UFC 261 Usman vs. Masvidal: Start time, how to watch or stream online

UFC 261 is about to start! Here’s everything you need to know…

Usman and Masvidal face-off today before their fight at UFC 261

Usman defeated Masvidal in their first encounter in what was a fairly one-sided battle. But, given the fact Masvidal took the fight on extremely short notice (and the fact Masvidal is probably the biggest draw in the division) this contest is still a compelling one. Masvidal showed flashes of a skillset that could trouble a wrestler like Usman. This fight could be a close one. Certainly much closer than in the first.

The co-main event is perhaps the most exciting for hardcore fans. Zhang Weili is UFC’s first Chinese champion and her last fight — against Joanna Jędrzejczyk — wasn’t just the best women’s fight in MMA history, it might be the best fight ever, period. The thought of her facing off against former UFC strawweight champ Rose Namajunas is a salivating one. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another fight of the year candidate.

The third title fight pits one of the most dominant champions currently fighting in the UFC against one of its most notorious buzzsaws. Valentina Shevchenko has looked utterly indestructible at flyweight but in Jessica Andrade, she’s facing an ex-champion who will pressure and come forward no matter what.

This will almost certainly be Shevchenko’s toughest title defence yet.

The main card starts at 10 p.m ET (7 p.m. PT) but here are all the details…

This year the UFC entered into a new partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC live in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 261, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 261 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 261 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

Earlier this week, at he UFC media day, some of the fighters on the main card had their first face-offs ahead of the fights this Saturday.

Normal disclaimer, given COVID-19 and the general chaos of UFC cards, this line-up could change at any time. We’ll keep this as current as possible.

Watch Jake Paul knockout Tyron Woodley with a monstrous punch

In the sixth round of their rematch, Jake Paul defeated Tyron Woodley with a massive right hand shot.

Jake Paul, after defeating Tyron Woodley on Saturday night.

The rematch between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley ended in brutal fashion Saturday night, thanks to a crushing, fight-ending right hand from Paul that sent Woodley face first to the canvas.  It was as clean a shot as you’ll see in a fight that — up until that point — was mostly devoid of action.

A cut from a head clash early in the contest saw Paul facing some early adversity, but Woodley failed to land any real, significant shots in a fight that was mostly fought in the clinch.

But then, at the end of the sixth round, Paul landed the right hand. With force.

Paul was rowdy in the post-fight interview, seemingly calling out UFC stars Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz, but paid tribute to Woodley, for taking the fight on two weeks notice after his initial opponent, Tommy Fury, pulled out with a rib injury.

See below for our live, round-by-round coverage of the event as it happened.

Jake Paul at the weigh-ins.

Alright it’s time for the big one. Paul vs. Woodley 2.

Personally, I’m picking Paul here. I thought he clearly won the first fight and, as I mentioned earlier, Woodley has been gun shy for at least five years. Kinda gutted were not seeing the Tommy Fury fight, but also happy to see Woodley get a second shot.

Let’s see how this all plays out. If anything I’m expecting Paul to be more dominant. He’s a young guy, improving constantly and Woodley is very much at the tail end of his career. Another thing: The size difference. It’s huge. Woodley was a welterweight in the UFC at 170 pounds and he’s fighting at 192 here. That’s a huge difference. Very tough for Woodley to knockout the bigger fighter, even if he clips him hard.

And Jake Paul just walked out to Y.M.C.A.. Fair play, what an absolute banger. Mad props for that Tai Tuivasa-esque walkout song!

Alright, here we go!

Woodley already looking more active than he was last fight, which is a good sign for his chances.

But after than fast opening, things have slowed up a little. Both Paul and Woodley are trying to jab their way in. A couple of head clashes already. Weird round so far.

My score: 10-9 Paul

Is Woodley really going to come to this fight and do the exact same thing as last time? It would be a very Tyron Woodley move. Paul is landing the jab more here and Woodley is en route to giving away another round. Not great. Extremely dull. 

Would be great if Woodley actually threw a shot or two.

My score: 10-9 Paul

A clash of heads or an elbow has opened up a cut on Paul, but he’s winning.

But wait, Woodley is opening up here, landing big shots. Much better round for Woodley here so far. 

Woodley is not taking advantage of this cut though, standing flat footed and not throwing. He does better when he’s on offence. Woodley is not a counter puncher.

My score: 10-9 Woodley

Woodley lands a nice uppercut, but he’s still incredibly frustrating to watch. A sharp hook lands as well for Woodley, but hardly game changing.

Woodley randomly dumps Paul to the ground? This fight is so grim man. Hard to watch.  Woodley is sort of winning this round, but just… not a great fight. 

My score: 10-9 Woodley

Woodley landing a couple of body jabs, and some tight shots in the clinch. So many head clashes in this fight. These guys are constantly clinching and it’s the worst. 

Is this what Woodley is doing with his second chance? Can’t believe how bad this is. 

My score: Man who knows. Or cares. 10-9 Woodley I guess.

