The Friday Five: August 10th, 2018

1. Khabib-McGregor Made Official for UFC 229

Less than a week after the end of his legal troubles, Conor McGregor has set his return to the Octagon.

The former two division UFC champion will face off against his newest rival and current UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, on October 6th at UFC 229 in Las Vegas.

Nurmagomedov would win the title at UFC 223, defeating Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision, but the real battle was when McGregor and over a dozen associates would storm Barclays Center during the event’s media day. McGregor would throw a dolly into the window of Nurmagomedov’s bus, leading to McGregor’s arrest and eventual plea deal reached in July, leading to a  guilty plea on a single misdemeanor charge and serving community service and undergoing anger management training.

The fight, announced on Friday prior to the UFC 227 weigh-ins, will be McGregor’s first fight in the UFC since defeating Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title in 2016, and first fight since his 2017 stoppage loss against Floyd Mayweather.

 

2. Eddie Hearn Says Deontay Wilder Has Lost It

Eddie Hearn has come to the conclusion that Deontay Wilder has lost his mind for turning down offers in the last few weeks.

Hearn told Boxing News that the money he offered to the WBC heayweight champion to face either Dereck Chisora or Dillian Whyte, was way more than his fight in March against Luis Ortiz.

“[Wilder] has lost the plot at the moment. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s got a team of people around him that can’t pay him any money. We’re offering him a load of money and he thinks I’m an a******e so he doesn’t really want to deal with me. But when he realizes I’m paying him three or four times more than everybody else,” Hearn said to Boxing News.

“But now I can put it on a plate, you’ve got Dillian Whyte, you’ve got Dereck Chisora, he might look at ‘Del Boy’ and go, ‘I’ll have Del Boy.’ Imagine Wilder against Chisora at the O2.”

Instead of Chisora or Whyte, Wilder is looking to land a fight this fall against former unified world champion Tyson Fury.

 

3. Marcus-Wilnis 4 at GLORY 56

Photo: James Law/ GLORY Sports International

Saying two fighters really don’t like each other is one of the oldest cliches in combat sports. But when it comes to GLORY middleweights Simon Marcus (48-4-2) and Jason Wilnis, they really don’t like each other. 

The GLORY 56 weigh-ins were a clear-cut reminder of that.

As the two former middleweight champions squared off for their upcoming showdown on the GLORY 56 Superfight Series, things got a little heated after Wilnis grabbed Marcus by the throat. Marcus shoved him away and the two had to be separated, all while heated words were exchanged (none that are safe to repeat here), accompanied by angry stares and gestures.

“Nothing too bad,” Marcus told FIGHT SPORTS. “Just some fight excitement.”

Marcus, 31, first fought Wilnis back at GLORY 20 in 2015, winning by split decision. In their second encounter at GLORY 33, Wilnis took the title from Marcus after winning via TKO in the third round. And in their third bout at GLORY 40, which took place in April 2017, Marcus regained his title after besting Wilnis by split decision.

Each fighter has expressed their dislike for one another in myriad interviews over the past couple of years. Perhaps none more humorously than at GLORY 37, where Wilnis made his lone title defense in a decision victory over Israel Adesanya. Marcus showed up and sat ringside just to talk trash and heckle Wilnis for the entire fight.

So when did all of the bad blood between the two fighters really start, and why has it continued all this time?

“You know what it is?” Marcus answered. “Jason is just afraid of me, and he acts out of character when he feels intimidated and there’s not much he can do about it. I’m always game to fight and I don’t back down from anybody or accept any disrespect. It tends to lead up to some tension before the fight, but at the end of the day tomorrow, everything will be settled in the ring.”

 

4. Dana White Has No Words for Nate Diaz’s Threats

If Nate Diaz was looking to be placated by Dana White following his walkout of the UFC 227 press conference, he may be waiting for a while.

Moments after Diaz stared down his UFC 229 opponent Dustin Poirier, the Stockton, California naive walked out of the press conference, and would blast the UFC on social media and to TMZ.

“I’m not fighting on that show (expletive) the @ufc,” Diaz wrote on Twitter.

“They better start acting right. They better start over-promoting me instead of under promoting me,” said Diaz. “They brought me to this press conference late. They brought me (late.)”

White told reporters following UFC 227, that Diaz had tickets waiting for him for UFC 227, but no-showed the event possibly in protest.

When asked about the relationship between the fighter and promoter, White told reporters that, “You tell me if everything’s okay with Nate Diaz. If you can decipher that code, call me tomorrow and let me know.”

White then said he had no plans on speaking to Diaz, “What are we going to talk about?”, asked White.

UFC 230 takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York on November 3rd.

 

5. Canelo-GGG 2 Nearly Sold Out

Credit: Golden Boy Promotions

With a little over a month until their highly anticipated rematch, tickets for IBO, WBA, WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is close to being sold out.

“The truth is that ticket sales are going very well, we have a little more than 2,000 tickets, just the promotional stage is coming so we hope to have the tickets sold out by the end of this month or the beginning of next month. We have a lot of things to compete with….. the World Cup just ended, we have the NFL, Major League Baseball, other events,” said Golden Boy Promotions President, Eric Gomez to ESPN Deportes.

“A month away is when you start pushing everything, you start with the strongest promotion, and we have already sold more than 17,500 tickets. We can certainly say that it will be a great entry for September 15 in the ‘ Super Bowl ‘of boxing.”

The first card would reach a gate over $27 million dollars with 17,318 tickets sold at the T-Mobile arena, which sold more tickets but a lesser gate than the $72 million made when Floyd Mayweather faced off against Manny Pacquiao.

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