Category Archives: Sports

UFC fight between lightweights Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon canceled again

The fight between a pair of UFC lightweight luminaries seems to be cursed.

For the second time, Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon has been canceled the day of the planned bout,. Lauzon had to withdraw because of a non-weight-cut-related medical issue, the promotion said. The contest was arranged as the UFC Austin co-main event Saturday night.

“So I’m not fighting Cowboy Cerrone tonight,” Lauzon said on Instagram. “The freakiest weirdest thing ever: I weigh-in officially, I got sit down, and I got to put my socks on, I turn my knee out, and my knee locks out.

“I’ve dealt with meniscus injuries on both knees, but this knee in particular, had it cleaned out a bunch of times, but when it does lock up, I can usually straighten out, it unlocks, totally fine, 100 percent, immediately. This time, I’m now surrounded by all the fighters, commission, Cowboy’s in the room, I’m trying not to make a scene and let people know there’s not a problem with my knee. Eventually, I end up hopping on one of my cornerman’s back, acted like I was choking him like we were joking, but I couldn’t stand. I couldn’t walk at all.”

Cerrone and Lauzon were supposed to fight at UFC 274 on May 7 in Phoenix, but that time Cerrone fell ill the morning of the fight, forcing a cancellation. Cerrone vs. Lauzon was first scheduled for April 30, but moved from that date and now it appears it will have to move again.

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Both men are among the most popular and exciting fighters at 155 pounds and closing in on their career twilight.

Cerrone (36-16, 2 NC) is winless in six consecutive fights and has not won since 2019. The 39-year-old New Mexico resident is tied for the most victories in UFC history with Jim Miller and Andrei Arlovski (23).

“Cowboy” also is tied for the most fight-night bonuses in UFC history with Charles Oliveira (19) and owns the second most finishes in the promotion ever (16).

Lauzon (28-15) is coming off a first-round TKO win over Jonathan Pearce in October 2019 and has not fought since. The 38-year-old Massachusetts-born fighter is tied with Nate Diaz for the second most fight-night bonuses in UFC history (15) and has the second most finishes in UFC lightweight history (13), behind Cerrone.

UFC Austin is headlined by a featherweight contender bout between Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Reid Detmers optioned to minors 6 weeks after no-hitter

The Los Angeles Angels have optioned Reid Detmers to the minors just six starts after the rookie left-hander threw a no-hitter.

The Angels assigned Detmers to Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday, a day after he made his sixth consecutive winless appearance since his no-hitter versus Tampa Bay on May 10.

The 22-year-old Detmers became the youngest pitcher in Angels history to throw a no-hitter during that 12-0 triumph over the Rays at Angel Stadium, and he did it in just his 11th career start.

But Detmers is 0-2 with a 5.67 ERA in his six starts since that historic night. He has allowed eight homers and yielded 13 walks over those 27 combined innings, his performance dipping along with the Angels’ lengthy team-wide slump.

Detmers yielded five hits and five runs over five innings Tuesday night while getting no-decision in the Angels 12-11, 11-inning loss to Kansas City.

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The Angels also placed right-handed reliever Jimmy Herget on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder injury.

Los Angeles recalled right-handers Elvis Peguero and Oliver Ortega to fill its two open roster spots.

Detmers is 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA in 12 starts this season for the Angels, who hoped their precocious 2020 first-round pick was ready for a permanent move to the majors.

Instead, he will get more seasoning while Los Angeles continues its annual search for competent starting pitching.

The club already demoted fellow young homegrown starter José Suarez to the minors after he started the season in the rotation alongside Detmers.

Right-hander Griffin Canning, the AL Gold Glove winner in 2020, has yet to pitch this season in the midst of a lengthy recovery from a back injury. Los Angeles has lost 21 of 27 heading into its series finale versus the Royals.

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Kendrick Nunn, 26, opts into final year of contract with Los Angeles Lakers

Kendrick Nunn, who missed all of last season because of a bone bruise in his right knee, is opting into the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers worth $5.25 million, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

Nunn, who turns 27 this summer, signed with Los Angeles for the midlevel exception last summer but never played a match during the regular season after injuring an ankle during training camp and later discovering the bone bruise, which was slow to heal.

The Chicago product came into the league undrafted out of Oakland and latched onto the Miami Heat, averaging 15 points on 36.4% from 3 and 88.1% from the foul line in two seasons, along with 3.0 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.

During his exit interview with reporters in April, Nunn announced his plan to return to Los Angeles.

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“Knowing that I just took this entire year off, it’s a no-brainer for me to opt in,” Nunn said.

Nunn’s decision puts the Lakers at five guaranteed contracts on the books for next season, along with LeBron James ($44.47 million), Anthony Davis ($37.98 million), Talen Horton-Tucker ($10.26 million) and Austin Reaves ($1.56 million).

