Rugby Australia sacked their Kiwi coach Dave Rennie on 16 Jan which surprised rugby fans as Rennie was expected to coach Australia at the 2023 Rugby World Cup which starts in September in France.

Rennie was head coach for the last three years but the team’s performances dipped badly in recent months causing Australia to drop to number 8 in the world rankings. Rennie ended his tenure with a win record of 38%, the worst of any Wallabies head coach who had over 30 tests under their belt.

Eddie Jones Signs 5 Year Contract

Australian Eddie Jones was the head coach for Australia from 2001 to 2005 and had good results, leading Australia to the 2003 Rugby World Cup final. His last stint as head coach was with England and that ended in late 2022 after he was sacked even though he had a 73% win rate with England.

Rugby Australia has handed out a 5 year contract to Eddie Jones who will commence his new role on Jan 28. Jones will be the head coach for both the men’s and women’s team and is confident he can lead Australia to a Rugby World Cup championship in France.

Nick Kyrgios was set to play his first round match at the 2023 Australian Open on Jan 17 against Roman Safiullin and fans were looking forward to seeing Kyrgios back in action after he missed the United Cup and the Adelaide Open.

Kyrgios Pulls Out Due To Knee Injury

Kyrgios made a surprise announcement on Jan 16 and informed his fans that he was pulling out as he was battling a serious knee injury. Fans were aware of his knee troubles after he missed the United Cup and Adelaide Open, but were under the impression that Kyrgios was good to go after he played a short exhibition match against Novak Djokovic last week and won.

Kyrgios said he did not feel great after his match against Djokovic and things went downhill from there. The Aussie said he was devastated at not being able to play on home soil in front of Aussie fans but vowed to come back next year.
The 27 year old said it was tough for him the last 5 days as he got no sleep due to the throbbing pain in his knee. While the injury is serious, Kyrgios said he did not believe that it was career threatening and is hoping to bounce back soon!

The UFC stripped heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou of his belt after terminating his contract. The UFC and Ngannou were unable to come to an agreement on a new contract after Ngannou wasn’t willing to accept their final offer.

UFC President Dana White announced that Jon Jones will make his debut at heavyweight and fight former title challenger Ciryl Gane for the UFC heavyweight championship at UFC 285 which takes place on March 4.

Henry Cejudo Training Jon Jones

Jon Jones is used to training with Jackson-Wink MMA in New Mexico where he lives but that relationship went sour after Jones was arrested for domestic abuse. Jones does not have an official head coach now and is working with former UFC double champ Henry Cejudo in Arizona.

Cejudo released a 10 minute video on YouTube which shows him and Jones discussing tactical plans ahead of the Gane fight. Cejudo retired from the UFC as double champ but is now looking to come back and regain his bantamweight belt.

Jon Jones is widely regarded as the greatest MMA fighter of all time and has a stiff challenge ahead of him as Jones hasn’t fought for nearly 3 years. Jones has said that he could have Henry Cejudo in his corner for the Gane fight!

The UFC has been on a three week break and was set to return on Jan 14 with a Main Event in the middleweight division between Kelvin Gastelum and Nassourdine Imavov.

That Main Event will no longer take place as Gastelum has pulled out due to an injury.

Gastelum posted a picture showing a bust up tooth and what also looked like a staph infection on his cheek. He issued an apology to the UFC, Imavov and his camp for not being able to make the fight.

Sean Strickland Steps In AT Light Heavyweight

It’s not a great start for the UFC to get its very first Main Event of 2023 disrupted but the UFC is used to handling curveballs. Sean Strickland who headlined the final UFC event of 2022 and lost has decided to step in as a replacement for Gastelum with one change.

Strickland will not be able to make middleweight in time for the Jan 14 deadline, so the UFC has reworked its Main Event to now be at lightheavyweight. Strickland will now face Imavov and will want to get his New Year started on a winning note!

Saudi Arabia continues to make a major push to be a dominant player in global sports.

During the last couple of years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has played host to a Formula 1 Grand Prix for the first time, hosted heavyweight boxing bouts featuring Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr., funded the controversial LIV golf league and bough Premier League club New Castle through PIF.

Ronaldo and Messi Help With Sports Washing?

One of the most popular football players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo has now moved to Saudi Arabia to play for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League. Ronaldo is estimated to be earning a whopping $315 million per year till 2025. Saudi Arabia is also making an exception for Ronaldo and his partner Georgina Rodríguez to live together as Saudi only allows married couples to cohabit.

Saudi Arabia has also signed Lionel Messi as its tourism ambassador for an estimated $40 million.

Saudi Arabia is accused of using Ronaldo and Messi for sports washing, a term used for distracting attention from its human rights atrocities by focusing on sports. Saudi Arabia is also pushing to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup alongside Greece and Egypt.