Tagged in: two year

UFC lightweight Bobby Green disappointed after positive drug test

Popular UFC lightweight Bobby Green stated in an Instagram video Friday night that he was forced out of a scheduled fight at UFC 276 due to a positive drug test.

Green said — as he was in training camp for the scheduled July 2 fight versus fellow veteran fighter Jim Miller — that he received a call from the UFC informing him he had tested positive for a banned substance. Green said he believes the adverse finding came from a dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplement he was taking.

DHEA is a banned substance in the UFC’s anti-doping policy, which is administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), under the anabolic category. USADA, in a statement to ESPN, confirmed Green’s “adverse analytical finding,” which the agency was able to do because Green made it public first.

USADA does not typically announce anti-doping policy violations until the conclusion of its adjudication process. USADA did not comment on the substance found nor any discipline. Green said he knew he could face a longer suspension by coming forward with the information before USADA and the UFC announced it, but he wanted to be open with his fans.

Green could face up to a two-year suspension for testing positive for such a prohibited drug, though a full, two-year suspension is uncommon in these situations.

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Green stated DHEA was recommended by a doctor he frequently watches on YouTube, and his wife bought the supplement from the company Spring Valley at Walmart. In the video, Green apologized for his mistake, said he has never tested positive before in 14 years as a professional MMA fighter and is vehemently against performance-enhancing drug use.

“I’m crushed,” Green said. “I’m like what the f—? I had no idea, guys, what I was doing, that it was wrong, that there was any benefits to what I was doing. I would never try to cheat. I would never try to lie to my public. I’m against drugs, I’m against PEDs.”

Green stated he had purchased multiple all-natural supplements recommended by Dr. Eric Berg, a doctor with more than 8.5 million YouTube subscribers. Green said he’s a “hoarder” of pills, and is willing to try anything for his physical and mental health, provided the pills are “all natural.” He said he earnestly did not know DHEA was a banned substance.

“It’s not USADA’s fault; it’s my fault,” Green said. “I did wrong in this. I f—ed up and I’m taking responsibility. … I don’t want any way to cheat. I do not want any edge that’s not natural over any of my opponents. I believe my skills should pay the bills.”

Green (29-13-1) was coming off a UFC Fight Night loss on short notice versus top contender Islam Makhachev in February. Prior to that, the California native was on a two-fight winning streak and had won five of seven overall. Green, 36, has been in the UFC since 2013, compiling a 10-8-1 record.

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James Harden’s new deal with Philadelphia 76ers includes player option for 2023-24 season

Philadelphia 76ers free agent star James Harden is returning to the franchise on a new two-year, $68.6 million contract, including a player option for the 2023-24 season, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

The deal guarantees Harden $33 million for next season and the chance to decline his $35.6 million player option and negotiate another free agent deal next summer, sources said.

Harden, who had declined a $47.4 million player option for next season, delivered the 76ers salary-cap flexibility with his pay cut for 2022-23 — allowing them to sign free agents P.J. Tucker and Danuel House by using the midlevel and biannual exceptions, and facilitating the ability to get De’Anthony Melton in a draft night trade with Memphis.

Harden — a 10-time All-Star and a six-time first-team All-NBA guard — told Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey that he wanted to do his part to fortify the team’s roster and give it a better chance to fight for a championship. And declining that $47.4 million player option could also give the organization flexibility to make deals once this coming season is underway.

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The franchise is hopeful Harden’s commitment to winning will include him returning to preseason training camp in better physical condition than he played in both Brooklyn and Philadelphia last season.

Harden, who turns 33 next month, averaged 22 points and 10.3 assists across 65 games with the Nets and Sixers.

Brooklyn traded him to Philly in February as part of a blockbuster deal that included Ben Simmons joining the Nets. For the fourth time in five years, though, the Sixers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.

Harden spent only a year in Brooklyn, after his wildly successful eight-year run in Houston ended near the start of the 2020-21 season, when he was sent to partner with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the Nets for a significant package of draft assets and players.

After a second-round loss to the Milwaukee Bucks two years ago, Harden’s relationship with the Nets deteriorated in the wake of Irving’s inability to play in New York due to the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

In Philadelphia, Harden was reunited with former Rockets general manager Morey, and they worked together to find a way to keep Harden a Sixer on this new deal and improve the franchise’s roster this summer.

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Carlos Sainz closing in on two-year Ferrari extension

Carlos Sainz and Ferrari are close to confirming a two-year contract extension, according to a report in Spanish publication AS.

Sainz is in the second year of his current Ferrari contract and has looked likely to stay beyond 2022 for a while, with the team showing little interest in shopping around for another driver.

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said at the season’s opening race in March that a new deal for Sainz was close, although those negotiations appeared to slow down recently.

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The AS report says a two-year extension might be confirmed as early as this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, a home race for Ferrari as one of two races in Italy at a venue close to its fabled headquarters at Maranello.

Sainz’s teammate and runaway championship leader Charles Leclerc has a contract with Ferrari until 2024.

Even if Ferrari was interested in moving on from Sainz, many of the grid’s biggest names are tied down at their current teams for the foreseeable future.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen recently signed a huge deal keeping him at Red Bull until 2028, while Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes contract runs until the end of 2023.

Sainz’s former McLaren teammate Lando Norris recently signed an extension on his deal to keep him at the British team until 2025.

