Jake Paul Huge Praise from Metta World Peace ... He's 'Incredible!'

Exclusive
EARNED MY RESPECT
TMZSports.com

Metta World Peace is genuinely impressed with Jake Paul's boxing career -- telling TMZ Sports the guy is "legit" and loves the fact he's chasing his dream.

The former NBA star -- who's a big boxing fan -- loved watching Paul knock out Ben Askren over the weekend ... and explained why it's the latest in an "incredible" journey for the 24-year-old YouTube star.

"I like Jake Paul, because I think anybody who has a dream should go after that dream," Metta told us outside of Toast in L.A.

"I think what's incredible about it is he's doing it! That's what's incredible about it, action!"

Metta says he had dreams of becoming a boxer when he was younger -- but never followed up.

So, the fact Jake is putting in the work and seeing results is very impressive to him.

And get this ... Metta tells TMZ Sports he's been getting calls from networks looking to book him in a major celebrity boxing event.

But, don't hold your breath -- Metta says he ain't interested.

"I don't feel like doing it ... It's just not something I'm into doing."

"Ain't no dollar amount," Metta added ... "I just don't want to do it."

Fair enough!

MMA Star Kayla Harrison Cage Fighting Is 'Most Terrifying Thing In The World'

Exclusive
MAKIN' IT LOOK EASY
TMZSports.com

Kayla Harrison is an undefeated MMA fighter with 2 Olympic gold medals, but the PFL star admits cage fighting is SCARY, and says that's why she isn't underestimating her next opponent ... despite being a huge favorite.

TMZ Sports- talked to the 30-year-old, 8-0 fighter weeks before she attempts to win the Professional Fighters League million-dollar tournament for the 3rd straight time!!

Harrison is a massive favorite heading into her May 6 fight with 26-year-old Mariana Morais ... but don't make the mistake of asking Kayla (like we did) if it's hard to get motivated to fight the 16-10 journeyman when everyone expects her to easily win.

"Have you ever been in a cage with someone? It's the most terrifying thing in the world. It's like this person is trying to take your head off so there's no, I don't have to pump myself. There's no taking her lightly. Everyone is tough until you beat them," Harrison tells us.

Since joining the sport, Kayla has run through everyone she's faced ... causing some critics to say she isn't facing premier competition -- a claim Harrison takes umbrage with.

"That's fine, say that I'm fighting cans, say that I'm fighting bums. That's just 'cause I'm that good. That's what I want. That's fine, I want people to say that."

We also spoke to Kayla about a future super fight with Amanda Nunes (the opposite of a can) ... a match MMA fans badly want.

Nunes recently ran through top-contender Megan Anderson ... and many experts believe Harrison is the only woman who can give Lioness a run for her money.

Speaking of money ... Kayla says it's gonna take a whole lotta cash -- and some other things -- before that fight ever happens.

But ... she definitely didn't say no!!

Insane Video Shirtless Golfer Attacks Man With Flagstick ... In Golf Course Throwdown

Two men beat the hell out of each other on a golf course last week -- with one of the dudes even swinging a flagstick at the other -- and the insane fight was all caught on video!

The wild scene went down on April 9 at a golf club in South Africa ... when two men got into a fistfight on the course at a local school's fundraiser event.

According to the club's general manager, Leon Kruger, the two had apparently been in a dispute over a lost phone before the melee erupted.

"There were two groups, one behind the other, on the course," Kruger said of the tiff to News24. "Someone in the first group lost their phone."

"When they asked the second group if they had seen the phone, they denied having it. That's when things then got out of hand."

You can see in the footage, one of the men began attacking the other, throwing haymakers and eventually ripping off the guy's shirt.

That's when the shirtless man grabbed a nearby flagstick, and swung it at the other dude's head repeatedly!!

The stick struck the guy with such force, it broke over his body ... but the fight still continued.

Eventually, after several more punches were thrown ... the guys calmed down and the fracas was over. It does not appear authorities were involved.

Kruger said the golf club would look into ways to deter this kind of action on the course going forward ... adding, "People should behave themselves."

Youth Basketball Ref Wild Brawl with Adults & Players ... Caught on Video

A youth basketball game in Indiana turned VERY violent -- with a referee fighting adults and players ... and the whole disturbing incident was caught on video.

It all went down over the weekend at the Prime Midwest Event at the Pacers Athletic Center in Westfield, IN during a game between two girls teams.

One of the coaches began arguing a call with just seconds remaining in the 1st quarter.

