Otto Addo claims his Ghana side were hard done by after Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded a penalty

Ghana head coach Otto Addo lamented the penalty that cost his side dearly and claimed Cristiano Ronaldo had been given a gift.

Addo was furious that referee Ismail Elfath pointed to the spot in the 63rd minute and argued that Ronaldo – who had been harshly denied a first half goal by the American official – had actually fouled Mohammed Salisu, rather than the other way around.

He said: ‘When they score the goal, the game changed. I think it was a really wrong decision. We play the ball and sure there was contact afterwards.’

Asked if Ronaldo had been given the penalty due to his status, Addo replied: ‘You have to ask the referee, I have no proof of that but we were playing the ball and then there was a contact.

‘I don’t know whether they weren’t paying attention, whether the VAR wasn’t paying attention. If you look back at the scene, it is unbelievable. We were playing the ball, it was a foul against us!’

It was then put to Addo whether he had any words about Ronaldo becoming the first man to score at five World Cups. He said: ‘If somebody scores a goal congratulations but it was really a goal. A special gift from the referee.’

Addo finished by commenting that his side had been unfortunate, saying: ‘With a little bit of luck we could have reached one point.’

On his side’s prospects for the rest of the group stage, he added: ‘We have to win now and we are under pressure but then so are [our opponents].’

Ghana will next be in action against South Korea on Monday.

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  • 1 час, 44 минуты назад 01.12.2022Sport
    Yasiel Puig changes plea to NOT guilty of lying to federal investigators

    Yasiel Puig has changed his plea to not guilty in a federal investigation tied to his illegal gambling practice, after the ex-MLB star had initially agreed to plead guilty to a singular count of providing false statements when prosecutors interviewed him in January.

    ‘I want to clear my name. I never should have agreed to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit,’ the 31-year-old Cuban-born American right fielder said in a statement released on Wednesday.

    The former All-Star, who is currently playing in South Korea, could face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for lying to government officials. In August, he filed a plea agreement stating that he began betting on sporting events in 2019 through a third party – identified in court documents as ‘Agent 1’ – who was involved in an illegal gambling operation run by 46-year-old Wayne Joseph Nix.

    Puig ultimately owed Nix $282,900 in gambling losses by June of 2019.

    ‘I don’t know why people like to say bad things about me and believe,’ the former MLB player tweeted on Wednesday.

    ‘They like making me look like a monster because of way I look maybe. All my life I’ve been told to be quiet and do what I was told. No more.’

    Puig’s lawyer, Keri Axel, said that ‘significant’ new evidence has emerged within the last three months, initiating her client to change plea.

    ‘At the time of his January 2022 interview, Mr. Puig, who has a third-grade education, had untreated mental-health issues, and did not have his own interpreter or criminal legal counsel with him,’ she said.

    ‘We have reviewed the evidence, including significant new information, and have serious concerns about the allegations made against Yasiel.’

    Leona Sports Agency employee and Puig’s agent, Lisette Carnet, said earlier this week that the former Dodgers, Reds and Guardians player logged into his interview with federal investigators on Zoom ‘feeling rushed, unprepared, without criminal counsel with him, and also lacked his own interpreter,’ The New York Post reported.

    Nearly three years ago, Agent 1 and another person, identified as ‘Individual B,’ told Puig to write them a check or to wire transfer payable to Nix or his gambling client, ‘Individual A.’

    Then, on June 25, 2019, Puig withdrew $200,000 from Bank of America and bought two cashiers’ checks for $100,000 apiece, made payable to Individual A.

    After the two sides resolved a dispute over the balance, Individual A gave Puig full access to his betting websites. Between July 4, 2019, and September 29, 2019, Puig placed 899 additional bets on football, basketball and tennis.

    The scheme then caught up with the former MLB player in January, when he was interviewed by federal investigators. Despite being warned about the dangers of lying, Puig did so several times, according to the DOJ. Specifically, Puig falsely stated that he only knew Agent 1 from his career as a MLB star and denied having discussed gambling with the individual.

