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McGregor coach John Kavanagh breaks down Poirier loss and future plans – MMA Mania



UFC 264 marked the first time since 2016 that Conor McGregor had gotten two fights in a year. The last was when he rematched Nate Diaz, and he dug deep to pull out a close decision win over the younger Diaz brother to split their series 1-1. On Saturday it was another six month turnaround for a rematch, same as the Diaz fight, and people were wondering whether to expect another hallmark performance from the Irish sports star against Dustin Poirier.

It didn’t work out that way. For the first two minutes of the fight, McGregor and Poirier dueled across the cage and both landed some solid shots. McGregor got caught on his back against the cage with Poirier raining down ground and pound. And then with seconds left, McGregor’s ankle folded in half on itself and the fight was suddenly over: TKO via doctor stoppage, with McGregor scheduled for surgery on Sunday morning for a broken fibula and tibia. Watch the highlights here.

McGregor put out a short statement on Instagram mainly focused on the backlash to the ‘bad guy’ schtick he ran with through fight week. Not much fight analysis there. But later on Sunday McGregor’s head coach John Kavanagh went on his Wimp2Warrior Instagram for a 30 minute chat breaking down the fight and the aftermath.

“He’s in hospital right now, I’ll be heading over after this to check in on him,” Kavanagh said. “You know, it’s a bitter pill to swallow, this sport has the highest highs and lowest lows. We got to take some time to assess what the next move is. Obviously now, rehab and recovery is where it’s at.”

Kavanagh broke down the fight exchange by exchange, revealing that they had focused heavily on cage fighting against Dustin, including a lot of work on guillotines.

“I studied Dustin a lot on the fence, his fight with Holloway for example,” he said. “And I knew Dustin’s head would be there for the guillotine. So we had drilled that a lot. Conor has a very very strong guillotine. A slight tactical error going to the back with it. We drilled getting the finish on the feet or at least it would make the takedown attempt go away and then we’d be back to the center of the Octagon and back to boxing.”

“As somebody who likes guillotines myself, the temptation to try and throw that leg over the back and just get the finish is very very strong, and Conor was the one in there, he must have thought the grip was right and he went for it. That’s what fighting’s about, he went for it. Dustin did an incredible job getting his leg over to the right side of his head to relieve the pressure.”

As for Poirier’s ground and pound, which was severe looking enough for two of three judges to hand him a 10-8 round? Nothing to worry about, according to Kavanagh.

“There was a bit of a struggle to get the head free and then he landed some decent ground and pound,” Kavanagh said. “Most of it on the forearms and the gloves, Conor had no marks, no bruises, swelling, cuts, anything like that. So most of it was parried, but for sure that was Dustin’s moment. He’s obviously winning there in the judges’ eyes. When Dustin stood up, Conor got off some nice upkicks. Some of them whizzed by and others landed.”

“So all and all up until that point, let’s say four and a half minutes, I wasn’t concerned at all, I was actually really really happy. And I knew what I was going to be saying between rounds … I was just going to tell him to keep doing what he was doing with the kicks and try to close a bit heavier this time. So we’d be looking to rather than exchange punches to slide back and left hand like he did on Aldo. Look for those kinds of techniques. Slide back left cross, slide back left uppercut, and kind of let Dustin fall into that kind of open space.”

“At the four and a half minute mark, everything’s gravy. Energy looked good, technique looked good. A few adjustments between rounds and I thought we were on track to getting a finish there or at least keep going, keep the rhythm going for the rest of the fight.”

And then … the leg break.

“You can watch this back, there’s lots of clips on Instagram, where he throws a leg kick, he moves away, and then he throws a teep, that’s one of the techniques we definitely wanted to apply in this fight,” Kavanagh said. “Obviously being a southpaw, that liver side is there so we were looking to teep in that area. … There’s a high danger of catching the elbow, and if you’re watching back you can clearly see that’s where the fracture happened.”

“He very aggressively threw that kick. Dustin shelled with that lead hand, and the foot wraps around the elbow in a similar fashion to Weidman and Silva, they wrapped around the shin. Conor wrapped his shin around the elbow. He stands back on it and you can see the bone almost protrude through the skin. I don’t know how he didn’t fall there. He comes in there, they both exchange crosses, they both miss with their back hands, he goes to step back on it and that’s when there’s that horrifying fold underneath.”