These guys don’t want to fight. Absolute shitshow.

Paul looks tired to be honest. After this there’s only two more round, and it feels like they haven’t landed any shots yet? Just embarrassing. 

OH SHIT!

And Jake Paul lands absolutely CLEAN and puts Woodley straight out to the canvas. Oh my god, what a huge shot!

Jake Paul wins by KO.

Damn, that was a crazy shot. Clean as a whistle and Woodley went face first to the canvas. What a punch. Fair play to Paul, he had to go through some adversity here with the cut and he ended up completely melting Woodley with that shot.

Woodley was CLEAN OUT. Face first to the canvas. Very obviously a straight out stoppage.

Amanda Serrano is one of the best female boxers alive.

In one corner we have Amanda Serrano, one of the most decorated female boxers of all time, in the other corner we have Miriam Gutierrez. She’s not exactly a gimme for Serrano, but most expect her to win this en route to a true women’s super fight against Irish boxer Katie Taylor. That’s probably the biggest fight in women’s boxing right now.

Let’s see how this one plays out…

Serrano corners Gutierrez and absolutely wails on her. Crazy output for the first round, Serrano is just going nuts here. Gutierrez is in real trouble here. What a wild round.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Man this is a slugfest, and Serrano is just picking great shots here. Gutierrez is landing though and, given she’s a bigger fighter, she should be careful. 

That said, the difference in hand speed is huge here.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Much quieter round here. Serrano still controlling the fight however. I give her this round.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is attacking the body hard here. She’s running away with this fight as you might have expected.

But Gutierrez has landed a few clean, heavy shots here. Don’t seem to affect Serrano much however. 

Serrano backed Gutierrez into the ropes there, and the pair of them began slugging it out, with Serrano getting the better of it.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Gutierrez very flat footed now, just getting absolutely punished here. Serrano looks incredibly sharp and I’m already thinking about Serrano vs. Taylor right now.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano continues to punish the body here. This is a clinic, marching forward with great shots and combinations. Credit to Gutierrez however, who’s game and trying to match the exchanges unsuccessfully. 

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is on a mission here. She’s absolutely going full terminator here. She clearly wants this finish and I wonder if the ref will ultimately stop this. Gutierrez is really fading here and running out of fight. 

Serrano lands a massive shot to finish, but Gutierrez makes it another round.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Gutierrez and Serrano are in the pocket just firing short punches at each other. Serrano just has no respect for Gutierrez’s power at this point and keeps marching forward.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Can’t believe the fight has made it this long, here we are!

Serrano has slowed down a bit here, I think on the advice of her corner, who asked her to save some juice for the final round. She still does enough to win this round.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Serrano is back in terminator mode. Crazy volume, so many shots and Gutierrez is a punching bag at this point.

Man, this final round is just pure toe-to-toe stuff. Slugfest there. What a fight. Great performance from Serrano. She didn’t lose a single minute of that fight.

My score: 10-9 Serrano

Amanda Serrano wins va unanimous decision: 99-90, 99-91, 100-90

Deron Williams at the weigh-ins.

As is customary with Jake Paul cards, there has to be at least one freak show fight with folks coming from other sports to try their hand at boxing.

In this case we’ve got Frank Gore, a former elite player from the NFL facing off against Deron Williams, an ex-NBA player and three time all-star. Both highly decorated players in their respective sports.

This is an exhibition bout and I have zero idea what to expect beyond potential chaos?

This fight is rounds, which is about right. I expect these two to tire very quickly. After that initial burst, no idea what happens.

Let’s go!

Williams lands hard coming out and Gore went for a double leg? Hahaha! Strange one there. Both look surprisingly sharp here and Gore lands some tight shots on the inside. This is a fun fight!

When Williams fights long he looks real sharp, when Gore gets inside, he looks good.  Oh! And Williams lands a few bombs in the final minute.

This is a great fight!

My score: 10-8 Williams

Damn these guys are swinging! Both are landing hard to the dome, both have huge chins on them! 

Gore lands a huge shot that has Williams on wobbly legs. He survives, then a collision sends Gore through the ropes? Ruled a push though. Wild stuff. 

Something’s happened with Gore though, and the doctor has come in. Looks like he’s going to continue.

And now Williams has been pushed through the ropes. Hahaha wow. Incredible stuff. Now they’re swinging. This is the wildest fight I’ve watched in a while!

My score: 10-9 Gore

This fight is amazing for all the wrong reasons.

Bombs are flying here and both are landing HUGE shots. How are they standing. Incredible show of heart from two elite athletes. 

Gore gets a standing 8 count after getting wailed on by Williams in an exchange.

The fight continues and there’s just some wild exchanges, zero defence. Love it. The ref is having the fight of his life trying to make sense of this chaos.

My score: 10-8 Williams

These fighters are exhausted now and understandably so. Crazy showing from both guys, leaving it all in the ring.

Man, huge overhand from Gore. Williams is tough as nails. Gore is winning this round, but both are slowing down considerable.

