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UFC's Tyron Woodley Gunning for Fight In August ... But There's a Catch

5/24/2019 12:15 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

UFC star Tyron Woodley says he's very confident he'll be ready to fight again this summer -- despite having a jacked up right hand -- and he's already working with the UFC to book a date.  

The former UFC welterweight champ recently pulled out of his June 29 bout with Robbie Lawler -- explaining on this week's 'Hollywood Beatdown' that his hand simply isn't ready to go. 

Woodley says he consulted with a top hand specialist who diagnosed him with chronic arthritis in his joint ... which is a problem going into a fist fight with a stand-up striker like Lawler. 

The good news ... Tyron says he's eyeing an August date to get back in the Octagon, but there's a catch ... he only wants to fight in a state where he'll be cleared to get a cortisone shot 10 days before the bout. 

As for an opponent, Tyron says he'll fight anyone as long as it gets him on the right path for a title shot ... because he's obsessed with getting his belt back. 

There's a lot more ... Tyron also weighs in on the disturbing face injury suffered by his friend, Sage Northcutt and tells us if he thinks Sage will ever be able to get back to 100%. 

Check out "The Hollywood Beatdown" every week on the TMZ Sports YouTube page

Chuck Liddell Pissed After Being Used In Apparent Homophobic Prank

5/23/2019 3:50 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Chuck Liddell now realizes the video he made to congratulate a man for coming out of the closet after 40 years was most likely a homophobic prank ... and the UFC legend is really upset about it. 

Here's the backstory ... Chuck is one of the celebrities who works with Cameo, a company where people can pay celebs to make custom video messages for fans. 

Someone named L-Dogg asked Chuck to make a video congratulating "Timmy" for going public with his sexuality ... and Chuck, believing it was a legitimate request, obliged. 

The original video features Chuck delivering a heartfelt message to Timmy -- and saying he wishes Timmy would have been able to come out earlier in life. 

But, now it seems pretty obvious L-Dogg was just using Chuck as part of a homophobic joke. 

"If this is someone messing with somebody, that's messed up," Liddell told us at LAX. 

"I assumed it was a guy who was actually coming out after 40 years."

Bottom line ... Chuck says he doesn't want to be used to make jokes in bad taste.

But, hey, if it wasn't a joke and L-Dogg was being sincere ... CONGRATS TO TIMMY!!!

Conor McGregor Wants Mayweather Rematch ... 'I Know I Would Win!!!'

5/21/2019 3:16 PM PDT
Breaking News

Conor McGregor says he wants another crack at Floyd Mayweather -- and with all that he's learned from their first fight, McGregor says he's 100% confident he would get that WIN!

"I would like to rematch him under boxing rules, again," McGregor said to Tony Robbins during a recent interview ... "and I believe I would win."

"Actually, there I go again with that fake humbleness ... I KNOW I WOULD WIN!"

Yeah, you can hear it in his voice ... McGregor really wants this. 

Of course, Conor first fought Floyd back in August 2017 -- with Floyd beating on Conor so badly in the 10th round, the referee stopped the fight

But, Conor didn't see the bout as a one-sided massacre ... he thinks he was WINNING early on. 

"When I went into the fight in the early rounds I was WHOOPING him in the early rounds," Conor said ... "I went back to my corner after the 1st round and I said, 'This is easy!'"

But, Conor says Floyd switched up his style -- going from a "back-footed," defensive approach to a more aggressive "Mexican style." 

Conor says the switch shows how talented Floyd is ... but now Conor says he can prepare better for that alternative style and crush Floyd in a rematch. 

"He never fought like that in his entire career, but he was forced to fight that way because he was getting beaten," Conor said.

"The approach caught me off guard. I was not prepared for it, I was not used to it ... and he walked me down and end up getting the stoppage."

Conor says Floyd originally agreed to fight McGregor in an MMA match after the boxing event -- but Conor says, "I haven't heard from him since!"

Floyd has been taking exhibition fights ever since racking up his 50th pro victory ... but will a rematch with Conor pique his interest in a comeback?

Stay tuned ... 

MMA's Josh Copeland Pleads Guilty In Domestic Violence Case

5/21/2019 10:44 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

MMA fighter Josh Copeland pled guilty to felony 2nd-degree assault in his domestic violence case -- stemming from allegations he punched his wife in the face during a heated altercation. 

As we previously reported, Copeland -- 6'1", 265 lbs -- was arrested in Colorado on Feb. 2 after his wife told police he hit her so hard, her face was bloodied and bruised when cops arrived. 

The woman had admitted she slapped Copeland in the face multiple times during the altercation -- but said he took things to another level of violence ... and then stole her phone so she couldn't call for help. 

Copeland was originally hit with 4 criminal charges including felony assault, domestic violence, obstruction of telephone and child abuse (because the altercation allegedly took place in front of their son). 

But now, a court official tells TMZ Sports ... Copeland appeared in court on Tuesday and cut a plea deal with prosecutors. 

