UFC: Nunes Retirement Talk Causes Annoyed Response From Dana White

UFC, Dana White

The UFC has a number of current star fighters who might not return for future fights, including Conor McGregor and Jon Jones, but another name joining that list for different reasons could be Amanda Nunes… The same Amanda Nunes that’s currently the champion in both the women’s bantamweight and women’s featherweight divisions, meaning her retirement would put the UFC in a bad spot in multiple places.

After all, Nunes just defended her featherweight title at UFC 250 and is the largest draw on the women’s side of the sport right now, surpassing others such as Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg during her eleven fight winning streak. And the featherweight division which Nunes recently defended her crown in is less appealing without her in it, lacking the same star power in the rest of the rankings.

So it’s safe to say that when Dana White learned of Nunes’ talk about possibly retiring at this point, he wasn’t happy.

“I will kill her… I literally just told Sean [Shelby] and Mick [Maynard] in the last meeting, ‘Let’s get this division built for her. Let’s build this division for her, and let’s start figuring this out. And now she’s talking about retiring?” White said on the Schmozone Podcast.

There’s not a comparable talent on the featherweight roster to Nunes. Cris Cyborg was just about the only name favored over Nunes at 145 lbs, but she would end up knocked out within the first round against Nunes and is now in Bellator rather than the UFC. Felicia Spencer was able to survive five rounds without getting finished, but still lost her recent title challenge by unanimous decision.

That leaves a big question: who would replace Nunes as the face of both the women’s bantamweight and women’s featherweight divisions if she does go through with her possible ideas about retiring?

The answer isn’t clear to the fans and it doesn’t seem like it’s clear to Dana White, either.

“You know how I always say, ‘If you’re talking about retiring, you probably should.’ Unless you’re where she’s at. In this time, when I got guys crying about money, one of our female fighters, who could go on and keep doing this for a long time, is saying, ‘Maybe I retire now.’ She’s got plenty of money and she can do it,” White continued.

It hasn’t been a good few months for the UFC when it comes to the business side. The league is already suffering financially from lost ticket sales, and at the same time, it could lose talents such as McGregor, Jones, Jorge Masvidal, and now Nunes. The bantamweight belt is still vacant, and it looks like Henry Cejudo will remain retired.

The UFC has always had something of a star power problem, where the league doesn’t create as many marketable star athletes as others such as the NFL and NBA, but that problem could get a lot worse this year depending on how things go. And depending on what happens, this specific situation could cast doubt on the future of an entire division.

UFC: Chris Weidman returns against Omari Akhmedov on Aug. 8th

Former UFC middleweight champion, Chris Weidman (14-5), will be making his first appearance in 2020 on August 8th. The former champion will be taking on rising middleweight contender, Omari Akhmedov (20-4-1). The fight will be on the same card that is being headlined by heavyweights, Derrick Lewis and Alexey Oleinik.

Former UFC middleweight champ’s back is against the wall

Chris Weidman has fallen under some serious hard times over the last few years. Weidman was at one point 13-0, and was considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Since then, Weidman has gone 1-5 being knocked out in all five of his losses. It is important to note that in four of those five losses, Weidman was doing very well in every fight before getting caught. The last time we saw Weidman was in October against Dominick Reyes at UFC on ESPN 6. Weidman decided to move up to light heavyweight to restart his career. However, Reyes smashed Weidman and finished him within the first two minutes. After that loss, Weidman has decided to return to the division where he was once the champion, hoping for one more run.

Akhmedov looking for his biggest win yet

Akhmedov had a very impressive 2019. The Russian went 3-0 including a win over Ian Heinisch. As a result, Akhmedov jumped up to being the 11th ranked middleweight in the world. A win over Weidman would be massive for Akhmedov’s career. Sure, Weidman isn’t the guy he was five years ago, but he’s still got a big name in the sport. If Akhmedov is able to defeat Weidman, you will likely see him make another jump in the rankings. He might be gearing up for a top five opponent if he’s able to win on August 8th. It’s a big fight for both men. For Weidman, if he’s not able to pick up the win, one has to wonder if he’ll walk away from the sport. For Akhmedov, it would be the biggest win of his UFC career which could vault him towards the top five.

UFC: Yoel Romero-Uriah Hall targeted for August

The UFC held their match making meeting on Tuesday, and the fight news is coming fast and furious. The UFC is targeting Yoel Romero (13-5) and Uriah Hall (15-9) for an event in August per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.

Yoel Romero, the UFC’s ageless fighter

There is no doubting the greatness of Yoel Romero. Yes, you might look at Romero’s record over the past three years and wonder, but Romero is at the very top of the middleweight division. Romero is just 1-4 in his last five fights, but those four losses were all razor close decision losses to the top three middleweights in the UFC. If we are being honest, I believe he won the second Robert Whittaker fight which would have made him the middleweight champion. Romero is a freak of nature. At 43-years-old, Romero doesn’t seem to age at all. Romero is coming off of a loss to current champion, Israel Adesanya. This seems to be a good reset fight for Romero. On paper, Romero is going to be a massive favorite, and this should be the kind of fight that can kick start his journey back to a title shot.