My score: 10-9 Gore

I don’t know if they’re actually going to score this, if it’s an exhibition. I’ve got Williams winning, but it was a great fight. Incredible entertainment.

Split decision win for Williams: 38-37 Williams, 38-37 Gore, 40-35 Williams

Australian boxer, Liam Paro at the weigh-ins.

This one is a battle between two currently unbeaten prospects at 140 pounds.Australian boxer Liam Paro is the favourite according to the oddsmakers, but this could go either way. This should be a true high level match-up with the winner potentially looking at some type of huge fight in the near future. A great fight to open with.

Paro pressuring early with a snapping jab, but Alamo lands early also. Bit of a feeling out here, but Paro lands a nice jab to the body and a check hook at one point. A clean left hook as well for Paro. 

Ooft. Alamo lands and sends Paro to the canvas. Bit of a shocker there.

My score: 10-8 Alamo

Paro comes out much busier, clearly trying to make up for the knockdown. Paro is flicking the jab out, but not too many clean shots landed yet.

Pretty nothing round.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Alamo appears to be waiting to counter, but probably needs to get busier. Paro still throwing the jab constantly and landing to the body effectively.

They open up a little mid round and Paro takes a hard jab.

Alamo pressures late here and lands some clean shots.

My score: 10-9 Alamo

Alamo so far seems the more dangerous fighter, but Paro is clearly pushing this fight. 

Paro is landing more here though, Alamo could be slowing down. Another pedestrian round here that’s incredibly hard to score. Anyone could be winning this fight. Tough to call.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Can’t see this fight not going the distance. Both fighters are boxing very conservatively. 

Paro is landing a few straight lefts here, and some good shots to the body. The body is there all day for him actually and Alamo’s output is waning. Paro lands a big left that puts Alamo on the ropes, but nothing comes of it.

Paro seems to be taking over this fight. A better round all up.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Paro opens with a real solid jab that stings Alamo. At this stage Paro’s output is winning him this fight — on my scorecard at least. He’s opening up here, sensing that Alamo’s power isn’t quite what it was.

And then… of course Alamo hits him clean. Was that a knockdown? It wasn’t apparently.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Alamo hit Paro clean early in an exchange, but Paro is still landing to the body. Is Paro still recovering from that non-knockdown? Hard to tell. Paro and Alamo both hit each other hard with an exchange.

My score: 10-9 Alamo

More shots landing here from both. Alamo is hitting harder, but Paro is landing with volume.  He’s winning this round, but somehow feels in more danger from Alamo, who is clearly in wait with counters.

The crowd are apparently distracted by something happening outside the ring?

This fight is pretty dull, so it’s hard to blame them.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Great left overhand by Paro to start the round.

Paro got a warning for a shot to the back of the head. Bit harsh to be honest.

They’re finally opening up here and Alamo has landed some stiff punches, but for me Paro is still winning this round with volume. He just seems to have more in the tank.

My score: 10-9 Paro

The final round of a fairly drab fight. Paro is leading the dance again here and bombs are being thrown on both sides. Alamo has upped the volume here, but Paro has taken the centre of the ring and is controlling this round for me. A sharp uppercut from Paro to finish the round, and the fight.

Let’s see how the judges have it.

My score: 10-9 Paro

Liam Paro wins by split decision: 95-94 Paro, 95-94 Alamo, 96-93 Paro

While we wait for the first match, I might offer a quick prediction on the main event between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley.

Woodley came close to finishing Paul in the first fight, but the reality: That was a rare high point in a boxing match that Paul mostly dominated. Woodley, like he was during his final matches in the UFC, was incredibly gun shy throughout. Before every fight he promises to let those hands go, but it rarely happens. I see this playing out very similarly to the first fight, with more dominance from Jake Paul, who is becoming a better boxer with each contest.

It’s worth bearing in mind — Woodley is not the athlete he used to be. A huge part of his ability to win fights came from his explosive punching, which has waned as of late. Tyron Woodley is almost 40 years old at this point.

I’m picking Jake Paul here.

How 5G played a role in the Phoenix Suns’ historic NBA title run

The wireless technology gave the team an edge when it came to crunching the data on its players to find ways for them to improve.

Chris Paul and Devin Booker during the 2021 NBA playoffs.

The new tools helped general manager James Jones and the rest of the coaching staff better evaluate player performance and adapt in real time. Ryan Resh, the Suns’ head of data analytics, credits 5G with “pushing the NBA’s boundaries” regarding how the coaches train and teach their athletes.

The Suns’ use of 5G is an example of one of the many different applications of the wireless technology beyond higher speeds on your phone. The technology, rolling out across the globe, is expected to transform many industries, including sports. Professional and college teams are installing 5G in stadiums and arenas to improve the on-site experience, and apps are emerging that let fans view replays from different angles or feel like they’re a part of the action. Teams are exploring ways to use 5G to improve the performance of the athletes themselves by quickly collecting huge amounts of data — something that isn’t possible with 4G or Wi-Fi.