    In reality, the two had discussed gambling hundreds of times.

    Puig also sent Individual B an audio message on WhatsApp in which he admitted to lying to authorities.

    Nix has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to operate an illegal sports gambling business and one count of filing a false tax return. He will be sentenced in March of 2023.

    A native of Cienfuegos, Cuba, who famously tried and failed to defect to the US a dozen times, Puig became a sensation for the Los Angeles Dodgers soon after arriving in the country and signing a seven-year, $42m contract in 2012. He would finish second in the Rookie of the Year voting that season and posted a remarkable OPS+ of 159 (59 percent better than an average hitter in 2012).

    However, the right fielder’s production slipped each of the next four seasons, and by 2018, the team traded him to the Cincinnati Reds.

    A year later, he would be dealt to the Cleveland Guardians, and was playing in Mexico by 2021. He signed a one-year, $1m with South Koreas Kiwoom Heroes in December of 2021.

    Puig has also been in and out of trouble since arriving in the US. Charges have included several allegations of reckless driving, and in 2021, ESPN reported that MLB investigators interviewed a woman who claimed he sexually assaulted her in a Staples Center bathroom. He denied the charges, but ultimately settled with her out of court.

    In December of 2021, the Washington Post reported that Puig also settled a lawsuit from two women who claimed he sexually assaulted them in 2017.

    He earned $51m in salary over eight MLB seasons.

  • 1 час, 44 минуты назад 01.12.2022Sport
    Gareth Bale ‘has a break in his contract that could see him leave LAFC’

    Gareth Bale reportedly has a break in his contract that will allow him to leave LAFC ahead of the new MLS season, with the winger expected to make a big decision on his future in the new year.

    After leaving Real Madrid in the summer, Bale signed an 18-month deal with LAFC, but made just two league starts in his opening months at the club as he tried to stay fit leading into the World Cup.

    Wales’ time in Qatar did not go to plan, with the side picking up just a single point and scoring only one goal – a Bale penalty. The 33-year-old was forced off at half time in their final group match against England with a hamstring problem.

    After that bitter disappointment, Bale now has some time off and is due to return to LAFC at the start of 2023 ahead of next season in the US. However, according to The Sun, he has a clause in his contract that would allow him to move on from the club just six months after joining them if an agreement can be reached between all parties.

    It is understood that senior figures at LAFC expect Bale to honour his contract and return to the team next year, but there has been speculation that he could walk away from the sport for good after the World Cup.

    Bale looked to play down these rumours after Wales’ World Cup was brought to an end, indicating that he had no intention of hanging up his boots just yet.

    ‘I’ll keep going as long as I can and as long as I’m wanted,’ he told the BBC.

    ‘We have a qualifying game starting in March and now a few months away from international football.

    ‘Everyone is disappointed but all proud of getting here and doing something no other Wales team has done and how far we have come.

    ‘Football is difficult, teams go through good and bad runs and we didn’t live up to our expectations. Going forward we have to look how far we have come.

    ‘Two years ago we would have pinched ourselves. We all worked really hard to get here but walk out with our heads held high.’

    Bale’s opening months at LAFC have hardly been plain sailing, with injuries limiting his game time, but he did score a crucial goal as the club won the MLS Cup at the start of last month.

    Scoring his team’s only World Cup goal in Qatar also suggested that he still has moments of magic in him, and he could still decide to see out the remainder of his contract while also trying to help Wales qualify for Euro 2024.

  • 1 час, 44 минуты назад 01.12.2022Sport
    NBA: Devin Booker is the fourth player this month to have a 50-point game

    Devin Booker scored a season-high 51 points in just three quarters, Deandre Ayton had 30 points and 16 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns stretched their winning streak to six games with a 132-113 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

    Booker scored 25 points in the first half and had 26 more in a sublime third quarter. After a contested 3-pointer splashed through the net, ‘MVP! MVP!’ chants broke out across Footprint Arena, and the 26-year-old is certainly making an early season case.

