CDC eases travel restriction on Japan and other countries ahead of the Olympics

The agency says people should be fully vaccinated before traveling.

The CDC’s Level 4 risk assessment advises against all travel to a country and recommends being vaccinated if you must go there. Level 3 is more forgiving. The risk is still high, but the CDC doesn’t strictly recommend against it for vaccinated people.

The State Department has updated its travel recommendations to match.

Baseball and softball at the Tokyo Olympics: Everything you need to know

Baseball and softball are back. Here’s what you need to know…

America’s favorite pastime returns to the Olympics.

Baseball and softball will both run in a modified tournament format. The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the international governing body established in 2013 to merge the International Softball Federation and the International Baseball Federation, will run the competitions.

Each tournament — one for baseball and one for softball — features six teams. The softball tournament will consist of a single round-robin among the six teams, followed by a bronze medal game and a gold medal game for a total of 17 games.

The baseball tournament opens with a group round-robin with two pools of three teams. Each team will play the other two teams in the pool once, with a total of six games played in the group round-robin.

The group round-robin is followed by a knockout round of 10 total games, wherein the first three games feature teams that finished in the same position within their pools (A1 vs. B1, A2 vs. B2, A3 vs. B3). The loser of the A3 vs. B3 game is eliminated, and the rest of the competition ensues in a double-elimination format until there is one team left in each of the winners and losers brackets. Those two teams play the gold medal game.

Baseball’s sister sport, softball, also returns to the Olympics.

The MLB has never halted or interrupted its season for the Olympics, and MLB officials still seem reluctant to do so.

Shortly after the announcement was made that baseball would appear in the Olympics, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said it was unlikely that MLB athletes would play, as it would mean that some MLB teams would play short-handed or the league would shut down for two weeks during the Olympics. The latter half of MLB’s season is the most crucial, as it sets up which teams will make it to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series, so it’s even harder to justify players taking time away from their teams.

In 2008, the last year baseball was seen at the Olympics, the US roster was filled by minor league players and one college player.

So far, it seems unlikely that any big leaguers will travel to Japan.

Both tournaments will begin at the Azuma Stadium in Fukushima, with softball on July 21, 2021, and baseball on July 28, 2021. The finals will continue at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, with the softball final on July 27 and the baseball final on Aug. 7.

Check out the schedule of events here.

The Olympics are back on NBC, with a 24/7 stream online if you verify you’re a cable subscriber. NBCSports Gold will have a dedicated Olympics package — pay an upfront fee and you’ll be able to watch anywhere, uninterrupted by ads.

Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of the West Coast, so watching live should get a good spread of events. It’s a little trickier on the East Coast, where you may have to rely on highlights.

The BBC will cover the games on TV, radio and online in the UK, with more on Eurosport, a pay-TV channel. The time difference there is 8 hours, so you’ll have to get up very early in the morning to watch live.

In Australia, the Seven Network will spread free-to-air coverage over Channel Seven, 7Mate and 7Two. It’s a good year for watching Down Under, with Sydney only an hour ahead of Tokyo.

UFC 266 with Nick Diaz: Start time, how to watch or stream online, full fight card

Tonight, Nick Diaz makes his long awaiting return to the UFC.

Nick Diaz makes his long awaited return to the UFC.

Nick Diaz hasn’t competed since fighting Anderson Silva at UFC 183 in 2015. In the time since, his brother Nate Diaz carved out his own legend, defeating Conor McGregor and becoming one of MMA’s biggest stars in the process. But Nick Diaz was historically the more famous of the two. His comeback is huge news.

And the matchmaking for his return is sublime. At UFC 266, Nick Diaz is fighting fellow legend Robbie Lawler.

This one’s a long awaited rematch. Diaz and Lawler fought in the UFC all the way back in 2004 and the fight was incredible. Given both fighters are much older, and far from their prime, this is perfect timing for a perfect fight.

You can watch their first fight below.

Who wins this time around? It’s a coin toss really. No-one knows what kind of shape Nick Diaz is in, but Lawler has struggled as of late. My gut is telling me Lawler is the safe bet here, since he’s improved massively since the first fight and has been far more active in the last decade. There’s also the fact that Nick Diaz recently asked for the fight to be bumped from welterweight to middleweight. Is Diaz struggling with weight issues? Possibly.

Diaz and Lawler just had their first staredown at a press conference which took place today.

We have no idea what Nick Diaz is showing up though and that’s what makes this fight so exciting.

The UFC 266 main card starts at 10 p.m EDT (7 p.m. PDT) but here are all the details from multiple timezones.

The UFC now has a partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 266, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 266 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 266 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

EA Sports removing Jon Gruden from Madden NFL 22

The disgraced former Raiders coach will be replaced with a generic likeness.

EA Sports is scrubbing Jon Gruden from Madden NFL 22.

Gruden’s resignation came after The New York Times detailed emails in which he had made homophobic and misogynistic remarks, following an earlier report of racist statements about a union leader.

