Matthew recently made it seem like he and Chilli were trying to have a child together, but they've since clarified his comments. In fact, she reiterated to us at LAX ... her man's words were taken out of context.
Regardless, their relationship is clearly going strong ... when Matthew picked up Chilli at LAX earlier this month, they engaged in some full-on PDA.
Bottom line for Chilli ... Matthew's no scrub and she could definitely see them being husband and wife.
Justin Gaethje's gearing up for a title run, and the UFC star tells us he has the power to dethrone champ Islam Makhachev ... but he knows he has to earn the fight, and he's ready to run through Dustin Poirier to prove his worthiness!
34-year-old Gaethje, the #3 ranked UFC lightweight, joined Babcock on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (airs weekdays on FS1) ... where we talked about everything from who he wants next, to how he'd fare against the current champ, to how much longer he sees himself fighting, and Conor McGregor recently calling him "handicap" on Twitter.
On who Gaethje, who is coming off a dominating win over fellow contender Rafael Fiziev at UFC 286 in March, wants next:
"I think that's the obvious choice, Dustin. He's sitting at number 2 right now, I gave the new guys a chance and I proved that I am elite, and I need to fight elite fighters to fight for a belt. I think Dustin's the obvious choice. I think the loser of Dariush and Oliveira is also an option, but outside of those two, I do not see an option."
FYI, Justin and Dustin fought back in 2018 ... a classic fight that Poirier won by fourth-round TKO.
Of course, Islam, who was just in battle with 145 lb. king Alex Volkanovski (Makhachev won by the thinnest margin), is the lightweight champ. We asked Justin how a fight between the men would look.
"I think [Islam is] a hard fight for anybody. Just create damage. I'd have to fight the perfect fight," Gaethje told us, adding he recognizes he wouldn't be on the Dagestani fighter's level when it comes to "submission grappling," but Justin believes with his power, he can shut anyone's lights out.
"I think I can knock him out. I think I can knock anybody out with the power that I possess."
"I think they're very similar. I think the biggest difference is Islam has been finished. He's lost a fight. He's been finished. So that aura of invincibility is there, but it's not based on 100% facts like Khabib has, I think that's the biggest factor, the biggest difference."
We also talked to Gaethje about retirement.
"I have never thought about retirement. I haven't thought about my life after retirement. I'm still working for the goal that I've set for myself," Justin said, explaining he has faith that his family and friends would tell him when it's time to hang up the gloves. But, that's likely years away, according to JG, who believes he's just hitting his stride as a fighter.
"34, I think we are at our peak, mentally, physically. Between 34 and 36, so I can't see myself being done in the next two years. I'd say two to four years is def a timeline that makes sense. I'm not trying to fight when I'm 40, and after 36, I don't see myself getting better."
Lastly, Conor recently tweeted "Justin Gaethje is a handicap," before deleting the message shortly after. We asked JG for his reaction.
"One of my best approaches in life is to make everybody think you're stupid and then go into a conversation or situation where you can take advantage of everybody feeling like that. It plays perfectly into my hands. I love when people think I'm handicapped or dumb -- that's not a guy, I don't believe I'll ever fight him."
Gaethje vs. McGregor is a fight fans clamored over for years ... but Justin says the guy simply doesn't want to step foot in The Octagon with him.
"Obviously fans understand it, they understand [Conor] won't fight me. Plain and simple, he gets to choose who he fights, and he's very specifically choosing not me."
Austin Theory is fighting his childhood idol, John Cena, on "The Grandest Stage of Them All," WrestleMania, but the current WWE United States Champion wants everyone to know he's not trying to be a Cena 2.0 -- telling TMZ Sports,"I don't want to be a rip-off."
We spoke with Theory ahead of his highly-anticipated match with Cena for the U.S. title at 'Mania ... and he put into perspective what the moment means to him considering John played a role in his desire to be a professional wrestler.
"Being eight years old and knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life because of John Cena and that is be a WWE Superstar. That was the first time I seen wrestling and I was inspired. And I went straight to the TV and I'd watch John every single week."
Theory and Cena made their match for the U.S. Championship at WrestleMania official two weeks ago ... during an intense segment where the latter reminded the WWE Universe that he can still cut a promo with the best of them.
"We did have a moment," Theory said about his encounter with Cena. "A face-to-face on Monday Night Raw. He had a lot of things to say to me. In that moment, it's very cool to be out there with John Cena but I'm in a different place now."
Austin told us he's tired of people constantly comparing him to Cena -- a 13-time WWE Champion, widely recognized as the G.O.A.T. in the promotion's history -- especially after he's worked so hard along his journey to establish his own identity.