Russell Westbrook, entering into the final year of his deal worth $47.06 million, has until June 29 to inform L.A. whether he intends to opt in or not.

Los Angeles also has team options on Stanley Johnson ($2.35 million) and Wenyen Gabriel ($1.88 million) for next campaign.

Even if the Lakers exercise those options, the front office will still have half the roster to fill out this summer as it looks to regroup from one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history (33-49 in 2021-22).

In other Lakers news, the team is hiring Nets assistant coach Jordan Ott for a more prominent role on Darvin Ham’s new staff.

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Pittsburgh Steelers sign DT Larry Ogunjobi to one-year deal

Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday.

The Steelers did not disclose financial terms of the contract.

Ogunjobi now will have played for the Cleveland Browns, Bengals and Steelers, leaving the Baltimore Ravens as the lone AFC North team not to have had him on their roster.

Ogunjobi had also visited the New York Jets since his three-year, $40.5 million deal with the Chicago Bears fell apart after he failed his physical on March 18. The Bears wouldn’t say why he failed the physical, but Ogunjobi did undergo offseason surgery to repair a right foot injury.

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The Steelers had a glaring need for defensive line depth after the retirement of Stephon Tuitt earlier this offseason.

Ogunjobi will be most important in stopping the run, a major focus of the 2022 Steelers after the run defense concluded last in the league a season ago. Ogunjobi had 12 tackles for loss last season in Cincinnati and has 41 in his career.

Ogunjobi has a little history with the Steelers. He was involved in the 2019 on-field altercation between Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and was suspended one game.

Last campaign, Ogunjobi was part of the overhaul that helped the Bengals go from the lowest sack total in the NFL in 2020 to 11th in 2021, registering a career-high seven, which was tied for the third most of any interior defensive lineman, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

His sack total last season was nearly half of his combined total over four seasons with the Browns (14.5).

Ogunjobi, 28, missed most of Cincinnati’s run to Super Bowl LVI after he suffered a season-ending foot injury in the wild-card victory versus the Las Vegas Raiders. Overall, the 2017 third-round draft pick has 21.5 career sacks with 229 tackles and two forced fumbles.

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23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams skips practice ahead of doubles match that will mark competitive return

Serena Williams skipped her arranged practice session at Eastbourne with late notice on Monday as the 23-time Grand Slam champion prepares to make her return to competition after a year away.

Williams trained at a nearby club over the weekend and was expected to have an on-site session at Devonshire Park ahead of playing doubles with Ons Jabeur. Their first match is set for Tuesday versus Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova.

Williams, 40, who hasn’t competed anywhere since she was injured in the first round of Wimbledon last year, was awarded a wild card for singles at the All England Club.

Jabeur stated it was “unbelievable” to have been asked by Williams to be part of her journey back to competition at the Wimbledon warm-up. “I’m a good secret keeper — yes, I’ve known [since] before the French Open,” said the No. 3-ranked Jabeur, who arrived at Eastbourne after winning the title in Berlin on Sunday.

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“Many players were jealous because I’m playing with her. Honestly, Serena is Serena. She is a legend and always will be.”

Jabeur said she is hoping to learn “even like 2% from it.”

“Now I’m joking with other doubles players,” she said. “I was like, ‘If you have minus 20 grand slams, don’t even ask me to play doubles with you anymore.'”

Jabeur has pulled out of the singles at Eastbourne following her run to the title in Germany and will play only the doubles. Still, she’ll likely be kept busy this week given her partner.

“I cannot wait to see her; I haven’t seen her yet,” Jabeur said of Williams. “Hopefully we will get together and talk a little bit and see, because I’m really pumped. I want to win this doubles and why not win the title here, you know?”

Among those to advance in the singles Monday were three qualifiers — Donna Vekic, Kirsten Flipkens and Lesia Tsurenko — and a wild card in Britain’s Jodie Burrage. American player Alison Riske was beaten by Magda Linette of Poland 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4).

In the men’s event, sixth-seeded Alex de Minaur of Australia started his title defense by beating Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-3. Two Americans — fifth-seeded Reilly Opelka and seventh-seeded Frances Tiafoe — lost in the first round on Monday.

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Orlando Magic still evaluating all options with No. 1 pick in NBA draft

College basketball season ended almost three months ago, the NBA draft lottery was more than a month ago and the draft itself is later this week.

Seems like the process should be winding down.

Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman sees it differently.

“I tell you, it’s still early in the process,” Weltman stated Monday.

Translated: The Magic haven’t decided yet what they’ll do on Thursday night when the draft rolls around and they have the No. 1 pick. Other teams have called to gauge what the asking price would be if they want to trade for that selection, and the Magic have evaluated all the top candidates.

