Month: October 2018

Deontay Wilder apologises after “breaking mascot’s jaw” live on tv

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has apologised on Instagram after punching a mascot live on US television. There are reports that the American broke the jaw of the mascot as part of a segment on ESPN to promote his upcoming fight on December 1st against Tyson Fury.

The mascot, wearing a sombrero and moustache, received a full-strength blow to the head as the presenters looked on shocked.

Some media reports suggested that Wilder did not know there was someone inside the costume. This is something he denies saying on Instagram: “anything headlining I didn’t know a “Human Being” was in there is just straight “Click Baiting”. Like come on now, I guess the Mascot rolled out there. Show some respect!”

He added “I sincerely apologize to the brave man that was injured (if this is true). I have the utmost high respect for him, his participation, willingness and courage. If this is true ESPN I personally would like to invite him to my Dec.1 fight. Word Is Bond”

Wilder will fight Fury in Los Angeles to defend his WBC heavyweight belt.

Conor McGregor loses to Khabib Nurmagomedov in an event marred by post-fight violence

UFC 229 was the subject of a mass brawl after Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Conor McGregor in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. The Russian won in the fourth round through submission before jumping over the cage and diving towards McGregor’s team with his entourage soon following.

Dana White, UFC president, said: “Police officers were getting punched, security guys were getting punched. I actually think police and security did an incredible job. Khabib jumped over the cage like one of those parkour guys. What are you expected to do?”

While the brawl outside the cage took place two of Khabib’s team climbed in and started attacking McGregor. First one came from the front and shortly after another sucker punched him from behind. British boxer Tony Bellew said that there is “not a chance in the world he deserves to be attacked by two men! One in front and one from behind!”

“Both bare knuckle after he’s just been fighting for 20 minutes anyway. It’s a disgrace. The coward jumping the cage is a disgrace. UFC have to deal with this.” According to White, Nurmagomedov’s fight payment has been withheld until further notice while the Nevada State Commission, who originally sanctioned the fight, investigate the events.

Three members of Nurmagomedov’s team were arrested as a result of their post-match actions but were later released. White said that McGregor had refused to press any charges.

Once the brawls were broken up each fighter was individually escorted away surrounded by a mass of security guards and police officers. McGregor went first and looked amazed at what had happened, both during the fight and after. Nurmagomedov left second but not before demanding his belt from White.

“I know if we put the belt on him in the octagon there’ll be things thrown,” White said. “I just said let’s try and get him out of here.” It turned out that the Irish fans would throw things regardless of whether the belt was handed over or not and Nurmagomedov was bombarded with objects as he left the arena.

The victory for the Russian means he is now unbeaten in 27 MMA fights, the longest ongoing undefeated streak in UFC, however, if it not yet clear for how long he will be suspended. “He is going to get suspended so maybe you give him four to six months,” said White. “If Nevada puts a suspension on him everyone will put a suspension on him. We are not going to go around the athletic commission in this country to put on a fight.

When asked whether he will keep the belt White said “he absolutely keeps his title. They’re talking about keeping his purse. I do not think that should happen. You should not be able to keep his whole purse. I think they should take £250,000 from him.”

Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, announced that he will punish his son more severely than whatever the UFC gives out. “I warned him. For me, discipline comes first. You do whatever you want in the Octagon, (but) outside, this is the border of civilians, where there are children, women, strangers.”

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas’ trophy stolen in Birmingham

Geraint Thomas has issued a plea for the thieves who stole his Tour de France trophy to return it. The Coupe Omnisports, given to the winner of the most prestigious race in cycling, was taken from a display at The Cycle Show in Birmingham.

West Midlands Police are currently investigating the situation, with the trophy being taken after being “momentarily left unattended” whilst the clean operations were underway following the conclusion of the event. Thomas’ team, Team Sky, loaned the trophy to their sponsors Pinarello to take to the show at Birmingham’s NEC from September 28th-30th.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said that “police were contacted on 2nd October to report the theft of a trophy from the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, sometime between 6:30 and 7:30 on 29th September.”