    The two-time All-Star had a steal late in the third before sprinting downcourt and flushing home a dunk for his 50th and 51st points. He added six assists and four rebounds.

    He didn’t play in the fourth quarter with the Suns holding a healthy lead.

    Even more remarkable than Booker’s point total was his efficiency. He shot 20 of 25 from the field, going 6 of 7 from 3-point range. He is the second player over the last 25 years with 50 points and 80 percent shooting through the first three quarters of a game, joining James Harden in 2017, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

    It was Booker’s second straight 40-point game. He had 44 in a victory at Sacramento on Monday night. The Suns have the best record in the Western Conference at 15-6 and have won 12 out of 13 home games.

    The Bulls struggled on defense the entire night, particularly against Booker and Ayton. Chicago coach Billy Donovan was particularly irritated in the third quarter, angrily calling a time out after Phoenix scored a couple easy buckets.

    DeMar DeRozan led Chicaho with 29 points. Zach LaVine added 21.

    The Suns took a 64-43 lead at halftime. Booker roasted the Bulls with 25 points before the break, repeatedly finding open mid-range jump shots. He made 10 of his 14 shots.

    Phoenix shot 58 percent in the first half. Chicago made just 1 of 14 (7.1 percent) of its 3-point attempts.

    CELTICS 134, HEAT 121

    Camera phones throughout Boston’s TD Garden were fixed on the seats adjacent the Celtics’ bench as the Prince and Princess of Wales sat courtside in the city’s hallowed arena on Wednesday.

    Yet it was the Celtics’ reigning basketball prince who ultimately owned the night.

    Jayson Tatum had eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 49 points, and the Celtics held off the hot-shooting Miami Heat for a 134-121 victory.

    It was the All-Star’s third 40-point game this season as he continues to pace the league’s top-rated offense and make an early case for MVP consideration in his sixth NBA season.

    ‘Just kind of being in the right spot,’ Tatum said. ‘I seen a couple go down early. Just kind of shooting in rhythm.’

    Boston, which shot 55 percent (46 for 83) has won five straight and 14 of its last 15.

    BUCKS 109, KNICKS 103

    Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists, and Grayson Allen made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 30 seconds left after his superstar teammate fouled out, leading Milwaukee past New York.

    Allen made only one 3-pointer, but it was the only one the Bucks needed after Antetokounmpo had carried them for so long.

    He fouled out with a minute left and the Bucks leading by two. Mitchell Robinson made one free throw and the Knicks got the rebound when he missed the second, leading to a free throw by Jalen Brunson that tied it with 47 seconds remaining. After Allen´s 3-pointer, RJ Barrett missed a 3 for the Knicks and the Bucks closed it out from the free throw line.

    Jrue Holiday had 22 points, six rebounds and five assists for the Bucks.

    Barrett scored 26 points, Julius Randle added 18 and Brunson had 17 for the Knicks.

    NETS 113, WIZARDS 107

    Kevin Durant scored 39 points as Brooklyn extended its winning streak to three games by beating Washington.

    Durant was 13 for 20 from the field and hit all 11 of his free throws in 37 minutes after scoring a season-high 45 points Monday night in a victory over Orlando.

    Kyrie Irving added 27 points and Joe Harris had 14. Brooklyn has won five in a row at home.

    Kristaps Porzingis had 27 points and 19 rebounds for Washingon. Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma each had 25 points for the Wizards, who have lost four of their last five games.


    Zion Williamson had 33 points, four steals and two blocks, and Trey Murphy added six 3-pointers and 26 points as New Orleans beat Toronto.

    The Pelicans shot 52.3 percent from the floor on 45-of-86 shooting, had 28 assists and led by as many as 31 points midway through the third quarter.

    Four other Pelicans scored in double figures: Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 13 rebounds, rookie Dyson Daniels added 14 points and nine assists, Herb Jones had 12 points and Larry Nance Jr. 10.

