UFC: Mike Perry knocks out older man during a restaurant altercation

UFC welterweight, “Platinum” Mike Perry, is in the news this evening. The unique fighter was filmed in an altercation at a Lubbock, Texas restaurant. Perry and his girlfriend were leaving the bar as things began to escalate. Warning, the video is NSFW.

No word from the UFC

With this just coming out, there has been no word from the UFC. The staff is in Abu Dhabi prepping for the first event on Fight Island. As you can see in the above video, Perry is going back and forth with a number of folks at the restaurant. The UFC welterweight seemingly got annoyed when a patron made fun of the way he said the word “police”.

Following some brief words the two men ended up in a physical altercation where Perry dropped the man. Following more chaos, you can hear Perry repeatedly dropping the n-bomb, but it should be noted that it was not directed towards any black individuals at the restaurant.

“Platinum” needs to breathe

Perry has always seemed like he’s had a screw loose. He’s incredibly talented, but he’s interesting to say the least. Now, we don’t know exactly what happened leading up to this, but the UFC welterweight needed to have more self-control. It’s not the first time that Perry’s had a public scuffle. He recently told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani about a fight he got into with a couple of bouncers.

Perry is coming off of a very impressive win over Mickey Gall last month at UFC on ESPN 12. The win snapped a two-fight losing streak and Perry was looking forward to setting up a new camp for himself. No word on how this will effect him moving forward, but it’s not a good look at all.

New York Giants: James Bradberry The Defense’s X-Factor

New York Giants, James Bradberry

Over the past two years, the New York Giants have made it a priority to strengthen their secondary. The Giants drafted three defensive backs in the 2019 NFL Draft and three more in the 2020 NFL Draft. On top of that, New York made a splash signing on a cornerback in the 2020 free agency period.

This offseason the New York Giants signed cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year, $43.5 million deal. Bradberry is a 26-year-old corner out of Samford who spent his first four seasons with the Carolina Panthers. Brabderry’s next three NFL seasons are slated to be played with the Giants. Over the course of his time with the Gmen, James Bradberry will be the X-factor of the team’s defense.

Why James Bradberry Is So Important

The New York Giants have a brand new coaching staff heading into the 2020 NFL season. New head coach Joe Judge hired Patrick Graham to be his defensive coordinator. The Giants will have a brand new defensive scheme to learn and implement this season:

Graham had a great defensive scheme in place. The two major play calls of the Miami defense were blitzing and man to man coverage. Graham was very clever with his blitzing packages, using a variety of linebacker and defensive back blitzes. In Miami, Graham would also send in delayed blitzes to really disturb an offense. This was not just done in between the gaps; the blitzes came from different spots on the field. The Dolphins Blitzed on 35% of their snaps, 41% on third down (which was the third-most in the league). The Dolphins ran man to man coverage 50% of the time in the 2019 season and would often show blitz and drop back into coverage. This was a great strategy in the Graham defense, keeping opposing offenses on their toes because of the constant blitzing formations. – Jack Quartararo of ESM

How successful the Giants are in executing this new man-coverage-heavy defensive scheme largely depends upon James Bradberry. As the team’s new number one cornerback, Bradberry’s performance in man-coverage will largely determine the success of the team’s secondary.

James Bradberry Stats and Highlights

In Carolina, Bradberry was used as a true number one cornerback. He followed the opposing team’s best wide receivers and shadowed them for the majority of games. In the NFC South, Brabderry went up against some of the best wide receiver competition in the entire league. Here’s how he fared:

James Brabderry consistently got the better of his opponents in 2019. In the Giants’ new man-coverage defensive scheme, he will shadow the likes of Amari Cooper and Terry McLaurin. Will he continue to be the top dog in 2020?

NASCAR: Watkins Glen event cancelled in latest schedule release

For the first time since 1985, Schuyler County’s Watkins Glen International will not hold a NASCAR Cup Series event.