“5G is allowing us to … take those movements and those analyses and make them so real-time that the process just becomes iterative and seamlessly flows into the working procedure of our coaches and our players,” Resh said in an interview.

While sports teams have been using analytics to improve player performance nearly as long as sports have existed, 5G is emerging as a new way to make that analysis even more effective. The key is the technology’s high speed and low latency. Cameras and sensors can collect data and provide insight in real time, letting coaches instruct their players on the fly or detect injuries before they become bigger problems. For the Suns, the intersection between 5G and athletics made its mark this NBA season.

“The 5G lab keeps the Suns on the cutting edge,” Jones said in a statement. “That cohesion provides our staff with unparalleled opportunities to efficiently unlock each athlete’s fullest potential.”

The need for real-time data is becoming more and more important in sports. Prior to the rollout of 5G and installation of sensors and cameras in arenas, players were used to waiting until the next day to review film highlighting in-game mistakes. While players and coaches still review film after games, the 5G lab offers data within milliseconds — something that once took several minutes to calculate.

“Coaching has been around for thousands of years, where coaches go out there and with their gut, they watch things,” Brian Mecum, vice president of device technology for Verizon, said in an interview. “Well, how about if we trust data, and how about if we flip it and trust what science is telling us by what it can measure?”

While Verizon is building 5G in more than 60 stadiums and arenas, its partnership with the Phoenix Suns is different. No other team working with Verizon uses 5G to help with real-time analytics.

5G helps the Suns coaching staff quickly gather and crunch data from three different tools. With a technology called Noah, the players are able to get real-time feedback, live and automated in-game data, and in-depth post-practice and game analytics. For instance, the practice center’s hoop is equipped with sensors that allow Noah to track the arch consistency, the depth and the left and right trajectory of the ball. Coaches will be able to compare subpar performance against a player’s peak, letting them know instantly what places or situations on a court have the best odds for sinking a shot.

“It gets down to centimeter accuracy, and it also has the ability to look at things in three dimensions [along] the X, the Y and the Z axis,” Verizon’s Mecum said. A player may not be able to tell in real time why their shots aren’t going in without the in-depth arc and angle analysis Noah provides.

“This team took and learned that sometimes players were spending too much time shooting, for example, they were taking too many shots and that was affecting the effectiveness of their shots,” Mecum said.

Adding Noah to the Sun’s practice facility has shown real results for the team. One younger player had a tough time consistently sinking his shots. With Noah and the tracking sensors installed in the rafters above the hoop, the coaching staff was able to show the player where his jump shots typically landed and where his performance was the weakest.

“That was enlightening to him because it allowed him to accept that his mechanics may not be as consistent as he wants them to be, which is not something that you really feel, in real time,” Resh said. “His work did eventually pay off in the playoffs, and he was our best three-point shooter.”

Another analytics source used by the Suns is called ShotTracker. Players and coaches are able to use a sensor-based system that generates shooting analytics stats to teams — and fans — thanks to a sensor placed on the ball. Players must also wear a small tracking device, and there are sensors in the rafters above the rim to pinpoint the location of the shot. Specifically, more than 100 sensors communicate to the coaches in real time what players are doing (or not). This allows both players and coaches to go back and review how many shots were taken and exactly where they were shot.

The final piece of the Suns’ technology expansion relates to lateral movement off the court. With the help of Simi’s motion capture cameras, coaches are able to track players’ abilities both before and after injuries. A returning player may feel they are back to normal, but coaches are able to see in real time if the player is healed or not by comparing the post-injury performance to the player’s baseline. The Suns are using Simi in the weight room to track static movements — but have hopes to one day use Simi to predict how players move on the court.

In the practice facilities, the Suns’ are also using Bertec’s 3D force plates in combination with Simi’s cameras. The Bertec plates, which players stand on, are able to track a player’s gait, jump and balance while Simi captures the movement in real time. Simi shows the coaches, the movement, while the Bertec plates provide data about pressure and other characteristics.

“While Wi-Fi can accomplish that, what 5G does is it makes it so fast [and] the latency is so low, that as soon as a player is done jumping, [the data is] there in front of them,” Resh said

Latency is the response or lag time between sending a signal and receiving one back, and 5G’s shorter latency is how it makes a difference in sports analytics.

“You want to reduce the delay as much as you can to give [people] real-time experiences,” said Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell. “Every little bit helps.”

3G networks had latencies in the hundreds of milliseconds, which is an appreciable fraction of a second. 4G networks, which enabled smartphones and all of the apps we use today, started with latencies of about 100 milliseconds and now are down to a range of about 30 milliseconds to 70 milliseconds. 5G aims to get to 1 millisecond, but it’s currently at about 20 milliseconds to 30 milliseconds, which is faster than the human eye blinks, Verizon’s Mecum said.

Fans are able to view a game from multiple camera angles.