"I don't want to hear that anymore," Theory said. "I want to be the first Austin Theory and I want people to see that. I don't want to be a rip-off of anybody and at WrestleMania, I'm going to show everybody just how different Austin Theory is."
"My mindset going into this match is all about me," Theory said. "I can't go in there and get swallowed by this giant John Cena story. I know the crowd's going to be crazy for him. 'Let's Go Cena' and 'Cena sucks.' Even the people saying 'Cena Sucks,' they love him, too."
Theory said after he retains his U.S. title by defeating Cena on Saturday at SoFi Stadium, he's "going straight to the top" ... adding "The world is mine. That's where I go. Take over the world."
One entrepreneur/inventor has a creative and seemingly effective way teachers and students can protect themselves against school shootings ... a safe room embedded in classrooms.
We talked to Kevin Thomas Tuesday on "TMZ Live," and he broke down a product he sells through his company, KT Solutions. It's basically four foldable walls -- they look like dry erase whiteboards -- a teacher can quickly pull out to create a bulletproof shelter to hide kids in a nightmare like the one in Nashville.
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Kevin calls it RASR, or ... Rapid Access Safe Rooms. They're available to the public, but are intended for classrooms -- as they offer educators/pupils a quick option to seek cover and protection in the event a mass shooter is roaming the halls ... and cops aren't there yet.
Check out the video to see how it works -- the "room" is flat at first and can function as just one wall or whiteboard for teachers and students ... so it has multipurpose utility for the school beyond just protection.
Nashville Police Department
If there's an active shooter situation and a school wants something beyond locked doors to help, they can use RASR to open up a full-blown safe room good enough for the military and government agencies -- so says Thomas. In other words, it's impenetrable.
There's a demonstration here that shows you how to do it ... it's actually quite simple, and only takes seconds to lock into place. It's not the permanent fix to this ongoing issue -- as Thomas notes -- but this can certainly save lives in the interim.
We asked Thomas what sparked this innovative idea, and he said the Uvalde, TX school shooting forced his hand. As far as the price, it's $50k for delivery and installation -- and while one might presume this would come out of a school budget ... KT says that's not necessarily the case.
Even if a school does have to pay for it, he says it's a good investment, and can be affordable if things are prioritized the way they should be.
Akademiks thinks big-name rappers Drake,J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar have gotten big heads and are now too afraid to sit and talk to the very hip hop outlets they once used to build industry clout.
Cole recently conducted his first on-camera interview in years with ESPN's Bob Myers, with the biggest headline being the North Carolina-bred rapper smoking cigarettes at age 6 ... and Ak says the entire set-up screams "weirdo."
Ak is adamant he's not bitter for not personally getting face time with the hip hop heavyweights -- but, instead, says he's speaking for the loads of scaredy-cat journalists who don't want to rock the boat.
Translation: They're all playing the PR game, but Adademiks is refusing to join 'em.
He recalled a time he criticized SZA -- a Top Dawg Entertainment artist -- while working for Complex, and claims the mag's staff was frantically trying to patch things up in hopes of scoring an interview with Kendrick, TDE's flagship rapper.
Kendrick jetted off to Ghana following the release of his long-awaited album "Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers" and later conducted a softball interview with "W" magazine -- a complete distancing from traditional rap culture outlets, Complex included.
Drake spoke to Lil Yachty during a seaside chat for the release of his last project "Her Loss" .... but Ak says the Canadian megastar is overdue to return the favor to publications that first threw him street cred.
Ak scolded the rap stars for falling into "white boy conversations" ... but added, in his eyes, there are still some real ones out there.
He gave Lil Durk props for still doing interviews with real rap hubs like "Million Dollaz Worth of Game."
Fivio Foreign is back on the scene after some sort of health crisis forced him to cancel his Rolling Loud Cali performance, and he's assuring fans he's 100% back to form.
We caught Fivio out at LAX where he told us he's fully recovered since his last-minute cancelation three weeks ago in L.A. -- and while he wasn't any clearer about what exactly he was going through ... he did say simply hydrating more helped bring him back.
Apologize to @RollingLoud & everybody who came out to see me I ain’t make it.. My first time missing a show and I feel so crazy about it but my body dealing w some real issues.. Juss keep me in yah prayers & I’ll hit Tariq up to make it up 💙
The "Big Drip" rapper alarmed fans by asking for prayers when he abruptly dropped out, only saying his body was dealing with some "real issues."
