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Sunday, June 25, 2017

MMA

Chael Sonnen calls out Fedor Emelianenko, fans after beating Wanderlei Silva

Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen defeated Wanderlei Silva by unanimous decision at Bellator NYC inside Madison Square Garden Saturday night, and the 40-year-old immediately got to working on setting up his next fight after the victory.

Sonnen hit Silva with a number of punches and was able to take him down in all three rounds, earning a 30-27 score in his favor from two judges and 30-26 from the other. When the bout was over, Sonnen trolled the fans in New York City and called out Tito Ortiz and Fedor Emelianenko, who was knocked out by Matt Mitrione earlier in the night.

Sonnen, who is 2-4 in his past six fights, retired from the UFC after a two-year doping suspension in 2014 and returned to sign a contract with Bellator last year. He has bad blood with a number of other fighters, which was evident when Ortiz was jawing at him from outside the cage before Saturday’s fight.

Ortiz actually defeated Sonnen by submission back in January, but there has been some question about whether Ortiz tapped out in the first round and the referee missed it. Sonnen obviously feels that was the case.

While speaking with reporters after his win over Silva, Sonnen was not quite as critical of Emelianenko.

“I respect Fedor, and I think he and I’s paths are going to cross sooner rather than later,” Sonnen said, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com.

Sonnen has always been one of the most outspoken fighters in MMA, and Ortiz’s ex-girlfriend could tell you all about that. Win, lose, or draw, he’s always going to talk like he’s the greatest fighter of all time.

Conor McGregor’s coach says tentative plans include a return to UFC in 2017

Conor McGregor belts

In an exclusive piece written for Irish sports news site The42, Conor McGregor’s coach detailed the mindset and motivations for the fighter’s upcoming boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. In the midst of the puff piece about his friend and client, coach John Kavanagh dropped a juicy nugget of information as well.

Kavanaugh mentions in the piece he wrote for the42 that he expects McGregor to fight in the octagon by the end of the calendar year, even specifically mentioning the month of December for a possible return. No potential opponent or other details are mentioned.

Kavanaugh writes, “The tentative plan, as I see it, is certainly for a fight in the UFC in December. But in the meantime we’re completely focused on boxing and Floyd Mayweather.”

He even goes out of his way to mention that this plan is far from sealed, adding that, “It’s always difficult to predict what Conor is going to do next.”

For now, the entire fighting world looks forward to the cross-sport matchup between 28-year-old UFC fighter McGregor and 40-year-old, five-division boxing champion Floyd Mayweather. The two are scheduled to meet Aug. 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Shane McNichol covers college basketball and the NBA for Larry Brown Sports. He also blogs about basketball at Palestra Back and has contributed to Rush The Court, ESPN.com, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.

Oscar De La Hoya: Dana White ‘disrespectful’ for timing of Mayweather-McGregor

Oscar de la Hoya

Dana White is facing a fresh round of criticism from the boxing world over the timing of the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight.

Oscar De La Hoya blasted White in a Wednesday ESPN appearance, calling the UFC boss “disrespectful” for scheduling the fight just three weeks prior to the long-awaited battle between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.

De La Hoya, who has been critical of the McGregor fight, offered a fresh round of criticism Wednesday.

“It was disrespectful,” De La Hoya said, via TMZ Sports. “I would have thought that Dana White would have a little more respect with this boxing event taking place, because look, you just don’t do that. It’s like having the Super Bowl and then three weeks later the World Series takes place, the final game. It just doesn’t happen.

“We have the whole year to stage these types of big events … They could have maybe staged it in November or December but, look, it is what it is. We have a superfight here. We have a real fight, and that’s exactly what we’re focusing on.”

Canelo-GGG will be a huge draw for De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions, but there’s little doubt that having a major fight a few weeks earlier will take away from some of their business. Fans who pay $100 to see Mayweather-McGregor might be less likely to shell out similar money for another highly-touted fight a few weeks later.

It’s no surprise that De La Hoya wouldn’t take kindly to competition from another fight he has long been dismissive of.

Nate Diaz’s former agents suing him for more than $1 million

The Diaz brothers have been well-known in the MMA world for years, but Nate Diaz — the younger of the two — really burst onto the national scene in 2016. Last year, he emerged as a viable rival for UFC lightning rod Conor McGregor.

