July 12, 2012

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Middleweight champion Anderson Silva stopped Chael Sonnen at 1:55 of the second round in UFC 148 on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Silva has successfully defended his title 10 times and had a 15-match winning streak.

In the second round, Sonnen fell to the canvas and up against the fence after missing with a wild spinning backfist and Silva capitalized, landing a knee to the chest and then a number of solid strikes, forcing the referee to stop the fight. The fight was a rematch of the 2010 fight of the year, where Sonnen dominated Silva for 4 1/2 rounds before losing by submission.

On Saturday night, Sonnen had an early takedown and kept Silva on the mat for almost the entire first round, easily winning the round on the scorecards.

Sonnen looked to take Silva down again in the second, pressing the action and forcing Silva up against the cage. The two separated and moved across the octagon, but Sonnen's miscue led to his quick demise.

Earlier, Forrest Griffin edged Tito Ortiz in a close unanimous decision in a bout matching former light heavyweight champions.

Griffin was able to land a number of kicks to the legs and body and controlled most of the fight that ended with three judges giving him a 29-28 edge. Ortiz rocked Griffin in the second and third rounds, flooring him with right hands, but Griffin rallied to sustain the attack.

On the undercard, Cung Le unanimously outpointed Patrick Cote for his first UFC victory, Damian Maia stopped Dong Hyun Kim in the first round, Chad Mendes rebounded from his first loss with an easy first-round victory over Cody McKenzie, and Mike Easton outpointed Ivan Menjivar.

In the preliminary bouts, Melvin Guillard earned his 11th UFC victory, and Khabib Nurmagomedov remained undefeated at 18-0, both winning unanimous decisions. Rafaello Oliveira, Shane Roller and Costa Philippou also won by unanimous decision.

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July 12, 2012


By Kenneth Miller


LAWT Contributing Writer




Tennis sensation Serena Williams recently captured her remarkable 14th grand slam event winning Wimbledon at the prestigious All England Club months shy of her 31st birthday.


Elegantly dressed in her white Nike dress with royal purple, Serena was fit to be queen after her smashing three set victory that left many wondering what’s next on the Williams agenda. After capturing the singles crown she joined with her sister  Venus to double-up at  Wimbledon adding the women’s doubles championship.


Having met both the tennis prodigies when they were 9 and 10 years old, respectively, and even moving to Palm Beach, FL and residing with them for a short period I can reflect on this from rags to riches story with real introspective.


As the legacy of Serena and her older sister Venus continues to grow with their celebrity the distance from whence it all began fades into a shallow backdrop of what used to be the asphalt tennis courts at East Rancho Dominguez Park in Compton.


It was the City of Compton, the birthplace of rap---Eazy E and Dr. Dre. , that gave the Williams’ story, the sexy swagger that made them appealing on a global stage.


It was the crazy idea of an over protecting father Richard who wanted more for his daughters than himself, who first envisioned fame and fortune for the only children he had with former wife Oracene Price.


Richard understood the significance of raising both Serena and Venus in the hood and while many of the stories have been exaggerated about bullets flying through the air while they practiced, anyone who resides in Compton or any urban neighborhood will agree it has its challenges. For some they are insurmountable.


Had both Serena and Venus been the daughters of two upper or middle class parents living in the suburbs their stories would not have been the attraction that it has become.


Serena was born in Michigan, Venus in Lynwood, but Compton was where their home was. Compton was where they lived and practiced until subsequently they moved to Palm Beach FL.


Surely you always hear about people in the neighborhood can’t wait to get out, and often when they do, they don’t come back.


The Williams story was not expected to be that way. Even after Richard moved the family to Palm Beach he had a huge sign on the tennis courts that proclaimed him the “King of Compton.”


This was an indication that he had not forgot where he came from and also wanted to remind his daughters that they should not forget.


For a long time they publicly embraced their Compton experience. There was to be annual tennis clinics in their name, monuments and parks named for them. There was to be hope that tennis was a unique alternative to rap music, basketball and football for other Black girls and boys in Compton.