The ref called a technical foul -- which pissed off one of the coaches so badly, she picked up her bag and began to walk off the court in protest, along with players and team staff.

After the mass exodus from the court, a man in a yellow shirt approaches the ref and appears to shoot cell phone video ... as he continues to get very close to the ref.

At one point, the ref smacks the man in the face with a wild right hand -- and that's when all hell breaks loose.

A player runs over and hits the ref -- another grown man also hits the ref.

The man in the yellow shirt gets really angry and charges after the ref -- it appears he flipped the ref onto the ground very violently.

More chaos ensues until someone grabs the ref and walks him away from the melee.

A spokesperson for the Pacers Athletic Center issued a statement to the Indy Star ... saying, "The event staff removed the involved parties from the remainder of the tournament and will not welcome them back to future events."

"We are disappointed that this altercation happened, as we strive to provide a great experience for families."

"We take the safety of our staff, referees, players and spectators seriously ...  and there is no place for this kind of behavior in youth sports."

Mike Tyson Drops AEW's Cash Wheeler With Haymaker ... During Ringside Beatdown

Mike Tyson served as the "special ringside enforcer" at AEW's "Dynamite" on Wednesday ... and man, HE ENFORCED!

The boxing legend cracked Cash Wheeler right in the face with a hard right hand during a ringside encounter ... sending Wheeler crashing to the floor like a sack of potatoes.

It was awesome!!!

In fact, just listen to the sound of the contact -- yeesh!!

Here's the backstory ... Inner Circle's Chris Jericho was taking on The Pinnacle’s Dax Harwood in a heated 1-on-1 march -- and before the opening bell, Mike vowed to keep the peace by any means necessary.

Long story short, Cash Wheeler tried to interfere with the match to help his tag team partner Dax. At one point, he even grabbed a baseball bat in hopes of taking a swing at Jericho.

... and that's when Iron Mike came around the corner and gave him the ol' Michael Spinks treatment (Google it).

Ultimately, Jericho got the win -- and thanked Mike for having his back and included Mike as an auxiliary member of the Inner Circle.

Mike Tyson man ... killin' it.

UFC's Daniel Rodriguez I'm 200-0 in Street Fights & Jail Fights ... 'Never Lost'

Exclusive
THIS IS NOTHIN'
TMZSports.com

Before he smashed his way into the UFC, Daniel Rodriguez was honing his fight skills on the streets and in jail -- telling TMZ Sports he's 200-0 OUTSIDE the Octagon.

D-Rod -- who obliterated Mike Perry on the main card at "UFC Vegas 23" this past weekend -- says he's been fighting his whole life ... and his experience on the streets has helped him become the successful pro he is today.

"That’s how this all started. It all started in the street ... I’m a hood baby. I'm from L.A. you know.?!"

34-year-old Rodriguez says he was in and out of jail growing up -- something he attributes to running with the wrong crowd and making bad choices.

Daniel says he cleaned up his life and is laser-focused on his MMA career -- racking up an impressive 14-2 record as a pro.

So, what's scarier ... fighting in a jail cell or in the UFC Octagon? D-Rod says there's no comparison.

"There's a referee in [the Octagon]. There’s somebody to stop it."

"I’ve been in situations where ain't nobody gonna stop it ... so it's kill or [be killed]."

So, what's next for Rodriguez INSIDE the Octagon? He's gunning to fight a ranked opponent and would love a crack at the legendary Robbie Lawler.

Lawler is currently the #15 ranked welterweight -- but Rodriguez says he's confident he'll make Robbie look like Mike Perry when it's all said and done!

Hey, as long as he keeps the violence in the cage and off the streets ... it's fine by us!

Boston's Kevan Miller Obliterates Tage Thompson ... In Violent Hockey Fight

Kevan Miller was feeling VIOLENT on Tuesday -- the Boston Bruins player unleashed the fury all over multiple Buffalo Sabres players ... culminating with a KO in a mid-game fight!

The brutality began in the 2nd period when Miller came flying across the ice to smash Sabres' forward Rasmus Asplund into the boards at breakneck speed. Asplund went crumpling to the ground.

Asplund's teammates took issue with the shot because it looked like an illegal blindside hit -- even though it wasn't called for a penalty.

That's when Sabres' player Tage Thompson squared up with Miller looking to avenge Asplund ... but he quickly learned Miller was all about the smoke.

The gloves came off ... and Miller immediately opened up a can of whoop-ass all over Tage's face -- beating him down onto the ice in a one-sided mauling.

Eventually, the refs stepped in and put a stop to the fight when it became clear Thompson had no chance.