Uriah Hall’s Golden Opportunity

This is a golden opportunity for Uriah Hall. There was nobody in the history of the “Ultimate Fighter” who had more hype than Hall did coming off of his season in 2013/ Everyone, including myself, thought he would become the next big superstar in the UFC. However, since leaving the TUF house, Hall is 8-7 in his UFC career. He had a highlight reel win against Gegard Mousasi, but outside of that, he’s lost every opportunity he’s had going up against the top guys in the division. Hall has won two straight fights, but if he’s able to pull off a victory against Yoel Romero, it would make a huge statement. Hall is currently ranked tenth, but a win over Romero might get him inside the top five. He could possibly be just two wins away from a shot at the title.

New York Giants: Three Options To Replace Aldrick Rosas

New York Giants fans were, once again, greeted with some disappointing news today. The team’s starting kicker, Aldrick Rosas, has been arrested. According to TMZ Sports, Rosas has been arrested for allegedly crashing his car into another vehicle and then fleeing the scene. Officials believe Rosas may have been under the influence of alcohol.

The details of the incident are disturbing and there is not much room for optimism. Police officers found Rosas barefoot and bloody after fleeing the scene. Aldrick was also driving with a suspended license. A hit and run is a serious crime and it appears that Rosas has committed this crime. Police will soon confirm whether or not Aldrick was also driving under the influence.

Regardless of whether or not Rosas was drunk, this hit and run is an inexcusable and heinous action. The New York Giants need to find a new kicker. Fortunately, there are some solid options available for the Giants to consider.

Stephen Gostkowski

The first and most experienced option for the New York Giants is Stephen Gostkowski. New York Giants head coach Joe Judge has a connection with this kicker. Joe Judge served as the Patriots’ special teams coordinator from 2015 to 2019. Stephen Gostkowski was a member of the New England Patriots for fourteen seasons, from 2006 to 2019. Finally, Gostkowski’s run with the Patriots came to an end last season.

Gostkowski had season-ending hip surgery last season, ending his campaign after only four games. Gostkowski was still efficient before going down with injury, though. He was 7 of 8 on field-goal attempts. However, he struggled mightily with extra points, making only 11 of 15 attempts for by-far a career-worse 73.3%.

Stephen was always extremely efficient on extra points. He went nine full seasons from 2007 through 2015 without missing a single extra point and holds the NFL record for consecutive extra points with 479. Gostkowski’s historic career and connection with Joe Judge make him an enticing option for the New York Giants. However, his declining performance last season could be a reason for the Giants to stay away.

Nick Folk

Another former New England Patriot makes the shortlist: Nick Folk. Now, Nick Folk is not a long-time Patriots player like Gostkowski. However, he did spend 7 games with the team in 2019 and is still a free agent.

Nick Folk’s first game with the Patriots was in Week 9. He struggled in his first few games of the 2019 season. On his first 11 kicks, Folk made 8 of them. But he made 100% of his next 8 kicks in the Patriots’ final four games, including their playoff loss to the Titans. Folk’s longest kick of the 2019 season was 51 yards.

Nick Folk is another veteran kicker. He has been in the league since 2007 and is 35-years-old. He might not be a long-term solution for the Giants, but he can surely contribute some efficient special teams play in 2020.

Jon Brown

Jon Brown is a potential young, sleeper option at kicker. Brown has struggled to make an NFL roster since entering the league in 2016. However, there is a ton of untapped potential that the Giants could look to tap into.

At Louisville, Brown as an elite collegiate soccer player. He also served as a kicker on the Louisville Cardinal’s kickoff unit. He appeared in three games, kicked off 9 times, and averaged 62.8 yards per kickoff.

Brown got an opportunity at the NFL level in 2018 and he was pretty impressive. With the Cincinatti Bengals, Brown played in all four preseason games in 2018. He attempted 6 field goals and made all of them in that preseason. He also managed to nail a 55-yard bomb. Unfortunately, his impressive preseason was not enough, and Brown was waived prior to the regular season.

In December of 2019, Brown inked a reserve/futures contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Brown was then waived by the Jaguars in April of 2020. He has bounced around teams as a practice squad kicker. But now that the Giants seemingly have a huge vacancy at the position, they could give Brown a shot and see if he could elevate his game and be elevated from the practice squad.

Former Cy Young winner who played for the New York Yankees dies at 81

New York Yankees

A true Giants icon that lived the transition from New York to San Francisco, Mike McCormick died, according to the Associated Press. He was 81 years old. He was most famous for winning the National League Cy Young Award in 1967. Prior to retiring after the 1971 season, McCormick had a brief stint with the New York Yankees.

