Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals is tonight and Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals is tomorrow night and those two games serve as the highlights of the weekend. Play continues at the AT&T Byron Nelson and the boys and girl of NASCAR will be roaring around the track once again this weekend. The French Open of tennis is rolling along and UFC Fight Night 67 puts the mixed martial arts spotlight on Brazil and it’s impressive presence in the world of competitive fighting. Crack a Six Pack and celebrate the weekend with me.
Tom Thibodeau has been relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls. This is hardly a surprise. It was clear that the players resented Thibodeau most of the season, especially with the nagging injuries to Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and others that Thibodeau seemed unsympathetic towards. Exit interviews with the players did not paint a pretty picture for Thibodeau and the Bulls are going to go in a different direction.
Thibodeau publicly embarrassed the team for its defensive effort on more than one occasion and that clearly didn’t sit well with a veteran-laden team. In terms of the jobs that are currently available, the Bulls job has to be at the top of the list. New Orleans is exciting because of the chance to coach Anthony Davis, but the Eastern Conference is far less taxing.
Thibodeau had two years left on his deal and has been viewed as a candidate, if not the favorite, for the job in New Orleans. The Bulls were just 23-28 in the postseason during Thibodeau’s tenure after some successful regular seasons.
The Bulls seem to be interested in going with some new blood. They could be the next team to go the college coaching route. The Oklahoma City Thunder hired Billy Donovan away from the University of Florida and the Bulls are targeting Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg. The Minnesota Timberwolves have an opening and they are also interested in Hoiberg. Hoiberg would probably be a better fit in Minnesota with young players that are not that far out of college. It would be a lot tougher for him to get the respect of the veterans in Chicago.
Hoiberg would have the respect of the front office. He played for the Bulls for four seasons and knows the front office very well.
UFC Fight Night 67 Card
Brazil has a proud tradition of fighting and their influence on the mixed martial arts world is evident in almost every fighting circuit. That’s especially true of UFC and Dana White’s company will be in Brazil for this FOX Sports 1 event. Twelve fights are on the card, with six on the main card. Ten of the 12 fights can be seen on FOX Sports 1. The welterweight main event will feature Brazilian Thiago Alves against Carlos Condit. Condit has a big size advantage over Alves, but the crowd advantage will unquestionably go to the underdog. Another Brazilian, Charles Oliveira, will fight Nik Lentz in a featherweight contest leading into the main event.
Other Brazilians in action include Alex Oliveira, Francimar Barroso, Francisco Trinaldo, and Wendell Oliveira, who will have the opportunity to deal Darren Till his first loss. Till enters this welterweight contest with a perfect 12-0 record.
Condit has not fought in over a year. His last fight was a knockout loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 171 in March of 2014. That loss marked the first time in Condit’s career that he was knocked out. He had been 14-0 via knockout prior to that fight.
This is the second event in Goiania, Brazil. The last one was on November 9, 2013 with a main event of Vitor Belfort against Dan Henderson.
Fight fans are looking forward to UFC 188 on June 13 in Mexico City as the next big pay-per-view battle. In the meantime, this is an exciting card with a lot of local flavor that should make for a great atmosphere.
FIFA Suffering from Blatter Problems
Sepp Blatter is expected to win re-election in FIFA presidential voting, though the United States has already vowed its support to challenger Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein. Betting markets have been backing Blatter throughout the overnight and the morning. FIFA is embroiled in a major investigation into bribery, corruption, wire fraud, and other charges. Representatives for Blatter and FIFA have been adamant that Blatter had no idea about what was going on. The investigation’s chief focus seems to be the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
If Blatter is re-elected for a fifth term, it could very well be his last. He is 79 years old and one of the most powerful organizations in sport could use somebody younger and more adept at handling these major problems. This investigation is going to take a long time and will lead to a lot of reshuffling in key FIFA positions.
UEFA President Michel Platini implored Blatter to step down, but he has shown no desire to do that. Jack Warner, the former vice president of FIFA, has suffered exhaustion and other medical issues following his arrest. The 72-year-old Warner was forced to resign from FIFA after a 2011 bribery scandal came to light.
This is an extremely powerful body with a lot of people that got very comfortable in their positions. This investigation is going to force a major shake-up in international soccer and it could benefit the game in the long term as some of these older officials are forced out of the picture to be replaced by younger, more vibrant personalities.
MLB Infirmary Report
After giving some injury news and notes in yesterday’s Six Pack, today’s looks a lot worse. We’ll start in Washington D.C., where Jayson Werth could be out until August with two breaks in his left wrist. Werth was injured when he was hit by a pitch on May 15. It wasn’t healing right and now that Nationals know why.
Coco Crisp is showing major signs of age and the Oakland outfielder is expected to be out until at least the All-Star Break with persistent neck problems. Crisp has been out for the majority of the 2015 season. Surgery could be an option and that surgery would likely end Crisp’s career.
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar left Thursday’s game with a pulled hamstring. Mike Scioscia doesn’t believe that a disabled list stint will be necessary, but the 31-year-old may want to consider it since the AL West is wide open for the taking and hamstring injuries can linger.
After racing under the lights for the last few weeks, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will be back on the track in the afternoon on Sunday. The FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway begins at 1 p.m. ET.
Jimmie Johnson had one of the most dominating performances of the season last year at Dover. He led 272 of the 400 laps and cruised to victory. Brad Keselowski finished second and the top five was rounded out by Toyotas as Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer, and Denny Hamlin had strong showings.
Johnson is the favorite for Sunday’s race. At Bovada.lv, Johnson is lined at 13/4. Kevin Harvick is next at 10/3, with Brad Keselowski (13/2), Kurt Busch (8/1), and Joey Logano (10/1) rounding out the top five in odds.
The Blind Side
The Denver Broncos got some terrible news on Wednesday as left tackle Ryan Clady suffered a torn ACL and will probably miss the entire 2015 season. Clady was hurt during an 11-on-11 drill at OTAs and will now face his fourth major surgery in five years. This is the second time that Clady has done damage to his left knee. The first time came back in 2010 when he injured it playing a pickup basketball game.
Fortunately, the Broncos drafted Ty Sambrailo in the second round out of Colorado State and still have time to add some depth to the offensive line with a myriad of free agents still on the market. Protecting Manning is paramount to the success of the Broncos, so this is definitely a big blow.
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