NASCAR released its remaining regular season schedule for each of its national series on Wednesday, but the annual trip to Schuyler County will have to wait until 2021.

New York State’s Watkins Glen International will not run their annual events in the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series as the auto racing circuit continues to run its full slate in its comeback from the coronavirus pause. The premier Cup Series was set to hold the Go Bowling at The Glen on August 16, one day after the Xfinity drivers ran the Zippo 200 at The Glen. Their races have instead gone to Daytona International Speedway, who will host these summer events on their in-house oval-road course hybrid (known as a “roval”).

“This is an unprecedented time in the history of our nation and Watkins Glen International,” said WGI President Michael Printup said in a statement. “The dynamic situation we are all confronting is impacting our daily lives and activities in unimaginable ways. While we are disappointed we will not experience NASCAR in New York this year, as we look broadly at the current pandemic in our country and around the world, we must focus first on everyone’s safety and well-being as NASCAR seeks the best way to continue delivering a remarkable on-track product week after week.”

WGI hosted its first NASCAR race in 1957 and the Cup Series has visited annually since 1986. Chase Elliott has won each of the past two visits while Tony Stewart leads all drivers with five wins at the 2.45-mile road course near the Finger Lakes. The Xfinity Series has also visited annually since 1991 with the exception of a three-year hiatus (2002-04).

Daytona is best known for hosting the renowned, season-opening Daytona 500. Its summer event, the Coke Zero 400, was moved from its traditional Independence Day weekend slot to the final race of the 26-stage regular season prior to the start of the campaign. This will be the first time that NASCAR races on the Daytona roval, which has staged the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race (previously known as the 24 Hours of Daytona) since 1962. Each of NASCAR’s three national series (including the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series) will run on the roval, as will the ARCA Menards Series (a NASCAR property since 2018).

Despite the loss of Watkins Glen, NASCAR will still make visits to the northeast. Delaware’s Dover International Speedway, commonly known as “The Monster Mile”, will host six races on the weekend of August 21-23, including a pair of 311-lap Cup Series races. A previously announced portion of the schedule revealed that New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon will still host the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on August 2.

Nearing its midway point, the Cup Series will return to action on Sunday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1).

Remaining Cup Series Regular Season Schedule
Date Location Time (ET) Length (Miles) TV
July 12 Kentucky 2:30 p.m. 400 FS1
July 15 Bristol (All-Star) 7:00 p.m. 75 FS1
July 19 Texas 3:00 p.m. 501 NBCSN
July 23 Kansas 7:30 p.m. 400 NBCSN
August 2 New Hampshire 3:00 p.m. 318 NBCSN
August 8 Michigan 4:00 p.m. 312 NBCSN
August 9 Michigan 4:30 p.m. 312 NBCSN
August 16 Daytona (Roval) 3:00 p.m. 231 NBC
August 22 Dover 4:00 p.m. 311 NBCSN
August 23 Dover 4:00 p.m. 311 NBCSN
August 29 Daytona 7:30 p.m. 400 NBC

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

UFC: Is Ciryl Gane the next great UFC heavyweight?

Ciryl Gane UFC

The UFC‘s heavyweight division is in a very weird position. At the top of the division, you have two men (Stipe Miocic & Daniel Cormier) who are getting ready to fight for the third time for the heavyweight title. Neither man is guaranteed to fight again after their trilogy.

Behind them, you have the most terrifying heavyweight in the world, Francis Ngannou (15-3). After Ngannou, the water gets murky for the heavyweight division.

Sure you have a guy like Curtis Blaydes, but he’s already lost to Ngannou twice. After Blaydes, the rest of the division is not very strong. However, there is one contender who just broke into the UFC‘s top 15 that people should pay attention to. He’s also a teammate of Ngannou. That man is Ciryl Gane (6-0).