An essential piece of the Suns’ practice facilities and arena is their use of millimeter wave 5G. MmWave is a band of radio airwaves that provides super-high speeds but can only travel short distances and gets blocked by objects like windows and trees. For sporting venues, though, those downsides aren’t an issue. Teams can easily install towers where needed in stadiums and arenas. MmWave’s ability to handle a huge number of devices on one network, at the same time, is ideal for fans during a game.

With the Suns’ stadium app, fans are able to receive feedback similar to what the coaches see while watching the game. The app is available to users with or without 5G phones. Seven different camera angles let fans view replays and real-time stats on the players. The app is available both in the stadium and at home. “You can go back and look at replays, and you’re in control instead of waiting for the jumbotron,” Mecum said.

Suns’ players and coaches are also able to get real-time feedback that lets them make live adjustments. The speeds needed to interpret this data captured during the Suns’ practice is only available over 5G, the coaching staff says. Neither Wi-Fi nor 4G can produce the results as quickly.

For now, the Suns are only using real-time analysis over 5G in the team’s practice facility. The NBA has strict guidelines surrounding what data collection is available in-game and doesn’t allow the kind of analysis the Suns perform in the practice facility.

The Suns aren’t the only ones interested in the numbers. Sports analytics bridges the gap between team stats and interpretation. When teams crunch data, the goal is almost always to figure out where performance fell short. After establishing areas in need of improvement, teams can optimize practice time using the data found from analytics. It’s a big business — the global sports analytics market size is expected to grow from $1.9 billion in 2019 to $5.2 billion by 2024, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets.

“When you are a professional athlete, standing on your feet just moving around a basketball court is actually considered work,” Resh said. “When you don’t have a ton of time to practice, you have to make your practices as efficient as possible.”

As the intersection between sports and analytics continues to grow, there is a need for 5G and real-time data, said Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin. Many sporting venues are incorporating 5G and mmWave to receive feedback as quickly as possible.

Perhaps the best-known example of sports analytics was captured in the 2011 film Moneyball. The movie, based on the Oakland Athletics baseball team, explained how analysis and statistics alone could lead to victories.

Brad Pitt played then-A’s general manager Billy Beane, who put together a winning team utilizing analytics and minimal funding. He studied sabermetrics, “the objective knowledge about baseball,” to rebuild the team on a low budget. Through studying these analytics, he led his team to a 20-game winning streak, the longest one in franchise history.

While the Suns can use 5G to track performance in the practice arena, the coaches aren’t able to do such analysis in the arena. Instead, Second Spectrum exclusively partners with the NBA, as well as soccer’s Premier League and Major League Soccer, to provide in-game player tracking.

After an initial response, Second Spectrum didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Players, coaches and fans can use Second Spectrum to access years of game history and find game playbacks within seconds. The company uses machine learning and computer vision to form a tracking system. It’s able to collect 3D data live from cameras within the arenas and then generate reports showing player location, player stats and the type of play in progress.

Even though the Suns didn’t come out on top this season, the conversation around what 5G has provided is just beginning.

“That real-time feedback is what we found to be the best method of teaching and learning for our players and for our coaches,” Resh said.

CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this report.

Correction, 11:19 a.m. PT: This story initially misstated the Phoenix Suns’ history with the NBA Finals. The team has made it three times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, losing each time four games to two.

European Super League: Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Man City all drop out

The controversial European Super League is crumbling.

Liverpool, among others, have left the proposed European Super League project.

The negativity was a direct response to a league that had the potential to wreak havoc on the traditional structures of European soccer, made up of domestic leagues like the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. The European Super League was designed to protect up to 15 founding members — the most powerful teams across Europe’s most powerful domestic leagues — from the relegation/promotion pyramid structure that anchors all of European soccer. A structure that goes all the way from the lowest levels of domestic soccer, all the way through to the Champions League, the biggest prize in club soccer.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez was named as the inaugural chairman of the European Super League. It was his intent, he stated, to secure the future of soccer, not undermine it.

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” Perez said in a statement Sunday. “Football is the only global sport in the world with more than 4 billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

Read more: How to watch Premier League games live in the US without cable

But in the wake of the initial announcement, UEFA and FIFA — which runs the existing Champions League competition and the World Cup respectively — threatened clubs and players participating in the European Super League with removal from all other competitions, including the World Cup.

“I cannot stress more strongly how everyone is united against these disgraceful, self-serving proposals, fuelled by greed above all else,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said at a press conference Monday, as reported by the BBC. “Players who will play in the teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from the World Cup and Euros.”

“This idea is a spit in the face of all football lovers. We will not allow them to take it away from us.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the European Super League.

Six teams from the English Premier League, three from La Liga and three clubs from Serie A all initially signed up, making for 12 clubs. In the wake of fan outrage, over half of these clubs have withdrawn.

The original list of the founding clubs was as follows…

Where are teams from the French and German leagues? Teams like Bayern Munich from Germany and Paris Saint-Germain from France are undoubtedly among the biggest and best teams in Europe. Bayern and its German rival Borussia Dortmund announced Monday they are committed to the existing Champions League, which unveiled reforms Monday for the 2024 season. PSG is owned by the royal family of Qatar, which is holding the next World Cup and therefore unlikely to go against the soccer establishment.