    Toronto was led by Gary Trent Jr., who scored 35 points, and Pascal Siakam with 23.

    CAVALIERS 113, 76ERS 85

    Caris LeVert scored 22 points off the bench, Darius Garland had 21 points and nine assists as Cleveland routed Philadelphia.

    Donovan Mitchell added 18 points and six assists for Cleveland, which led by a season-high 33 points in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers are 9-1 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, the third-best home mark in the NBA.

    All-Star center Joel Embiid led Philadelphia across the board with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists, and Shake Milton scored 14 points. The 76ers had their three-game win streak snapped in the opener of a three-game trip.

    Philadelphia’s starting backcourt of All-Star James Harden and Tyrese Maxey remains out with injuries. The Cavaliers played without All-Star center Jarrett Allen, who missed his third consecutive game with a low back bruise.


    Anthony Edwards had 29 points, five steals and three blocks to lead Minnesota over Memphis in the first game of an extended absence for injured Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns.

    Jaylen Nowell added 24 points off the bench and D’Angelo Russell had 15 points and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, who forced a season-high 27 turnovers by the Grizzlies and snapped a three-game losing streak despite being outrebounded 59-29 in a sloppy but spirited matchup.

    Ja Morant scored 24 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who lost their cool down the stretch with successive ejections for Dillon Brooks and Morant. Grizzlies rookie David Roddy finished 13 points and five rebounds in his native city.

    HAWKS 125, MAGIC 108

    Trae Young had 30 points and 14 assists and Atlanta snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Orlando.

    Dejounte Murray added 27 points and Clint Capela finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds after a dominating first quarter in which Atlanta built an 11-point lead.

    Franz Wagner had 22 points and six rebounds for Orlando, which lost its sixth straight. Paolo Banchero added 20 points and five assists.

    Led by Capel and Jarrett Culver (12 rebounds), Atlanta had a 49-33 rebound advantage.

    THUNDER 119, SPURS 111

    Rookie Jalen Williams scored a season-high 27 points as Oklahoma City overcame a 20-point second-half deficit to hand San Antonio its ninth straight loss.

    Lu Dort scored 23 points and Josh Giddey added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder. Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the league´s No. 3 scorer with 31.1 points per game, sat out with a bruised hip.

    Devin Vassell scored 25 points and Keldon Johnson added 19 for the Spurs.

    NUGGETS 120, ROCKETS 100

    Jamal Murray scored 26 points, Nikola Jokic had 10 of his 12 assists in the first half and the Denver Nuggets cruised past the Houston Rockets 120-100 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win.

    Jokic added 17 points and nine rebounds in just 27 minutes. Aaron Gordon scored 20 points and Bruce Brown had 18 for Denver, which never trailed in beating Houston for the second time in three days.

    Kevin Porter Jr. scored 23 points and Alperen Sengun had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who fell behind 6-0 and 13-2 and trailed by as many as 33 points.

    JAZZ 125, CLIPPERS 112

    Jordan Clarkson had a season-high 33 points and five assists, as the Utah Jazz snapped a five-game losing streak with a 125-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

    Collin Sexton added 21 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Jazz. Lauri Markkanen chipped in 23 points and nine rebounds. Jarred Vanderbilt added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

    John Wall finished with a season-high 26 points off the bench to lead Los Angeles. Reggie Jackson added 15 points for the Clippers, who lost despite outscoring Utah 65-22 in bench points.

    KINGS 137, PACERS 114

    Harrison Barnes and Malik Monk each scored 22 points and the Sacramento Kings beat the Indiana Pacers 137-114 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

    Monk has scored 20 points or more in five games this season for Sacramento (11-9).

    Prior to the three-game skid, the Kings had won seven straight games and are off to their best 20-game start since the 2004-05 season. The Kings were 14-6 that year. Domantas Sabonis had 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. De’Aaron Fox added 19 points.