Diaz and McGregor split a pair of hotly-contested, hyped-up, big-money fights. With Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones having fallen off, their fights were the epicenter of UFC action last year.

Now, following Diaz’s breakout year, his former agents are suing the 32-year-old fighter and saying they didn’t get a fair shake.

A month before the second of the two marquee McGregor-Diaz fights — UFC 202, which took place in Aug. 2016 — Diaz fired his agents at the Ballengee Group. They say they negotiated his big payday (Diaz reportedly received over $2 million) and then he fired them, according to TMZ.

Diaz had worked with the Ballengee Group since 2014. The group had represented Diaz and negotiated the biggest deals of his career, including his payouts for fighting Rafael Dos Anjos and Michael Johnson (as well as the first McGregor fight at UFC 196).

According to the lawsuit, the relationship between Diaz and Ballengee soured right after they inked the deal for UFC 202. The group says the firing came “unexpectedly,” and they never received their payout for UFC 202, which reportedly broke the pay-per-view record with 1.65 million purchases.

Attorney Jason Friedman filed the suit on behalf of Ballengee in District Court in Dallas, where the agency is headquartered. The Ballengee Group is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

Tim Hague dies after injuries caused by knockout

Former UFC fighter Tim Hague died Sunday after sustaining traumatic injuries when he was knocked out in a boxing match on Friday night.

Hague’s family revealed in a statement that the 34-year-old has passed away.

“It is with incredible sadness, sorrow and heartbreak to report that Tim has passed away today,” the statement read, via Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com. “He was surrounded by family, listening to his favorite songs. We will miss him with so greatly. We ask for privacy during this difficult time.”

Hague, who had five UFC fights from 2009 to 2011, was knocked out in the second round by Adam Braidwood. He reportedly suffered a seizure in the locker room and was transported to a hospital, where he was in critical condition until Sunday. You can see a video of the knockout here.

Ex-UFC fighter Tim Hague reportedly brain dead after knockout

Former UFC fighter Tim Hague was knocked out in the second round of his boxing match against Adam Braidwood Friday night, and he has reportedly been left brain dead and in critical condition.

MMA reporter Mike Russell revealed on Saturday that Hague suffered a seizure in the locker room and went into a coma. The 34-year-old was then transported to a hospital to undergo emergency surgery.

Here’s a video of the knockout:

Russell noted that Hague was knocked down twice in the fight prior to being defeated, and there’s some question about whether or not the referee should have stepped in. Jackie Neil, Hague’s sister, told SportsNet.ca that her brother was still in critical condition as of Saturday night.

Hague, whose first UFC fight was in 2009, has been knocked out numerous times in his career. Unfortunately, he is the second boxer we have seen in a week who suffered a traumatic injury in the ring. Here’s hoping a miracle comes Hague’s way.

UPDATE: Hague’s family announced on Sunday that the 34-year-old has died.

Conor McGregor sparring partner: UFC star has no shot against Floyd Mayweather

Conor McGregor belts

Conor McGregor is being backed by a lot of the early Las Vegas action for his bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr, but one of the UFC star’s former sparring partners says he has no shot at winning the fight.

Former IBO welterweight champion Chris van Heerden, who sparred with McGregor in May 2016, told TMZ he was out of shape when he worked out with McGregor and was still able to dominate the Irishman.

“It’s crazy, I read all these posts where people say Mayweather’s gonna have his hands full landing on Conor because of Conor’s skill and footwork and movement,” van Heerden said. “I’m no Mayweather and — out of camp, out of shape — I landed (punches) on Conor McGregor at will.

“It’s crazy to think people can actually compare a fighter that’s 0-0 in a boxing ring compared to a legend that’s 49-0 and has beaten the best and best in the world.”

Van Heerden sparred with McGregor over a year ago, so there’s a chance the MMA fighter has improved significantly since then. That said, Mayweather is known as one of the smartest fighters and best defenders of all time. And even if McGregor does catch him with a big shot or two, van Heerden doesn’t think Conor will have enough power to knock Floyd out.

“No. He’s been hit by guys that can punch, and he didn’t go down,” van Heerden said. “He knows how to recover.”

McGregor probably thinks he can win, but the amount of money he is expected to make will take the sting away even if the expected outcome is the one we see. Should McGregor find a way to beat Mayweather, it would be arguably the biggest upset in the history of the sport.

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