“Again we’ve seen it a handful of times over the years, Weidman and Silva being the big ones. Of course, that’s the end of the contest. So yeah, bitterly disappointed.”

Kavanagh also revealed that McGregor had trouble with the ankle during fight camp, to the point where they took him to a doctor to look at it.

“Little bit of that ankle injury had been aggravated during that camp,” he revealed. “We’d gotten a scan on it. Did that have a small part to play in weakening it? I don’t know. … There might have been something in there. It seems unusual that a young healthy fit man can wrap his foot around an elbow without there being something there before. But you know, you can play those guessing games all day long.”

“Credit to Dustin, that’s the way fighting goes. He won. It’s an unfulfilling end to the night. I don’t want to put words in Conor’s mouth, but even if it goes in a way where you just get punched out, you can say ‘All right, you got me.’ This doesn’t feel properly finished, so to speak. Closure, that’s the word I was looking for.”

When asked about McGregor’s classless post-fight comments, Kavanagh rolled his eyes.

“His foot is literally hanging down. It’s a clean fracture of the fibula and tibia, it went straight through, the foot’s hanging down,” he said. “You can only imagine the rush of hormones and what’s going on in your body, the pain, it was on fire. And then someone sits down and sticks a microphone in your face. ‘How are you feeling about the end?’”

“Come on. Come on! When has he ever not been graceful at the end? Let’s get backstage, let’s get a proper assessment from a doctor. Let’s get an x-ray. So I was pretty miffed at the idea of sticking a microphone in his face at that point.”

That leaves us with the big question: what’s next.

“The 24 hour goal for today is to meet with the surgeon and his team after the operation is finished,” he said. “Get their take on it, get their assessment. It’s not til they’ve opened them up and actually looked at the joint and what’s going on in there that they can tell us what the next while is going to look like in terms of rehabilitation.”

But Kavanagh doesn’t think this is the end.

“He truly loves this and it’s hard to imagine him not wanting to come back, not wanting to do this again. Because we really just got this fantastic rhythm. He’s turning 33, which to me is a peaking time where strength meets conditioning and mental and physical and spiritual maturity, everything’s coming together. I think we have a couple of years of this ahead of us.”

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More people watched Seattle NHL expansion draft on ESPN2 than Cubs-Cards on ESPN – Awful Announcing



In the grand scheme of things, 637,000 viewers nationally is not a huge number for a cable channel with any level of significant distribution. Most things on broadcast TV not only beat that, but beat it by quite a bit, and that kind of number isn’t usually even amongst the top cable broadcasts. However, the news that ESPN2 pulled that number in for its (NHL-produced, but featuring ESPN figures) coverage of the NHL expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken Wednesday night was certainly interesting, especially as so much of the actual news around that draft was reported in advance, and also given that their main-network coverage of the MLB game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals drew fewer viewers. Here’s a comparison of Wednesday night sporting events from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal:

On the negative side, that draft didn’t even draw the numbers of studio show Pardon The Interruption (however, that airs on ESPN rather than ESPN2; they’re similar in distribution, but many people turn on main ESPN first). It also didn’t draw the numbers of early Olympic programming from NBCSN. On the positive side, it outdrew a national MLB game. And it drew more than the Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft five years ago (595,000 on NBCSN for a combined broadcast of that draft and the NHL Awards). And it’s a good sign for ESPN, as this is their first big NHL event they aired under their new deal.

And yes, as Ourand noted in a follow-up tweet, that Cubs-Cards game didn’t have regional sports network blackouts, so Cubs and Cardinals fans could still watch it on their local RSNs. And most probably did, so it likely primarily pulled the national audience that didn’t have those RSNs. But it’s still interesting to see an ESPN2 event outdraw an ESPN event, especially when the ESPN event is a live game and the ESPN2 event is a one-team expansion draft (and one where most of the information was previously available to the public).

If ESPN versus ESPN2 programming decisions were made strictly from a standpoint of what they thought would draw more viewers, this result would go against that. That’s not entirely the case here, as the MLB on ESPN package comes with some restrictions on where games can air. But it’s still interesting to see the NHL expansion draft on ESPN2 outdraw a live MLB game between two prominent teams.

That is also perhaps further evidence that draft “spoilers” don’t always damage the ratings that much. That’s long been a debate, from the NFL’s heavy pushes against pick-tipping to the NBA’s more moderate approach (which sees pick-tipping still happen with some different language, and which hasn’t really led to obvious ratings losses).