FYI, Miller is a very experienced fighter -- with 20 scraps under his belt since 2013.

Thompson, on the other hand, has only fought once in the NHL since joining the league a few years ago.

It's almost like Thompson didn't realize what he was getting himself into ...

As for the game, the Bruins ended up securing the "W" in an overtime shootout.

Bad night for Thompson and the Sabres. Ice that jaw, bro.

The Miz Bad Bunny Killed at WrestleMania ... Earned Everyone's Respect

Exclusive
EARNED MY RESPECT
TMZSports.com

Here's WWE superstar The Miz breaking character to heap some well-deserved praise on Bad Bunny -- admitting the music superstar's performance at WrestleMania was legitimately incredible.

Miz and Bad Bunny have been beefing for months as part of the storyline leading up to WM37 this past weekend -- and when they stepped in the ring to throw down, Bunny was spectacular.

He pulled off everything from a vertical suplex to a Canadian Destroyer (look it up!) ... and even frog splashed off the top rope! It was awesome!

Eventually, Bunny pinned Miz for the win -- but the former WWE champ says he ain't bitter -- it was a true honor just to share the ring with BB.

"Not only did he earn my respect, I think he earned the WWE Universe's respect. I think he earned backstage's respect. I think he earned everybody's respect in what some are calling 'The Best Celebrity Match at WrestleMania in History!'"

Miz says what he's most impressed by is Bunny's work ethic -- BB busted his ass for months at the WWE Performance Center to get ready for 'Mania ... and the hard work clearly paid off.

Sadly, Bunny's run with the WWE is probably over ... at least for now (he's got the whole music thing to get back to) -- but Miz isn't ruling out a future appearance.

"Ya never know when he'll come back! I think he had a great experience, I think everyone had a great experience with him."

"This guy has a hundred dates of music concerts that he has coming up. I imagine he wants some time off, too! But, look ... what he did out there at WrestleMania opens the door anytime he wants to come back at WWE. Maybe I'll get a round 2!"

WWE's Bianca Belair Raw Emotions After Historic Victory 'Most Amazing Feeling Ever'

Exclusive
HAPPY TO CONTRIBUTE
TMZSports.com

WWE Superstar Bianca Belair was overcome with emotion after making history Saturday night as part of the first 'WrestleMania' main event to feature 2 black female superstars.

... and when we spoke with her moments after the match, Bianca didn't hold back -- thanking her role models like Gail Devers and Flo Jo for inspiring her to chase her dreams!!

This whole video is just awesome -- you can feel Bianca's authentic excitement as she begins to realize she's the new 'SmackDown' women's champion!!!

Bianca took on Sasha Banks at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday night -- ultimately dethroning the champ in a match that's being hailed as one of the best moments of the entire 'WrestleMania 37' weekend.

"This is the most amazing feeling ever," Bianca told us moments after the match ... "It's just something that I can't put into words."

When we brought up the historical significance, Bianca told us she felt blessed and honored -- and credited WWE for making it happen.

"It's so important. I always say representation is not a request. Representation is a requirement and WWE is a perfect example of how people should follow by propelling women and representing women and treating women in sports and in the world."

"It's an amazing moment to stand in the ring with Sasha Banks -- it was the first time two African-American women have had a title match at 'WrestleMania' and [it was the] main event."

Belair continued, "It's more than just about us. It's about women and Black women and two alpha women -- and representing and being role models. My role models inspired me and they're the reason why I'm here today."

Belair shouted out track stars Gail Devers and Florence Griffith Joyner -- along with Team USA gymnastics legend Dominique Dawes.

"They completely changed the trajectory of my life and where my life went," Belair said.

"I'm just so grateful to be able to contribute ... and do the same for others like my role models did for me."

Congrats!!!

Conor McGregor Backing Out of Poirier Fight After Backing Out of $500k Charity Donation

8:08 AM PT -- Conor McGregor is not happy about being called out by Poirier -- firing backwash more insults and claiming he's PULLING OUT of their planned July rematch at UFC 264.

"You’re ripped you inbred hillbilly," Conor posted moments ago ... "Why do you wink with your ears? You f**king brain dead hillbilly."

"500k with no plan in place. Ye hang tight. Fool. You must be new to money. The fight is off btw. I’m going to fight someone else on the 10th. Good luck on your old contract kid."

Another interesting point ... the UFC posted an article about Dustin's charity back in January, spelling out how donations have been used over the years.

