Kevin Iole

  • New York appears close to legalizing pro MMA, but UFC isn't celebrating yet

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 12 hrs ago

    For years, anyone with an ounce of common sense saw New York's ban on professional mixed martial arts for what it was: A con job, with the vote (or non-vote, whichever the case might be) going to the highest bidder.

    The image of the once-powerful Sheldon Silver, the long-time speaker of the New York state assembly, in the back of a police car in February being hauled to jail by federal agents on corruption charges, led many to believe that MMA's legalization was soon at hand.

    It was Silver who repeatedly blocked a vote on the bill in the assembly after it had passed the state senate. UFC's ownership believes it was at the behest of Las Vegas Culinary Union 226, which has been in a protracted feud with Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta over the failure to unionize Station Casinos.

    Silver's departure and the ascension of Carl Heastie into the speaker's chair has led to optimism that the bill will finally become law this year.

    As a result, even though everything looks positive for MMA supporters in New York, Fertitta isn't getting cocky.

    He knows the political realities and after years of nonsense, he has come to expect the unexpected.

  • Boxer Peter Quillin put new son, dying uncle before money

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 14 hrs ago

    The photo, of an older hand grasping a younger one, is amongst Peter Quillin's most cherished possessions.

    And in a way, it explains very simply and precisely what seemed to be an inexplicable decision he made last year to vacate his WBO middleweight title and turn down a career-high seven-figure purse for an eminently winnable fight at home against Matt Korobov.

    Quillin's decision to pass on the Korobov fight made little sense on the surface. He was accused of ducking Korobov by the hard-to-please boxing fans who couldn't begin to fathom what would lead him to say no to a $1.5 million purse and a near-certain win.

    The decision to say no was, however, a no brainer, Quillin says, and it all goes back to that photo of the two hands coming together.

    Quillin's first son, Joaquin Enriquez, was born on Aug. 23, 2014. It was a joyous moment for both Quillin and his wife, Allison.

    At the same time, however, he was dealing with life's more unpleasant side. His 57-year-old uncle, Eric Munson, was on death's doorstep, suffering from pancreatic cancer. Munson was a father figure to Quillin, and the fighter speaks of him in near-reverential tones.

  • Golden Boy sues featherweight champ Jhonny Gonzalez, with Al Haymon in crosshairs

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 3 days ago

    Golden Boy Promotions filed suit Friday in California Superior Court in Los Angeles against WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez on the eve of his title defense at the Palms in Las Vegas on Showtime against Gary Russell Jr.

    The real target, though, may be Russell Jr.'s manager, the powerful Al Haymon. Haymon is not named in the suit, though in addition to Gonzalez, Golden Boy sued several unnamed defendants and it is believed Haymon is one of them.

    According to the complaint, Golden Boy's contract with Gonzalez calls for two years or four fights, but the company is not involved in Saturday's bout. It attempted to make a bout with Russell Jr. last year, it said, but Gonzalez's Mexican promotion, Del Pueblo Promotions, declined and instead took a fight with Jorge Arce on Oct. 4 in Los Mochis, Mexico.

    The complaint said Golden Boy believes the unnamed defendants "were responsible in some manner for the acts and transactions hereinafter alleged and are liable to plaintiffs therefore."

    Neither Gonzalez nor Haymon could be reached for comment on the suit.

  • In Las Vegas, Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is exclusive to MGM properties

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 3 days ago

    If you're a sports fan, Las Vegas is like a home away from home. Walk into one of the city's many hotels and it's possible to watch on television just about any sporting event that is being held on a given day.

    Thousands are descending upon the city for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout on May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden. Only about 16,000 will be privileged enough to be inside the arena for the latest incarnation of "The Fight of the Century."

    There will be thousands of closed circuit seats available in Las Vegas, but every last one of them will be inside an MGM Resorts-owned property. That means no watching the bout at venerable Las Vegas casino hotels such as Caesars Palace, Wynn Las Vegas or The Venetian.

    That means the fight will be available at MGM properties in Las Vegas such as the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Mirage, Aria, Montel Carlo and New York-New York.

    " ... We have exclusivity to broadcast closed-circuit viewing at our properties," MGM Grand spokesman Scott Ghertner said. "No other hotel-casino properties in Clark County, Nev., can broadcast [the fight on] closed circuit."

  • How did Mayweather become a big-money superstar? He dreamed big – and turned down $12.5M

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports Commentary 4 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather and Leonard Ellerbe would talk – dream, really – about the future, like a pair of kids on a Little League squad who imagined themselves making the big plays to win Game 7 of the World Series.

    It was roughly 15 years ago, a contentious point early in a professional career that was teeming with promise. By 2000, there were a few observers who already believed Mayweather was the best fighter in the world. Even those who disagreed couldn't deny his charisma or his fistic brilliance. He was "Pretty Boy" Floyd, an Olympic medalist and a dynamic physical specimen. HBO saw him take apart the classy Genaro Hernandez at the tender age of 21 and knew he was different from the rest of the crowd. 

    There were many good fighters who made their way into the professional ranks from that 1996 U.S. Olympic team. There was, however, only one Mayweather.