Residents and elected officials hoped for the best, even as Serena and Venus resided on their massive estate in Palm Beach thousands of miles away.


Hope does not always spring eternal.  As Serena and Venus grew older and their fame evolved, but Richard and Oracene grew apart. Eventually they divorced. Both would retain a percentage of the tennis-playing daughters with, Richard managing Venus and Oracene got Serena.


It has been almost 20 years and $200 million, since the girls called Compton their home. Now, they’re just from Palm Beach FL.


It is an irony that is not lost on many who knew the family and wanted the Compton association to remain a staple in their famous careers.


Compton Mayor Eric Perrodin personally reached out to the family to invite them back and wanted to name a park after them, but got no response.


Last Saturday, when Serena won she immediately went into the stands to share her joy with her sisters including Venus, father Richard, mother Oracene and friends, but there was one sister who was not there.


Older sister Yetunde Price was 31 when she was slain on September 14, 2003 in the Compton while awaiting a companion sitting in her SUV.


It is her murder that has created a monumental rift between the family and the city of Compton.


It was Serena who spoke on behalf of the family at the sentencing of suspected gang member Edward Maxfield when he was sent to prison for 15-years for the murder in 2006.


“I wasn’t going to speak today because it’s too hard for me to talk, “Serena said during the proceedings.  “I wanted to let you know that this was unfair to our family, and our family has always been positive and we always try to help people.”


Those emotional words, voiced by Serena, the youngest of the children, reverberates even loudest today as the once prodigies approach the dawn of their illustrious tennis careers.


It is the darkest of clouds such as this that blocks the sun from shining through. It will soon be 8 years since Yetunde was murdered. The fact that she lost her life in the same community where the life of her famous siblings began is the irony of it.


Now, Serena is approaching the age that Yetunde did not get to live out.  Last year a health scare reminded her just how fragile life can be. She survived to win yet another tournament for the world to see.


The city of Compton is waiting, with open arms to embrace Serena with love for the hope she gave them.
























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July 05, 2012


By KYLE HIGHTOWER | Associated Press 




ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Magic say they haven’t committed to honoring Dwight Howard’s latest trade demand that he be dealt to the Brooklyn Nets.


New Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan said Monday that Howard told him in a meeting last week that he would like to be traded, but Hennigan said he has not committed to honoring that demand. He said will keep communication lines open between both the All-Star and his agent.


It’s exactly the scenario the Magic wanted to avoid — for a second time.


Howard listed several teams last season that he wanted to be traded to, but on the day of the trading deadline he committed to the Magic for the 2012-13 season. Magic CEO Alex Martins has said previously that the organization will not enter next season with Howard's situation unresolved.


Orlando was looking to sign Howard to a long-term deal, however, now that Howard has had his first, face-to-face sit down with the Magic’s new general manager, the All-Star center made it clear he still very much wants out of Orlando.


Hennigan said that having Howard single out one team as a desired destination does complicate any potential trade scenarios, but for now, there is no immediate move the Magic to make following the sit down.


“As I told Dwight, I said ‘I don’t know. I have to think about what you’re telling me.’ I want to take some time to process everything,” Hennigan said of the meeting. “And the answer is we want to map out what's in the best interest of our team. And any decision that at decide going forward with will be one that we feel puts our team in a position to be successful and move forward.”


Howard told Yahoo Sports Monday that he won’t sign long-term with another team if the Magic decide to trade him to somewhere other than Brooklyn.


“There’s only one team on my list and if I don’t get traded there, I’ll play the season out and explore my free agency after that,” Howard said.


Howard also vigorously denied an ESPN report that he was claiming that the Magic blackmailed him at the trade deadline to give up the opt-out provision in his contract that would have allowed him to become a free-agent this summer.


Howard asked to be traded last season, and then opted-in for 2012-2013 — forgoing becoming a free agent this summer.


