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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Stories by Larry Brown:

Real or fake? Conor McGregor tweets his retirement from MMA

Conor McGregor

Has April Fools’ Day come early or did Conor McGregor really retire from MMA?

McGregor tweeted late on Monday night that he was retiring from MMA. His tweet was complete with a “Proper” reference to his whiskey.

I have a hard time believing McGregor will never partake in an MMA fight again, especially when he just signed an 8-fight deal with the UFC last year.

So what’s going on? My guess is one of two things.

One, maybe McGregor is taking a page out of Floyd Mayweather’s book. Mayweather retired multiple times during his boxing career, which proved to be a successful strategy at building interest in his subsequent fights when he came out of retirement. In other words, this could be a publicity stunt.

Two, McGregor said last week he was close to fighting in July. There was supposedly a snag over the potential fight with Donald Cerrone because it would only be a co-main event, which supposedly wasn’t suitable to Conor. He also seemed to be angling for an ownership stake in the company, so maybe he’s trying to exercise his leverage.

There’s no way I’m buying this.

Jusuf Nurkic suffers broken leg in gruesome injury

Jusuf Nurkic leg injury

Jusuf Nurkic suffered a brutal injury during double overtime of the Portland Trail Blazers’ game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.

Nurkic was going up for a rebound and got his leg bent backwards underneath him. It went so far in the wrong direction that the bone snapped. Those watching the game on NBA TV could hear an audible snap as his left leg broke. TV cameras zoomed in and showed his leg bending the wrong direction where the break occurred.

Nurkic took one look at his leg and then started screaming in shock after he saw the injury. Players from both teams quickly backed away, while a stretcher came out to carry away the big man.

Nurkic had 32 points and 16 rebounds in the game prior to the injury and was enjoying the best season of his career. The Blazers later announced he was out for the season with compound fractures to his left tibia and fibia.

Suns, Jazz got so petty as Devin Booker chased 60-point game

Devin Booker

The Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz got so petty as Devin Booker chased a 60-point game on Monday night.

The Suns were blown out 125-92 in the game and their only bright spot was Booker. The 22-year-old guard was hot and went 19/34 from the field and 16/17 on free throws for 59 points.

Phoenix really wanted him to get to 60 points, so they left him out there in garbage time to add to his point total. They even intentionally fouled in the final 30 seconds to get the ball back so Booker would have a shot at crossing the mark.

How did Utah respond? They intentionally fouled back to prevent Booker from having a shot at 60.

The entire situation was so silly. It’s hard to get mad at Utah for blocking the Suns’ efforts when Phoenix did so much to try and get Booker to the total. But as we’ve seen, people will do crazy things when chasing statistics.

Report: Giants CEO Larry Baer may receive suspension from MLB

san francisco giants

MLB is expected to announce discipline on Tuesday morning for San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer, according to reporters.

Bay Area Sports Guy reported Monday night that Baer’s punishment may be a suspension. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic confirmed the punishment is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

Baer was caught on video on March 1 in a physical altercation with his wife at a public park in San Francisco. He was placed on leave by the Giants while MLB investigated the matter.

No criminal charges were filed against him.

Baer has been the team’s CEO since 2012.

Mets players left ‘pissed off’ over travel issues to Syracuse

New York Mets

Travel issues surrounding the team’s planned trip to Syracuse left many New York Mets players pissed off, according to a reporter.

The Mets hosted a spring training game on Sunday at Port St. Lucie, which is on the east coast of Florida. Their game on Monday was at the Orioles’ home in Sarasota at the complete opposite end of the state. It’s a 2.5-hour drive from one coast to the other. On top of that, the team had plans to travel to Syracuse for a workout on Tuesday to promote their new minor league affiliate. Then they would head to DC to prepare for Thursday’s season-opening game against the Washington Nationals.

Not only is that a lot of traveling in a short period of time, but complicating matters was a 3-hour delay in Monday’s flight due to a mechanical issue that would mean they would arrive in Syracuse around midnight.

The New York Post’s Mike Puma says he was told that a lot of players were pissed off by the delay and complications.

The extra travel plans with the trip to Syracuse has been a point of contention among the team. Pitcher Noah Syndergaard was actually bold enough to speak up about it and ripped the team over the trip.

Watch: Jimmer Fredette gets standing ovation in Utah after scoring first points

Jimmer Fredette

They still love their Jimmer Fredette in Utah.

Fredette on Monday played in his second game since signing with the Phoenix Suns. He had a rough night, missing his first eight shot attempts before finally making a field goal. When he got to the free throw line and scored his first point, the fans went crazy.

Fredette was playing in Salt Lake City, nearby where he starred at BYU from 2008-2011. Fredette averaged 20.7 points per game and won National Player of the Year as a senior and became a fan-favorite.

Though he went on to become a lottery pick, his NBA career quickly fizzled out. Fredette has since developed a career playing in China and has now returned to the NBA for the first time since 2016.

Johnny Manziel responds to Eminem’s AAF fight request

Johnny Manziel CFL

Johnny Manziel responded on Monday to rapper Eminem’s AAF request.

Eminem sent an all-caps tweet in which he said the startup football league should allow players to fight. The Detroit native also campaigned for a team in Detroit.

Eminem’s tweet referenced the Birmingham Iron-Memphis Express game on Sunday in which Manziel made his league debut. Manziel responded to the tweet and told Eminem, “I got you” and added a goat emoji — indicating his respect for Eminem as a great rapper.

Considering the AAF has shown it’s anything but a gimmick league and actually progressive from the NFL in some regards, we’re guessing Eminem’s wish for fights won’t come true. That’s a request he might want to direct to the XFL, which doesn’t have plans for a team in Detroit yet either.

Mookie Betts paying for Red Sox team dinner after record arbitration

Mookie Betts

The Boston Red Sox will enjoy a team dinner on Tuesday night in Seattle ahead of their season-opener, and the dinner will be generously hosted by Mookie Betts.

Back in February, Betts and the Red Sox agreed to a $20 million settlement to avoid arbitration. That was a record amount for a player in his second year of arbitration. When Betts and the Sox agreed to the deal, manager Alex Cora joked that the reigning MVP would pay for a team dinner because of how well he did salary-wise.

Fast forward a month and that’s exactly what is happening. Betts is treating the team to dinner, and Cora joked that nobody feels sorry for the outfielder over the cost.

This is just the start of big pay days to come for Betts. He has another year of arbitration next year and then will be able to become a free agent after that. Betts is not expecting to sign a contract extension prior to hitting free agency. He’s set to cash in big after proving himself as one of the best players in the game.