Long story short ... Copeland pled guilty to 2nd and 3rd-degree assault and in exchange, the other charges were dropped. 

As for the sentence, Copeland was given 2 years probation -- and the judge noted he could be locked up if he doesn't stay out of trouble for the next 24 months. 

Copeland is allowed to travel for work (he's a pro-MMA fighter) -- but he'll have to check in with the court in 2021 to make sure he's kept his nose clean. 

Copeland is 18 and 6 as a pro-MMA fighter -- and even had a stint in the UFC in 2014 and 2015.

He fought his way into the $1 MILLION championship fight in the PFL heavyweight tournament -- but ultimately lost to Philipe Lins on Dec. 31, 2018.

MMA Star Sage Northcutt Surgery for 8 Fractures ... After MMA Knockout

5/19/2019 6:40 AM PDT

Sage Northcutt was destroyed way more than anyone thought after a 29-second, first-round knockout in his ONE Championship debut -- turns out he suffered 8 fractures and was in surgery for 9 hours to repair the damage.

Northcutt posted a horrific pic of the aftermath ... hooked up to all sorts of stuff post-op in the hospital.

Sage's debut was a disaster ... the 23-year-old took a devastating punch at the hands of Cosmo Alexandre to the face, sending him to the canvas with a thunderous face plant. Clearly, the punch did damage, but the face plant may have exacerbated things.

He posted the hospital pic, saying, "Fresh out of surgery ... I had 8 fractures and a nine hour intense operation. Feeling blessed for the amazing care and all the support from ONE championship, my family/friends and fans!"

It's surprising ... because Sage got up under his own power and stood there as the ref raised Alexandre's hand and declared him the winner.

Sage was cut from the UFC after a lackluster run ... UFC honcho Dana White said Northcutt just didn't cut muster and needed to work on his game.

No word -- obviously -- on Sage's future ... whether or when he'll return to ONE championship. 

Kevin Lee Dos Anjos Fight Will Be 'Blood Bath'

5/18/2019 12:05 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

THERE WILL BE BLOOD ...

... a lot of it when Rafael dos Anjos and Kevin Lee go to war this weekend at UFC Fight Night 152.

Lee -- the 7th ranked lightweight in the UFC -- is going up to 170 pounds to fight former welterweight champ RDA ... and "The Motown Phenom" says it's gonna get violent.

"I think this might be one of the fights that I really get to showcase everything. I haven't given that barn burner of a fight to UFC fans yet, and this might be the one," ... Lee tells TMZ Sports.

"I'm expecting it to be a blood bath. That's all I'll say."

It's a massive fight for both guys. Lee's coming off a loss to Al Iaquinta ... and Kamaru Usman handed dos Anjos an L ... so both guys are dangerous, and need to win.

The result? Blood. Bath.

Sage Northcutt Knocked Out Cold In ONE Championship Debut

5/17/2019 6:46 AM PDT
Breaking News

Rough day at the office for ex-UFC star Sage Northcutt -- who just got his face obliterated 30 seconds into his ONE Championship debut.

The 23-year-old was taking on Brazilian fighter Cosmo Alexandre in Singapore ... when just 25 seconds into the fight, things went bad for Sage.

Cosmo cracked the kid with a solid right -- immediately turning off Sage's lights and sending him crashing to the floor face first.

UFC's Rachael Ostovich Husband Sentenced In Dom. Violence Case

5/16/2019 3:20 PM PDT
Breaking News

The estranged husband of UFC fighter Rachael Ostovich just got 4 years probation in his domestic violence case ... stemming from a violent attack back in November. 

Arnold Berdon -- who's also an MMA fighter -- was initially arrested for attempted murder after Ostovich claimed he beat the hell out of her and fractured her eye socket. 

Ostovich initially pulled out of a high-profile UFC fight with Paige VanZant due to the injury -- but was later cleared by a different doctor. Ostovich ultimately lost the fight. 

As for Berdon ... after his initial arrest, prosecutors downgraded the charge to 2nd-degree assault -- and he pled no contest back in March. 

Berdon was sentenced on Thursday to 4 years probation -- which appears to be a good deal for Berdon considering he was facing up to 5 years in prison. 

Ostovich filed for divorce from Berdon after the attack -- and that case is still pending. 

UFC's Anderson Silva I'm Not Retiring ... Considering Rematch

5/16/2019 12:14 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

UFC legend Anderson Silva says he's already made up his mind about his fighting future -- telling TMZ Sports, "I'm not stopping, I'm not retiring."

The 44-year-old was in pretty good spirits Thursday returning to the United States following his UFC 237 loss to Jared Cannonier this past weekend ... but says his knee is still jacked up. 

Silva badly injured his right knee in the fight -- and couldn't make it out of the first round. 

After the fight, Silva went to social media and posted a statement that made it seem as if he was pondering retirement. 

But now, Anderson says his mind is made up -- he wants to get healthy and get back in the Octagon. 