“I never used the word blackmail in reference to any of my dealings with the Magic,” Howard said. “I never said that. It’s defamatory and it’s inaccurate. I know what blackmail means and any report that I used the term incorrectly is inaccurate.”


Hennigan also said the charge was never levied by Howard.


“In terms of his health, I think what I can tell you is that Dwight’s rehabilitation process is progressing in the right direction,” he said. “I do not believe his health will be an issue going forward.”


Hennigan reiterated that beyond sharing Dwight’s request, he wants the discussions beyond that to remain private at this time in order as a matter of trust between himself and Howard.


“That’s my plan with Dwight and with whoever we talk to on our roster...I would leave it to Dwight to share with Dwight any details he wants to share about the conversation,” Hennigan said. “But again, out of respect for the trust and privacy I'm trying to build I’m not really going to talk about what else we discussed.”


Aside from Howard, the Magic are facing other lingering free agency questions surrounding career-long Magic players Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick, and reigning league most improved player Ryan Anderson.


Nelson told the Magic last week that he would opt out of the final year and nearly $8 million of his contract and test free agency.


Redick is due $6.1 million next year in the final season of his deal, but the team can get out of that if they waive him by July 7.


Anderson is a restricted free agent, though the Magic extended a qualifying offer to the third-year forward last week. It allows the team to match any offer he receives on the open market this summer.


Hennigan said that they will take their time this week making a decision on Redick and still hope to keep Nelson next year.


“My hope is that he remains in Orlando and in a Magic uniform,” he said of Nelson. “But there needs to be a mutual desire for that to happen.”

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July 05, 2012


Associated Press


EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Jeneba Tarmoh conceded the final Olympic spot in the 100 meters rather than race against training partner Allyson Felix.

Tarmoh notified USA Track and Field on Monday of her intention to withdraw. Her agent, Kimberly Holland, already made it known that Tarmoh would not participate in a runoff Monday night to settle a third-place tie at the U.S. track trials.

In an email sent through her agent to USATF, Tarmoh said: “I understand that with this decision I am no longer running the 100m dash in the Olympic Games and will be an alternate for the event.”

Tarmoh, who felt all along she had won the race on June 23, did not specify in her statement why she was giving up a chance to possibly run the 100 in London. USATF President Stephanie Hightower said the organization was "disappointed" Tarmoh had a change of heart.

The runoff was scheduled to be shown in prime time on NBC in conjunction with the network’s coverage of the swimming trials. It would’ve been a boon for track. Now, it’s another blow for a sport that’s taken its fair share of late.

The controversy in the 100 overshadowed the entire trials because USATF had no protocol in place to deal with a dead heat. And while top officials scrambled to draft a tiebreaking procedure, the athletes didn’t want to talk about it until after the conclusion of the 200 — nearly a week later.

The tiebreak also didn’t exactly address this particular situation — an athlete commits to racing and decides not to at the last minute. The matter, however, was resolved once Tarmoh stepped aside.

Felix will now race in both the 100 and 200 in London. Tarmoh didn't qualify in the 200, but is eligible to run in the Olympic 400-meter relay.

“The situation has been difficult for everyone involved,” Felix said in a statement. “I had accepted the USATF decision and was prepared to run at 5 p.m. I wanted to earn my spot on this team and not have it conceded to me so I share in everyone’s disappointment that this runoff will not happen. All I can do now is turn my focus to London.”

Tarmoh only reluctantly agreed to the runoff. She believed she won on the track fair and square nine days ago.

“In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot,” she said Sunday. “I almost feel like I was kind of robbed.”

Tarmoh leaned across the finish line and looked up to see her name on the scoreboard in the third spot behind winner Carmelita Jeter and runner-up Tianna Madison. The 22-year-old Tarmoh even took a celebratory lap around the track, waving an American flag. She received a medal and held a news conference.

Then, she found out about the dead heat from reporters.

The situation has been a debacle since Felix and Tarmoh crossed the line in 11.068 seconds. The options USATF presented to settle the tie were a runoff, coin flip or one athlete conceding the spot to the other.