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Indianapolis Colts signing CB Stephon Gilmore to two-year deal

The Indianapolis Colts are giving cornerback Stephon Gilmore a two-year, $23 million contract that contains $14 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Gilmore becomes the second veteran addition to the Colts’ secondary this week, after Indianapolis signed safety Rodney McLeod on Thursday.

Cornerback was a position of need for the Colts after they traded starter Rock Ya-Sin to the Las Vegas Raiders for pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue and did not re-sign starter Xavier Rhodes.

The Colts have reshaped their defense after the departure of coordinator Matt Eberflus, who is now the head coach in Chicago, and hired Gus Bradley as his replacement. Indianapolis’ defense now features the five-time Pro Bowler Gilmore, Ngakoue and DeForest Buckner on the line, linebacker Darius Leonard, and one of the league’s best slot corners in Kenny Moore. All five of those players have been selected to at least one Pro Bowl in their careers.

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“He kept saying we would spar, he knows the score and knows what was going on but we ended up sparring [Yuriorkis] Gamboa and he had to get pulled out of the spar. Bearing in mind I wasn’t even in training camp but he had to get pulled out because he was beginning to get a bit of a pasting.

Gilmore played the 2021 season with the Carolina Panthers, who traded a 2023 third-round pick to the New England Patriots in October to get him.

The Panthers added the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year in hopes that he could replace first-round pick Jaycee Horn, who experienced a season-ending foot injury in Week 3 at the Houston Texans.

Gilmore, 31, was on the physically unable to perform list when he arrived in Carolina, still recovering from offseason surgery on a torn quad and not eligible to return until Week 6.

He was activated in Week 8 and played the final eight matches, starting three. He had an interception in his Carolina debut at Atlanta to preserve a 19-13 triumph then followed that with another in his home debut versus New England. After the season, he was added to the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

He said after the trade that he did not appreciate the way New England handled his quad injury, suffered in Week 15 of the 2020 season.

Gilmore, who grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina, had told ESPN before a late-season game at Buffalo that he would like to return to Carolina. The Panthers liked the veteran leadership brought to a young Carolina secondary.

Complicating the issue was 2018 second-round pick Donte Jackson, 26, who re-signed with the Panthers on a three-year deal last month. The 10th overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Bills, Gilmore has 27 interceptions and 116 passes defended in 10 seasons.

“Ugas was there and after he was inviting me out for dinner with him and his missus. I thought: ‘That’s a bit odd,’ I look at that and think ‘I fancy my chances.’ If he does beat Spence, which I believe is not likely, but it is a fight I’d love in the future.

“I didn’t take him up on dinner. I told him I was busy but as I was walking through the casino, I see him and his missus having food and I went over to say hello and thought ‘That couldn’t have gone anymore awkward really.’

“It’s not that we are from the same country or live the same lifestyle so I was thinking ‘Why does he want me to go to dinner?’ What are we going to do? Sit there and stare at each other. I found it very odd. I don’t know what his motive was.

“I would love to do it for real. I want to test myself against the best in the division. Every challenge they put in front of me I come through it. I’m top five in every governing body and No. 1 in Britain.”

Benn is closing in on a world title shot which he hopes to get later this year or in 2023, as long as he defeats California-based Van Heerden (28-2-1, 12 KOs), a southpaw from South Africa.

Benn added: “I’ve done a lot of southpaw sparring and I love challenges, I love overcoming them. I think I have shown in my last few performances that I can beat any style put in front of me. I think I fill him in, to be honest. I’m prepared for a hard fight.”

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1B Anthony Rizzo agrees to two-year, $32 million contract with New York Yankees

First baseman Anthony Rizzo, who concluded last season with the Yankees after a trade from the Chicago Cubs, agreed to a multiyear contract Tuesday night to return to New York, pending a physical, a source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

The contract for is two years and $32 million with an opt-out clause after one season, a source said.

During his decade-long career with the Cubs, Rizzo was as reliable as anyone in the batter’s box and in the field. He was a consistent All-Star and Gold Glove winner and garnered MVP votes in five consecutive seasons. But his numbers dropped over the past two seasons, culminating in the trade to New York.

Rizzo got off to a hot start with his new team but a bout with COVID-19 interrupted his second half. He still managed 22 home runs split between the Cubs and Yankees but his .783 OPS was his lowest since 2013.

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Rizzo’s defense hasn’t suffered as he’s aged and a perennial back ailment hasn’t kept him out of the lineup for more than a few days at a time. He’s still a reliable left-handed bat but may never again be an MVP-caliber player.

Rizzo is just one of five left-handed hitters in the long history of the Cubs to hit 30 or more home runs in a season.

And he’s just one of two players to do it multiple times. He averaged 29 home runs over a seven-year span, helping the Cubs to the postseason from 2015 to 2018.

He was also the de facto leader of the team, signing a long-term contract with the Cubs in 2013. That ended last year after the Cubs picked up two team option years in 2020 and 2021.

The sides discussed another deal as recently as this past spring but after an agreement couldn’t be reached, Rizzo was traded to the Yankees the day before the trade deadline this past summer.

New York, after a slow start, rallied with Rizzo and Co. to make the postseason, where the Yankees were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox, another team that was mentioned prominently in trade rumors once Rizzo became available.

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