Plus ... in June 2020, the UFC awarded Dustin the Forrest Griffin Community Award for his "exceptional volunteer and charity work."

Another bad look for Conor McGregor ... who's admitting he never forked over the $500,000 donation check to Dustin Poirier's charity, despite promising to make the payment before they fought back in January.

In the lead up to their main event scrap at UFC 257, McGregor repeatedly publicly declared he would send the sizable donation to Poirier's "The Good Fight Foundation," a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides resources to underprivileged youth in Poirier's home state of Louisiana.

McGregor initially pledged the money in October 2020 -- repeated the $500k promise again in November ... and vowed to cut the check again in the days before the fight.

But, Poirier revealed Sunday night his organization NEVER got a cent from Conor's team -- claiming McGregor's team went MIA on Poirier's charity "after the fight" in January.

Poirier later explained, "We thanked him because his team reached out fight week to initiate the process but ghosted us the past 2 months after the fight."

"My foundation has reached out 3 times since with no reply. We've moved past it! We will be announcing our next goal soon! It's a big one."

Conor sheepishly replied on Twitter with allegations of his own -- saying, "A donation, not a debt. We’ve been awaiting the plans for the money that never came. I do with all my donations. Know where it’s going dot for dot. Otherwise it goes walking. As is the case with a lot of these foundations, sadly. You took the McG over the belt shows I was right."

McGregor is trying to paint Dustin as more interested in money than legacy -- both in and out of the ring.

He's insinuating Dustin only took the Conor fight because of the massive check -- instead of taking a fight with another opponent that would have brought him closer to winning the UFC lightweight title.

Dustin responded to Conor early Monday morning ... saying, "100% never a debt. You offered, we accepted, and like I said your Team never responded to our emails regarding the process of where funds would be put to work! July 10th you will taste defeat yet Again."

So, here's the long and short ... McGregor is suggesting Poirier's charity is shady -- which is a pretty heavy allegation to make publicly.

But, McGregor had MONTHS to do his own research before making a public declaration to donate such a hefty amount.

Props to Dustin for dealing with the situation with class.

Originally Published --  5:47 AM PT

Khabib Nurmagomedov Would ‘Smash John Cena’s Face’ In WWE ... Manager Says

Exclusive
TAKING IT SERIOUSLY
TMZSports.com

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager has a warning to pro wrestlers who want a crack at the UFC legend -- be careful what you wish for!!

Now that Khabib has retired from MMA, the big question everyone is asking ... what’s he gonna do next?

A crossover into WWE seems like a natural fit -- and Khabib’s manager Ali Abdelaziz tells us Nurmagomedov will gladly smash anyone who has the stones to get in the ring.

"Let’s be real, [if] any of these soft steroid freaks wanted to go ahead and have a wrestling match with Khabib and they wanna get beat up for real, they know who they need to call," Ali tells us.

"He’ll go there and he’ll smash John Cena’s face. No problem."

Tons of MMA fighters have successfully transitioned into pro wrestling -- and they’re usually super successful at it. From Ronda Rousey to Ken Shamrock to Bobby Lashley and more.

As for now, Khabib has made the transition to coaching ... sharing his expertise with fighters like Luke Rockhold, who recently told us the champ is looking to follow in his father's footsteps as a legendary coach.

Ali explains why Khabib is such a natural in the switch to coaching ... saying, "He got no egos, he loves his friends, he loves his peers and he's there for them."

"You're gonna see a lot of new generation coming from his team. They're probably going to dominate the UFC or MMA in general."

Yeah, coaching is great and everything ... but can we PLEASE see Khabib in the squared circle?!?!

Anderson Silva Emotional Tribute to DMX He Was a Huge Part of My Life

Exclusive
WE LOST A LEGEND
TMZSports.com

"I'm sad, I'm very sad."

Anderson Silva was so shocked by the death of rap legend DMX, he could barely find the words -- but ultimately explained how the guy made such a tremendous impact on his life.

The MMA legend -- who's boxing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on June 19 --  famously used DMX's "Ain't No Sunshine" as his ring walkout song for years. Watch the video below, the fans went WILD!!!!

So, when we spotted Silva shooting a promo on Friday in the hours after X's passing, we had to ask his thoughts -- and you can feel the sadness.

Silva also tells us he plans on honoring DMX during the Chavez fight.

As for the fight itself, Anderson tells TMZ Sports he knows Chavez Jr. has a lifetime of experience as a boxer ... but he's up for the challenge and says he wouldn't have signed up if he didn't think he could win!

