Dana White couldn’t put Holly Holm-Ronda Rousey rematch at risk

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Just over a month after Holly Holm shocked the world by knocking out Ronda Rousey at UFC 193, Holm’s manager Lenny Fresquez told the Los Angeles Times that he’d like Holly to defend her bantamweight title against Miesha Tate while Rousey recovered from her long list of injuries suffered at the hands and feet of Holm.

It only took 36 hours for UFC president Dana White to blow up Fresquez’s fantasy. White told the L.A. Times that Rousey is up next for Holm. The UFC is targeting July 9th for the fight in the new Las Vegas arena.

Despite Fresquez’s wishes to keep Holm away from an eight month layoff, it’s easy to see why White wouldn’t dare risk a loss by Holm before her rematch against Rousey.

UFC 193 was the second largest pay-per-view event in the history of the company with over one million buys. Holm-Rousey II as the main event of UFC 200 would have a great chance of surpassing the record mark of 1.6 million buys set by UFC 100.

There’s just simply no reason for White to put Holm against a formidable opponent in (17-5) Tate. Even though Miesha is perhaps best known for tapping out to Ronda at UFC 168, she’s in the upper tier of fighters in the bantamweight division and Holm’s performances before KO’ing Rousey were lackluster to say the least.

In February, Holm made her UFC debut and defeated (5-4) Raquel Pennington by split decision. Holm showed improvement from her horrendous debut in July when she defeated 38-year old Marion Reneau, but it was nothing compared to the comfort level she showed in the octagon against Rousey.

White is smart enough of a business man to understand that a rematch between Holm and Rousey has appeal that goes beyond just the bubble of sports. Ronda Rousey is his biggest star (shhhh…. don’t tell Conor McGregor) and her comeback story is going to grab the attention of people who normally don’t feel the need to order a UFC PPV, which is exactly the sweet spot any promoter wants to reach.

Even though Rousey recently told ESPN the Magazine that she is facing a long recovery after her loss to Holm, it’s in the best interest of White to preserve what could be the biggest fight in UFC history.

Twitter: @ScottDargis

UFC 249 live stream, start time, schedule tonight: How to watch Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje, PPV price, TV channel, more

UFC 249
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As live sporting events start to creep back onto the calendar, one will be eagerly awaited by MMA fans: UFC 249.

The event was supposed to be on April 18, but will be in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. No fans will be in attendance.

The main card — originally a showdown between perhaps the world’s best fighter, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson — has changed from the initial plan. Travel restrictions prevent Nurmagomedov from fighting. So Justin Gaethje will be vying against Ferguson.

Also on the card are Henry Cejudo, who will defend his title against former champion Dominick Cruz. Additionally, some of the top Heavyweight fighters in the world, Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, will face off in the octagon.

How do I watch UFC 249?

It will be air live as a pay-per-view event on ESPN+.

How much is it?

Given you have to subscribe to ESPN+, there are a few options. You can sign up for a free trial, then purcahse the event for $64.99. (A membership is $4.99/month.) Or you can do a bundle for new subscribers. That would be $84.98 and includes UFC 249.

What time is UFC 249 tonight?

Early Prelims (Airing on UFC Fight Pass, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET)

  • Vicente Luque vs Niko Price
  • Bryce Mitchell vs Charles Rosa
  • Ryan Spann vs Sam Alvey

Prelims (Airing on ESPN and ESPN+, starting at 8 p.m. ET)

Main Card (Airing on ESPN+, starting at 10 p.m. ET)

  • Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje
  • Henry Cejudo vs Dominick Cruz
  • Francis Ngannou vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
  • Jeremy Stephens vs Calvin Kattar
  • Greg Hardy vs Yorgan De Castro

Check back here on Saturday night and Sunday morning for more on UFC 249.

Conor McGregor arrested in South Florida

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MIAMI — Mixed martial artist and boxer Conor McGregor has been arrested in South Florida for stealing the cellphone of someone who was trying to take his photo, authorities said.

According to a Miami Beach police report, the 30-year-old McGregor was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with robbery and criminal mischief. An attorney for McGregor called the altercation “minor” and said the popular fighter would cooperate with authorities.

McGregor was leaving the Fontainebleau Miami Beach shortly after 5 a.m. Monday when a 22-year-old man attempted to take a picture of McGregor, the police report said. Police said McGregor slapped the phone out of the man’s hand and then stomped on it several times. McGregor then grabbed the phone and left the area, the report said. Police later found McGregor at his local address.

McGregor was being held on $12,500 bail.

“Last evening Conor McGregor was involved in a minor altercation involving a cellphone that resulted in a call to law enforcement,” Samuel J. Rabin Jr., a Miami-based attorney representing McGregor, said in a statement. “Mr. McGregor appreciates the response of law enforcement and pledges his full cooperation.”

McGregor, who’s from Ireland, is the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion and one of the biggest draws in MMA. He returned to UFC last fall after a hiatus during which he made his boxing debut, a loss to Floyd Mayweather. He was suspended from UFC for six months and fined $50,000 for a brawl after his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October.