‘Fight Island’ opens with three UFC titles up for grabs

The card is the first of four to be held at a purpose-built facility which is part of a "safe zone" on Yas Island, east of the city of Abu Dhabi and close to the airport. With the sporting calendar virtually wiped out by the pandemic, Mixed Martial Arts was one of the first sports in the U.S. to stage events again, with three cards in Jacksonville, Florida in May followed by five at the UFC's APEX facility in Las Vegas. Despite the organisers' best efforts, COVID-19 has still had an impact on the UFC 251 card as contender Gilbert Burns was ruled out of his welterweight title clash with Kamaru Usman following a positive test for the virus.

Chris Froome to leave Team Ineos at end of season

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome will leave Team Ineos at the end of the season, the cycling outfit announced on Thursday, with reports saying he is joining Israel Start-Up Nation. Froome, Britain's most successful rider, won the Tour de France four times in five years from 2013 in the colours of Team Sky, which last year became Team Ineos. Team Ineos boss Dave Brailsford hailed Froome as a "great champion" but said it was the right time to part ways.

Chris Froome to leave Team Ineos at the end of the season

Chris Froome will leave Team Ineos for Israel Start-Up Nation at the end of 2020, it has been confirmed. The split ends one of the most successful partnerships in professional cycling history. Froome, 35, has been with Ineos since the team’s inception, as Team Sky, over a decade ago, but had been strongly linked with a move away in recent months. The four-time Tour de France champion, who is in the final year of his Ineos contract, is desperate to win what would be a record-equalling fifth title and is adamant that he is physically capable of doing so following a career-threatening crash 12 months ago. However, with Ineos also having Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas - the last two winners of the Tour - in their ranks, the British team have three potential leaders. Colombian Bernal is very much seen as the rising star. Team Ineos principal Sir Dave Brailsford admitted in his statement on Thursday that he could no longer guarantee Froome “sole team leadership in the next chapter of his career”. That was one of the reasons that Froome was rumoured to be considering a rare mid-season switch, with Israel understood to have tabled a lucrative three-year offer for the seven-time grand tour winner which guaranteed him sole Tour leadership at this year's race.

Froome to leave Team INEOS at the end of the season – team statement

VIDEO SHOWS: FILE FOOTAGE OF CHRIS FROOME SHOWS: LINTON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - MAY 1, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. CHRIS FROOME RIDING BIKE 2. FROOME WITH INEOS TEAM BOSS DAVE BRAILSFORD (RIGHT) AND TEAM INEOS OWNER JIM RATCLIFFE 3. CLOSE UP OF FROOME, BRAILSFORD AND RATCLIFFE 4. FROOME RIDING 5. FROOME RIDING UP TO BRAILSFORD AND RATCLIFFE 6. FROOME AND RATCLIFFE ALCUDIA, MALLORCA, SPAIN (FILE - JANUARY 11, 2015) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 7. FROOME ON TRAINING RIDE WITH THEN TEAM SKY ZEIST, NETHERLANDS (FILE - JULY 3, 2015) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 8. FROOME SIGNING AUTOGRAPH AS HE WALKS PAST 9. FROOME TALKING TO TEAM SKY COLLEAGUE PARIS, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 21, 2013) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 10. VARIOUS OF FROOME ON PODIUM RECEIVING HIS YELLOW JERSEY AND CELEBRATING AFTER WINNING THE 2013 TOUR DE FRANCE STORY: Four times Tour de France champion Chris Froome will leave Team INEOS at the end of the season, the team said in a statement on Thursday (July 8). Froome, who won the Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 is one win away from matching the record of five victories held jointly by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. "Chris's current contract comes to an end in December and we have taken the decision now not to renew it. We are making this announcement earlier than would usually be the case to put an end to recent speculation and allow the Team to focus on the season ahead," general manager Dave Brailsford said. Froome, who suffered a horrible accident last year and returned to racing in February, said he was focused on winning his fifth Tour title with the team. "It has been a phenomenal decade with the Team, we have achieved so much together and I will always treasure the memories," he added.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt sidelined by sore heel

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has been using a walking boot as he nurses a sore right heel that will keep him out at least a week. San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said Belt will be re-evaluated in five to seven days but it's too soon to know whether the injury could affect his status for the season opener July 23 at Dodger Stadium. The 32-year-old Belt has dealt with heel pain previously and aggravated it this time doing agility work in a ladder drill.