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UFC supremo Dana White admits defeat in bid

Five months after Khabib Nurmagomedov announced he was stepping away from the octagon, Dana White has finally recognized his UFC retirement in an emotional shared announcement – with a May clash set to decide the new champion.

UFC president White has admitted defeat after his latest meeting with former lightweight king Nurmagomedov, accepting the Russian’s shock retirement which he first declared after putting away Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October.

Nurmagomedov emotionally revealed in the octagon that he would be stepping away in order to honor a promise he had made to his mother, although he went out in fitting style with a stunning second-round triangle choke submission against the dangerous Gaethje.

Having lost his father, Abdulmanap, to complications arising from Covid-19 last summer, Nurmagomedov opted not to continue without his life-long coach by his side, ending a 29-0 career that saw him talked of as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time .

Still, this hadn’t deterred White from attempting to lure the American Kickboxing Academy star into one last dance, with everything from a superfight with Georges St-Pierre to a scrap with current welterweight ruler Kamaru Usman entertained.

Some five months later, however, with the lightweight division held up in the meantime, White has given up on his quest, taking to social media late on Thursday night to face facts alongside a photo of the pair together.

“29-0 it is,” accepted White. “He is 100 percent officially retired. It was incredible to watch you work. Thank you for everything and enjoy whatever is next, my friend.”

An hour later, Khabib shared the same snap on Instagram with his own message to his former boss and those responsible for his rise to the top.

“It was a good dinner with some great people. [Dana], thank you so much, brother, and the entire UFC team for the opportunity to prove myself. You guys have changed many lives forever because of this sport.

“Dana – I’ll never forget your attitude towards me, my father did not forget and my sons will remember you. Today there was a real conversation between real men.

“Thank you to all my team, sparring partners and all the fans. I hope you will accept my decision and understand me.”

In a fawning appraisal, Nurmagomedov’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, lauded his fighter’s career and called White “the godfather of MMA” and “big brother”.

“This is the best I have seen between Khabib and Dana,” he said of the meeting. “I have never seen a relationship like this between a fighter and promoter.

“They never argued, they never fought and never complained about each other. Nothing but pure class between the both of them.

“I am a little sad that my brother is leaving the sport, but the Eagle will always sore in the sky. The greatest fighter on the planet.”

Wasting no time, White then revealed to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira will face off for the now-vacant lightweight strap on at UFC 262 on May 15.

“Let’s go!” demanded the Brazilian on Twitter, while his Nashville native foe delivered his trademark exclamation of “see you at the top!”

Having previously trying and failing to convince Khabib to come out of retirement, former Bellator MMA champion Chandler has also talked down Oliveira’s prospects of dominating their weight class.

“The only question I would pose about Charles Oliveira is he’s not a large 155’er,” he told MMA Fighting.

“He’s not a very powerful guy. He’s not a very physically strong guy or overly athletically gifted guy.

“I like Charles Oliveira’s style in the fact that he trots forward, his striking has gotten better, he’s extremely slick with his jiu-jitsu.”

Still, riding an eight-fight winning streak that included Tony Ferguson’s scalp last time out, the São Paulo scrapper will fancy his chances.

Also on rt.com ‘They want a guy to beat him’: UFC legend St-Pierre says Dana White wants Khabib comeback in order to END his undefeated streak


Capone movie: Tom Hardy so committed ‘he endured real slaps and painful contact lenses’

Last summer Tom Hardy’s Al Capone biopic released in the US, but the Josh Trank directed movie has only just landed on Netflix UK. Capone follows the gangster’s final years after spending over a decade in prison for tax evasion. The new film sees the 40-year-old living in Florida as he suffers from neurosyphilis and a serious mental decline.
During the movie, Hardy’s Capone relives moments from his violent past through a serious of hallucinations.

And in one of these surreal scenes, he comes across Tilda Del Toro’s Mona Lisa, who represented the other side of the gangster’s life apart from his family.

Embodying one of Capone’s ex-lovers, she is the mother of his rumoured illegitimate child who ends up violently confronting him.

Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk, the Chicago-born Tilda shared details of rehearsing her “very aggressive” scene full of pushing, pulling and slapping, which actually ended up with everyone in fits of laughter.

READ MORE: Capone was ‘delusional and broken’ in final years before Netflix anger

The Mona Lisa actress said how she had a run through with Hardy in front of all the departments and didn’t know her own strength.

Tilda recounted: “I came in and pulled Tom towards me and slapped him and then I pushed him on the couch.”

“The couch was a little lighter than in the scene because it was a production couch and it flew all the way back! We kept doing the scene and then Josh yelled ‘Cut!’”

There was silence on the set until the director said to her: “Tilda, I do NOT want to mess with you!”

Tilda pointed out that you always have to very careful when physical with someone on set, but admitted she really didn’t realise just how hard she was slapping Hardy.

The actress said, “He was okay with it! After that, he would say, ‘It’s okay, you can slap me.’”

For Tilda, it just showed how committed Hardy was to the Capone role, as she highlighted how uncomfortable his prosthetics were and especially his bloodshot contact lenses.

She said: “People don’t realise how hard prosthetics are on actors and his eyes were hurting him a lot because he had these contacts on. So I definitely felt bad for him.”

Praising Hardy’s professionalism on the Capone set, Tilda said: “He very willing to go the whole way and I guess so was I! He’s so kind and was so kind about it.”

The Mona Lisa actress shared how Hardy would ask if she needed anything from him and would always treat her with respect as an equal actor.

She added: “That was a great experience. He was extremely professional, respectful, very aware and fully present.

“Tom was giving as an actor and really engaged in the work. He was very kind to me. I felt like he was very confident and when he needed to deal with something specific he did.”

Capone is streaming on Netflix UK now.