From Muay Thai to the UFC

Gane is a French heavyweight who got his combat sports start in Muay Thai. Gane went a perfect 7-0 in Muay Thai including winning a title before making a jump to MMA. One year after his professional MMA debut, Gane made his UFC debut in August of 2019.

Gane fought three times from August to December winning all three of his UFC appearances to vault him to the fifteenth ranking. Gane is a massive heavyweight standing 6’5 and weighing the maximum of 265 pounds. There’s no soft in his physique as he’s a solid 265 pounds.

“Bon Gamin” is extremely entertaining to watch. He’s such a high level striker, but he doesn’t throw with all his power a lot of the time. He fights in a traditional point fighting style where he mainly touches his opponents. However, when he sees the opening, he can uncork power shots that are capable of putting anyone to sleep in the UFC‘s heavyweight division.

Another contender is what the UFC needs

As mentioned early, Gane currently trains at the MMA Factory alongside Francis Ngannou. Gane believes that Ngannou is going to become the next UFC heavyweight champion. He acknowledged that this could create an interesting situation between the two men and the camp.

“It’s a sport… If we can avoid the situation it would be best, but if I had to fight Francis, I would do this,” Gane told Fox Sports last year.

Gane is someone who I think the UFC really needs for it’s heavyweight division. As mentioned, after Ngannou the division looks pretty weak. If Gane can develop into a star, there could be massive potential for a Gane/Ngannou fight one day. For now, Gane has a fight next month against top contender, Sergei Pavlovich (14-1). If Gane is able to get through Pavlovich, a top-ten opponent would be next for the Frenchman.

New York Mets: Yoenis Cespedes’ busy camp continues as he takes grounders at first base

New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes

New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who is entering the final year of his multi-year pact, has had quite an eventful year. Amid rumors that the team would look to cancel his deal after he broke his ankle in a ranch accident, the Mets managed to restructure it to significantly lower his base salary and make him earn his payday on the field.

That, and the fact that Cespedes was also coming from multiple heel surgeries in the last couple of years, has contributed to him not playing in MLB games since July 2018. After overcoming hurdles little by little, he is now the New York Mets’ top choice for designated hitter duties, and a couple of games in the outfield here or there eventually.

However, according to SNY.tv, he was seen getting grounds on first base during Wednesday morning’s practice at Citi Field, and also receiving throws from the shortstop in the first sack. So the question is raised: is Yoenis Cespedes preparing for playing time at that position this season?

Are the Mets really considering the idea?

According to Mets manager Luis Rojas, starting first baseman Pete Alonso gave Cespedes the glove he was using. Is it possible that the club considers the hitting star to back up Alonso during the season?

“He’s got this glove that Pete Alonso gave him so he’s hanging out with it and he’s taking his ground balls,” Rojas said during a Zoom interview on Wednesday. “He wants to be involved. He was done with his throwing in the outfield.

“This is a guy who wants to be on the field and do different things. He wants to show you that he’s really good everywhere.”

Cespedes’ injury story has led some in the industry to suggest he may fit in first base in the future. The body endures significantly less running, wear and tear. And the Mets’ skipper has said that the thought has been discussed, but for now, he seems locked and loaded as the club’s top DH option.

“I think he’s played every position in the books. We’ve definitely had conversations about it but nothing serious yet that there’s going to be versatility as far as him that we’ve talked [about] yet.”

New York Yankees place DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa on the 10-day injured list with COVID-19

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees have two known major league players who tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days. Infielder DJ LeMahieu and right-handed reliever Luis Cessa were both placed on the 10-day injured list by the Bombers on Wednesday.

LeMahieu, who led the New York Yankees in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with 5.4 fWAR (Fangraphs’ version) is said to have no symptoms of the disease. It is not clear, as of now, when he will be allowed to return to the active team and join the team summer camp.

The 31-year old star slashed .327/.375/.518 last season with a .375 wOBA and 136 wRC+. He hit a career-high 26 home runs in his finest offensive season yet. LeMahieu is in the last year of the two-year, $24 million pact he signed before the 2019 season.

