to their expectations. I get it, because you're not going to drop $100 on a pay-per-view if you're just expecting a mundane win from Mayweather.
So for those of you trying to search for a reason to care about the fight, here are a few conspiracy theories people have. They might make it worth tuning in!
Mayweather will throw the fight to make more money
From Mayweather's perspective, this might make the leastsense of any theory, because he has everything to lose going into the fight. Though it has been overshadowed by the trash talk, Mayweather has a chance to pass Rocky Marciano's mythical 49-0 record and go to 50-0, a number that is revered within boxing circles. Several prominent fighters have fallen just short of equaling or passing that number, including heavyweight great Larry Holmes, who lost his 49th fight in a controversial decision to Michael Spinks. It's a number that matters deeply to boxers, even if it doesn't to casual fans.
And yet, this might not be the biggest thing on Mayweather's mind. Should he lose to McGregor, it would set up another huge payday in a subsequent fight. Mayweather will reportedly make a minimum of $100 million for this fight, and that number could multiply depending on how the sales for the bout play out. Would you be able to turn down making a sum of money like that a secondtime, knowing all you had to do was lose once?
There's reason to believe Mayweather has motivation to extract as much money out of this as possible. He has had to issue denials that he's in trouble with the IRS, and he will reportedly have to use a big chunk of the McGregor fight money just to pay off his past tax liabilities. It would stand to reason that these issues might keep popping up, since at this point they seem to occur no matter how much income Mayweather generates.
Assuming Mayweather would win the second fight, throwing the first one would likely set up the pair of fighters for a third bout way down the road, and trilogies tend to be huge draws, because you see a real rivalry build over time. These are big assumptions—but again, you just have to follow the money, and both fighters would be set for life if they brought in the sort of revenue they're about earn for just the three potential fights.
Mayweather might not even have to do this on his own. He tends to fight for decisions, and any time you can put the outcome in the hands of just a few people, there's a chance for shenanigans.
McGregor has only been pretending to be a bad boxer
Yes, some people truly believe that McGregor hasn't actually shown what he can do. The belief is that the guy who is a professional fighter and constant trash talker actually wants you to believe he's unequipped to be a boxer, and will use that reputation to surprise Mayweather on Saturday night.
You really have to believe in this to think McGregor has a realistic chance against Mayweather. Sparring partners of McGregor's have shared footage of them working out with the converted MMA fighter, and McGregor looks pretty bad.
People telling me Mayweather will have his hands full trying to land on McGregor -STOP IT! I respect McGregor BUT i ain't Floyd and i landed pic.twitter.com/gd4dFi3XUU
The footage looks so bad, in fact, that Mayweather's camp even sort of believes it's not legit. That's what the fighter's team said during a radio interview in June, claiming their camp would not slack in their fight preparation even if McGregor looks bad on the tape.
“I looked at it, but to me it looked [like] it’s a possibility it could be staged,” said Mayweather's trainer, Nate Jones. “We don’t fall for that, we prepare for anything. Please believe me, I looked at it and I came up with my opinion that it could have been for real but it could have been staged. I don’t know. His style is a different style from Floyd. I don’t want nobody messing with Floyd. He may be more difficult than Floyd’s gonna be for him.”
That's exactly the problem with believing the footage is staged: Mayweather's camp doesn't really care what it looks like one way or the other. He didn't amass a 49-0 record by taking his opponents lightly, and Mayweather has consistently noted McGregor will be a threat when interviewed about the fight. He's confident in his ability, but he has given no indication of slowing down or easing up on his opponent.
The styles comment from Jones is interesting, though, because of one theory a lot of fans seem to have about the fight.
McGregor will use an MMA move at some point during the fight
As the old saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. McGregor deserves respect for his accomplishments as an athlete in his sport, but that doesn't mean he can break the habits that have been built into him over years and years of training.
Sports books are banking on the expectation that McGregor reverts to MMA tactics, and are taking bets on whether he'll throw a kick or an elbow during the fight. It makes a degree of sense, because while he has been exclusively training as a boxer for months now, you can't truly plan for how you'll react once you start to get fatigued. Should he get desperate in the later rounds, maybe he lashes out with a kick at Mayweather's ankles.
This idea has popped up repeatedly among fight fans, who have discussed the possibility for months.
i'm willing to bet money McGregor gets frustrated and subconsciously tries an MMA move tonight on Floyd.
The big reason this probably won't happen? It would cost McGregor a fortune. UFC boss Dana White has said from day one that any sort of MMA moves are strictly forbidden.
“There is no way that will happen. That is absolutely in the contract, number one. Number two, this is a boxing match under the rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” said White. “When you talk about a guy like Floyd Mayweather, the lawsuit if that ever happened… You all know how much Conor likes money. Conor would depart with a whole lot of money if that ever happened.”
No amount of laughs McGregor would generate by busting out a kick would fill the hole in his bank account. This isn't happening, but there's one more wrinkle to consider.