Speaking about the issue Thomas said: “It is incredibly unfortunate that this has happened. It goes without saying that the trophy is of pretty limited value to whoever took it and hopefully (they) will have the good grace to return it. A trophy is important, but clearly what matters most are the amazing memories from this incredible summer, and no-one can ever take those away.”

Thomas won Team Sky’s sixth Tour de France in seven years earlier this year. Sky completed a clean sweep of the 2018 Grand Tours with Chris Froome winning the Giro d’Italia and Simon Yates winning the Vuelta de Espana.

The Coupe Omnisports was on display next to fellow teammate Chris Froome’s Giro d’Italia trophy from May and his 2017 Vuelta de Espana trophy.

The managing director of Pinarello, Richard Hemington, said “we are obviously devastated about this. We accept full responsibility and have personally apologised to Geraint. Obviously we all hope that the trophy can be recovered.”

He has since been told that he will be given a replica of the trophy next year if the original is not recovered.

England’s first One Day International against Sri Lanka abandoned after heavy rain

England’s first cricket match since their 4-1 Test series win against India was abandoned after 15 overs due to heavy rain. The one-day international, played in the town of Dambulla, was called off mid-afternoon due to a sodden outfield.

Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to field but the England team looked eager to get started. In the 15 overs that were played England managed to reach a score of 92-2. Johnny Bairstow and Jason Roy were the openers and managed to reach 25 and 24 respectively before getting caught out.

The first wicket came as a delivery from fast-medium bowler Nuwan Pradeep was edged by Bairstow and comfortably caught behind the stumps. Five balls later Roy completely misjudged a ball from Akila Dananjaya to get caught at mid-off.

Third and fourth at the crease were Joe Root and Eoin Morgan who picked up runs quickly, reaching 25 and 14 respectively before the game was called off.

Talking to BBC Sport about the match Morgan said “It has been a little bit frustrating but there is plenty of energy in the camp, we’re excited about being here and getting into the series. This has halted that energy a bit but we’re hoping to get a full game in for the second match, especially with the reserve day. Only time will tell if we’ve had enough preparation but we certainly will be fresh.”

The second ODI will also take place in Dambulla, in the centre of Sri Lanka, on Saturday, with a reserve day on Sunday in case rain becomes an issue again.

After the five-match series of ODI’s concludes on October 23rd there is a one-off T20 game on the 27th followed by a three-match Test series to finish the year. In January 2019 the English team will begin a 3-month tour of the West Indies with a similar format to this tour of Sri Lanka except featuring three T20 games instead of one.

Mo Farah wins his first marathon in Chicago setting a new European record

In only his third attempt Great Britain’s Mo Farah has won his first marathon in Chicago. The four-time Olympic gold medalist previously competed in London in 2014 finishing eighth, and again in London this April where he finished third and set a new British record of 2 hours, 6 minutes and 21 seconds.

This time Farah’s clock stopped at 2 hours, 5 minutes and 11 seconds shaving a massive 70 seconds on his previous attempt. He became the first British athlete to win the event since Paul Evans in 1996.

After retiring from the track in August 2017 to focus on road racing, Farah has won his record fifth successive Great North Run last month as well as proving himself as a force to be reckoned with over the full 26.2 mile distance.

Talking about the race Farah said: “The conditions weren’t great and everyone was thinking about conditions rather than time, but towards the end we picked it up. I felt good towards the end of the race. At the beginning I felt a bit sluggish but overall I’m very happy with it.”

In the wet conditions Farah looked strong for much of the race, however he wasn’t alone. It wasn’t until the final half-mile that he began distancing himself from Mosinet Geremew. A strong runner in his own right, Geremew became the first person to win twice at the Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon with back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016, setting the fastest ever half marathon time in a Chinese race.

The 26-year-old had to settle for second place in Illinois though as Farah crossed the line 13 seconds clear of the Ethiopian. Farah’s win means that he receives the mantle of victor from his former training partner Galen Rupp with whom he competed in three Olympics.

