The Friday Five: October 25th, 2019

1. Diaz Pulls Self From UFC 244

Nine days before UFC 244 and one of the most hyped fights of the year, Nate Diaz took to Twitter to announce he is out of his fight with Jorge Masvidal.

In a moment that had MMA fans scratching their heads and MMA media losing their collective minds, Diaz announced that USADA found “elevated levels” somewhere that Diaz did not specify, and claimed that he didn’t even “eat meat,” and used “whole food” supplements, leading some like Chael Sonnen to believe that USADA told Diaz he was popped for steroids.

“Until the UFC, Usada (sic) or whoever is F***ING with me fixes it, I won’t be competing,” Diaz wrote in his statement.

“Your all on steroids not me.”

“I’m not going to have my name tainted as a cheater like these other motherf***ers who keep quiet until after the fight just so that they can get paid,” he wrote. “F***in cheaters

2. Conor Sets Return Date

At a press conference in Russia, Conor McGregor decided to put the UFC on the spot and announce his return to the Octagon early next year.

“I would like to announce the return of ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor will take place on January 18th in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada,” said McGregor on Thursday morning.

“So, that is my comeback fight, it’s 12 weeks this Saturday. I’m in prime physical condition, I’ve agreed the date with the company. As far as the opponent, I have the opponent’s name, but for me and the game that I’m in, and from experience, if I was to give you people the name – which I would love to do – I know the UFC would flip it because they are a crafty company. For me, here’s this one, ask the UFC who the opponent is because I do not give a f**k who the opponent is. January 18th…the return of ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor…twelve weeks this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.”

“That will be the beginning of my season. I will then look to compete against the winner of Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal for the Bad Motherf*cker title,” McGregor said of next week’s UFC 242 card. “Obviously, I have history with Nate Diaz, we are set to have the trilogy bout. We’ll see how that one goes, I feel Nate will get the better of that one and then we will contest the trilogy bout.”

3. Kovalev Not A Sacrifice To Canelo

Credit: Twitter/@BTSportBoxing

Sergey Kovalev does not look to be the next in a line of sacrificial opponents for Canelo Alvarez on his road to making history.

“I understand that a lot of people are thinking that I’m the underdog, but the ring will show our skills,” Kovalev told BoxingScene.com. “My job is to be in the best shape and bring the best fight. I understand this fight will be dangerous for me and my boxing career. If someone challenges me to a fight, I cannot say no. I’m only training for victory. He’s the best in boxing, and this is my biggest test. I should be ready.”

“I am the biggest name in the light heavyweight division,” said Kovalev, who defends his WBO light heavyweight title against Alvarez on November 2nd on DAZN. “We’ve had great opinions of each other ever since we met in Big Bear in 2012. I respect him.

“Of course this will be a tougher fight for me than Andre Ward. Ward was a dirty fighter, he was not a real fighter … If boxing had a division between 175 and 200, I would move up, too. My goal is the same, to defend my titles until I retire.”

“I asked [manager] Egas [Klimas] to give me a fight every three months,” said Kovalev, who just defeated Anthony Yarde in August. “Big breaks between fights kill me. I don’t train between fights because I am busy with my family and life. It was different this time. It’s now or never. A victory will give me a lot of opportunities. I have five more fights. It all depends on God, and how many he will give me.

4. Couture Suffers Heart Attack, Walks To The Hospital

Former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture was hospitalized on Wednesday, suffering a heart attack.

First reported by TMZ, the 56-year-old Couture, walked himself to an area hospital after a workout at Unbreakable MMA in Los Angeles because he felt a bit off.

Sources indicate Couture will make a full recovery and may be able to return to broadcasting on Halloween night for the Professional Fighters League’s final opening round of their playoffs.

5. Logan Paul Says Boxing Has Helped His Image

While many in boxing are not taking the main event of November 9th’s Matchroom Boxing card seriously, Logan Paul has decided to live in the gym in spite of it.

“The only problem is that the fight isn’t tonight,” Paul said of his main event fight against KSI, which will air on DAZN from Staples Center.

“I’ve been locked in camp for two and a half months. I haven’t taken a day off for the last year and a half since our last fight. That draw left a nasty taste in my mouth. There is a lot of regimented hard work you have to put in to become a fighter and few people are willing to do it. This is such a hard grueling sport. This is a big fight and it’s the biggest event of my life so there’s no reason that I won’t go as hard as I possibly can every day. Boxing has changed my life and I haven’t even been doing it that long. We call training camp ‘The No Fun Club.’ We aren’t allowed to have fun. We are locked down and it is intense. We have a very routine-based camp.”

“I think the head gear saved him last time,” Paul said of his 2018 fight with KSI that was under amateur rules. “I like throwing hooks and with the headgear, you can’t get to that button. I think that without headgear, the pressure to not get hit is so much higher so it makes my reflexes that much better.”

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