Curtis Cooke, Hall of Fame welterweight champion, dies at 82

Curtis Cokes, the Hall of Fame welterweight who became Dallas’ first world champion in 1966, has died. Erwin “Sparky” Sparks, Cokes’ partner at the Home of Champions gym, told The Dallas Morning News that Cokes died Friday after a week in hospice. Cokes took the World Boxing Association welterweight title in 1966 belt with a unanimous decision over Manny Gonzalez in New Orleans and added the World Boxing Council crown three months later with a unanimous decision over Jean Josselin at Dallas’ Memorial Auditorium.

UFC honors George Floyd during Saturday’s UFC on ESPN 9 broadcast

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to its Las Vegas backyard on Saturday for UFC on ESPN: Woodley vs. Burns at the UFC Apex facility. The fight promotion was the first major sports organization to return to holding events, without spectators, during the COVID-19 pandemic.Saturday was the fourth UFC event this month. In their previous broadcast, the focus was on healthcare workers battling the outbreak and those affected. At the beginning of Saturday's broadcast, the fight promotion honored George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose death while in police custody on Monday has led to a national uprising. The tragic incident was caught on video and sparked ongoing protests and riots.The officer that caused Floyd's death, Derek Chauvin, was fired and has since been arrested and charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The three other officers on the scene have also been fired, but none had been arrested or charged as of Saturday evening.> pic.twitter.com/UPDdKfFxiM> > — UFC (@ufc) May 31, 2020During the event's post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White was asked about the decision to honor Floyd. The answer was simple.“Because we should,” White said. “What happened was horrible and it’s something really affecting this country right now and the world. There’s riots going on everywhere, across the world, right now. It was the right thing to do.”The fight promotion also honored former ringside physician Dr. Albert Capanna, who passed away early this month.> pic.twitter.com/MKDtKhXb3c> > — UFC (@ufc) May 31, 2020“We did (one) for him and (one) for the Nevada State Athletic Commission doctor who just passed away, too, who was a great guy,” White said. “He did a lot of the fights and did a lot of the ‘TUF’ fights.”

UFC mixed martial arts card brings sport back to Las Vegas

Combat sport returned to Las Vegas Saturday as Brazil's Gilbert Burns defeated former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in the main event of an Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts card. As in the UFC's recent live events from Florida there were no fans in attendance at the UFC Apex and social distancing measures were in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Dana White: ‘Why would I lie’ about Jon Jones? (UFC on ESPN 9 Post-Fight)

* * *UFC president Dana White and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones have never really been what you'd say are best of friends. But their relationship, at least publicly, has certainly devolved to a rather unhealthy level.As Jones tried to stoke the fires for a move to heavyweight for a "superfight" with top contender Francis Ngannou, he took the negotiations public proclaiming that the UFC didn't want to consider that he wanted more money for such a blockbuster bout.Asked about Jones's tweets, White then proclaimed that Jones wanted Deontay Wilder type of money. The boxer was reported to have earned in the neighborhood of $30 million for his last fight.Jones then fired back with a blistering series of tweets that claimed he never asked for anything near Wilder's pay. He went on to say, "If my reputation causes you to undervalue me this much. Just go ahead and release me from my UFC contract altogether." White again addressed Jones at the UFC on ESPN 9 post-fight press conference on Saturday night in Las Vegas, this time appearing to be growing weary of having to address Jones."(Jones) had a great talk yesterday with Hunter, my lawyer, who’s really close to Jon Jones and likes him. They have a good relationship. They had a good talk yesterday. It is what it is. I really don’t care. I couldn’t care less, to be honest with you," said White."He can do whatever he wants to do. He can sit out. He can fight. He can do whatever."Being the greatest of all-time doesn’t mean you get $30 million Being able to sell does. Jon Jones has done a lot of things to himself. In one of his tweets, he was saying I tarnished him. I tarnished you? You’ve done a very good job of tarnishing you. I haven’t done that," White continued."Hunter told him. You can come in and walk through the numbers. ‘I’ll walk you through the numbers.’ And he says, ‘I don’t give a (expletive) what the numbers are. I want what I want, and that’s it.’ That’s not how life works."White also addressed the UFC on ESPN 9 fights, navigating the pandemic, and returning to Las Vegas to hold events, amongst a host of other topics in his post-fight comments.* * *TRENDING > Jon Jones to Dana White: ‘Just go ahead and release me from my UFC contract’* * *(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)

