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NBA postpones lottery, combine – TSN

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The NBA is delaying the draft lottery and draft combine, events scheduled for Chicago later this month.

The league made the decision Friday, though it has been expected for some time. The lottery cannot occur until the regular season is completed or is declared over, because team records determine the odds that the 14 non-playoff teams will have of securing the right to pick No. 1 overall in the draft.

For now, the draft remains scheduled for June 25 — though that, too, will likely have to change in the coming weeks as the league continues reacting to the coronavirus pandemic.

The lottery was to have taken place May 19. The draft combine was to have run from May 21-24.

The league typically invites about 70 players to the combine, where some of the candidates work out and play in scrimmages and others skip the on-court events entirely and just interview with teams instead. The combine has also been a chance for teams to conduct physicals with players, a key component of the evaluation process.

The NBA has been looking at several options for weeks about the draft schedule and pre-draft events, just as the league has when it comes to possibilities for resuming the season when public health officials say that would be appropriate.

“There are no target dates. There are more target responsibilities,” San Antonio CEO R.C. Buford said earlier this week. “And there’s still questions. We just got the early entry candidates list in the last couple days. That at least gives some kind of clarity on who the draft pool will be. But from there, we don’t have clarity on the Chicago pre-draft or medicals or all the things that go on with draft preparation.”

The NBA has not played since March 11, when it became the first of the major U.S. pro sports leagues to suspend games because of the pandemic. The league has missed 259 regular-season games because of the shutdown, and the playoffs would have started about two weeks ago.

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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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Conor McGregor says he’s ‘decided to retire from fighting’ – Sportsnet.ca

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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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