    Recognizing that, HBO offered him a six-fight, $12.5 million contract extension, a deal many thought he'd be crazy to decline.

    Mayweather, though, was crazy enough to decline.

    He had this dream, this belief, that he was destined to be different. Not just good. Not just great.

    Special.

  • Why Manny Pacquiao isn't even the toughest guy on his training team

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    Freddie Roach grumbled something about feeling fine and then proceeded to do what countless politicians do every day when they're asked a question they don't want to answer:

    He talked about something else.

    Asked how he feels, the seven-time Trainer of the Year spoke of how well Manny Pacquiao's preparations are going for his May 2 mega-fight in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    Many close to Roach were seriously worried about him, but weren't willing to say anything publicly. In February, just as negotiations to make the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight were hitting the homestretch, Roach was beset by significant back pain.

    Already afflicted with Parkinson's disease, Roach was scheduled to fly Feb. 27 to Macau, China – as Pacquiao was about to get to Los Angeles to begin preparations for Mayweather – to work the corner for Zou Shiming in a flyweight title fight March 7.

    And Roach's back was killing him. Not that he'll really say much about it.

    Like Roach, Fortune scoffed at the notion it might somehow limit him.

  • Trainer Freddie Roach reveals some of Pacman's issues in training camp

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    One of the few problems in Manny Pacquiao's career that trainer Freddie Roach hasn't been able to solve has been the Filipino superstar's tendency to suffer leg cramps.

    Pacquiao has massive calves, the size of a large apple, and he relies on them to generate his punching power.

    But in many of his fights, he's been hindered by cramps.

    Roach told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday that cramps continue to be an issue for Pacquiao, though he's taking steps to prevent them as the boxer continues his preparations for his May 2 bout in Las Vegas against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    One of those steps involved purchasing an anti-inflammatory cream for his calves that cost $1,800 for a small tube. The cost was so high because Pacquiao doesn't have U.S. insurance and had to pay the inflated retail cost.

    Before applying it, Roach had it approved by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is conducting drug testing for the fight.

    Roach said in an effort to rid Pacquiao of shin splints, he and conditioning coach Justin Fortune no longer have him running hills. Pacquiao often ran up a concrete hill during his previous training camps with Roach in the Los Angeles area.

  • Brock Lesnar shuns UFC, signs contract extension with WWE

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 6 days ago

    Brock Lesnar announced Tuesday in a live appearance on SportsCenter that he had re-signed a contract with the WWE and would no longer compete in mixed martial arts. During an interview with Michelle Beadle, Lesnar said he signed the deal to remain in the WWE on Monday.

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    He will face Roman Reigns on Sunday in Santa Clara, California, at WrestleMania 31, the WWE's biggest event of the year. His contract was up on March 30 and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White both said they planned to speak with him when he was contractually free.

    Lesnar, though, didn't think he could go through the grind of training again.

    "That's why I wanted to come here. I wanted people to hear me. It was a hard decision to make. It took me a year. I've thought about this for a year. At the end of the day, it's all about me wanting to have fun."

    White told Yahoo Sports he supported Lesnar's choice.

    "I wanted to feel that energy [again]," he said.

  • How an MMA fighter found salvation among the Pygmies

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Pain is a fighter's constant companion. Few men alive are as intimately acquainted with the pain that is omnipresent in combat sports as much as Justin Wren.

    Not long after he was out of high school, the 18-year-old Wren was living at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colo., when he suffered an injury that dramatically changed the course of his life.

    First, it led him on a downward spiral toward addiction and depression. He became, he says almost casually, "a depressed, drunk, drug addict."

    "Toward the end of my fight career, right around 'Ultimate Fighter' time, right after that, I was basically hiding a drug addiction," said Wren, who was coached by former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans on Season 10 of the UFC's reality series in 2009. "It was mainly to opiates, narcotics and pain pills, but I was also doing cocaine a lot and medical marijuana."

    It's best to know where Wren has been to better understand where he is in his life today as he prepares to make a comeback.

    All Wren thought of during his time at Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas was fighting.

    The pain, he said, was immense.

  • Floyd Mayweather could earn as much as $180 million to face Pacman, promoter says

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 6 days ago

    In November, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins signed a 13-year contract extension that would pay him $325 million if he plays the entire length of the deal. It was astounding that the Marlins, a notably penurious franchise, would pay that kind of money to one player. But it was also amazing just for the sheer volume.

    But in one night, Floyd Mayweather Jr. may earn more than half of that. According to a report by The Associated Press' TIm Dahlberg, Mayweather's purse for his May 2 welterweight title bout in Las Vegas against Manny Pacquiao may reach $180 million.

    Pacquiao, who agreed to a 60-40 purse split that favored Mayweather, will make more than $100 million.

    Top Rank's Bob Arum told Dahlberg on Tuesday that the live paid gate could be as high as $72 million. The current record is $20 million, set by Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez in 2013.

    Arum said that with revenues skyrocketing and the economy better than it was when the fight was first talked about, the paydays are going into breathtaking territory.

    • Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers, 10-year deal, $292 million