Following backlash in response to the announcement, all Premier League teams have announced plans to drop out. Manchester City has confirmed it has “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League,” with Chelsea to reportedly follow suit.

Manchester United’s controversial executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has also announced his resignation following the backlash. Manchester United has also officially dropped out of the European Super League.

Liverpool also stated that its “involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.”

Arsenal and Spurs have both officially announced they’re leaving.

“We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal,” said Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur. “We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the decision of English clubs to withdraw from the league.

“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is — if confirmed — absolutely the right one and I commend them for it,” he tweeted. “I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”

Inter Milan has also become the first non-English team to officially remove itself from the European Super League.

In response, an official statement from the European Super League was sent out.

“The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change,” read the statement.

“We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work.

“Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic.

“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”

According to original plans, the new competition was to feature 20 clubs made up of 15 founding clubs, with an option for five further clubs to qualify based on previous seasons’ achievements. (The details were currently murky on what those “achievements” actually mean.)

Each team was to continue to take part in domestic leagues, with European Super League matches taking place midweek. Two groups of 10 would take part in home and away matches, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for a knockout stage. Teams who placed fourth and fifth in each league would compete in a two-leg match to see who qualifies for knockout stages.

Then, those remaining eight teams were set to take part in two-leg knockout format to reach a single final, which would take place at a neutral stadium. A women’s version of this league was also apparently in the works.

At least, that’s how the founding teams hope things would work. Both UEFA and FIFA came out against the league. FIFA backed UEFA, which means participating players may potentially be banned from representing their countries at this summer’s European Championships and next year’s World Cup, competitions run by those international bodies.

“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we — UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations — will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said in a statement.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.”

The teams involved were aiming for an August 2021 start.

Given the controversy and the reaction of FIFA, UEFA and the fact almost all of the teams have now removed themselves from the project, it would be surprising if the European Super League started at all.

Reaction to the announcement of the European Super League was almost universally negative. The hashtag #RIPfootball rapidly trended on Twitter as did the phrase #disgusting and #embarrassing. People were very angry about this.

Some wanted to organize protests. Ultimately, thousands went to protests at various stadiums across Europe.

Former players such as England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand were quick to condemn the clubs involved, including ones they played for.

High-profile current players spoke out, such as PSG’s Ander Herrera.

Liverpool’s James Milner also spoke out against the league after a recent match with Leeds United.

“I don’t like it and I hope it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Eventually that became the collective response of most Liverpool players as many posted the following message on social media platforms: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position.”

Jurgen Klopp, the current manager of Liverpool, had previously spoken out on opposition to a European Super League when it was first being talked about. “My opinion didn’t change,” he said in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

The European Super League illustrates the money issues many believe continue to threaten soccer as a sport. Unlike sports leagues like the NBA, which operate with salary caps, clubs at the top of leagues like the EPL or La Liga have been allowed to spend with impunity. This means they can solidify a position at the top of the game and rule over smaller clubs with an iron fist. Clubs at the lower end of big leagues can’t compete.

Neither can top clubs in smaller European leagues in Holland, Scotland, Switzerland or Portugal. The evolution of football over the last 20 years has made it difficult for former giants of the sport like Ajax of Amsterdam or Celtic of Glasgow to compete for major prizes like the Champion’s League. Given the structure of the European Super League, even getting the chance to play would be next to impossible.

For perspective, each founding member of this club was expected to take home $400 million for taking part in this league. That’s roughly four times what a team would receive for winning the Champions League, currently the most prestigious tournament in world club soccer.

For many, including former player and current broadcaster Gary Neville, the whole thing felt anti-competitive. Unlike most other soccer leagues, the founding clubs of the European Super League would not face the threat of relegation if they sit at the bottom of the table.

There’s also the issue of team choice. Teams appear to have been chosen based on fan base and income, as opposed to performance. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, currently in seventh and ninth place respectively in the English Premier League, were two of the teams selected, despite the fact smaller clubs like Leicester City and West Ham have outperformed them this year.

UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden reportedly said the British government would do “whatever it takes” to stop the English teams from taking part in the European Super League Monday. Dowden also reportedly accused the six clubs of deciding to “put money before fans.”

Considering the longer game, many were worried about the potential impact on grassroots football. The current format of soccer, which favors teams in leagues with huge TV deals like the EPL and La Liga, have seen many teams decline. The European Super League would exacerbate that process. For fans of the sport, this feels like the culmination of soccer as a rich get richer, poor get poorer proposition.

“I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that have arisen as [a] result of the coronavirus pandemic,” Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Monday, instead pushing solidarity from European football and the “reliable foundation” of the Champions League.

In the wake of the announcement, Jose Mourinho, the high-profile manager of Tottenham Hotspur, has been sacked alongside all of his coaching staff.