Mackenzie Dern tops UFC on ESPN 9 bonuses

In her second fight back since giving birth to her first child, Mackenzie Dern led the charge on the UFC on ESPN 9 performance bonuses.The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to Las Vegas on Saturday, while Dern returned to form.The UFC re-launched combat sports on its home turf in Nevada following a three-fight stint over an eight-day span in Florida earlier this month. It was the first combat sports event in the state since the world went into a virtual shutdown because of the global coronavirus crisis. UFC on ESPN 9 took place at the promotion's own Apex facility.Dern hadn't fought since losing a decision to Amanda Ribas in October of 2019. That was her first fight after giving birth to a daughter on June 9, 2019. Looking to get back on track, Dern did just that in her UFC on ESPN 9 main card opening bout opposite Hannah Cifers. Though Cifers started off well, Dern quickly turned the tables, locking up a leg and sinking a kneebar submission midway through the opening round. Dern notched her first victory after becoming a mom, but also earned a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus.Joining her for Performance of the Night honors was main eventer Gilbert Burns, who put on a tremendous performance to earn a dominant decision over former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. The Fight of the Night was a difficult one for UFC president Dana White and his crew to decide, but they eventually settled on a preliminary bout between Tim Elliott and Brandon Royval. After asking the press core their opinion, White admitted that he would also be "taking care of" Billy Quarantillo and Spike Carlyle, who were the other athletes vying for Fight of the Night honors.Elliott and Royval will each receive $50,000. White didn't divulge what he would do for Quarantillo and Carlyle.(Photo courtesy of UFC and Getty Images)* * *TRENDING > Gilbert Burns dominates Tyron Woodley in UFC on ESPN 9 main event* * * UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns Performance Bonuses * Performances of the Night: Mackenzie Dern * Performances of the Night: Gilbert Burns * Fight of the Night: Tim Elliott vs. Brandon Royval

Gilbert Burns dominates Tyron Woodley in UFC on ESPN 9 main event

Former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley stepped inside the Octagon for the first time since March 2019 on Saturday against Gilbert Burns in the UFC on ESPN 9 main event. It was Woodley's first fight since losing the title to Kamaru Usman by unanimous decision.Burns entered the bout riding a five-fight winning streak and ranked No. 6 in the weight class. Woodley was expecting to take his first step back toward a title shot while Burns was looking to take out the top contender in the division and make a statement.Burns took the fight to the former titleholder, knocking Woodley down with an uppercut early in the opening round. Burns followed Woodley to the canvas and opened up a cut over Woodley left eye with an elbow. Woodley held on and exploded to his feet but wasn't able to mount an offense.Woodley's best moment came in the opening moments of the second frame. He rushed in with a combination that pushed Burns back. Burns changed levels and took Woodley down. As Woodley worked to get back to his feet, Burns connected with a knee to the body and two right hands.Burns outworked Woodley landing 78 significant strikes to Woodley's 29. In the fourth round, Burns connected cleanly with a combination. Woodley tried to move away but was clipped with a right hand that staggered him.RELATED > UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns Live ResultsThe final round, Woodley looked to land a big right hand to end it but was unable to. Burns continued to press forward until the closing bell. The judges scored the fight for Burns with Woodley not winning a single round."I trained so hard for this fight. I knew I could do it. I was calling these guys out for a reason," said Burns following the biggest win of his career. "That was a former champion right there and you saw a dominant performance."By defeating the former champion and top ranked contender in the division, Burns put himself in contender status in a crowded weight class. When asked who he wanted to face next, Burns called out his training partner and champion Kamaru Usman."I love the champ. He's my training partner, Kamaru Usman, but give me a shot," he said. "I want to fight for the title. A lot of respect and love for you (Usman), but I think I'm next. I'm next. I'm right there."

