Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said he had reached an agreement with Cristiano Ronaldo in the week leading up to his side's 3-1 win over Lazio on Saturday that the Portuguese would be rested. Serie A's top goalscorer started on the bench as Juve came from behind to beat Lazio in the Juventus Stadium. Trailing 2-1 in their Champions League last 16 clash with Porto ahead of Tuesday's second leg in Turin, Pirlo decided to give the 36-year-old Ronaldo a break.
In the space of 24 hours, rising UFC star Khamzat Chimaev indicated that he was done fighting, but then was talked into continuing on by controversial Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. UFC president Dana White also backed that sentiment, telling MMA Junkie that Chimaev "ain't quitting." Chimaev's UFC career was off to a brilliant start in 2020. The Chechen fighter rattled off three consecutive victories in three months. He was then slated to face highly ranked welterweight Leon Edwards, a massive opportunity. That fight fell apart because Edwards and then Chimaev tested positive for COVID-19. The UFC attempted to reschedule it at least twice, but was thwarted on both occasions because of Chimaev's ongoing health struggles in his recovery from COVID-19. On Monday, he appeared to have decided he was done trying to return to the Octagon. He wrote on Instagram, "I want to say thank you to everyone for their support in my path in this sport. I think I’m done. Yes, I know that I didn’t take the belt, but this is not the most important victory in this life. It may upset you, but my heart and body tell me everything." That appeared to be the end of it. Then, on Tuesday, Kadyrov posted a message via the Visit Chechnya Instagram account, in which he said that he talked Chimaev out of retiring. He urged the fighter to continue on. "Friends, you've probably already heard the news about Khamzat Chimaev, who announced his departure from the UFC in his account. Not believing my eyes, I called and talked to Chimaev," Kadyrov wrote. "Khamzat said that recovery from illness is slow, and in an attempt to be honest and frank with the fans, he decided not to give them hope. I told him that ALL the Chechen people were upset by this news. I reminded Chimaev that all our young people, whom he inspires, are pinning great hopes on his victory, but what can I say - MILLIONS OF FANS IN RUSSIA AND THE WORLD! And if fans need to wait for his return, then we will all look forward to his entry into the octagon with trepidation and patience. "During our conversation, Chimaev realized how important his career is for every Chechen and promised to make every effort to recover as soon as possible. In the near future, he will fly to the republic, where he will complete a rehabilitation course, hold a training camp and start training.And this means that Khamzat does not leave, HE REMAINS AND WILL BEAT TO THE END! "The heart and body whispered 'everything!' That is how Khamzat wrote on Instagram. But the Chechen SPIRIT and the will to win shout to him 'Forward!' Therefore, I know for sure that Khamzat will take the UFC belt and prove that he is the best of the best!" Chimaev has yet to comment since he and Kadyrov's posts went public. UFC president Dana White, however, told MMA Junkie, “When (Chimaev) got (to UFC headquarters in Las Vegas), the doctors took care of him, and they put him on prednisone, which is a nasty f---ing steroid. So he’s on prednisone, and he’s supposed to be taking this thing and chilling, relaxing, and letting himself recover. He went in and f---ing trained today, felt like s--t, and got super emotional and posted (his retirement). “He’s not supposed to be training, but you know, this guy’s a savage. He wants to fight like every f---ing weekend, and now he can’t even train, so he just got emotional and posted that, but he ain’t quitting.” Chimaev was most recently scheduled to fight Edwards on March 13. When he wasn't physically able to train for the bout, Edwards was re-booked opposite Belal Muhammad for the same date. It is unclear how soon Chimaev might be able to return to the Octagon. TRENDING > Zhang Weili expected to defend belt against Rose Namajunas at UFC 261 Dana White praises Khamzat Chimaev: "I've never seen anything like this in my life" (Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)
BetMGM is offering a special promotion for the Israel Adesanya vs. Jan Blachowicz fight.
There is a lot of uproar about who is right and who is wrong when it comes to COVID-19 protocols across the United States. Count UFC president Dana White on the side of getting things opened back up. White has consistently said that he won't hold events in limited-seating situations. He only wants to go back to live audiences when he can have a full house with no limits. Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week announced that he is rescinding his state's mask mandate and working toward opening things up 100 percent. White is fully on board and started making moves to hold an event in Texas as soon as the governor made his statement. Although White said he called officials in Dallas to inquire about holding an event there, he said he was told no way. Now, he is working on Houston to see if they will allow him to hold a full-house event. He's not giving up easily. White said that if he had the green light and could make the move, he would move this weekend's UFC 259 event to Texas and open it up to fans. That not being the case, don't be surprised if UFC 260, which takes place in just three weeks time, makes the move from the Apex in Las Vegas to a Texas based venue. "Could be. We'll see what happens. I'm ready to go. I'd move this one if we could," White responded when asked about moving UFC 260 to Texas. "I told everybody that when this opened up, I would be first. We would go first. And we will." UFC 260 features a heavyweight championship rematch between titleholder Stipe Miocic and No. 1 ranked contender Francis Ngannou. The co-main event pits featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski against Brian Ortega. TRENDING > Dominick Cruz: Critical of USADA, even after award for milestone of clean tests | UFC 259 Media Day UFC 259 Face-offs (Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)
BOSTON (AP) Jayson Tatum had 27 points and 12 rebounds and the Boston Celtics won their fourth straight game, outlasting the short-handed Toronto Raptors 132-125 on Thursday night. Jaylen Brown added 21 points and seven rebounds, and Kemba Walker finished with 15 points. Coach Brad Stevens recently challenged his players to finish the final four games before the All-Star break strong after a stretch in which the Celtics lost nine of 14.
Jalen Ramsey and Deshaun Watson share a connection.
Five years after Air Jordan landed on college uniforms, LeBron's logo is getting started with an HBCU.
The Pacers guard posted one of the most unique stat lines in NBA history on Wednesday.
Khamzat Chimaev has been suffering from the aftereffects of COVID-19 and announced his retirement from MMA on Monday.
The two All-Stars on the team with the NBA's best record got taken last.
The fan reaction to Harden's Houston return was less positive than the official team welcome.
Murray, a three-time Grand Slam winner who claimed his first tour-level victory since August in the first round against Robin Haase, held his own against Rublev in a tight first set that lasted 62 minutes before the Russian raced away with the second. "I want to be playing at this level because I learn a lot from a match like this," Murray said. Murray's long-time rival Roger Federer is set to make his return to the court in Doha next week after two knee operations in the past 12 months and the Briton has backed the 20-time Grand Slam winner to hit top gear.
Matt Harmon runs through the latest round of the NFL rumor mill including whether J.J. Watt's addition by the Cardinals will make Arizona a more enticing option for pass-catchers on the open market.
As LaMelo Ball continues setting records in his standout rookie season, his latest accomplishment may be his most impressive yet.
Receiving $100 million appears to have done very little to change Trevor Bauer.
Nunes, widely considered the greatest female fighter of all-time in mixed martial arts, dominated from the start.
A vicious, intentional knee to the head of a downed Aljamain Sterling cost Petr Yan his bantamweight title on Saturday at Apex on the main card of UFC 259.
Amanda Nunes continues to show why she's widely regarded as the best female fighter of all time.
Barcelona cranked up the pressure on Sunday's Madrid derby by beating Osasuna 2-0 on Saturday night to edge two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
Watch Amanda Lemos' striking clinic end with a stiff jab and follow-up shots.