Mourinho has yet to release a statement on the reasons for his dismissal, and it’s possible the two decisions are unconnected, but he has spoken negatively on the idea of a “super league” in the past.

King Richard trailer: Will Smith aces as dad of Venus and Serena Williams

The Men in Black star plays Richard Williams, who drew up a 78-page plan for his daughters’ success before they were even born.

Will Smith plays Richard Williams, dad of tennis legends Venus and Serena, in King Richard. Aunjanue Ellis plays their mom, Oracene (far left). Also shown, from left, are Mikayla Bartholomew as Tunde Price, the girls’ half-sister, Saniyya Sidney as Venus, Demi Singleton as Serena, and Daniele Lawson as another half-sister, Isha Price.

In one scene, he tells his daughters that they’re representing “every little Black girl on Earth.” No pressure. But anyone who knows the Williams’ sisters story knows they lived up to it, and then some. Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Venus Williams has won seven, the two have won 14 as a doubles team, and they’re also Olympic gold medalists.

“This world ain’t never had no respect for Richard Williams,” Smith’s character says in one scene. “But they gon’ respect y’all.”

Will Smith, Venus Williams and Serena Williams are among the film’s producers. Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton play the Williams sisters. King Richard opens in theaters on Nov. 19, and will be available for streaming on HBO Max’s ad-free platform 31 days.

NBA League Pass subscriptions will be 50% off for Cyber Monday weekend

All the rest of the regular-season NBA action at half the regular price.

Those who live outside the Bay Area and want to watch Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors will be able to save on an NBA League Pass subscription this weekend.

The discount also applies to bundling NBA TV, which broadcasts some live games and normally runs an extra $30 for the year on top of the regular League Pass costs. With the deal, the basic League Pass with NBA TV subscription is $115 for the season while the Premium bundle with NBA TV falls to $140.

As League Pass is only for out-of-market games, you won’t be able to able to watch the local team if you are in their home market, or if the game you’re looking for is being broadcast on ABC, ESPN, TNT or NBA TV. Playoffs are also not included.

In the New York area, for example, this restriction means you won’t be able to watch the Nets or Knicks while at home or any of the games broadcast on ABC, ESPN or TNT. To catch those matchups you will need to have cable or a streaming service.

For die-hard basketball fans or those looking to follow their favorite players or teams from afar, however, it is hard to find a better rate with nearly 60 games remaining in the 82-game season.

To get the deal, fans will need to add in the code NBA50US when buying a subscription directly from the NBA’s website. The code will be active from Friday, Nov. 26 at 12:01 a.m. ET through Monday, Nov. 29 at 11:59 p.m. ET, the NBA says. Those who have a cable subscription may also be able to find a similar deal through their provider.

Olympic medalist reveals how she fixed her kayak… with a condom

It worked. And Jessica Fox’s kayaking has no unplanned pregnancies that we know of.

Fox didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment (she’s a little busy). But while games organizers have given out condoms to Olympic athletes since 1988 (the tradition began in Seoul in 1988 due to HIV and AIDS), things are a bit different this year. Due to the coronavirus, Olympic organizers haven’t wanted to encourage Olympic hookups, so they reportedly aren’t handing out free condoms until the athletes are ready to leave Japan.

Fox’s ingenuity shouldn’t surprise anyone. She now has four Olympic medals, and Team Australia proudly, and accurately, dubbed her “the most successful female paddler in Olympic canoe slalom history.”

“I’m grateful to everyone who helped me get to this point,” Fox said in the Instagram post. “I’m sending all my love and all my gratitude because I felt the support from all over the world.”

Wide-eyed kid from Popeye’s meme is now a state football champ

You might know Dieunerst Collin’s wide-eyed expression from a legendary meme, but he’s moved on to win a New Jersey high school football title.

Collin is a member of the East Orange High School team, which won the New Jersey state title in triple overtime on Sunday. Its meme-famous player didn’t go unnoticed.

“Dieunerst from the legendary meme is a state champion!” tweeted the official SportsCenter account.

Collin was just nine when the video of him was taken, and he didn’t ask for the viral fame.

“When it first happened, I kind of felt sad about it,” Collin told Sports Illustrated. “It was somebody randomly recording me, and I’ve never been viral before.”

The video shows someone mistaking Collin for another child who was then famous on Vine, TerRio. Collin’s confused and wary reaction struck a chord with many meme-makers, who snatched the image and captioned it with such phrases as, “When I see my teacher at a store.”

His viral fame led to bullying, Collin told Sports Illustrated, saying, “I did get to a place where it was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to go out any more.'” But eventually things became easier.

“People in my class found it very funny, so then I just continued being myself,” he said. “I got over it once everybody who would randomly come up to me and call me Terio actually met me and learned my actual name and got to know me.”

And now he has a new claim to fame. On Sunday, Collin shared an Instagram photo of himself with the team’s new trophy, writing, “IMAGINE NOT BEING A STATE CHAMP:I CANT RELATE‼️”

Kevin Costner visits Field of Dreams ahead of real Yankees, White Sox game

If you build it, Major League Baseball will come. And so will Costner.