    LeBron James had 31 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Austin Reaves added a season-high 22 points as the Los Angeles Lakers rebounded from a heartbreaking loss with a 128-109 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

    Anthony Davis had 27 points and 12 rebounds in the Lakers’ sixth victory in eight games. Los Angeles shook off a gut-wrenching loss to Indiana in which it blew a late 17-point lead by taking an 18-point lead early in the fourth against Portland and holding on comfortably to beat a team with a winning record for the first time since Nov. 2.

    James hit six 3-pointers while going 12 for 18 from the field in an outstanding performance by the second-leading scorer in NBA history, while Russell Westbrook hit buzzer-beating 3-pointers to end the second and third quarters on the way to 10 points.

  • 1 час, 44 минуты назад 01.12.2022Sport
    Tunisia 1-0 France – Player Ratings: Wahbi Khazri the hero for underdogs in consolation win

    Tunisia crashed out of the World Cup on Wednesday despite pulling off a huge upset by edging a 1-0 win over France.

    The odds were stacked against Jalel Kadri’s side as they looked to reach the knockout stages, with a shock victory over Les Bleus required to simply give themselves a fighting chance.

    In the end they got the three points thanks to their captain Wahbi Khazri, who capped a terrific display when he netted what proved the winner after 58 minutes.

    Just moments later, though, Australia struck their own winner against Denmark to ensure Khazri’s strike meant little, with the Socceroos heading into the last-16.

    There was a late consolation for Tunisia when Antoine Griezmann’s last-gasp equaliser was disallowed by VAR, and on the whole they can leave Qatar with their heads held high after bowing out with a historic win. Sportsmail are on hand with player ratings from Wednesday’s Group D finale below.

    Tunisia (3-4-3)

    Aymen Dahmen – France failed to test the Tunisia goalkeeper until late in the second half, but was on hand with a few important saves when called upon. 6

    Yassine Meriah – Key part of a solid defensive display which restricted the world champions to very little up until Khazri struck. 7

    Nader Ghandri – Thought he had made the early breakthrough before producing an assured showing to keep France at bay for the most part. 7

    Montassar Talbi – Left for dead by Kingsley Coman at one stage of the second half and let off the hook when his failed clearance straight to Griezmann didn’t cost Tunisia. 6

    Wajdi Kechrida – Enjoyed a number of swashbuckling runs down the right flank, but sometimes came off second best in his individual battle with Eduardo Camavinga. Booked. 7

    Ellyes Skhiri – Played a vital role in Khazri’s winner after dispossessing Youssouf Fofana and releasing his team-mate to race through and score. 8

    Aissa Laidouni – The classy midfielder was the driving force of an inspired Tunisia display up against one of the best young talents on the planet in Aurelien Tchouameni. 8

    Ali Maaloul – Whipped in some dangerous crosses in a lively first half for Tunisia and largely kept Coman at bay. 7

    Anis Ben Slimane – Never stopped running and causing France’s backline problems before being replaced late on. 7

    Wahbi Khazri – A constant threat in the final third before getting the goal his superb display warranted when he glided past Raphael Varane and poked home. 9

    Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane – The 23-year-old was involved in a lot of Tunisia’s best work on the day and combined brilliantly with Khazri. 7


    Issam Jebali – 6

    Ghaylene Chaalali – 5

    Ali Al-Abdi – 5

    France (4-3-3)

    Steve Mandanda – Will be disappointed not to have kept out Khazri’s winner, which hardly flew into the back of the net with pace. 6

    Axel Disasi – Not a debut to remember for the 24-year-old. Run ragged by the brilliant Maaloul and Romdhane in the first half. 5

    Raphael Varane – Largely let down by a lack of protection from midfield, but was far too passive when Khazri breezed past him to net the winner. 5

    Ibrahima Konate – Won most of his individual battles and didn’t put much of a foot wrong himself despite a sluggish France showing. 6