Mayweather and McGregor might be in on this whole charade together
If Mayweather throwing the fight on his own isn't crazy enough for you, boy do we have a conspiracy theory for you! There are people out there who believe the fighters may be working behind the scenes to set up the best possible outcome for their futures, which would necessitate Mayweather taking a proverbial dive. But it would need to look real for it to not be an obvious fix, so it would necessitate both guys planning for the possibility ahead of time.
Other world-class athletes are worried about that exact possibility. Golfer Rory McIlroy was asked about the fight over the weekend, and his concern is that we're all being fooled by the circus.
“I just fear that they do all this trash-talking and they go behind the scenes and they are having a laugh and thinking: I can’t believe we are talking all this public for a ride,” said McIlroy. “We are all buying into it and they are like, can you believe these people believe this? I just hope it doesn’t turn into it and I hope it’s not in any way fixed.”
Count Terry Crews in the fix camp too. He told TMZ that he believes the two fighters are “trying to get another one,” and believes McGregor will ultimately get a decision victory to set up more fights in the future.
Boxing is a sport with a reputation for shady dealings; in early July, Manny Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to relative unknown Jeff Horn, despite most boxing analysts believing Pacquiao had won the fight easily. There have been countless examples of similar shady decisions over time, and this is a real possibility in a fight with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line.
Never, ever rule out corruption in the boxing world. Mayweather may give McGregor the beat-down most expect, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll walk away with a victory on the scorecards.
According to MMAFighting.com, Jones tested positive for the anabolic steroid turinabol, which could result in a suspension spanning more than two years. TMZ reports Jones will be stripped of his title with the belt going back to Cormier. UFC president Dana White announced that a decision has not been made.
“He has not been stripped yet but he has got to go through the process,” White told the Sun.
The UFC released a statement on the matter:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Jon Jones of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected following his weigh-in on July 28, 2017.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Jones, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) also retains jurisdiction over this matter as the sample collection was performed the day before Jones' bout at UFC 214 in Anaheim, CA, and USADA will work to ensure that the CSAC has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of Jones' potential anti-doping violation.
This is the second time Jones has tested positive for a banned substance. In 2016, he was slapped with a one-year suspension after clomiphene and letrozole were found. He insisted he failed the test because he took a male enhancement pill without knowing it contained a banned substance.
“I have always maintained my innocence and I am very happy I have been cleared in any wrong doing pursuant to the allegations made that I had intentionally taken a banned substance,” he said in a statement. “I am pleased that in USADA's investigation they determined I was ‘not a cheater of the sport.’ Being cleared of these allegations was very important to me.”
Amid concerns over Conor McGregor's ability to survive in the ring against Floyd Mayweather, UFC president Dana White released two videos from McGregor's sparring sessions with Paul Malignaggi. On Friday, The Notorious held an open workout at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas where he put some odd training techniques and slow heavy bag speed on display for those in attendance.
White also responded to the people doubting McGregor's boxing skills by posting two videos of The Notorious sparring with Malignaggi, including a clip where it appears Conor knocked down the former world champion.
A post shared by Dana White (@danawhite) on Aug 11, 2017 at 8:46pm PDT
Earlier this month, Malignaggi abruptly quit as McGregor's sparring partner after photos from their session leaked. The former boxer claims he was pushed in the photo showing him lying on the mat with Conor standing over him.
Its not nice 2 paint a pic that isn't true, this was a pushdown in sparring, post the whole video rounds 1 through 12 UNEDITED https://t.co/R82BLiMMVm
We already ran down reasons why McGregor (almost assuredly) will not beat Mayweather when they meet Aug. 26. For starters there’s the obvious like McGregor’s extreme inexperience and Mayweather’s standing as one of boxing’s living legends. But there are a few legit reasons why the McGregor, a 4-1 underdog, actually has a chance to pull off the upset.
We’ll start with the age difference. Having turned 29 July 14th, McGregor will enter the ring with 11 years on Mayweather and will undoubtedly be the quicker and more athletic fighter. The speed Mayweather was known for in his prime, throwing and landing punches at a blindingly fast pace and dodging his opponents' punches like he's Neo from “The Matrix,” is a thing of the past.
“This is not the elite Floyd Mayweather,” says ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas. “He’s 40 years old. He’s been away from the game for two years. He took the fight on short notice. Those things should be accounted for. They will be accounted for.”
McGregor, the bigger man, will look physically imposing standing next to Mayweather when they weigh-in on the Friday before the fight. In his prime and already ripped, McGregor will be an Adonis while Atlas contends that even though Mayweather will look impressive, he can already see Father Time taking his toll.
“In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.” — DANA WHITE
“His body doesn’t even look the same,” says Atlas. “It’s got that softer look when you get a little older. The muscles have changed a little bit. To the eye that knows to look at that stuff it’s noticeable.”
Even if Mayweather might be a tick slower than we’re used to seeing, nobody expects McGregor to outbox one of the greats. But it’s the unknown that could earn the MMA star the unlikely win. Screwy things happen in boxing all the time—and we’re not even talking about some messed up judge’s scorecard. What if a cut opens over the eye of Mayweather from an inadvertent headbutt? What if Mayweather fractures his hand on a punch and is essentially reduced to a one-armed fighter? Boxing fans know Mayweather’s reputation for having brittle hands.