He also didn't get to make up for the missed show with his hometown crowd, in light of Rolling Loud New York being permanently shuttered.
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While it might seem like Fivio's downplaying whatever he went through, dehydration has taken down artists from time to time. Wyclef Jean was recently ordered by a doc to rest and drink fluids after he was hospitalized for going too hard.
In the words of Fivio himself ... even gangstas have to regroup!!!
Biaggio Ali Walsh, Muhammad Ali's MMA fighting grandson, may have gotten into the family business, but the PFL star doesn't fight exactly like his legendary grandpa ... "He always said 'Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.' I want to sting like a scorpion!"
"Honestly, that is what I would say my style's like," Ali Walsh told Babcock in a sit-down with TMZ Sports. "You float, you're light, you're smooth, and when you go, it hurts, it stings. That's the kind of style I want to portray."
And, that's exactly what he's done so far in his handful of MMA fights. After losing his first-ever contest by rear naked choke, Biaggio's looked incredibly impressive -- and powerful -- in the cage.
First, he defeated Bradley Seaver by TKO in under three minutes in August 2022. Shortly after, Biaggio signed with PFL. They pitted him against Tom Graesser ... who only lasted 45 seconds with Ali Walsh during their November 2022 contest.
The potentially scary part is that he's only had three amateur fights, and only started training a few years back.
"I think I'm improving a lot. I believe I was blessed with an athletic ability. An ability to adapt, too. I've just been improving. Staying consistent. I've been grappling, wrestling, doing jiu-jitsu., striking, just blending all the martial arts because that's what you have to do in MMA," Biaggio said.
We also asked Biaggio what his grandfather would've thought about MMA (some boxing purists hate the sport), and Ali Walsh says his grandpa not only would've been into mixed martial arts, but he would've connected with one fighter in particular -- The Notorious.
"I think he would've been a big fan of MMA, especially at the time when Conor [McGregor] was in his featherweight run, doing his peak trash talk. He would've loved it."
We also talked to Biaggio about the pressure of being a fighter related to "The Greatest," when he plans to turn pro, what he wants to accomplish as a fighter (and beyond) and much more!
Ali Walsh returns to the cage at PFL 2 on April 7 from The Theater in the VIrgin Hotel in Las Vegas! 👊
Shaun White and Finneashave Selena Gomez to thank for their bromance ... so says the snowboarding legend himself, who tells TMZ Sports he first met his buddy at the actress/singer's birthday party -- and they've been tight ever since!!
We spoke with White out at LAX this week -- fresh off his snowy adventures on the slopes with Billie Eilish's older bro/music collaborator and their girlfriends -- and he gave us a breakdown of the "Naked" artist's skills following his first time on a snowboard.
"He made turns first day!" White said of Finneas' progress ... joking, "I held his hand a little."
Naturally, we asked how the guys linked up to begin with ... and Shaun admits it was simply bumping into each other at the bar while celebrating Selena's big day (unclear when this interaction went down, but Selena's birthday is July 22).
After that, White invited Finneas to join him for some lessons in the mountains ... and he accepted!!
White says he actually enjoys giving his friends pointers ... 'cause it helps him tune his own skills at the same time!!
Kendrick Lamar's Grammy Award-winning collaborator Rance of 1500 or Nothin' says rap music produced today is missing some serious must-haves for success.
We spoke to Rance at LAX this week, and while he praised sampling for being the culture's core creation process, he frowned upon new producers who don't understand the beats they're making.
Rance compared the language of music to language in general and producers should learn the basic chords just like one would learn their ABCs but thinks most artists are "playing it safe" at the behest of their record labels.
The veteran musician has been in the studio with other music heavyweights such as Jay-Z, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg and Ludacris, so his opinion is more educated than formulated!!!
It's not just rookies swinging for the low-hanging fruit, either. Missy Elliott pimped out two of her classic records this week ... BIA's "That Bitch," which borrows from her 1999 hit "She's a Bitch," and new girl group Flo's "Fly Girl" single, which updates Missy's 2002 smash "Work It" were both released.
Rance does point out there are only 12 notes on a piano, so similar sounds are expected but originality should shine through at all costs!!!
Aaron Rodgers left one small detail out when discussing his ayahuasca adventures -- at least, that's what Jake Paul is saying ... 'cause The Problem Child claims he downed the psychedelic brew with the NFL superstar!!
The YouTuber-turned-boxer spoke about the four-time MVP's approach to mental cleansing and spirituality in an interview with Fox News Digital this week ... and not only is Paul down with it, he says he's experienced it firsthand!!