    Eduardo Camavinga – Overcame a torrid opening 10 minutes after being deployed as a makeshift left-back and slowly grew into the game. 6

    Youssouf Fofana – Cost France dearly when he was dispossessed by Skhiri far too easily on the halfway line. Also fortunate that Laidouni didn’t punish him for a failed attempt to shield the ball out of play earlier in the game. 4

    Aurelien Tchouameni – The Real Madrid midfielder was a calming presence on the ball at times and can hardly be blamed for this defeat. 6

    Jordan Veretout – Another Les Bleus star who won’t want to remember this game in a hurry. Looked well out of sorts before being hooked off after 63 minutes. 5

    Matteo Guendouzi – Pretty ineffective throughout and wasteful with the ball on the few occasions he found it. 5

    Randal Kolo Muani – Enjoyed a few bright spells in the first half but, on the whole, had little to no service in attack. 6

    Kingsley Coman – Wasted France’s biggest opportunity in the first half, but did appear their most dangerous attacking threat at times. 6


    Kylian Mbappe – 6

    Adrien Rabiot – 6

    William Saliba – 5

    Ousmane Dembele – 6

    Antoine Griezmann – 7

  • 1 час, 44 минуты назад 01.12.2022Sport
    Phil Mickelson hits back at Tiger Woods for his comments on not being owed apology

    Phil Mickelson’s wasted no time in responding to Tiger Woods’ comments on the ‘enormous loan’ the PGA Tour took out in 2020, citing the Tour’s failure to disclose its yearly tax returns on previous years.

    On Monday, Woods, who pulled out of the Hero World Challenge, was asked if Mickelson was owed an apology for joining the controversial LIV Golf series with players on the traditional tour now able to earn more amid the threat of the Saudi-backed event. The PGA Tour has elevated purses for 13 events for the 2022-23 season.

    ‘No, absolutely not, no,’ Woods said.

    ‘We took out an enormous loan during the pandemic in which that, if we had another year of the pandemic, our Tour would only be sustained for another year.

    ‘So we took out an enormous loan. It worked, it paid off in our benefit, hence we were able to use that money to make the increases that we’ve made.’

    LIV Golf swooped in to snatch a prized asset in the Mayakoba Resort from the PGA Tour on Wednesday as golf’s civil war continues.

    On Wednesday, Mickelson took to Twitter to respond to the 46-year-old Woods, disclosing certain components from the Tour’s 2018 tax return filing.

    ‘1.6 billion in stocks 700 million in cash 1.15 billion in non-liquid assets,’ the six-time Major champion shared. ‘This is from the non-profit section. The for-profit section hasn’t been stated since 2012 but was more than the non-profit part at that time. This can all be googled.’

    Bob Harig, of Sports Illustrated, then revealed that the Tour had to rectify Woods’ remarks.

    ‘The PGA Tour clarified today that it did not take out a loan to deal with the pandemic in 2020 as Tiger said during his news conference…,’ he said. ‘The Tour used reserves and ‘mitigating actions’ and would have seen a significant reduction in reserves w/o a return to golf in June 2020.’

    The Tour further clarified that Woods might have been referring to reserves dropping below $100 million if golf had not restarted by the end of 2020, according to Sports Illustrated.

    Mickelson has previously criticized the PGA Tour’s financial affairs, claiming the golf association was ‘already sitting on an $800million cash stockpile’ in an interview with sportswriter Alan Shipnuck.

    ‘How do you think they’re funding the [Player Impact Program]?’ the golfer famously nicknamed ‘Lefty’ said at the time. ‘Or investing $200 million in the European Tour? The Tour is supposed to be a nonprofit that distributes money to charity. How the [hell] is it legal for them to have that much cash on hand? The answer is, it’s not.’

    Meanwhile, Woods revealed that a plantar fasciitis in his right foot has ruled him out from making a long-awaited return to golf at the start of December.

    The five-time Masters winner hasn’t played competitive golf since July at The Open in St. Andrews. However, he still plans in competing in The Match this weekend and the PNC Championship with his 13-year-old son on December 17-18.