According to the Giants, McCormick died on Saturday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The news became public on Tuesday, though.

He played for five franchises, including the Yankees

From 1956 to 1971, McCormick’s major league career lasted 16 years, over which he defended several uniforms, such as the Giants, Orioles, Senators, Yankees and Royals. Overall, he had a fantastic career with a 134-128 record and a 3.73 ERA.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mike McCormick, a true gentleman and forever Giant,” Giants President and CEO Larry Baer said. “Like many Giants fans, I have many fond childhood memories of watching Mike pitch at Candlestick Park and then was blessed to call him my friend these past 30 years. As a member of the inaugural San Francisco Giants team in 1958, Mike helped establish baseball on the West Coast and then went on to play a major role in the legendary Giants teams of the 1960s, becoming San Francisco’s first pitcher to win a Cy Young Award.”

He was a member of the All-Star team two times in his career, the first one coming in 1960 when he had a 2.60 ERA.

While the New York Yankees only had him for a brief period of time, and away from his prime, he was a part of their marvelous history.

The Yankees traded for him in 1970, and McCormick had a 2-0 record and a 6.10 ERA in 20.2 frames with the Bombers. He spent the bulk of his playing days with the Giants franchise.

UFC: Derrick Lewis-Alexey Oleinik to headline August 8th Fight Night

One of the more popular figures in the UFC will be making his return on August 8th. Per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the always-entertaining, Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (23-7, 1 NC), will be making his return in a headlining fight against top-15 heavyweight, Alexey Oleinik.

The Black Beast is looking for another UFC title shot

Derrick Lewis became a sensation after his come from behind knockout of Alexander Volkov at UFC 229. The most watched UFC PPV in history featured Lewis knocking out Volkov with just seconds remaining in the fight, after he had been losing the entire time. Lewis’ post-fight interviewing skills are legendary, and a star was born that night. Lewis went from the Volkov fight to fighting for the title against Daniel Cormier. Lewis lost that fight then he lost again to former champion, Junior dos Santos. Since that loss, Lewis has bounced back with back-to-back victories over Blagoy Ivanov and Ilir Latifi. Lewis is currently ranked as the fourth best heavyweight in the UFC, and a victory on August 8th would put him in the title conversation once again.

Seasoned and Tested

Probably the most seasoned fighter in the UFC is heavyweight, Alexey Oleinik. At 42-years-old, Oleinik has fought 73 times professionally to a record of 59-13-1. Oleinik hit a bump in the road in 2019 after losing fights to Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris. Oleinik has bounced back strong in 2020. Oleinik has fought and won twice this year against Maurice Green and former heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum. A win over Lewis would be massive for Oleinik. Oleinik is currently ranked as the 11th best heavyweight in the UFC, but a win over Lewis would vault him closer to the top five.

New York Mets sign three undrafted free agents

After completing their draft with a few talented young players, GM Brodie Van Wagenen and the New York Mets scouting department kept making noise in the free agent market after the event and nabbed Brandon McIlwain, Joe Suozzi and Drake Nightengale.

Suozzi is a Glen Cove, N.Y. native and a Boston College outfielder. His father is a congressman who represents a portion of Queens, very close to the New York Mets’ home: Citi Field.

According to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, the deal is not yet official and thus hasn’t been confirmed by the team. However, Boston College’s athletic department announced it late Monday.

About Suozzi, DiComo writes that he is originally an unrecruited walk-on at Boston College. He hit .414 with one home run and 16 RBIs in 15 games as a senior before coronavirus concerns cut short the NCAA season. In 2019, he slashed .282/.363/.423 with three homers in 48 games.

The Mets took advantage of a larger player pool

The draft, which took place last week, lasted only five rounds, so the free agent player pool is a lot bigger this year. However, teams can only sign free agent players for a maximum of $20,000.

Earlier in the week, the Mets had signed undrafted outfielder Brandon McIlwain and pitcher Drake Nightengale in separate transactions.

“An athletic outfielder, McIlwain also started football games at quarterback for both Cal and the University of South Carolina, which he attended as a freshman. As a sophomore at Cal, McIlwain came within two rushing touchdowns of the school’s record for a QB. He is a Pennsylvania native,” MLB.com wrote.

“Nightengale, a 6-foot-0 right-hander who announced his deal on Twitter, ranked fourth in the Sun Belt Conference with a 3.52 ERA and 91 strikeouts as a junior. His college bio lists Jacob deGrom as his favorite player; now, Nightengale could soon have a chance to meet him.”

MLB: “Several players and staff” have tested positive for COVID-19 according to AP

It looks like everything is falling apart in baseball world, at least in the United States of America. Not only the players and owners can’t agree to the fair compensation of the former in the event of returning to play, but now, there is another big issue that may also interfere with any plans of having baseball back this year.