"Aaron and I were actually together when we did the ayahuasca," Paul said to Fox News Digital. "He’s more publicly known for speaking about it, but I was actually there with him when we did it."
Aubrey Marcus Podcast
"We spent the week there doing it," he added. "Definitely share that similarity in terms of spirituality and reflecting and going into the deepest parts of the mind. Definitely have been doing some of that."
Of course, Rodgers previously praised ayahuasca ... saying it helped him "be way more free at work, as a leader, as a teammate, as a friend, as a lover. I really feel like that experience paved the way for me to have the best season of my career."
Ayahuasca isn't the only practice Paul and Rodgers agree on -- Jake also said he was planning to do a darkness retreat at some point this year, which Aaron did last month to help figure out his NFL future.
Rodgers has yet to back Paul's recount of the trip, but the boxer's got a ton of big name friends ... so it wouldn't be too surprising.
Pat Sajak was simply being funny when he showed off his wrestling skills on a contestant ... so says the guy who took it on the chin, and now he's urging folks to cut the "Wheel of Fortune" host some slack.
We spoke to Fred Jackson who tells us ... as a pro wrestler and a showbiz guy, he absolutely loved the moment, and it was actually one of the highlights of the whole show! He says he's the only one who has any business being upset about it, but he's perfectly OK with it.
ICYMI, the 'Wheel' host came under fire after Tuesday's episode, where Fred revealed he's a pro wrestler ... and after he won the bonus round, PS ran over and applied a wrestling move called the "chicken wing."
Fred found it super funny and all done in jest, adding he understands if it isn't everyone's sense of humor -- but he says all the backlash against Pat is taking it too far.
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BTW, Fred says the moment was absolutely not staged -- Pat had a really firm grip on him, and he claims he couldn't get loose if he tried.
No injuries, though, so ... no blood, no foul. Standard 'Wheel' rules.
At least one person believes in Cam Newton after his Pro Day workout this week ... Auburn wideout Shedrick Jackson, who caught passes from the QB during the sweat sesh, tells TMZ Sports he thinks the dude can definitely still get after it in the NFL.
Newton made a surprise appearance at the Tigers' showcase on Tuesday ... in an effort to restart his pro football career after not playing in the 2022 season.
Jackson -- the nephew of NFL legend Bo Jackson -- said he was particularly impressed by the touch on Newton's footballs.
As for his own workout at the Pro Day -- Shedrick hit a ridiculously fast 4.25 40-yard dash and caught a grip of passes ... and he tells us he's hoping it'll all help him land an opportunity in the NFL next season.
Belal Muhammad adamantly believes he, NOT Colby Covington, is the fighter most deserving of a title shot vs. Leon Edwards ... and the UFC star says he's willing to prove it in The Octagon!
"I would love to punch Colby in the face. I would love to go out there, let's do it. You think you're the best in the world? You think you're the number one contender, come and get it from me. I'm the rightful number one contender, who the world thinks is the number one contender," 34-year-old Belal told TMZ Sports.
Of course, Dana White wasted no time tapping 35-year-old Covington, the #2-ranked welterweight, as Edwards' next opponent during his post-UFC 286 media session, saying "[Colby] deserves the fight."
The revelation was met almost immediately with outrage from Covington's critics, who point out he's just 2-2 over his last four fights, including two losses to Kamaru.
Meanwhile, Muhammad, ranked fourth in the division, hasn't lost since facing Geoff Neal in January 2019. Throwing out a no contest against a pre-champion Edwards after an inadvertent eye poke, Belal's riding an eight-fight win streak.
FYI, Usman is the #1 ranked WW, but obviously isn't getting an immediate rematch. After Colby comes Khamzat Chimaev, the #3 ranked WW. Then Belal. The rankings then go ... Gilbert Burns at five, and Shavkat Rakhmonov at six (more on him in a moment).
Belal believes the work he's done in the cage should warrant him the opportunity to fight for the championship.
"Bro, I don't think there's nobody that doesn't think that I actually deserve, like if they truly look in their hearts, and if they have an IQ, they'll know that I'm the true number one contender. I'm the true guy that's earned it."
Muhammad continued ... "I put the work in. I put the time in. I fought every single person they put in front of me. I fought backward my last one when I didn't want to, and they forced me to, and I still beat this undefeated kid [Brady], and it was by finish. To get a finish like that, I figured it was 100% gonna happen."
Then, it came as no surprise when we asked Belal about Shavkat's impressive win over Geoff Nealat UFC 285 ... and while he was very complimentary of the Kazakh fighter, he made it clear he's not looking to fight a guy below him in the rankings.