    Woods has played only three tournaments this year because of a right leg weakened by a February 2021 car crash outside Los Angeles that shattered so many bones that Woods said doctors contemplated amputation.

    The six-foot-one golfer has said he would have a limited schedule going forward, and this year was an example of what to expect. He has also hinted at potentially retiring as he is unsure of whether he could still physically complete another Open.

    Woods is No. 1,277 in the world’s current rankings but is widely regarded as one of the best golfers of all time, having won five Masters, four PGA championships, three US Open and a further three Open titles.

    He is also tied joint-first in PGA Tour wins (81) and is currently an inductee of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

  • 1 час, 44 минуты назад 01.12.2022Sport
    UFC icon Chael Sonnen insists Conor McGregor is ‘CLEAN’ after testing controversy

    UFC legend Chael Sonnen has no doubts that Conor McGregor is a clean athlete, and has suggested the Irishman knew exactly what he was doing when he left USADA’s testing pool.

    After suffering a fractured leg in his loss to Dustin Poirier in July 2021, McGregor removed himself from being tested, and fellow UFC star Anthony Smith stated in a recent podcast that there was ‘only one reason’ for him to do this.

    ‘There’s only one reason you would do that. He’s looking jacked as s***. You keep seeing videos of him flexing in front of mirrors and screaming and he’s huge. He healed really fast. Like, really fast,’ Smith said on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast.

    Sonnen sees things differently, though. He believes McGregor was perfectly happy to let people know that he had opted out of testing, and explained that he may have made his decision to avoid a suspension while he takes care of other commitments away from the Octagon.

    ‘Conor’s clean. He’s been trolling, he’s been having fun with people. Come on. A guy doesn’t go out and do a crime and then document the crime. Conor put the pictures out. He’s having fun with people. He’s clean,’ Sonne told The MMA Hour.

    ‘I believe that Conor has chosen his words very carefully. I believe that he’s creating conversation. I know that every word that he said is to insinuate that he’s avoiding the pool for scandalous reasons.

    ‘Just to give you an example, Conor spoke five days ago and said, “I’ll be ready to enter the pool in February”. What do you mean you’ll be ready? He knew what he was doing. He wanted that put out there.

    ‘I will tell you, I believe that Conor left the pool. He’s never been clear on this. I believe he left because of logistical reasons. The whereabouts clause in violation of having to let someone know where you are 24/7/365, right, if you’re not where you said you’re going to be, it’s a mark and if you get three marks in a calendar year it’s an instant fail and that fail comes with a minimum punishment of two years.

    ‘I just bring for you that if he was off doing Road House (his new movie) and medication and he knew he wasn’t going to fight anyway and he just didn’t want to keep up on the organisational side of it, I think that he made the right decision. I think Conor is having fun with people, making them think that he’s on some form of anabolics.’

    McGregor’s injury was a significant one that has kept him out of action for well over a year.

    It has been suggested that McGregor may have needed to take some medication that could result in a positive test to help his recovery.

    Sonnen has no issues if that is the case, and feels McGregor was well within his rights to remove himself from testing in those circumstances.

    ‘There are things that are against the rules that would flag you for USADA that are 100 percent medically appropriate and sometimes even urgent and I don’t think any athlete, including Conor McGregor, should have to balance advice of a doctor about his health against a sports agency and they don’t really have room for that,’ Sonnen added.

    ‘I don’t think USADA has a lot of flaws, in fact I put them in the category of very reasonable people, but they don’t have anything for that. So if Conor wanted to remove himself to remove subjectivity… he did the right thing.’

    McGregor has vowed to return to the UFC in 2023, but he would need to test clean with USADA for six months prior to making his comeback.

    If he did go back into the testing pool in February, as he has promised, this would mean he would be unable to fight again until next summer.

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Sport Otto Addo claims his Ghana side were hard done by after Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded a penalty