Elsewhere in the other Chicago races, Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei won the women’s race with a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds, and Manuela Schar won the women’s wheelchair race in 1 hour, 41 minutes and 38 seconds. Six-time Paralympic gold medalist David Weir had to settle for third in the men’s wheelchair races as American Daniel Romanchuk took home the victory with a time of 1 hour, 31 minutes and 34 seconds.

Kids See Ghostwriters: Kanye West and Violent Crimes

Political tirades, controversial tweets, and questionable interviews. Three things that are now synonymous with a Kanye West album release. The build up to Yahndi, Kanye’s sixth project of 2018, has featured all of these and more. From a pro-Trump speech on SNL that had to be cut from the air to deleting all of his social media accounts, again, he certainly is a master of drumming up a media circus to ensure the commercial success of his albums. One tweet however seems to have slipped by unnoticed that needs to be addressed.

On September 30th Kanye tweeted: “Pardison Fontaine wrote the Violent Crimes verses. I changed 2 lines. He wrote the entire song though. Cyhi Cons Pardi. The ghost in the industry”. What he’s saying here is that the song Violent Crimes on his solo album Ye was ghostwritten. Not just the hook, or the chorus, but the song in its entirety.

Ghostwriting is no longer as uncommon or as taboo as it once was with high profile rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Nas admitting to using them. What sets the common usage apart from what Kanye is saying though is the type of song.

Will Smith’s Grammy Award winning song ‘Gettin’ Jiggy wit It’ is a prime example of the commonly acceptable usage of a ghostwriter, in this case allegedly Nas. With lyrics about fast cars, pretty girls, and bottomless pockets, it’s a classic late 90’s rap song. One that could have been performed, although perhaps not as well, by any other rapper.

Violent Crimes is different. The lyrics are profoundly personal. A journey of self-exploration about being a father, and the world he sees his daughter growing up into. For example this line near the start of his verse, “’cause now I see women as somethin’ to nurture. Not somethin’ to conquer”, shows that Kanye is coming to terms with how he used to see women, how his mindset has changed since having a daughter.

The fact that this song wasn’t written by Kanye is shocking. It means that Fontaine not only wrote about Kanye’s inner feelings, but also from his perspective, as if he was Kanye. Several questions spring up from this. Does Kanye feel the things he rapped about? If this is where ghostwriting is now where could it go? A whole album? A whole discography?

Back on solid ground one of two situations most likely happened surrounding this song, with one being far more unsettling than the other. Either Kanye accepts that he, as primarily a producer, lacks the ability to weave a lyrical narrative as personal as he wanted and so brought in Fontaine. They explored the direction Kanye wanted to take the song, the things he wanted to say, and the overall message, then Fontaine went and wrote the verse to that specification.

In this situation the heart and soul of the song is Kanye’s, he just sought aid in making the song as emotionally charged as it was. Now the alternative is that Kanye didn’t have this long conversation with Fontaine, only giving the topics of fatherhood and women, that he doesn’t truly believes the lyrics, and that he betrayed the trust of fans who believed they were getting to hear the real Kanye.

The resulting question is which situation is the right one? Regardless this is a surprising revelation especially given the nature of the song and it will surely cause people to pay a bit more attention with his future projects. Without an answer though it seems that this will just have to be another test of faith for Kanye West fans. After the announced delay of Yandhi while West goes to Africa to finish the album, there won’t be a long wait for more controversy.

James Richardson: “As much as podcasts have grown I think we are still very much at the tip of the iceberg in terms of their potential”

James Richardson is a football broadcaster and journalist known for hosting the iconic Football Italia in the 90’s as well as the Champions League Goals Show more recently. To read an interview where he talks in length about these and football in general click here. When his face isn’t on your screen his voice is in your ears as the host of several podcasts, from The Totally Football Show to Truth and Movies.

Richardson began his journey into podcasting as the host of The Guardian’s The World Cup Show, covering all the highs and lows of the 2006 World Cup. Following its huge success the show evolved into The Guardian Football Weekly, a twice-weekly show featuring Richardson as host and a selection of journalists discussing the week’s football news.