But Weltman sees no reason to decide anything before it’s absolutely necessary, especially given the opportunity that Orlando has by holding this No. 1 pick.

“Dialogue is always ongoing,” Weltman said. “But most importantly, we get to do what we want. That’s the real benefit of having the No. 1 pick.”

The top candidates for the pick are well-known: Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. worked out for Orlando earlier this month, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren met with the Magic for multiple days last week and Duke’s Paolo Banchero has been working out with former Magic guard Mike Miller.

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Holmgren stated he came away convinced that “great people” are leading the Magic.

“They’ve got a vision for what they’re trying to put together in Orlando,” Holmgren said.

Weltman wouldn’t say that those are the only three candidates Orlando would consider at No. 1.

“It’s confirmed that there are a lot of talented players at the top of this draft, that’s for sure,” Weltman said.

This is the fourth time that Orlando will be making the No. 1 pick. The Magic took Shaquille O’Neal with the top selection in 1992. Chris Webber was the No. 1 pick by Orlando in 1993, and he got traded that same night for Penny Hardaway and a package of future picks that were eventually turned into Vince Carter and, later, Miller. And in 2004, the Magic selected Dwight Howard with the first pick.

The No. 1 pick on Thursday will join a young core in Orlando that already involves 2017 top pick Markelle Fultz, a pair of top-eight picks from the 2021 draft in Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony — the No. 15 pick in the 2020 draft.

Orlando also has the No. 6 picks from the 2017 and 2018 draft, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba. It’s possible that when next season starts Orlando could have as many as six lottery picks, nine top-16 selections and 12 first-rounders on its roster.

This is all part of the challenge for the Magic — who also have the No. 32 and No. 35 picks this year — going into Thursday: Finding more youth that fits with the current core, finding ways to be better next season and sustainably better for years to come.

“We do want to get better, but not at the expense of rushing back to mediocrity,” Weltman said.

“And we do want to have something sustainable. But you have to elevate the standard to do that. You can’t just stay at the basement level, you know, interminably. So those are conversations that we’re having, which players do that for us.”

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Dominant Matteo Berrettini wins second straight Queen’s title

Italian Matteo Berrettini retained his title at the Queen’s Club Championships with a 7-5, 6-4 defeat of Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic on Sunday, as the world No. 10 gave himself the perfect launch pad into Wimbledon.

Berrettini had too much firepower for unseeded Krajinovic, who has now lost all five of his Tour-level finals.

The Italian, who also claimed the title in Stuttgart this month, has now collected 20 of his last 21 matches on grass, his only loss coming in last year’s Wimbledon final to Novak Djokovic.

He was made to work hard by Krajinovic who broke back in the first set, only to get broken again at 5-5. A Krajinovic double-fault proved costly at 2-3 in the second set as Berrettini secured the decisive break of serve and went on to secure his seventh career title with an ace.

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Berrettini, who had surgery on his right hand in March, is the eighth player to win back-to-back titles at the event, all of the others being former world number ones including John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker and Andy Murray.

He will now go into Wimbledon as one of the favorites.

“There are too many emotions,” Berrettini said. “To have this trophy twice, I used to just dream of playing in this tournament. It was a really good week for me, I came here with a lot of confidence. Today was the best match that I played.

“I’ve worked so hard for this. I know that Wimbledon is different but I know that I can do it, I did it once. I’m really looking forward to it, but I know every match will be tough.”

A superb angled volley gave Berrettini the break he had threatened in the fifth game of the opening set.

But Krajinovic, who before this week had never won a match on grass, replied in the next game with a punchy volley to get back on level terms.

The Serbian netted a backhand to drop serve at 5-5, however, and Berrettini then held to take the opener.

In the second set Berrettini showed the range of his game, mixing power with panache to pull ahead, and once he broke serve to love in the fifth game, there was no looking back.

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Milwaukee Brewers designate outfielder Lorenzo Cain, 36, for assignment after ‘a great career’

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain was designated for assignment on Saturday, the team revealed before its game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Cain, 36, was hitting .179 in 145 at-bats while the Brewers’ offense struggled throughout June. The veteran was 4-for-26 this month with no walks and seven strikeouts. As a team, the Brewers rank 14th in OPS in the National League in June while falling out of first place after a strong start.

Cain broke in with the Brewers in 2010, then spent the next seven seasons in Kansas City before returning to Milwaukee as a free agent in 2018. He’s in the final season of a five-year, $80 million deal. The move comes on the same date that Cain reached 10 years of major league service.

“It just got to a point where it’s probably time,” Cain said in Cincinnati. “I haven’t been performing like I would’ve liked, but the situation is what it is. I’ve had a great career. I can’t really be upset about anything, but, yeah, it’s time. I wish all my teammates the best, coaches, trainers, everybody that I’ve played with or met throughout my entire career, I wish them nothing but the best. It’s been a really fun ride for me for sure.”