The athletes and their agents met with USATF representatives Sunday, and Felix and Tarmoh chose to settle matters on the track. Tarmoh, however, was clearly unhappy with the choice.

“This decision was really hard for me to make,” Tarmoh said. “I was pushed into a corner. They said if you don’t make a decision, you give your spot up. I work too hard to just give my spot up. I had to say it was a runoff.”

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July 05, 2012


Associated Press


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mo Williams will be reunited with the Utah Jazz as part of a four-team deal that will send Lamar Odom back to Los Angeles for a second chance with the Clippers.

William’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, initially told The Associated Press the deal was finalized about 3:45 p.m. MDT Friday, and the Jazz and Clippers officially announced it in releases three hours later.

The deal initially was believed to involve only three teams, but a fourth, the Houston Rockets, got involved after Thursday's draft. The Rockets received the rights to the Clippers' 53rd overall pick, Furkan Aldemir, and the Jazz sent the team’s trade exception to Dallas. The Mavs also received cash considerations from Houston.

Williams must pass a physical but is expected to hold a news conference in Salt Lake City on Monday or Tuesday.

The Jazz drafted Williams in 2003 but allowed him to leave after one season, a decision that general manager Kevin O’Connor said was the worst he ever made.

Dallas faced a Friday deadline on a $2.4 million buyout of Odom’s $8.2 million option for next season.

Williams’ decision to exercise his $8.5 million player option cleared the way for the deal.

“He’s really excited,” Bartelstein said. “This is where his career started. They’ve got a terrific young team. He thinks he can come in and bring real leadership. He’s excited about that. They made it clear how much they wanted him. They did a good job of recruiting him.”

Williams played in 57 games as a rookie before going to Milwaukee. He eventually became a starter and was an All-Star as recently as 2009.

Asked to recall the amount he let Williams leave Utah for, O’Connor on Thursday night shook his head and said, “It wasn’t that much.”

Bartelstein, who has several other players on the team, found it hard to fault the Jazz.

“Mo was a really young player at that time,” he said. “Kevin has wanted him back for a long time. Now, he’s got him back. I think it’s a great fit.”

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin has made no effort to hide how much he likes Williams, calling him a great player Thursday.

Bartelstein said reports that Williams was blocking the trade were untrue. He said they simply needed to do their “due diligence” and make sure it was the best decision.

Williams, 29, is in the final year of a contract that will pay him $8.5 million.

While Williams put up solid numbers in Los Angeles under difficult circumstances, Odom — drafted fourth overall by the Clippers in 1999 — is coming off an underwhelming 50-game stint with Dallas that didn’t even take him through the entire season. He was the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for the Lakers for the 2010-11 season.

The Mavericks on April 9 said Odom would be inactive for the rest of the season, when the then-defending NBA champions still had nine regular season games left and were making their push toward the playoffs. That move came two days after a heated halftime exchange between Odom and Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who questioned the player's commitment to the team.

Odom's averages of 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 20.5 minutes in Dallas were career lows. The 32-year-old Odom has averaged 14.2 points and 8.6 rebounds in 879 career games.

The four-team deal provides the Mavericks with an $8.2 million trade exception, similar to what they used to acquire Odom from the Los Angeles Lakers last December.

The Jazz, meanwhile, get another veteran guard.

Utah already has Devin Harris at point guard. But team officials have said they could make it work with both Harris and Williams.

Bartelstein confirmed Harris was not part of the trade.

Williams averaged 13.2 points and 3.1 assists in 52 games last season for the Clippers, who acquired him in a trade from Cleveland in February 2011. In 589 career games, he has averaged 13.8 points and 4.9 assists.

He played out of position much of last season after the blockbuster deal that brought Chris Paul to the Clippers and the team then acquired Chauncey Billups.

The Jazz took Williams 47th overall in 2003.

Also Friday, the Jazz exercised their option on guard Jamaal Tinsley for the 2012-13 season, and tendered a qualifying offer to forward Jeremy Evans.

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