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Sunday, January 19, 2020

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Conor McGregor wastes Cowboy Cerrone in 40 seconds at UFC 246

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor against Cowboy Cerrone turned out to be the mismatch many believed it was.

McGregor destroyed Cerrone in 40 seconds to win via TKO at UFC 246 in Las Vegas on Saturday night. He caught Cerrone with a kick that stunned his opponent and then followed up with a big knee and a few punches that sent Cerrone into the cage. From there, McGregor overwhelmed Cerrone with multiple punches.

Cerrone ended up on the mat, and it was only a matter of time before referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight. Feeling Cerrone could no longer defend himself, Dean stopped the fight after 0 seconds, giving McGregor the win.

The TKO marked McGregor’s first win in the UFC since November 2016. The 31-year-old boxed against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017, lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2018, and did not compete at all in 2019. He is now 22-4 in his MMA career and has finished 19 of his wins via a KO or TKO.

The attendance at T-Mobile Arena was over 19,000, and the gate was over $11 million, ranking it as the fourth-largest in UFC history. McGregor took home a Performance of the Night bonus for his effort.

The UFC seems eager to set up a McGregor vs. Jorge Masvidal fight at some point in the future.

Superdome police officer declines to press charges against Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham Jr Browns

Odell Beckham Jr. likely won’t be facing criminal charges for slapping a Superdome police officer on the backside after LSU’s win over Clemson in the national title game.

As first reported by Ramon Antonio Vargas and John Simerman of NOLA.com, the 48-year-old officer has signed an affidavit declining to press charges against the Cleveland Browns wide receiver. The officer had initially sought to press charges against the star wide receiver, and an arrest warrant was out for Beckham for a simple battery charge.

That warrant has not yet been withdrawn, but with the officer unwilling to press charges, it appears unlikely that Beckham will face any real legal consequences for his actions.

The officer in question was trying to get LSU players to put out their cigars in a bid to enforce the Superdome’s no smoking policy. Video of what Beckham did went viral in the aftermath of the incident, but the whole matter seemed rather silly to begin with.

Report: ESPN considering replacing Jessica Mendoza on ‘Sunday Night Baseball’

Jessica Mendoza

ESPN is reportedly looking into making some changes in the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, the network has considered replacing commentator Jessica Mendoza, with ESPN wanting to build the booth around Alex Rodriguez.

To that end, ESPN has reportedly had discussions with YES Network analyst David Cone about a possible role with the network. There is some belief that the booth would be better with a pitcher in it, and they liked how things turned out when Rodriguez and Cone worked together on YES in a brief stint in 2019.

ESPN is still said to be high on Mendoza, and if she is moved off the broadcast, she is still expected to have a big role on the network. There remains a chance that the network could leave the booth as it is. There have been issues managing Mendoza’s dual role as a broadcaster and as a special assistant to Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen, but executives tried to make it clear that Mendoza’s ill-advised social media posts about Mike Fiers have no impact on her future.

Mendoza’s front office role has caused some minor hindrances during her broadcasting career. Ultimately, though, this move seems to be about A-Rod, who ESPN clearly views as a star.

Anatomy of an Astros cheating rumor: ‘Carlos Beltran’s niece’ is actually a phony Twitter account

Jose Altuve buzzer

The sports world went wild on Thursday with allegations that some of the Houston Astros’ top players wore electronic buzzing devices that communicated what pitch was coming during their at-bats. The allegations of this extremely advanced form of high-tech cheating actually had been around for two months, but the story received widespread attention on Thursday thanks to a push from a mysterious Twitter account that seemingly had new credibility.

In this story, we will get to the bottom of the Twitter account responsible for the rumor, and help set the record straight, giving you the facts of the situation.

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Jose Altuve denies wearing electronic buzzer

Jose Altuve buzzer

Jose Altuve denies that he wore an electronic buzzer during games as he has been accused of.

On Thursday, there days after MLB handed out punishments to the Houston Astros for cheating, accusations flew that some of the Astros’ best players wore electronic buzzers during games to receive stolen signals. Adding to the speculation were a few videos where Altuve seemed to be covering up his jersey so that a possible buzzer/wire wouldn’t be exposed.

MLB responded to the accusations and said they looked into whether the Astros used wearable devices and couldn’t find evidence to substantiate the claims.

Both Altuve and his agent Scott Boras issued statements to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman denying the use of an electronic buzzer.

