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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

MMA

Report: Greg Hardy to make pro MMA debut, could sign contract with UFC

Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy has been committed to carving out a career in mixed martial arts since his NFL career infamously fell apart, and it sounds like he is a step closer to accomplishing his goal.

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reports that Hardy, who is 3-0 in amateur MMA fights, has booked a heavyweight fight for June 12 on the “Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series.” The event features several live fights in Las Vegas, and at least one fighter is offered a multi-fight deal with the UFC when it’s over.

Hardy will reportedly face Brandon Sayles, who is 5-1 and has not lost a fight since 2012.

Hardy, 29, has not totally given up on his pro football career, as he is currently signed with the Richmond Roughriders of the American Arena League. He was once one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL until disturbing details of his domestic violence case were released, which basically made him untouchable to NFL teams. Hardy was also arrested for possession of cocaine more recently, but he says he is not giving up on playing football or becoming a UFC champion.

David Branch says his leg is busted after win over Santos

David Branch

David Branch may have beaten Thiago Santos convincingly at UFC Fight Night in Atlantic City on Saturday, but it certainly came at a cost.

After his first-round win via knockout, Branch said that his leg was busted from Santos’ hard kicks.

Branch finished the fight at 2:30 in the first round. He knocked Santos down with a big bunch and jumped on him to end it.

Branch is now 22-4 and has won 12 of his last 13 fights.

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Dana White changes tune on Conor McGregor, won’t rule out another fight

Conor McGregor belts

Dana White was furious with Conor McGregor after McGregor and his entourage attacked a bus outside a UFC event last week and basically ruined the fight card for UFC 223, but it sounds like White may feel a bit differently after sleeping on it.

Over the weekend, White was asked once again for his thoughts on McGregor’s arrest. While the UFC president initially hinted that McGregor may be done with the organization altogether, he wasn’t quite as animated on Saturday.

“We talked. It’s good,” White said after UFC 223, per Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog.com. “I think that there’s a mutual respect between us and obviously this week, I had so many things thrown at me. To focus on this show was insane. We’ll get back and we’ll focus on Conor McGregor.”

For comparison, here’s how White reacted in the hours after McGregor and his crew smashed some windows on a bus and injured two UFC fighters in the process.

McGregor is facing some serious charges in the wake of the incident, and he has a court date scheduled for June. Before the mayhem, White said the lightweight champion was expected to fight again later this year. Even with McGregor in serious legal trouble, White is not ruling anything out.

“We had talked about him fighting in September,” White said. “I don’t know. You can’t ask me anything about Conor. I don’t know anything. I haven’t thought about it. There’s nothing to think about this week except for the event.”

No one would have blamed White for immediately suspending McGregor or cutting ties with him altogether after seeing the footage of the bus attack, but the Irishman is the biggest draw the sport has. Money almost always trumps morals, and it appears this situation is no different.

Floyd Mayweather indicates his next fight will be in MMA

Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather Jr seems to be making it pretty clear that there is a lot more than just talk behind the possibility of him stepping into the octagon.

Mayweather was interviewed by Showtime’s Jim Gray on Saturday night during the boxing show headlined by Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd. In his interview, Mayweather talked heavily about what’s in store for him, and he indicated he will fight in MMA.

“Is it possible that I come back? Yes, but if I do comeback, it has to be in the octagon,” Mayweather said.

Then Mayweather didn’t equivocate about whether he would fight in MMA.

“When I do go to the octagon, I look forward to going to 145 (pounds),” he said.

Note how Mayweather said “when” and not “if”.

Gray noticed that and pointed it out. Mayweather also said he was confident he would get the amount of money he wants for the fight.

“Only if the money is right. The money will always be right. Of course the numbers is going to be crazy.”

There has been plenty of talk about Mayweather stepping into the octagon and fighting in the UFC. Mayweather’s father has said that Floyd Jr is training for MMA. As for whom he would fight, well Dana White seemed to hint at it last week.

Al Iaquinta gets UFC title shot thanks to underwear weight

Al Iaquinta

Despite all the shenanigans over the past 48 hours, Dana White says the main event for UFC 223 will be a title fight. And the UFC has a pair of underwear to thank for that.

Al Iaquinta initially weighed in at 155.2 pounds on Friday ahead of his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at the Barclays Center on Saturday. Because he failed to make the 155-pound weight limit, he originally was not going to be eligible to win the lightweight title belt if he won. However, White later decided that Iaquinta made weight.

White said in an interview on FS1 that Iaquinta got weighed while wearing his underwear, which was later weighed and came in at 0.2 pounds. Because of that difference, White decided that Iaquinta will be fighting for the lightweight title, even if the commission does not deem him eligible to win the belt.

The main event has seen all sorts of twists and turns. Max Holloway was supposed to fight Khabib, but the commission determined his weight cut would be unsafe. Then it looked like Anthony Pettis would get the fight, but that didn’t happen. Next up was Paul Felder, but he was not approved, so Iaquinta got the fight. And now thanks to his underwear weight, he’ll be fighting for a UFC title.

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Conor McGregor free after posting $50k bond

Conor McGregor belts

Conor McGregor is, at least for the moment, a free man.

McGregor was released from custody Friday after being arraigned on three misdemeanor assault charges and one felony criminal mischief charge stemming from his attack on the UFC team bus.

McGregor posted bail, which was set at $50,000, according to TMZ. A judge also allowed him to keep his passport, meaning he will be allowed to fly back to his native Ireland. He has been ordered to stay away from any victims in the attack, including fellow UFC fighters Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg.

McGregor will be due back in court for another hearing on June 14. It’s worth noting that these charges don’t even factor in the further legal damage he could be subjected to from the UFC fighters injured in the attack.

Michael Chiesa files police report against Conor McGregor over bus attack

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor is facing several charges in the wake of Thursday’s ugly incident outside the Barclays Center, and he could also be dealing with millions of dollars in lawsuits before long.

TMZ reports that Michael Chiesa, who was hospitalized after broken glass caused several lacerations on his face, has filed a police report against McGregor. Chiesa was inside the bus that McGregor and his entourage went ballistic on, and the lightweight contender spoke with police immediately after the incident and again at his hotel Thursday night.

McGregor has been charged with one count of felony criminal mischief and three counts of misdemeanor assault. According to TMZ, one of the assault charges the lightweight champion is facing stems from him injuring Chiesa.

Chiesa and another fighter, Ray Borg, had to pull out of their fights at UFC 223 because of the injuries they suffered. Borg reportedly got particles of glass in his eye when McGregor and his crew smashed windows on the bus, which you can see some footage of here.

There was some speculation initially that McGregor’s outburst may have been a promotional stunt, but UFC president Dana White said that could not be further from the truth. The police’s involvement in the case backs that up.

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