In the case of this draft, figures who don’t work for expansion draft rightsholders Sportsnet (Canada) and ESPN (U.S.) reported many of the picks early, with Frank Seravalli (formerly of TSN, now of Daily Faceoff) and Pierre LeBrun (TSN/The Athletic) getting many of those, other national figures getting some more, and local reporters getting some others. So a mostly-full picture was available before the broadcast for those who wanted to find it. But that didn’t stop a significant amount of people from watching this, and that maybe shows that the league pushes against pick-tipping aren’t always that impactful.

[John Ourand on Twitter]

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Cleveland changes MLB team nickname to Guardians after months of discussion –



Known as the Indians since 1915, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team will be called Guardians.

The ball club announced the name change Friday with a video on Twitter narrated by actor Tom Hanks, ending months of internal discussions triggered by a national reckoning by institutions and teams to permanently drop logos and names that are considered racist.

The choice of Guardians will undoubtedly be criticized by many of the club’s die-hard fans.

The organization spent most of the past year whittling down a list of potential names that was at nearly 1,200 just over a month ago. But the process quickly accelerated and the club landed on Guardians.

Social unrest spurred name change

Team owner Paul Dolan said last summer’s social unrest, touched off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, spurred his intention to change the name.

Dolan is expected to provide more details on the choice and background on the change at a news conference at Progressive Field before Cleveland hosts the Tampa Bay Rays.

Dolan said the new name mirrors the city and its people.

“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity,” he said in a statement. “Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders. ‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us.”

In 2018, the team stopped wearing the contentious Chief Wahoo logo on their jerseys and caps. However, the team continues to sell merchandise bearing the smiling, red-faced caricature that was protested for decades by Native American groups.

The name change has sparked lively debate among the city’s passionate sports fans. Other names, including the Spiders, which is what the team was once called, were pushed by supporters on social media platforms.

But Guardians does seem to fit the team’s objective to find a name that embodies Cleveland’s ethos while preserving the team’s history and uniting the community.

Not far from the downtown ballpark, there are two large landmark stone edifices — referred to as guardians — on the Hope Memorial Bridge over the Cuyahoga River.

The team’s colours will remain the same, and the new Guardians’ new logos will incorporate some of the architectural features of the bridge.

The change comes as the Washington Football Team continues to work toward a similar makeover. The franchise dropped its name before the 2020 season and said it will reveal a new name and logo in 2022.

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LIVE BLOG: Opening ceremony kicks off 2020 Olympics in Tokyo – Global News



After being postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has officially kicked off.

The Olympic Games opening ceremony is typically a chance for competing countries and athletes to show off their pride and culture, but this year will be a little different.

Normally held in a stadium full of ecstatic fans, this year’s ceremony will have international athletes parade around a near-empty venue after it was announced fans would not be allowed to attend because of rising COVID-19 cases in Japan.

Read more:
Fireworks light up Tokyo sky as 2020 Olympics officially begin amid pandemic

Athletes from around the world, including Canada, are taking part in the ceremony for the Summer Games, which will run until Aug. 8.

Canada has sent 370 athletes to the Olympics, the nation’s largest delegation since 1984.

Click to play video: 'Team Canada names flag-bearers for Tokyo Olympic Games'

Team Canada names flag-bearers for Tokyo Olympic Games

Team Canada names flag-bearers for Tokyo Olympic Games

But only 30 to 40 athletes are marching into the Olympic Stadium, the Canadian Olympic Committee has previously said, saying athletes aren’t allowed into the Olympic Village until five days before they compete.

Many of them will be too close to the start of their competition to join flagbearers Miranda Ayim of the women’s basketball team and men’s rugby sevens co-captain Nathan Hirayama.

Read more:
Canada at the Tokyo Olympics — Who’s competing, attending opening ceremony Friday

The ceremony’s theme is “United by Emotion,” as officials are aspiring to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, express gratitude and admiration for the efforts made over the past year, and also bring a sense of hope for the future, the Olympics website says.

Despite all the difficulties the International Olympic Committee has faced to stage the Games amid a global pandemic, president Thomas Bach previously said he believes the ceremonies will be a moment of “joy and relief.”

The event runs from 7 a.m. ET to 11 a.m. ET

You can follow along here.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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