Here were the explanations from Boras:

Altuve hit a walk-off 2-run home run off Aroldis Chapman to send the Astros to the 2019 World Series. His homer came on an 84-mph slider with a 2-1 count. Chapman threw his fastball 59 percent of the time last season and 31 percent of the time, according to Fangraphs. Did Altuve know a slider was coming and to look for something offspeed? The Astros are not receiving the benefit of any doubt on these questions now.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Allegations claim Astros players wore buzzers inside their jerseys

Jose Altuve buzzer

Major League Baseball confirmed this week that the Houston Astros cheated during their World Series season in 2017, and the majority of the findings centered around a video feed that was used to decode signs and someone banging on a trash can to relay them. However, new allegations claim the trash can was only one of the more obvious methods the Astros used to tell hitters which pitches were coming.

There have been rumblings that some Astros players also wore electronic buzzers inside their jerseys and would receive information via a buzzing sequence. A Twitter account claiming to be Carlos Beltran’s niece tweeted on Thursday that they had proof it was happening.

ESPN’s Marly Rivera has since reported that the person responsible for the tweets is not Beltran’s niece, according to the Beltran family. However, the Twitter account appeared to have information about Beltran’s hiring and firing days before other outlets reported it.

The account also is not the first person to float the buzzer theory. Both Jomboy, who has been at the forefront sharing Astros videos throughout the scandal, and MLB pitcher Trevor Bauer say they have heard from credible sources that the Astros did use buzzers as part of their elaborate sign-stealing scheme.

Back in November, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman also wrote there was speculation the Astros may have used buzzers to communicate signs.

But is there actual evidence? MLB mentioned nothing about the use of buzzers in the report it released this week, but let’s keep in mind the league would have preferred to keep all of this quiet. The trash can banging the Astros were found to be guilty of became completely obvious when people began digging up footage from their 2017 games, but do we have anything that resembles evidence of Houston players wearing an electronic device to receive tips via buzzer?

Maybe.

One heroic moment from Astros shortstop Jose Altuve is suddenly being viewed in a different light. After Altuve hit a walk-off home run to give the Astros a win over the New York Yankees in the 2019 ALCS and send them to the World Series, he pleaded with his teammates to not rip off his jersey when he got to home plate. Altuve told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports after the game that he is “too shy” and got in trouble with his wife the last time his jersey was torn off. You can see the exchange at the 48-second mark below:

Perhaps Altuve was telling the truth, but you can understand why everything that happened is now being viewed through a different lens. Many are speculating that Altuve did not want to risk revealing the electronic device he was wearing.

A lot of this may sound far-fetched, but the Astros no longer have the benefit of the doubt. Some of the evidence we have seen of their cheating is so obvious it borders on insulting, and it has become clear that sign-stealing was a religion in Houston. That’s not to say other MLB teams are innocent, but the Astros have made it part of their culture.

NOTE: Previous versions of this story included a photo of Josh Reddick with something that may have looked like a wire. He says that piece on his body was confetti. Previous versions also incorrectly stated the Altuve video occurred in 2017. It was from the 2019 season.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

Odell Beckham Jr has arrest warrant issued after slapping police officer’s butt in LSU locker room

Odell Beckham Jr Browns

Odell Beckham Jr created a problematic situation for LSU when he handed out cash to Tigers players following Monday night’s win over Clemson in the national championship game, but the star receiver is facing legal trouble for another stunt he pulled after the game.

According to Ramon Antonio Vargas of Nolan.com, police have obtained an arrest warrant for Beckham after a video that circulated on social media showed him slapping a police officer on the backside. The officer appeared to be telling LSU players to put out their victory cigars in the locker room when Beckham came up behind him and delivered the slap.

As you might expect, the officer did not look pleased. Beckham walked away afterword and it appeared the incident might be overlooked, but a police spokesman says a simple battery warrant was issued for Beckham after authorities saw the video. A warrant for a misdemeanor sexual battery charge was initially sought, but a judge declined it.

Between the cash stunt and slapping a police officer on the rear end, Beckham acted like a complete fool after LSU won. You can understand why LSU allowed him to hang around the team as someone who is an NFL superstar and Tiger alum, but it would not be a surprise if he is persona non grata going forward.

LSU initially said the money Beckham handed out was fake, but some comments Joe Burrow made on a podcast indicated otherwise. The school has since announced that it is working with the NCAA and the SEC to rectify the situation.