"Why am I gonna have to fight downward again to fight another hot prospect? It really doesn't make any sense. Why am I the only guy fighting backward when there's guys ahead of me that aren't fighting at all?"
A United pilot scheduled to fly on 9/11 says he lived in denial for years about the possibility hijackers targeted his plane that day ... but he's more convinced than ever now.
We talked to Tom Mannello Monday on "TMZ Live" about that fateful day, as well as a theory he's fully onboard with -- namely, that he and his crew from United Flight 23 were targeted by terrorists on Sept. 11 ... something he says didn't fully believe until very recently.
What changed his mind was a new documentary we produced that's airing tonight on FOX -- "TMZ Investigates 9/11: The Fifth Plane" (9 PM ET/PT, 8PM CT) ... which does a deep dive into all the suspicious circumstances surrounding the activity on the grounded flight.
It's a story the United crew hadn't previously discussed publicly, and hearing the perspective of the flight attendants is changing everything for Mannello.
As he explains to us, he was content to accept everything that unfolded was mere coincidence ... but after we did some digging and reporting, he says he's a believer.
There are several elements that point to United 23 being in the crosshairs of bad actors -- including a group of suspicious passengers who were eager to get off the ground ASAP.
Another red flag ... the fact that eyewitnesses saw uniformed persons running through the cabin after the plane had been evacuated and locked -- this after official word the World Trade Center was under attack.
Then the FBI discovered a mysteriously opened hatch on the plane.
Agents also interviewed all of flight 23's attendants afterward ... plus, box cutters were found in an adjacent plane -- and all of that is more than enough for Mannello to buy into the notion they were next. He says, for years, he didn't accept it due to seeming inactivity from the feds.
At this point, though, he says there's simply too much evidence not to accept the obvious. And yet, despite this, TM explains why he continued to fly in the aftermath ... unlike the others, who were so shaken up they never flew professionally again.
A 6-month TMZ investigation raises serious questions ... was there a 5th plane targeted by hijackers on 9/11? The flight attendants and pilot aboard United Flight 23 believe they were indeed targeted, and they make their case tonight on FOX at 9 PM.
United 23, a 767 aircraft, was scheduled to depart JFK at 9 AM, bound for L.A. Six passengers aroused the suspicion of flight attendants for various reasons. Among them ... they were convinced one of the passengers was a man disguised as a woman.
The plane was near the runway, ready to take off, when JFK was abruptly closed after the World Trade Center was hit. It taxied back to the gate and the plane was fully evacuated and locked. Twenty minutes later, people on the ground saw 2 uniformed people running in the passenger cabin. Authorities came, unlocked the door, and found the hatch leading from the belly to the cabin was open ... something that alarmed the FBI.
The flight attendants were interviewed by the FBI and even taken to a lineup to see if they could identify the 4 passengers.
Box cutters were found in the first-class seat pockets on a 767 parked next to United 23 ... that plane was not scheduled for takeoff at the critical time. The pilot was informed and believes those box cutters were meant for his plane, and someone on the ground just confused the 2 planes.
In addition to the flight attendants and pilot, the documentary includes interviews with the United dispatcher, a member of the 9/11 Commission and others.
"TMZ Investigates 9/11: The Fifth Plane" airs tonight on FOX at 9 PM ET.
Don't book hotel rooms in Las Vegas just yet, Jets fans ... Packers legend LeRoy Butler tells TMZ Sports even with Aaron Rodgers -- "ya'll ain't going to no Super Bowl."
In fact, according to the Hall of Famer, NY won't even break .500 this season with Rodgers!!!
Butler gave us his prediction on Friday -- just a couple days after Rodgers made it known he wants to be traded from the Packers to the Jets -- and he's warning NY fans, be careful what you wish for.
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Don't get it twisted, Butler thinks Rodgers can still sling the pigskin -- "you can blindfold Aaron flat-footed, and he'll hit a mosquito" -- he just thinks the way the quarterback is handling this offseason won't lend itself to big wins later in 2023.
"I'm going to say this," Butler told us, "I was on a team that went to two Super Bowls -- your team gotta be close."
"I don't know if Aaron Rodgers is going to be there the whole offseason to gel with the top Rookie of the Year wide receiver [Garrett Wilson] ... I don't know if he's going to be there to go to the clubs with Breece Hall. I don't know."
Butler said he's expecting it all to lead to only eight wins for the Jets in '23.
"And then, you have to waffle again if he wants to play for 2024," Butler said.