The Yankees’ Cessa also on the shelf

The Yankees also placed hurler Luis Cessa on the 10-day injured list. The reliever was also recently diagnosed with coronavirus and had some mild symptoms for a few days, but he said on Tuesday that he is already recovered from the disease.

Like it is happening with LeMahieu, it is unclear when the 28-year old righty will be allowed to report to training camp.

Cessa pitched 81.0 innings in 2019, with a 4.11 ERA and a 4.87 FIP. He had a bit of a home run issue, conceding 1.56 long balls per each nine innings, but was a valuable reliever in a variety of roles for Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

The Yankees need both men to succeed in the 2020 shortened season, especially LeMahieu, because the dropoff in expected performance between LeMahieu and his potential replacements is considerable.

The 2020 season, for the New York Yankees, will start on July 23 against the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital, so both men still have a handful of days to show they left the virus behind and return to the club.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone gives us answers on Miguel Andujar for 2020

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

In early 2019, Yankees’ Miguel Andujar suffered a season-ending shoulder injury sliding back into third base. After that, Gio Urshela stepped up and took over as the starting third baseman. Since then, Andujar has been a question mark for the Yankees. In Spring Training, Boone talked about transferring Andujar to the outfield and using him as a DH but hasn’t talked about their plans for Andujar in the 2020 season. 

In a press conference yesterday, Aaron Boone talked about where they’ve been placing Andujar during Summer Camp. He said, “he’s been getting work in the outfield” but he is still “balancing between the two” positions (third base and outfield). Boone said when they were doing fielding work a couple of days ago, Andujar was “doing all of his stuff with the outfielders.” He finished by saying the Yankees “continue to be excited in his ability to play the corners of the outfield but also at third.” 

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Later that night, Andujar started in left field in the intrasquad game and hit an opposite-field home run off of starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. 

If it works out, Andujar will provide more talent and depth into an already stacked outfield. When Stanton shifts back to left field, it seems very likely that Andujar will take over the DH spot for the Yankees. 

Many forget how talented Andujar is at the plate. His 2018 stats were: 573 AB, 170 H, .297 AVG, .328 OBP, .527 SLG, .855 OPS, 47 2B, 2 3B, 27 HR, 92 RBI, 25 BB. Andujar ended up finishing second in “Rookie of the Year” voting in 2018 behind the slugging right-handed pitcher, Shohei Ohtani. 

Andujar is a very versatile and talented player.  His ability to get on base and hit the opposite way will further justify placing him in the DH role this year. Look to see Andujar’s name in a lot of lineup cards this season.  

Rangers broadcaster’s Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti to call games from studio in New York

New York Rangers fans have been anxiously waiting to hear Same Rosen scream out his famous “It’s a power-play goal” since the league shut down in March.

MSG Network will be broadcasting the Qualifying Rounds in a new and unusual way. While the team takes to the ice in Toronto, Rosen along with Joe Micheletti will be staying in New York and call the game from a local studio as they watch the action on television.

The Rangers organization along with the NHL are trying to keep everyone as safe as possible to prevent getting the COVID-19 infection.

The league is lucky as they have been able to see how other sports handle broadcasting live events during a global pandemic.  Fox Sports was the first to attack the issue when NASCAR resumed their racing schedule.

Fox Broadcaster’s Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon broadcasted the races from the comfort and safety of their studios in Charlotte, NC.

This set up will be similar when calling hockey games with Sam and Joe trying to capture the events on the ice via high definition television screens as opposed to seeing the actual gameplay at live in person.

If all goes as expected the transition should be smooth with the only difference noticeable will be the fact that no fans will be watching live as they scream in the background.