In fact, Silva says he's already spoken with Dana White about a possible rematch with Cannonier ... but White told him to take some time to heal before talking about another fight. 

So, how is Anderson's knee?

"It's not good but it's not too bad. The good thing is I start physical therapy," Silva told us. 

Stay tuned ... 

UFC's Kevin Lee I Want Kamaru Usman Next ... Better Fight Than Conor!!!

5/16/2019 5:55 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Forget Conor McGregor ... UFC fighter Kevin Lee wants to throw down with Kamaru Usman next -- telling TMZ Sports he thinks that scrap would be WAY more challenging than one with The Notorious.

"He might not bring the attention and the money," Lee says ... "But, as a competitor, he'll bring a lot more."

Of course, Lee has been trying to set up a fight with Conor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for the last year ... telling us in the past he'd beat both their asses.

But now, he's saying those fights don't intrigue him as much as a possible scrap with Kamaru does ... saying, "Seeing what he did to Tyron Woodley, that's kind of adding a little bit to me."

Either way, Lee knows fights with any of those three won't go down if he can't get past Rafael dos Anjos in their ESPN+ fight this Saturday night ... which is why he tells us he's laser-focused on that scrap right now.

But, Lee says once he takes care of RDA, he's gunning for Kamaru's belt -- and if Conor wants a shot at him after that ... he can get it then!!!

MMA's Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson Pleads Not Guilty In Domestic Violence Case

5/15/2019 7:35 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Ex-UFC star Anthony "Rumble" Johnson is fighting back in his domestic violence case -- pleading not guilty to allegations he roughed up his girlfriend during a dispute earlier this month. 

TMZ Sports broke the story ... the 35-year-old fighter was arrested in Palm Beach County, Florida on May 6 after his girlfriend told cops Johnson got physical with her during an argument. 

According to the police report, Johnson told cops at the time he DID pick up the woman to carry her to another room because he was sick of arguing ... but insists he never intended to hurt her. 

Johnson was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery -- and his attorney just submitted a not guilty plea on the fighter's behalf. 

If he's convicted, Johnson faces up to 1 year in jail. 

Johnson already has a domestic violence conviction on his record from 2009 -- when he pled no contest in an incident involving an ex-girlfriend. 

He's due back in court for the current case next month. 

Johnson -- who retired from fighting in 2017 -- was 22-6 as a pro with wins over stars like Glover Teixeira, Ryan Bader and Alexander Gustafsson.

Paul Pierce Sued Over Altercation At Conor vs. Khabib Fight

5/14/2019 4:00 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

NBA legend Paul Pierce is being sued over an altercation with a security guard in the stands at the Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

The man behind the suit is Christopher Mostello -- who was working security at the T-Mobile Arena on Oct. 6, 2018, for UFC 229 when he got called over by a supervisor to respond to an incident involving Pierce. 

Mostello claims he rushed over and was told Pierce had gotten aggressive and physical with the security supervisor -- a woman -- because she had asked for his ticket before allowing him back to his seat. 

Mostello claims he was told Pierce grabbed the woman by the arms and pushed her to the side -- so he stepped in front of Paul to try and stop him. 

But, Mostello claims Paul didn't stop -- instead Paul screamed "F*ck you" and accused Mostello of being a racist. 

Footage of the altercation was captured by other fans in the stands and posted on TMZ Sports -- where you can clearly hear Pierce call the man a racist. 

Mostello claims he's NOT a racist -- and he only engaged Pierce in the capacity of doing his job. 

Now, Mostello claims his reputation has taken a serious hit and he's been subjected to public embarrassment, harassment and ridicule. 

In the suit, filed by attorney Jesse Sbaih, Mostello accuses Pierce of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He's demanding more than $15,000 in damages plus attorney's fees and other costs. 

We reached out to Pierce for comment -- so far, no word back. 

Deontay Wilder Epic Pump-Up Speech ... To Elementary School Kids

5/13/2019 4:19 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

This is amazing!!

Deontay Wilder has a massive fight this weekend ... but that didn't stop the heavyweight champ from hittin' up an NYC elementary school and delivering a rousing pump-up speech to the kids.

It all went down Monday afternoon at P.S. 288 -- a school for Pre-K to 8th graders -- in Brooklyn ... and the message was inspirational and heartfelt.

"I'm here to say I was just like you young guys, just in a different state, in a different city, different environment. Every time I woke, there was negativity," Wilder told the kids at the event put on by the "Game of Life" program, which focuses on helping children stay out of trouble.

"But, with you guys, you guys are powerful. Your words are powerful. The things you speak, the things you think. Your surroundings that you surround yourself around every day is powerful. And, I want you guys to know that."

Deontay continued ... "It took me 11 years to get here. Many people died near me. Many people labeled me as statistics to society ... 'You ain't gonna do nothing, you're bad.'"

The message is clear ... believe in yourself, follow your dreams ... and don't stop until you get where you wanna go.

Wilder ended the epic speech with a chant -- "Believe it, speak it!"

#BombSquad

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