It was during his 11 years there that he cemented his reputation as a broadcaster who can seamlessly integrate puns and humour into his work. This ability was a major factor in building the large following the show amassed, allowing the team to play several sellout venues across the UK. In 2017 he decided to call time on his time at The Guardian to start his own production company, Muddy Knees Media, with long time producer Ben Green and former guest Iain Macintosh. Their first podcast? Football, obviously, entitled The Totally Football Show.

“It was a little bit of a leap in the dark although we weren’t reinventing ourselves particularly. I guess we felt that people would still be listening but we have been really happy with the response and the number of listeners we get. The world cup made a big difference, we threw a lot at it and our listenership seems to have grown. I’m really happy with how things are going. Not just with listenership but also after a year of doing this we have met and been able to bring in lots of different kinds of people and some fresh ideas.”

There were few surprised when Richardson announced in December 2017 a Italian football podcast, Golazzo. “The thing about Golazzo is, because of Italian football in the 90’s on Channel 4, there is a sentiment for that period and Serie A in general. I’m aware of the wealth of stories there are to tell about Italian football.”

Would he expand his empire to cover the top 5 European leagues? Perhaps not. “I’m not sure you would have the same kind of built in audience for say a La Liga show or a Bundesliga show. We get about 60,000 an episode for Golazzo which is a very healthy listenership. As much as podcasts have grown I think we are still very much at the tip of the iceberg in terms of their potential and the way that people can use them as a forum and a way of covering different sports and leagues.”

“In the same way that we have shifted across from watching linear tv to basically sitting on things like Netflix, Apple tv, and streaming boxsets, I think increasingly people won’t be tied down to radio schedules but instead just pick up audio on demand. It is much easier if you are commuting or making a car journey rather than listening to whatever happens to be playing on the radio, so you can follow things that you are interested in. Or even things that you have no interest in at the start but in half an hour or an hour will give you an understanding of a subject you’ve never previously known about.”

“The potential of podcasts is huge. They’re so cheap to make and they tend to be free to download. The percentage of the population that is even aware of them or let alone used them is still relatively small. It isa huge area of growth that we are going to see.”

There is the crux of the problem. Podcasts have the potential to change the way people listen to audio shows, but how to advertise them in a way that would attract new listeners? “For our podcast we don’t particularly advertise it, it’s more of a word of mouth thing.”


“I think for podcasts in general it’s something that more and more people are becoming aware of like ‘what is that icon on my home screen saying podcasts?’. I guess it’s a generational thing as well as more young people are into them. Generally though people are becoming more and more aware of the potential that they have. The new ways of enjoying content.”

“In the same way that years ago nobody knew what an Apple tv was or downloadable tv content was and now it’s become completely normal. Even my mother will watch boxsets. It takes time. There was such a traditional way of consuming television and radio content that it takes time for people to switch across.”

“In terms of how we advertise that’s a tricky one. I don’t know how you do it. We don’t particularly have an advertising budget we rely as I say very much on word of mouth. At a guess I would think that you’ll start to see a lot more podcasts advertising on other podcasts. This happens already I know we have had adverts for another show on our podcast. I think there will be a lot more cross-pollination that way.”

“The thing about podcasts at the moment is that they are two different kinds: the ones attracted to the fact that podcasts are a very democratic kind of thing and they don’t need to be tied in with a production company or have a big budget, you can put something out with very little expense; then you do have increasingly companies such as Apple or Spotify who are getting involved and they will start, if they aren’t already, doing major pushes to get people aware of what they are doing.”

“Stuff like that, while advertising one podcast in particular, will be advertising the whole idea of podcasting in general. For example Serial’s huge success woke a huge section of the population up to what podcasts are, what their potential is, and the sort of stories you can tell. Maybe people thought it was just a sports thing or like a blog, but the fact that you can get drama which is almost unputdownable really pushed the whole field forward.”

“I think that people like Apple as they get involved in this will want to expand the market as fast as possible which will hopefully bring many people with them.”