 

New York Giants: Patrick Graham is bringing one significant change to the Giants’ defense

New York Giants, Patrick Graham

The New York Giants are going into 2020 with an entirely new approach, set forth by the new coaching staff they have constructed. New head coach Joe Judge will implement a more fundamentalistic style of coaching and play. His players will refine their technique and increase their tackling efficiency with live drills during practice. With the coronavirus pandemic, there will be plenty of restrictions.

However, the systematic methods the coaching staff will use will change drastically with the new regimen in place. On defense, the Giants hired Patrick Graham to lead their unit. He formally acted as the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2019 and the linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers in 2018. He has experience with Judge in New England many years ago.

On offense, the Giants hired former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. He will likely implement a strong 12-personnel system that relies heavily on running the football and a strong offensive line.

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I want to take a look into Graham’s scheme and how his defense will differ from James Bettcher’s in 2020:

The biggest change will be in coverage, as Graham plays man and press predominantly on defense. Bettcher relied heavily on a zone scheme that forced his cornerbacks into unusual play. Janoris Jenkins historically man marks players, and DeAndre baker is best pressing at the line of scrimmage. The former Giants DC did not allow them to play to their strengths, and Graham will shake that style up significantly.

Only one team played more cover 1 than the Dolphins last year under Graham, and that was the Matt Patricia lead, Detroit Lions, per PFF.

The Dolphins used cover 1 on 491 of their 1116 defensive snaps. The Giants and Patriots lagged closely behind with the fourth-most. Clearly, that is a comfortable scheme for Judge. He brought Patrick in to replicate a similar style to New England with his own twist.

The New York Giants will be blitzing…a lot

Another interesting and exciting fact is the Dolphins blitzed on 35.1% of their snaps last year, which ranked seventh in frequency. The Giants blitzed on just 30%, which was just a tad above the league average. We should expect to see the safeties frequently activated in rushing the passer and delayed blitzes to keep opposing quarterbacks on their feet.

Lastly, Graham rotates between a 3-4 and 4-3 base defense, creating mismatches and adapting to different styles of offensive play. His defense will be a lot more versatile and intricate than Bettcher’s, which could take some time for the defenders to get used to.

NASCAR: Jimmie Johnson medically cleared to return to action

Jimmie Johnson, Nascar

After two negative COVID-19 tests in a 24-hour span, Jimmie Johnson will return to Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Chevrolet.

Jimmie Johnson has medically cleared to return to NASCAR Cup Series racing and resume his final full season of action.

Johnson, 44, missed last weekend’s race at Indianapolis after testing positive for COVID-19 two days before Sunday’s 400-mile event. Having tested negative twice in a 24-hour span, Johnson was cleared by his physician in compliance with NASCAR’s health guidelines. According to a release from HMS, Johnson never experienced symptoms.

NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Justin Allgaier took over Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet during the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records. He was relegated to a 37th-place finish after getting involved in an early accident on pit road that tore up several cars.

“My family is so grateful for the incredible love and support we’ve received over the last several days,” Johnson said in the statement. “I especially want to thank Justin Allgaier for stepping in for me at Indy and being a true pro. I’m excited about getting back to business with my team this weekend.”

The Hendrick statement also revealed four crew members were tested after Johnson’s diagnosis and all of them tested negative. HMS runs four Chevrolets on a weekly basis, including the respective Nos. 9, 24, and 88 of Chase Elliott, William Byron, and Alex Bowman. Johnson himself was tested after his wife Chandra tested positive after experiencing what was thought to be seasonal allergies.

The seven-time Cup Series champion Johnson announced last fall that 2020 will be his final year as a full-time driver. Despite NASCAR’s two-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and his streak of 663 consecutive Cup Series starts ending, Johnson has no intention of delaying his retirement plans. He has driven the No. 48 full-time since 2002 and has won 83 Cup races (most among active drivers). The current standings place Johnson in 15th, 46 points ahead of the playoff cutoff with 10 races remaining in the regular season.

Johnson and the Cup Series descends upon Kentucky Speedway this weekend for Sunday’s Quaker State 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, FS1).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags