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Hall of Fame coach Sloan dead at 78 – TSN

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Jerry Sloan, the Hall of Fame coach who was a fixture for decades in Utah and took the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, died Friday. He was 78.

The Jazz said he died from complications of Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Sloan had been in failing health for many years.

Sloan spent 23 seasons coaching the Jazz. The team — with John Stockton and Karl Malone leading the way in many of those seasons — finished below .500 in only one of those years. Sloan won 1,221 games in his career, the fourth-highest total in NBA history. Only Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson and Gregg Popovich have more victories.

“It was an honour and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team,” the Miller family, who own the Jazz, said in a statement. “We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz.

“He has left an enduring legacy with this franchise and our family. The far-reaching impact of his life has touched our city, state and the world as well as countless players, staff and fans.”

Utah went to the finals twice under Sloan, both times falling to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Sloan entered the Hall of Fame in 2009.

“I’m not into numbers and stuff like that,” Sloan said when he passed Pat Riley for No. 3 on the NBA’s all-time win list in 2010; Popovich has since surpassed him for that spot. “I never have been. I’ve got a great organization to work for that’s given me an opportunity to stay there for a long time. I’m very thankful for that and the coaches that I have with me. It’s not about me.”

He spent 34 years in the Jazz organization, as head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball adviser. Sloan started as a scout, was promoted as an assistant under Frank Layden in 1984 and became the sixth coach in franchise history on Dec. 9, 1988, after Layden resigned.

“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization,” the Jazz said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed.”

Sloan’s longevity with the Jazz was remarkable. During his time in Utah, there were 245 coaching changes around the league and five teams — Charlotte, Memphis, Toronto, Orlando and Minnesota — did not even exist when he took the helm with the Jazz.

He also was the coach in Chicago for parts of three seasons, going 94-121. But his ties with the Bulls were much deeper. His No. 4 jersey was retired by the team after a playing career in which he averaged 14.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 755 games over 11 NBA seasons.

They even called him “The Original Bull” because he was selected in the 1966 expansion draft and became a two-time All-Star known for his toughness and grit. He remains the only NBA player to average more than seven rebounds and more than two steals a game in his career.

“Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team,” Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said Friday. “A great player and a Hall of Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person.”

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AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman in Chicago contributed.

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McGregor retires from fighting – TSN

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Conor McGregor has announced his retirement for the third time in four years.

McGregor abruptly made his latest dubious declaration Sunday morning on his Twitter account, where the former two-division UFC champion also announced his retirement in 2016 and 2019.

“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting,” McGregor wrote in a caption below a photo of him and his mother. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!”

The 31-year-old Irish superstar revitalized his combat sports career in January with an impressive first-round stoppage of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246. McGregor (22-4) hadn’t won a fight in a mixed martial arts cage or a boxing ring since 2016, but he remained the UFC’s brightest star and biggest financial draw.

UFC President Dana White has already said McGregor is next in line for a title shot at the winner of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s bout with Justin Gaethje this summer.

The UFC’s schedule is in upheaval due to the coronavirus pandemic, but McGregor was expected to get his title shot later this year, and he recently had been talking to White about taking another fight even earlier. Earlier this week, McGregor posted photos and videos of himself training for fights.

White was still willing to take McGregor’s retirement announcement at face value — at least publicly — when he learned about it at his news conference following UFC 250 in Las Vegas.

“If Conor McGregor feels he wants to retire, you know my feelings about retirement,” White said. “You should absolutely do it. And I love Conor. … There’s a handful of people that have made this really fun for me, and he’s one of them.”

Retirements are a time-honoured device for gathering attention and increased bargaining power in combat sports. From Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather to Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, countless champions of boxing and MMA have gone back on their solemn announcements whenever need or ego brought them back to the sport.

McGregor made his first Twitter retirement announcement in April 2016 during a spat with the UFC over promotion of his rematch with Nate Diaz.

McGregor famously wrote: “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese. Catch ya’s later.”

McGregor and Diaz fought in August 2016.

Three years later, McGregor retired again in March 2019 in what White believed was a gambit to entice the UFC to offer him an ownership stake in the company. McGregor began talking about new fights shortly afterward, and he eventually returned to face Cerrone in early 2020.

The loquacious McGregor has long proven that his pronouncements can’t be taken as gospel truth. Earlier this year, McGregor “accepted” future fights against former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and long-retired boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya with little reason to think they will ever happen.

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Conor McGregor retires (again) via Twitter moments after UFC 250 – MMA Fighting

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For the third time in his career, former two-division champ Conor McGregor suddenly retired via Twitter. And as with his first two announcements, there were immediate questions and speculation as to his true intentions.

“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting,” McGregor wrote in a tweet posted just moments after the conclusion of UFC 250. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been! Here is a picture of myself and my mother in Las Vegas post one of my World title wins! Pick the home of your dreams Mags I love you! Whatever you desire it’s yours.”

Many fans suspected the Irish star was either trolling or engaging in a form of contract negotiations. The previous two times McGregor signed off – first in 2016 when he declared “thanks for the cheese” and the second when he retired from “Mixed Martial Art” – he was in the midst of negotiations with the UFC over his next fight and later returned to competition after hashing things out behind the scenes.

A rep for McGregor’s team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 31-year-old McGregor’s path remained unknown after his triumphant return to the octagon in January with a first-round drubbing of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246. He bounced from opponent to opponent, targeting rival Khabib Nurmagomedov, who submitted him in a pay-per-view blockbuster at UFC 229, Jorge Masvidal, and, most recently, Anderson Silva. Many of his requests were filtered through UFC President Dana White, who most recently suggested the ex-champ wait for the winner of Nurmagomedov’s title unifier against interim champ Justin Gaethje, which is expected to take place in September.

Apparently, McGregor wasn’t keen on that, and with one tweet, he took the attention from the UFC’s most recent PPV product and redirected it at him. If the retirement sticks, it would add the promotion’s biggest star bar none to a group of major stars who’d recently backed away from the company. In the past week, top stars Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal asked to be released from contract, citing disputes over pay and treatment.

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UFC 250 bonuses: Cody Garbrandt, Sean O’Malley earn bonuses for dramatic one-punch knockouts – MMA Fighting

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UFC 250 had no shortage of exciting finishes and four fighters rewarded for avoiding the judges.

Cody Garbrandt and Sean O’Malley both received $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses for their sensational one-punch knockouts of Raphael Assuncao and Eddie Wineland, respectively. For Garbrandt, his win came at the second-round buzzer, while O’Malley needed less than a round to silence Wineland and he did so in style walking off after landing a blasting Wineland with right hand.

O’Malley has now won a bonus in each of his three UFC appearances to date.

In lieu of a Fight of the Night award, two other fighters received a Performance of the Night bonus, Aljamain Sterling and Alex Perez.

Sterling cemented his status as a future title challenger with an 88-second rear-naked choke submission of Cory Sandhagen, who was previously unbeaten in the UFC. Perez made short work of longtime flyweight contender Jussier Formiga, forcing a referee stoppage after dropping Formiga with leg kicks.

That’s back-to-back fight night bonuses for Perez now, while Sterling cashes in for the first time in his six years with the UFC.

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