Per an MLB letter obtained by the Associated Press, “several players and staff” have tested positive for COVID-19.

That would be huge news because no MLB players were known to test positive for the virus until this report came to light. There are no names, though. A couple of New York Yankees minor league players tested positive a couple of months ago.

MLB and the union aren’t budging

MLB owners and the players’ association, led by Tony Clark, can’t agree on critical issues such as the number of games to play this season and the compensation and payment for those games. That’s why commissioner Rob Manfred backed off last week’s comments and is now pessimistic about having a season this year.

At the same time those issues are taking place in the negotiations between MLB and the union, COVID-19 cases in the country are beginning to spike, as are hospitalizations. It may be too dangerous to attempt a return to begin with, considering that some of the actors involved, such as managers, coaches, umpires and directives, may be at high risk.

Manfred has the right to impose a season in the 50-game range, but that may trigger a legal response by the players’ association because there might be enough space in the calendar to fit more games and a 50-game season might go against the terms agreed on March.

For now, stay tuned: we may or may not have baseball this season, but the events currently taking place in the middle of the pandemic make owners look worse than ever.

New York Mets Fifth Round Pick: Eric Orze

With their final pick of the 2020 MLB Draft, the New York Mets selected right-handed pitcher Eric Orze. His story is one of strength and perseverance just to make it to this point in his distinguished baseball career. Orze is a two-time cancer survivor and suffered through it during his college career.

Orze began his collegiate career pitching in community college at Northwest Florida State College. In back to back seasons, he posted ERAs over 4.5 but transferred to the University of New Orleans. During 2018, he struggled with an 8.10 ERA in only 16.2 innings. The short season was due to increasing pain in his abdomen, which had been testicular cancer.

He underwent surgery to prevent cancer from spreading. Orze’s fight was not over yet as fluid in his lungs had made it hard for him to breathe. One thing piled on to another as, during the process, doctors found a mole on his back that was melanoma. After a final surgery and due to his weight and strength loss from both cancers, Orze lacked the same energy. He sat out the entire 2019 season to recover.

Long Road Back

Orze finally pitched again in the shortened 2020 season. Over four outings, three starts, he had a 2.75 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched. Orze throws at a high three quarters arm slot but lowers the release point enough to cause the ball to sink. He will not overpower hitters with a 92-94 mph fastball, but the sink makes it a heavy ball to hit.

Orze features a splitter, which has a good drop to it at 83-85 mph. Like most young pitchers who throw the split, it needs more work on its control to become a true strikeout pitch. His slider sometimes looks like a cutter when thrown in the high-80s instead of the mid-80s. If he can effectively differentiate both, he can be a very useful sinker/slider/cutter pitcher who can be a groundball machine.

The physical and mental makeup is all there with Orze. Despite only having a handful of success in college, the fight and performance over the last two years were enough for the Mets to take a risk.

 

 

BREAKING: Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas arrested for hit and run

New York Giants, Aldrick Rosas

New York Giants Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas has been arrested for allegedly crashing his car into another vehicle and then fleeing the scene, according to TMZ Sports.

Witnesses reportedly saw Rosas driving a black Chevrolet SUV very recklessly around Chico, California before he struck the side of a pickup truck. After T-boning the truck, Rosas drove away until his SUV broke down from the crash shortly thereafter. TMZ also reports that witnesses then saw Rosas get out of his car and run away.

Rosas was found by police near the site of the crash, where he was questioned. He was bleeding from various parts of his body and officials believe Rosas may have been under the influence of alcohol.

Rosas was booked at Butte County Jail on hit-and-run and driving under a suspended license charge. Investigations are ongoing, and neither the Giants nor Rosas have commented on the situation yet.

This developing story is obviously a huge blow for the Giants, as they very well could now be in the market for a new kicker. Giants’ head coach Joe Judge just can’t seem to catch a break this offseason, with the COVID-19 pandemic greatly affecting offseason preparation and the armed robbery charges of cornerback DeAndre Baker last month.

Rosas, 25, has been very productive for the Giants since he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017. Over the past three seasons, Rosas has converted 62 of the 75 field goals he’s attempted, kicking 82.7 percent. He’s also made 86 of his 94 extra-point attempts.

Rosas’ best year came in 2018 when he made 32 out of 33 field goals, kicking 97.0 percent, and 31 out of 32 extra points. He made the Pro Bowl that season and was one of the best kickers in football. In 2019 Rosas had a bit of an inconsistent year where he struggled at times, but some think that poor long snapping played a factor.

The Giants had big expectations for Rosas this season and were hoping he could get back to his 2018 form. Now it remains to be seen if he will even be on the team going forward, and all the Giants can do is hope for the best once more information comes out.