Kevin Costner starred in Field of Dreams in 1989.

Don’t expect any ghosts of former pro players to appear at the game. It will be a real game that counts in the regular season standings, and will air on the Fox network with a pregame show set to kick off at 3 p.m. PT.

The Field of Dreams is ready to host a real MLB game.

MLB built a temporary 8,000-seat ballpark at the Dyersville farm where the movie was filmed. The new field is located near the current tourist ballpark site and has a view of the surrounding cornfield. “We look forward to celebrating the movie’s enduring message of how baseball brings people together at this special cornfield in Iowa,” commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB.com when the game was announced in 2019.

Costner got in on the nostalgia with a visit to the field. MLB shared a video on Wednesday of the actor walking around on the grass and taking in the sights. “Wow. This is perfect. Every bit of it,” Costner said. “Felt so good to be back,” Costner tweeted when sharing a photo of himself playing catch.

MLB posted a scenic photo of corn, lights and a sign with the phrase “If you build it…” as it hyped up the game on social media on Thursday.

The New York Yankees team Twitter account shared a photo gallery of its own that shows off the verdant green field, stands and signage.

Fans have long made pilgrimages to the Iowa farm where the movie was set. This for-real MLB game will elevate the dream to an even higher level. Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

Originally published Aug. 8, 11:24 a.m. PT.

Thank you, Tokyo Olympics, for bringing us the ‘beast mode’ we all needed

Many wanted the Tokyo Olympics cancelled, but in the end, they were incredible.

The best.

Pushing past the flimsiest steel barrier ever constructed, into a restricted area he clearly shouldn’t have had access to, Boxall ripped off his required mask and proceeded to… dry hump a fence like The Ultimate Warrior circa Wrestlemania 6?

Like I said. Beast Mode.

The best part: In the background, a Japanese Olympic official, doing her level best to provide resistance, raises her hands like a frightened gazelle and then succumbs. Slowly those raised hands are lowered, evolving into confused claps. OK, she seems to say. You’re here now. There’s nothing I can do about this. I’m just going to try and enjoy this front row seat to Beast Mode, starring Dean Boxall.

In this metaphor, Boxall is the Tokyo Olympics. Both as an event and an idea. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic both probably shouldn’t be here. As the world reels from the effects of the delta strain and global vaccine hesitancy, this is the Olympics no one asked for. Dean, what are you doing here? Bugger off, Dean. Now is not the time.

High jumpers Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi gave each other their gold medals. This is too much.

Me? I’m the Japanese official. We’re all the Japanese official. Nervous, unsure how to react, ultimately acquiescing to this moment completely out of our control. Even in Japan, the host country, people were protesting the Olympics. First we collectively raised our hands in passive resistance. Seconds later we were all clapping.

And we were clapping because Dean Boxall is awesome. Reckless, sure. But so awesome. The Olympics were reckless too — but also awesome.

This is what the Olympics delivers: Beast Mode direct to your screen and your heart. It’s in the business of providing iconic moments like Boxall’s. Moments that simultaneously inspire and subvert our sense of what’s possible. Weird shit, displays of pure athleticism.

Two men collapsing into one another’s arms when they realize they can share a gold medal instead of duelling to the death for it. Skateboarding girls cheering each other on, making quick friends in the face of fierce competition. Runners stumbling, falling over in potentially race-ending collisions, miraculously recovering to win races.

Incredible, awe-inspiring moments.

Maybe it’s because we live in a universe where moments like these are worshipped, contorted and shaped into GIFs, tweets and memes in an infinite social media content spiral, but it somehow feels like we’ve had more of these moments compared to previous Olympics. That these Olympic Games have meant more than we ever could have expected when we cynically, reluctantly invited them into our homes.

Personally, as a man living in Sydney, a city wrestling with strict lockdowns that could potentially last for months, the Olympics was been a salve I didn’t realize I needed. It was a welcome distraction as I juggled home-schooling, work and a near-permanent dread at the daily ritual of waiting for Sydney case numbers to drop so we can all go back outside and live relatively normal lives.

There were a million reasons why the Olympic Games shouldn’t have happened in 2021. A million reasons why we shouldn’t have watched and supported what is arguably an irresponsible event run for the wrong reasons. But it’s also equally possible that — this year — the Olympics were more useful than ever.

The Tokyo Olympics probably shouldn’t have happened because of COVID-19. But I’m also happy it happened — because of COVID-19. If that makes sense.

None of it makes sense.

But right now, sport — with its simple rules and digestible outcomes, with its warm blanket of normalcy and straightforward narratives of triumph over adversity — is maybe the only thing that makes sense.

The Olympics, much like Dean Boxall, busted its way into our homes and televisions and refused to leave. An unwelcome guest. But, like the uncertain Olympics official dealing with the uncontainable Boxall as he dry humped a fence, I’m glad the Olympics forced their way into my life. I couldn’t have done lockdown without it.