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#pounditTuesday, August 11, 2020

MMA

Georges St-Pierre announced as inductee into UFC Hall of Fame

Georges St-Pierre

Georges St-Pierre is one of the greatest fighters in UFC history, and now he will be memorialized accordingly.

The UFC announced during UFC 249 on Saturday night that GSP will be inducted into their Hall of Fame.

The 38-year-old Canadian was a champion in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions in the UFC. He successfully defended his title nine consecutive times and once held the welterweight championship for six years — an incredible length of time for a UFC champion.

GSP fought and defeated some of the greatest UFC fighters in history, such as B.J. Penn, Matt Hughes, Nick Diaz and Jake Shields. He was reluctant to fight after 2013 but returned in 2017 to beat Michael Bisping via submission and win the middleweight belt.

There are few fighters more deserving of the honor than GSP.

No Crowd: UFC fighters use analyst Daniel Cormier’s advice during fight

Daniel Cormier

The lack of fan attendance at UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Fla. is giving us a glimpse of how different sports will be in the near future. And one consequence is that athletes can hear the commentators talking — and use it to their advantage. In fact, two fighters on Saturday’s UFC 249 fight card said they did just that.

Carla Esparza beat Michelle Waterson via split decision and says she followed some of commentator Daniel Cormier’s advice to mix up her wrestling and strikes.

Similarly, Greg Hardy says he listened to Cormier’s advice to check leg kicks from Yorgan de Castro.

The advice helped Hardy beat de Castro via unanimous decision.

Cormier isn’t just any announcer. The 41-year-old is the No. 1 UFC heavyweight, a two division UFC champion, and former Olympian. He knows what he is doing more than your average commentator. But if they had to follow Cormier’s advice to achieve success, it makes you wonder why their corners weren’t providing the advice.

Niko Price taken to hospital for nasty eye cut after UFC 249 loss to Vicente Luque

UFC

Niko Price lost to Vicente Luque at UFC 249 on Saturday night due to some nastiness with his eye.

The fight between the two was called during the third round due to Price’s eye being swollen shut and looking nasty with a huge cut. Luque was awarded a TKO victory to improve to 18-7-1.

Here is a look at Price’s eye:

That was a rough way for Price to lose. He’s now 14-4 with one no contest.

As for questions about his health, he was still in good spirits and hugged and congratulated Luque on the win.

Price was taken to the hospital after the fight.

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Florida clears WWE for live shows, opens up state to sports without fans

WWE logo

If you’re wondering where sports leagues might be able to resume seasons amid the coronavirus situation, Florida could very well be a leading candidate.

Florida is under shelter-in-place orders for the month of April. During that time, only businesses deemed “essential” are allowed to continue operations — ones in the health care, financial, energy, food, communications and transportation sectors. But the governor has now added professional sports and media productions with national audiences to the list of permissible businesses, so long as the location is closed to the public.

Florida’s governor stated the following in an April 9 memo:

“Employees at a professional sports and media production with a national audience — including any athletes, entertainers, production team, executive team, media team and any others necessary to facilitate including services supporting such production — only if the location is closed to the general public.”

The new rule allows the WWE to continue filming live shows from its Orlando training facility. The governor’s office told ESPN that the WWE was allowed to continue business because it is essential to the state’s economy.

The WWE issued a statement about the matter.

“We believe it is now more important than ever to provide people with a diversion from these hard times,” WWE said. “We are producing content on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following appropriate guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of our performers and staff. As a brand that has been woven into the fabric of society, WWE and its Superstars bring families together and deliver a sense of hope, determination and perseverance.”

The UFC has been looking to continue hosting fight cards and was shut down by California in an effort to circumvent the state’s shelter-in-place rules by hosting fights on tribal land. They may want to check into hosting fights in Florida because it sounds like they would be allowed to do so.

Jon Jones addresses his drinking in response to Twitter troll

Jon Jones

Jon Jones recently acknowledged that he has to work on the “unhealthy relationship” he has with alcohol, but the UFC star does not want that to define him as a person.

Jones was bold enough to answer some questions from fans on Twitter Sunday — less than two weeks after he reached a plea deal in his latest DWI case. Naturally, the topic of his issues outside the Octagon came up. When one fan praised Jones for his fighting ability but urged him not to “f— it up,” Jones seemed to take it a bit personally.

Jones then addressed concerns about his character and admitted his “character gets too drunk when he drinks.” He said he would rather focus on the positives, though.

Jones is one of the best fighters in UFC history, but he just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. His recent DWI and gun charge was hardly his first run-in with the law, as the light heavyweight champion also had a DUI in 2012, a hit-and-run in 2015 and numerous failed drug tests. It’s convenient for him to say he prefers to focus on the positives, but he has to be prepared to answer questions about his poor decisions if he’s going to hold a Q&A on social media.

California shows inconsistency in telling UFC 249 to shut down

Dana White

Some of California’s politicians flexed their muscles by essentially telling the UFC to shut down its plans to host UFC 249 at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif. on April 18.

California is under a shelter-in-place rule as mandated by the state government for efforts related to the containment of COVID-19. Under this order, only businesses that are deemed essential are allowed to continue operating.

Tachi Palace is located on tribal land, which is a loophole Dana White was exploiting to avoid the shelter-in-place rules.

Though there is zero doubt that White was trying to find a workaround the current state law, the state showed some inconsistency regarding the issues it took with the UFC event.

In her statement on the matter, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said: “This event would involve dozens of individuals flying to California and driving to a casino for a purpose no one can honestly claim is essential.

“I understand this event is scheduled to take place on tribal land and therefore is not subject to state law. However, at best this event ties up medical resources and sends a message that shelter-in-place orders can be flouted. At worst, participants and support staff could carry the virus back to their home communities and increase its spread.”

Feinstein cited the use of medical resources and the possible spread of the virus as reasons why the event should not take place. She also called the fights non-essential.

Here’s the thing: how does one reconcile such a statement with the state’s decision to allow construction to continue on SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., the future home of the Rams and Chargers? A construction worker tested positive for the virus in late March, and a second worker reportedly has tested positive, but construction continues.

The reason the construction continues? They want the stadium open in time for a Taylor Swift concert on July 25.

Please tell me, what makes a Taylor Swift concert any more essential than a UFC fight card? Moreover, the UFC planned to test everyone involved in the fight and do quarantines. Please tell me, how is allowing construction to continue where workers have tested positive for the virus not increasing the virus’ spread any more than the UFC following testing and quarantine protocols for its fights?

I don’t disagree that White was flouting the rule (and he was doing so because the UFC’s parent company, Endeavor led by Ari Emanuel, has serious debt issues). But I don’t understand what made the UFC’s plans so much more of a health threat than the ongoing construction of SoFi Stadium. There probably isn’t a good answer other than, “because we make the rules and we say so.”

If you look deeper into the picture, you might seem some sort of personal/political motivations for the shutdown. Endeavor’s Emanuel was Donald Trump’s agent. White has been close with Trump. And Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, is California governor Gavin Newsom’s ex-wife. Is it any wonder why Newsom reportedly called Disney and asked them to shut down the UFC event, which was set to air on Disney-owned ESPN? I don’t think so.

Disney, ESPN told Dana White to shut down UFC 249, future fights

Dana White

Dana White tried his best to keep the UFC train going, but his plans have been put on hold.

UFC 249 will not take place on April 18 as White was planning, the UFC boss said on Thursday.

The UFC was one of the last pro sports leagues to actually cancel events, waiting well until all other major pro sports had done so before cancelling its last three events. They were planning to go forward with UFC 249 despite the COVID-19 related shutdown rules around the country.

White arranged to have UFC 249 take place at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif., which is on tribal land, as an effort to avoid the California shelter-in-place mandates. Two days after the New York Times reported about the fight location plans, California senator Dianne Feinstein released a statement saying she was “concerned” about the event.

“I’m concerned by reports that Ultimate Fighting Championship plans to hold a pay-per-view event in California, in defiance of the state’s shelter-in-place order,” Feinstein said in her statement. “This event would involve dozens of individuals flying to California and driving to a casino for a purpose no one can honestly claim is essential.

“I understand this event is scheduled to take place on tribal land and therefore is not subject to state law. However, at best this event ties up medical resources and sends a message that shelter-in-place orders can be flouted. At worst, participants and support staff could carry the virus back to their home communities and increase its spread.”

White says he got a call from Disney, which owns ESPN, telling him to not go forward with the event and try to circumvent the government rules.

“Today, we got a call from the highest level you can go at Disney, and the highest level at ESPN … and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event on Saturday,” White told ESPN.

White likely had been so adamant about carrying forward with the planned fight schedule due to financial pressure from his parent company. WME/IMG bought the UFC for $4 billion and is heavily in debt. They need revenue/cash flow to pay their loans or risk running into issues with their creditors. The UFC must put on 42 shows a year for ESPN in order to collect its annual payment of over $600 million, so their parent company is concerned about losing that much-needed money.