Jon Jones to Dana White: ‘Just go ahead and release me from my UFC contract’

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and company president Dana White have been in a verbal battle over the past week or so that has the champ asking for his UFC release.Jones had been trying to drum up a move to heavyweight to fight top contender Francis Ngannou. Jones wanted the bout. Ngannou wanted the bout. At least publicly. But White and the UFC don't appear willing to make it. The sticking point, according to White is Jones wanting an amount of money that he's not willing to pay.“It’s not like I’m out here on some ‘smash Jon Jones’ crusade. I like Jon. I’m the one saying there is no debate. There’s no argument: He’s the G.O.A.T." White told reporters following the UFC on ESPN 9 weigh-ins on Friday.“I’ll quote him and what he had said to my lawyer. He told my lawyer he wants what Deontay Wilder was paid (for his Tyson Fury fight). I think it was $30 million, was what Deontay Wilder was paid?”Wilder was reportedly believed to be paid $30 million. Jones was reportedly paid $500,000 on his disclosed bout agreement, but in a Twitter tirade aimed at White admitted to making $5 million. He fell well short of admitting that he asked for Wilder money, saying to White, "Don't be a f---ing liar.""I don’t even make half of half of what Diante Wilder makes. If my reputation causes you to undervalue me this much. Just go ahead and release me from my UFC contract altogether," Jones continued. "I’m sure some promoter somewhere will be more than happy to pick me up."White seems to moved away from even considering Jones vs. Ngannou, instead focusing on the likes of Dominick Reyes or Jan Blachowicz for Jones's next bout, keeping him at light heavyweight.* * *TRENDING > Conor McGregor accepts super fight with Anderson Silva* * *https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1266480111060054016?s=20https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1266480658039271424?s=20https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1266481968645996544?s=20https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1266484561187225605?s=20https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1266485314614222848?s=20* * * Dana White counters Jon Jones's claims that he lied about negotiations(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)

Is Dana White becoming one of the most COVID-19 tested people on the planet?

* * *The UFC returned to action in early May with a plethora of COVID-19 protocols in place. What does that mean? Well, first and foremost, that means testing, testing, and more testing. Swab tests, saliva tests, antibody tests.With all the testing involved, UFC president Dana White said before UFC on ESPN 9 that he is likely becoming one of the most tested people on the planet.Being in charge of the UFC, White is at every event during the return from the global coronavirus pandemic. Being at every event, White has to follow the same protocols as everyone else, which means being tested over and over again. Following the UFC on ESPN 9 weigh-ins, White declared, "Tonight, I will take my fifth test for COVID-19, and that doesn't include the antibody tests. So, I gotta be one of the most tested guys on earth."* * *TRENDING > Dana White exposes Jon Jones lying allegation (FULL UFC on ESPN 9 scrum video)* * *(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)

Mixed martial arts returns to Las Vegas as fighters make weight for UFC Fight Night

SHOWS: LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, UNITED STATES (MAY 29, 2020) (UFC - Broadcaster and Digital: MUST COURTESY 'UFC') 1. WELTERWEIGHT TYRON WOODLEY ON SCALE WEIGHING IN AT 170.5 POUNDS (77.3 KGS) AT UFC'S APEX ARENA 2. WELTERWEIGHT GILBERT BURNS ON SCALE WEIGHING IN AT 170.5 POUNDS 3. WOODLEY AND BURNS STARING EACH OTHER DOWN AND POSING FOR PHOTOS 4. HEAVYWEIGHT BLAGOY IVANOV ON SCALE WEIGHING IN AT 255.5 POUNDS (115.9 KGS) 5. HEAVYWEIGHT AUGUSTO SAKAI ON SCALE WEIGHING IN AT 259.5 POUNDS (117.7 KGS) 6. IVANOV AND SAKAI STARING EACH OTHER DOWN STORY: Mixed martial arts returns to Las Vegas this weekend for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began with UFC holding a Fight Night event at their Apex arena. Headlining the event is a welterweight draw between American Tyron Woodley and Brazilian Gilbert Burns, who both tipped the scales at Friday's (May 29) official weigh-in at 170.5 pounds (77.3 kilograms). The co-main event will feature a heavyweight duel between Bulgarian Blagoy Ivanov, who weighed in at 255.5 pounds (115.9 kgs) and Japanese-Brazilian Augusto Sakai who tipped the scales at 259.5 pounds (117.7 kgs). (Production; David Grip)