“I’ve seen Floyd fracture both hands in a fight,” says Mayweather CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “I know Conor McGregor is bigger, stronger, thinks he’s faster, and thinks he’s going to knock Floyd Mayweather out. But any damn thing can happen. Floyd could cross his head in the fourth round and not be able to use his right hand.”
Even when his fists aren’t giving him problems, Mayweather isn’t exactly a knockout artist (his career knockout percentage: 53). McGregor, on the other hand, is known to possess impressive punching power. While his devastating blows have come wearing 4 oz. gloves in UFC fights, the 10 oz. gloves he’ll wear against Mayweather won’t do much to slow down the speed of his punches or diminish their power. The question is can McGregor land a clean shot on the chin of the best modern defensive boxer who has never legitimately been knocked to the canvas as a pro?
“He’s not a boxer. At the end of the day, Conor McGregor is a fighter,” UFC president Dana White said back at the July 13th press conference at Barclays Center. “In a 12-round fight, Conor McGregor, who is the bigger, younger, stronger guy, needs to hit Floyd Mayweather and hurt him.”
And maybe play some mind games. It’s widely expected that McGregor will be the aggressor while Mayweather will be content to play defense and pick his spots. What if McGregor played it cool and conservative the way, according to Atlas, he’s won matches in the UFC, making Floyd come at him?
“Use those principles of trying to be careful and thoughtful and contemplative before you just walk into something then Floyd doesn’t have the foil that he needs,” says Atlas. “[Floyd] needs that caveman so he can bang, bang, bang, catch him coming in and catch him with counters.”
The bottom line is McGregor doesn’t have an easy path to victory and deep down he has to know that. But it’s not inconceivable if the right things happened that he could pull off the improbable upset. It’s boxing. It’s sports. Crazier things have happened than a 4-1 dog getting the w.
Malignaggi said that he has actually sparred with McGregor twice now. And according to him, McGregor improved quite a bit between the first sparring session he had with him and the second one.
“I think the intensity Conor’s reaching is starting to show in the hard work he’s putting into camp,” Malignaggi said. “I think he’s getting better and better. I really felt improvements from two weeks ago to now…I do see a guy who is implementing more and more of what they want to do in their game plan.”
But Malignaggi also said that, during a sparring session on Tuesday that saw the fighters go at it for 12 rounds, things got chippy between the two. He felt like McGregor’s camp ambushed him by making him fight for so long on relatively short notice.
“Lot of violence,” Malignaggi said. “I went in there to prove a point. I didn’t like the fact I had to fly across the country on Monday, and they have me scheduled for 12 [rounds] on Tuesday. I thought it was a little bit of a setup. Usually, all sparring is private. I show up at the UFC headquarters and [former UFC owner Lorenzo] Fertitta is there. Dana White is there. So I’m thinking these guys are thinking they’ll catch me right off the flight, set me up for him to look good in front of his audience. I didn’t like that. I kind of went in with a chip on my shoulder.”
Malignaggi said that he and McGregor have a “mutual respect” for one another right now. But he also suggested that there’s been no love lost between the two when they have gone to battle.
“I don’t think we’re going to be best friends anytime soon,” he said, “but there was a lot more mutual respect after that kind of work [Tuesday] night. It was a lot more intense than the first one.”
In addition to speaking with ESPN, Malignaggi did a video interview with TMZ Sports and showed off some of the marks on his face from his sparring session with McGregor. He stopped short of saying that McGregor has overwhelming power in the ring, but he did give him credit for packing some pop in his punch.
“Conor doesn't have bad power,” he said. “It's not 'Oh my god' power…but it is respectable power.”
The Mayweather/McGregor fight might not ultimately live up to all of the hype surrounding it. But it sure sounds like Malignaggi and McGregor are giving those watching their sparring sessions a real treat.
In the final stop on their four-city press tour, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather visited the SSE Arena at Wembley Stadium in London, England. The event had everything from verbal jabs to anti-gay slurs to one fan who snuck into the venue with a fake credential.
In a video posted on Saturday, a guy who goes by Zac Alsop on YouTube detailed how he managed to create a fake credential, weave his way around security, and wind up right next to McGregor minutes before making his entrance. After finding a photo of the promoter credential on Instagram, Alsop went to work on constructing an identical copy, down to the lamination.
With a suit on and the fake credentials around his neck, Alsop was able to sneak by security by sticking close to Mayweather's crew as they entered the arena. This incredibly brave and partially crazy guy had a couple close calls, including a run-in with UFC president Dana White on two separate occasions.
Even though Alsop avoided any problems getting into SSE Arena, it did not mean he was in the clear. At one point, Alsop needed to remain calm as he pretended to be with Mayweather's photographers as they walked between some security flanked on either side of a narrow hallway.
The journey was intense, but it was probably all worth it when he ended up standing alongside McGregor. Check out his heroic trek, and whatever you do, do not try this in your hometown. Leave it to…the professionals?