UFC star posts impressive victory ... then retires

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UFC star posts impressive victory ... then retires

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 15, 2011
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Chris Lytle got the best of Dan Hardy, putting him in a choke hold and forcing him to tap out with the seconds ticking down in the final round of the fight. Then "Lights Out" flipped the off switch on his UFC career. The Indianapolis firefighter announced his retirement immediately after beating Hardy on Sunday night in the main event, adding a show-stopping twist to the UFC's rousing debut in Milwaukee. From now on, Lytle said he'll put his family ahead of the octagon. "I realized I'm not being as good of a father as I should," Lytle said. "They need certain things, and maybe I wasn't giving it to them. I was a little too worried about pride, myself and my glory. It puts it in perspective. They need their dad." The Wisconsin card was made possible when the state government decided last year to formally sanction mixed martial arts events. A fired-up crowd of 6,751 filled most of the lower bowl at the Bradley Center, home of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. The upper deck was closed off, with giant video screens showing every punch, kick and submission hold while the arena's sound system pumped out a steady stream of eardrum-shattering anthems. Addressing the crowd via the arena's public address system after the main event, Lytle said being a part of the UFC meant more than anything to him. "Except for one thing," he said. "That's my family." In other action on the main card, lightweight Ben Henderson beat Jim Miller by a unanimous decision of the judges -- and might have earned some new fans with his enthusiastic displays of emotion both during and after the bout. "I beat people up," Henderson said to the crowd. "That's my job. That's what I do." One of the biggest cheers of the night game when the video board showed UFC fighter Anthony Pettis, a Milwaukee native, sitting ringside. The crowd also got behind Lytle early, chanting "USA! USA! USA!" Hardy, a native of England sporting a brash red mohawk, walked out to a throbbing punk-rock song with the chorus, "England belongs to me!" Maybe, but the bout belonged to Lytle. The fight seemed fairly even through the first two rounds, with both fighters swinging away wildly. Lytle landed a big left-hand punch to Hardy's face just before the end of the second round. Hardy then made his decisive move in the third round. Afterward, Lytle said his decision to retire came after a knee injury left him with more time at home. "I had to take a little time off, and I was at home a lot," Lytle said. "Just when I had to get back in the gym and start training, it was difficult. For the first time ever, I didn't want to go to the gym. I wanted to stay home and spend time with my family." Lytle said he will continue to work for the fire department. Hardy said he'd likely take a step back from the sport after his loss, perhaps spending some time working on new techniques. "If they are going to give me one more fight, I really need to take some time and come back reinvented," Hardy said. Hardy also joked that it was a good thing he didn't win the Harley-Davidson motorcycle awarded to Sunday's winner. "I'd have probably wrapped myself around a tree," Hardy said. In another lightweight bout, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone scored a technical knockout of Brazilian Charles Oliveira. Duane Ludwig beat Amir Sadollah by unanimous decision in the welterweight division to kick off the main card. Ludwig kicked off the televised portion of the event by landing a series of hard punches to Sadollah's head late in the first round. Sadollah recovered to land a few blows of his own -- but not enough to win, as Ludwig was ruled the winner by unanimous decision of the judges. Cerrone took on Oliveira in the next bout. But it didn't last long, as Cerrone landed a relentless series of kicks, including a knee to the head, then began to swing wildly as Oliveira was on the ground. The referee stopped the fight at the 3:01 mark in the first round. The fight was stopped briefly earlier in the first round when Cerrone kicked Oliveira in the groin. Cerrone left the ring wearing a black cowboy hat. In the second-to-last bout of the night, Henderson dominated much of the first two rounds, only to end up in a leg hold by Miller midway through the second round. Henderson slipped out of it, then landed more blows on Miller, whose head was bleeding heavily by the end of the second round. Miller took more hits in the third round but held on until the end of the fight, when Henderson was declared the winner.

Samardzija's strong outing gets Giants back on winning track

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AP

Samardzija's strong outing gets Giants back on winning track

BOX SCORE

Jeff Samardzija pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-run baseball to help the Giants snap a five-game losing streak.

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

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AP

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

NEW YORK — Russell Westbrook moved past Oscar Robertson and kept right on going to the top of the NBA.

Westbrook was voted MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles during his historic season. He led the league with 31.6 points and added 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, joining Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season and breaking Robertson's single-season record of 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

"I remember growing up just being home, playing the video games and stuff with my pops, and my mom sitting there and my brother and just talking about maybe one day I could be the MVP. Obviously I was joking at the time," Westbrook said.

"But now to be standing here with this trophy next to me is a true blessing, man, and it's an unbelievable feeling, something that I can never imagine."

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

He received 69 first-place votes and 888 points from a panel of 100 media members and a fan vote to easily beat Houston's James Harden, who had 22 first-place votes and 753 points. Kawhi Leonard was third with nine first-place votes and 500 points.

Westbrook succeeded Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards. The point guard who plays with defiance on the court got choked up during an acceptance speech in which he brought some teammates onto the stage with him.

The Thunder went 33-9 when he had a triple-double, riding Westbrook's record run into the playoffs in their first season after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.

"Oscar, guys like him, Magic Johnson, those guys, obviously I wasn't able to see those guys play, but just to look back at history and see the things that they did, it's something that I looked up to as a kid," Westbrook said.

"I never thought I would be able to say that I broke Oscar Robertson's record, and that's just a true blessing."

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era, beating out Philadelphia's Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets' Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

"Obviously I'm just proud of the team and the way they responded all year. Great organization," D'Antoni said of the Rockets' 55-win season.

"This is not an individual award. This is a lot of people, a lot of hard work goes into it, and I'm the recipient of some pretty good players."

In his first season coming off the bench, Gordon set a single-season record with 206 3-pointers by a reserve. He averaged 16.2 points to help fuel the Rockets' run to the surprising No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and edged former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala of Golden State by 32 points.

Golden State's Draymond Green won the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Leonard's two-year run. Leading the league in steals from his do-everything role with the NBA champions. He had a franchise-record 10 steals in a Feb. 10 game at Memphis while recording the first triple-double in NBA history without scoring in double figures, adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world.

Two of the best moments came during segments that didn't include the NBA's six individual awards.

Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league's first black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: "You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."

Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.