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Cain is a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner.

He also concluded in the top 10 in MVP voting twice in his career.

“No doubt, he did his part,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “At the end, it was time for this. It was just time.”

Cain was replaced in the roster by journeyman outfielder Jonathan Davis, who was called up from Triple-A Nashville.

“I would say it was mutual to part ways,” he said. “We have a really good team. I don’t think I was contributing the way I would’ve liked. I feel like they definitely had to make a move. I definitely would’ve liked to play a lot better — contribute to the team a little bit more — but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this year.

“At the end of the day, it’s been fun. I think that team can go really far. They’re really well-coached, well-managed. Those guys play their hearts out. I’m definitely going to miss them. It’s been a fun ride for sure.”

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Oleksandr Usyk-Anthony Joshua heavyweight title rematch set for Aug. 20

The heavyweight title rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua is now set for Aug. 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sources told on Thursday.

The fight was originally being planned for July 23, but now Joshua will have nearly 30 more days to work with new trainer Robert Garcia.

When they met last September, Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) dominated Joshua en route to a unanimous decision victory to capture three heavyweight titles. Joshua, 32, quickly exercised the rematch clause, and neither boxer has competed since.

In the meantime, Joshua parted ways with Robert McCracken, the only head trainer he’d ever had in the pros. McCracken also led Joshua to a gold medal in 2012 as the head coach of the Great Britain Olympic boxing team.

Another change for Joshua comes on the broadcast side.

The British star has competed exclusively on Sky Sports for the past eight years, but his deal expired after the Usyk fight. Earlier this week, the streaming service DAZN announced Joshua has signed a long-term deal to fight exclusively on its platform.

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“I am entering a new phase in my career with a new training environment, new coaches and now a new broadcaster,” said Joshua, ESPN’s No. 4 heavyweight. “Negotiations at this level take time, so I am pleased to have it all wrapped up and now I can fully focus on giving the fans and DAZN what they want — knockouts in the glamour division.”

But it was Usyk, 35, who seemed on the verge of scoring the stoppage in Round 12. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion — and fellow Olympic gold medalist — lives in Ukraine with his family and was there when Russia invaded in February.

In March, Usyk decided to leave the war-torn country so he could prepare for the rematch and the first defense of his three titles.

This will be Joshua’s second fight in Saudi Arabia. After losing his three titles to Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 in New York via seventh-round TKO, Joshua exacted revenge with a decision victory over Ruiz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2019.

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Jadeveon Clowney re-signed with Cleveland Browns so he could play again with Deshaun Watson

Jadeveon Clowney admitted Thursday that he ultimately decided he would be re-signing with the Cleveland Browns once he knew quarterback Deshaun Watson was headed to Cleveland, too.

“I thought I played well here last year, and I feel like I can get better and pick off from what I did last year,” the defensive end said when listing the reasons he returned to the Browns.

“Then my boy came here, Deshaun.”

Clowney is coming off a breakout season with the Browns after signing a one-year deal last year. Playing opposite All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett, Clowney concluded with nine sacks; both Garrett and Clowney ranked in the top four in the NFL in pass rush win rate.

“Me and [Garrett] did some good things together,” Clowney said as the Browns completed their final minicamp practice at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“We got along well. We played well together. We fed off each other. We’re going to do the same thing this year, even better. … We got a good thing going from last year. We want to keep it going this year.”

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What tipped the scales for Clowney, though, was the chance to play again with Watson, his former teammate with the Houston Texans.

“I was all about where my boy Deshaun was going,” Clowney said. “I just wanted to go play with him and see what I can do with him again.”

The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending three first-round picks to the Texans.

A source told ESPN that Clowney spoke to Watson the week of the trade while Watson was still considering joining the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons and that, in their conversation, Clowney gave Cleveland and the Browns a strong endorsement.

“I told him if he goes [to Cleveland], then I will follow him over here,” Clowney said. “That’s what it came down to.”

It is still unclear when Clowney will actually get to play with Watson, though. Watson is facing 24 active civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct during massage sessions.

Although two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year, the NFL is investigating whether he violated its code of conduct and the league interviewed the quarterback in person last month as part of its investigation.

At the league’s spring meeting, commissioner Roger Goodell said that he thought the NFL was nearing the end of its investigation but that he couldn’t give a timeline for when a ruling might be made. Watson has maintained his innocence, reiterating Tuesday that he never “harassed” or “disrespected” or “forced” any woman.

Clowney said he isn’t worried that a potential Watson suspension could derail Cleveland’s season.

“We’ve got a good defense, we can hold it together,” he said. “We did good last year, and we were banged up on offense all over the place and our defense played well for what we had going on. … We’re going to be all right.”

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