I'VE GOT THE PASSION
TMZSports.com

And, get this ... if Silva beats Chavez, he wants MORE boxing fights down the road and says he would seriously consider Jake and Logan Paul as future opponents.

"Both guys are good," Silva says ... "The world has changed. It's not about fighting. It's about a good show for [the people to watch]."

UFC's Nina Nunes Stoked to Fight 6 Months After Having Baby ... Battle of the Moms!

Exclusive
MOTHER KNOWS BEST
TMZSports.com

UFC star Nina Nunes just gave birth 6 months ago ... but tells TMZ Sports she CAN'T WAIT to get back in the Octagon and fight on Saturday!

Nina -- formally known as Nina Ansaroff -- had a baby back in September with her longtime partner Amanda Nunes, who happens to be one of the greatest combat sports athletes of all time!

Nina ain't too shabby herself -- she's the #5 ranked UFC strawweight -- and she's taking on fellow mom Mackenzie Dern on "UFC on ABC 2" on April 10.

Mackenzie made headlines herself back in 2019 when she fought Amanda Ribas just 4 months after giving birth ... and gave a pretty inspiring performance, despite losing the fight.

Nunes tells us she has tremendous respect for Dern ... and hopes the fight will show people you can be a mom and also kick ass as a pro fighter!

Nunes admits her delivery wasn't exactly smooth -- she had some serious medical issues that left her in rough shape.

But, as soon as she was cleared to work out, she got ripped in weeks -- just look at the photos! Amazing!

As for Dern, she tells TMZ Sports the respect with Nunes is mutual -- "The babies make us better athletes, better fighters, more motivated, more professional."

SETTING AN EXAMPLE
TMZSports.com

Both women tell us they're expecting a war -- but it's not personal ... and they expect to take pictures with their babies together after the fight!

#Respect

Jake Paul Nate Robinson KO Gets NFT Treatment ... Got $10 Million?!

Jake Paul's brutal knockout of ex-NBA star Nate Robinson is now being sold as an NFT -- and the asking price is $10 MILLION!!!

Triller, the company behind the fight, is also behind the sale of the 1-of-1 NFT -- but there's a pretty significant twist here.

In addition to owning the digital collectible from the Nov. 28, 2020 event -- the buyer will also get a custom 1-of-1 NFT featuring the last 30 seconds of the April 17 boxing match between Jake Paul and Ben Askren.

So, if the fight ends with a bang, that moment will be memorialized in a collectible non-fungible token.

The token is available through the new Triller NFT Marketplace -- which the company says is "based on peer-reviewed, audited Ethereum blockchain infrastructure."

NFTs are all the rage in digital collectibles at the moment -- with some tokens selling for more than $50 MILLION!!

If you're still not clear on what an NFT is -- think of it as a digital baseball card that's built on blockchain technology to ensure authenticity.

Just like a baseball card, people can buy, sell or trade NFTs -- but they don't own the copyright to the actual art itself.

Make sense? Okay great.

Athletes and entertainers from all over the world have been jumping on the NFT train -- Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Snoop and more have issued their own NFT collections, some have sold for a fortune.

The big question ... what will the market look like in 5 or 10 or even 20 years? Triller is clearly betting that it's on the rise in a big way.

Stop Asian Hate U.S. Olympic Athlete Target of Rant While Training at Park

HARASSED AT THE PARK
@sakurakokumaikarate/Instagram

Sakura Kokumai was minding her own business while training in a park when she was accosted by a stranger ... in the latest disturbing example of anti-Asian sentiment in America.

The U.S Olympic karate athlete says she was at a park in Orange, CA last week when the angry man began yelling at her out of nowhere ... so she recorded it.

The man makes several threats and hurls insults at Sakura before finally getting in his car to leave, but not before she says she heard him drop some racial slurs as well.

She describes the incident as horrible, adding ... "I don’t know which was worse, a stranger yelling and threatening to hurt me for no reason or people around me who witnessed everything and not doing a thing."

Sakura says toward the end of his rant, a woman finally did ask if she was okay.

The Olympic athlete says she decided to share her experience as a reminder this is happening all over the country ... and we need to take better care of each other.

She also told reporters ... "I was aware about the anti-Asian hate that was going on. You see it almost every day on the news. But, I didn’t think it would happen to me at a park I usually go to train."

3/29/21
ASSAULTED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
NYPD

Sadly, as we've reported, the hate's become epidemic in the U.S. with recent horrific incidents particularly in NYC ... including an Asian man getting sucker-punched and an elderly Asian woman being viciously attacked as she was walking to church.

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!