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Jamie Spears on #FreeBritney Tesla on Track for Swift Berlin Plant Completion, Minister Says Derek Brunson after UFC on ESPN+ 31 win: Im not given enough respect, OK with earning it

LAS VEGAS – Derek Brunson felt counted out entering UFC on ESPN+ 31, but he wasn’t offended by it.

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Ahead of Saturday’s main event, Brunson’s opponent, Edmen Shahbazyan, had garnered a lot of attention from fans and media.

When it came time to fight, however, Brunson (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) proved the oddsmakers wrong and defeated Shahbazyan (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) by third-round TKO.

At a post-fight news conference, Brunson admitted he saw what many members of the general public were saying about him – despite his attempts to stay off social media.

“It definitely feels better,” Brunson said when asked if there was any added excitement in victory given the circumstances. “I had to get off social media all week. I’d kind of glance at it and turn away. I wasn’t reading no Facebook or Instagram. Everybody was, ‘You’re going to get dogged. You’re going to get beat up real bad.'”

Brunson added that he thinks he’s often overlooked – not just during the lead-up to the Shahbazyan fight. Brunson explained he’s overcome numerous levels of adversity in past camps, yet still competed even when it didn’t make sense. From now on, Brunson is operating strictly with his best interests in mind.

“I’m not given enough respect in this division,” Brunson said. “I’m OK with earning it. There have been fights where I’ve had the flu. I went to the doctor to nurse myself back to health – and five days later to fight. … We had a hurricane in North Carolina, and I was home with the family, making sure everything was OK. I had to fight 10 days after that when I wasn’t training for two weeks.

“Nobody cares about those excuses. But whenever I have a fight, yes, I want to prepare properly and get a full camp in with the guys down there with Henri Hooft and Sanford MMA to get me ready for these big fights.”

While Brunson was proud of his performance, he defended any potential criticism Shahbazyan may receive for the loss. In Brunson’s opinion, Shahbazyan wasn’t rushed or mismanaged but partook in an earned opportunity.

“I don’t think MMA should be building,” Brunson said. “You look at the NFL (or) NBA – if you’re good, you play. MMA needs to stop building fighters up. If you’re good enough, you’re good enough to fight. You fight whoever is close in the rankings. You go out there and earn it. There should be no favoritism or, ‘Oh, look at him. He’s young.’ If you’re earning your spot, yeah, fight somebody tough. Keep working your way up.

“He went out there and knocked Tavares out. Tavares is no joke. Yeah, he earned this fight. Everybody had me getting smoked until I go out there and get a victory. Man, everybody’s got to earn their stripes. He earned the fight, and I went out there and earned the victory.”

UFC on ESPN+ 31 took place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streamed on ESPN+.


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Raiders Derek Carr seeks to silence the doubters he claims not to hear

Derek Carr desperately wants to be more like Kobe Bryant, his childhood idol and a man so ultra-competitive he sneered in the face of criticism.

The Raiders quarterback will even wear a sleeve on his left arm all season to honor Bryant, who perished in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

As for having that Kobe edge and the Mamba mentality, Carr remains a work in progress at age 29.

Carr is a pleaser, a legitimately good guy who is friendly by nature and would like nothing better than for everyone to be as happy as he is on a daily basis. When we last saw Carr the day after the Raiders finished a 7-9 season, he was more terse than usual. He talked about how he was looking forward to a change of scenery, swapping a home stadium where he was fiercely booed in his last home game for a new life and a new facility in Las Vegas.

During a Zoom teleconference with reporters Tuesday, Carr was cheerful and expansive while delivering the seemingly incongruous messages of promising to disregard the critics while at the same time using those same slings and arrows for the oldest form of motivation in the sports media handbook.

“I have a lot to prove to myself,” Carr said. “I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’m tired of being disrespected. There was no question I was going to play this year.”

Derek Carr says on Zoom conference he’s tired of being disrespected. #Raiders

— Jerry McDonald (@Jerrymcd) August 4, 2020

All that chatter about how the Carr hasn’t been the same since 2016, when he was an MVP candidate and the Raiders were 12-4?

“I played better last year than I did in 2016,” Carr said.

Going into his seventh season, Carr said he has only one thing on his mind.

“I just don’t care any more,” Carr said. “You can say what you want. I’m trying to go to the Super Bowl so we can hang one of those banners in this beautiful indoor (facility) that we’ve got and then I want to try and do it again. Then do it again until I’m too old and they kick me out of this place.”

Then Carr proceeded to demonstrate how closely he’s paying attention to the media while defending tight end Darren Waller, center Rodney Hudson and tackle Trent Brown for their lack of recognition on NFL Media’s Top 100 list. Only Waller made it, and he was ranked No. 99.

“I’m tired of all that stuff and I’m not playing those games anymore,” Carr said.

So there you have it, a quarterback who promises not to care while at the same time displaying a knack for knowing every negative perception.

All of which is preseason window dressing which won’t have a lot to do with how the most polarizing Raider performs in 2020. Depending on who you believe, Carr is a cool, methodical leader who can move the chains with an efficiency approaching Drew Brees, or a short-of-the-stake thrower who makes errors at the worst possible times and won’t be able to hold off new backup Marcus Mariota.

Carr says he and Mariota are close and he’s fine with competition and always has been, adding, “when you go 7-9, people like to make stuff up.”

Derek Carr greets Marcus Mariota after a 2016 game in Nashville. AP Photo

What it really comes down to is this — if Carr can guide the Raiders to another touchdown per game, the criticism he claims not to care about will turn to platitudes and testimonials.

The Raiders committed to Carr and built a more talented team around him, and he wasn’t shy about assessing the possibilities with solid offensive line, Waller, second-year back Josh Jacobs and first-round draft pick Henry Ruggs III joining the receiving corps.

“When we break the huddle, it feels different,” Carr said. “It’s like . . . what do you want to stop? If you play this, we’ll play that. If you want to do this, we’ll do that. And at the same time, we’re just going to take this from you. We have some firepower.”

Carr has a lot of work to do, which suits him fine. He’s never been reluctant to put in the time. The time must be matched with points.

Among the myriad stats concerning Carr which come from Josh Dubow of the Associated Press is this one — in the last 20 seasons, 36 quarterbacks have started 90 or more games. The only one averaging fewer than Carr’s 20.3 points per game is Kerry Collins at 19.6.

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“I think we did a great job of moving the ball,” Carr said of 2019. “I don’t think anyone can deny that. But all that means nothing if we can’t finish the deal.”

With the Raiders unbeaten at 0-0, Carr is enjoying his new surroundings, comparing the feel of Las Vegas with the college atmosphere at Fresno State.

“It’s a small town kind of feel where everybody knows everybody,” Carr said. “They’re just excited about having a team. We’re not sharing a city with three or four different professional sports here. We’re here, the Golden Knights are here, and we’re just rolling.”

The Bay Area is in Carr’s rear-view mirror, with only the end zone in front of him. And whether Carr cares about the critics or not, the frequency with which he gets there will determine whether he’s celebrated in Las Vegas in a way he wasn’t in Oakland.




























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