One of the higher-profile coaches in the league, Gruden won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before becoming a top analyst for ESPN. He returned to the NFL in 2018 to lead the Raiders, which he had coached years before.

According to the gaming news website Kotaku, which reported the removal earlier this week, in addition to re-creating NFL players, Madden NFL 22 shows each team’s head coach on the sidelines and cuts to them frequently throughout games. They’re also part of the game setup process.

Logan Paul and Floyd Mayweather memes: OnlyFans and $150,000 Pokemon cards

You knew social media was going to love this fight.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (green shorts) goes at it with Logan Paul during their contracted exhibition boxing match on June 6.

“LOGAN IS WEARING HIS CHARIZARD CARD,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Did Paul just flash a Charizard? We live in Hell,” said another.

Paul wasn’t the only one wearing something buzzworthy on fight night. Mayweather wore a hat from OnlyFans, the content subscription service often associated with sex workers.

“Logan Paul with the Charizard necklace vs Floyd Mayweather with the OnlyFans Hat this is final boss territory,” wrote one Twitter user.

Before the fight, Paul got kind of wistful.

“In 2015, I moved to Los Angeles,” he tweeted. “Every morning & every night, I’d look myself in the mirror and repeat 10 times ‘I will be the biggest entertainer in the world.’ I had no idea HOW or WHEN it would happen, but after 6 years of manifestation, it’s happening. Life is a wild ride.”

Not everyone was down with Paul’s mantra. One Twitter user pulled up the meme that reads, “I ain’t reading all that. I’m happy for u tho. Or sorry that happened.”

Another snarked, “you 5min into the fight when u realise floyd isnt a 45 year old overweight uber eats driver from down the block that u beat up in sparring.”

But some were definitely on Paul’s team.

“CONGRATULATIONS Logan!!!!” wrote one Twitter user. “But Logan baby you was already the champ before you even stepped in the ring! So very proud of you! You stood your ground the whole 8 rounds, Damn good fight!! absolutely magnificent.”

As always with one of these YouTuber fights, people pointed out that both fighters are raking the money in regardless of how well they did.

“Bro, this is all a gimmick,” wrote one Twitter user. “They came up with this ‘fight’ to make millions. They are laughing at people stupid enough to spend money on this.”

Can’t get enough Paul brothers’ fights? No fear, Logan Paul’s brother, Jake Paul, will fight former UFC champ Tyron Woodley in August.

Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren memes: Welp, that was quick and weird

After two bizarre minutes, the YouTuber is now 3-0 in boxing matches. The internet questioned the whole bout.

Jake Paul defeated Ben Askren in two minutes.

Not everyone on social media was thrilled about Paul’s victory.

“This the saddest thing I’ve ever seen fam,” wrote one Twitter user. “Ben Askren got KO’d in less than a round, let the whole world down. We’re never getting rid of Jake Paul are we?”

Many of the complaints centered on Paul’s boxing record. In addition to Askren, he’s previously defeated fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib and former NBA player Nate Robinson. Neither is exactly Muhammad Ali.

“Put him up against someone his own size and is a boxer and he’s done for,” said one Twitter user.

Another posted a conga line of clowns with the caption, “D-list celebrities on their way to getting KO’d by Jake Paul.”

Some tried to defend Paul’s abilities. Sports journalist Stephen A. Smith warned that Paul needs more fitting opponents, writing, “See, this has to stop. @jakepaul is not some scrub. He’s a pro now. Askren, even though he’s a @ufc fighter, is a grappler. Not a boxer. So why was he even in the damn ring? From now on, Paul needs to fight an actual boxer. He’s gonna hurt any non-boxer.”

Wrote one Twitter user, “Wtf do people downplay the people Jake Paul fight? Stop acting like Ben wasn’t an equipped opponent he’s an Olympian, great MMA fighter — pretty much an elite athlete. Even Nate was an equipped opponent, just accept their defeat wasn’t b/c ‘They were washed up or out of shape.'”

The length of the fight was the topic of numerous snarky jokes and tweets, too. Fans who paid $50 to watch it had to wait more than two hours, through a lengthy undercard and numerous musical interludes, for Paul and Askren to get into the ring.

Another hot Twitter topic involved musician Snoop Dogg and UFC president Dana White. After White reportedly bet a million dollars that Paul would lose, Snoop Dogg urged White to double that bet. When Paul won, Snoop Dogg, who was at the fight, screamed out, “Where’s my money at? Dana, where my money at?”

Of course, that unleashed a bunch of related memes. Writer Shaheen Al-Shatti tweeted, “Snoop Dogg screaming ‘Dana White, where my money at?! Dana White, where my money at?!?’ is pretty much the only way we could’ve ended this broadcast.”

As for Paul, he’s savoring his victory, tweeting, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” and following up a report that Askren won’t fight again with “WHO SHOULD I RETIRE NEXT?”

Step right up, future opponents — Paul doesn’t look to be hanging up the gloves any time soon.

UFC 268 Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington: When it starts, how to watch or stream online

UFC 268 has a stacked card full of potential classic fights.

Kamaru Usman, one of the best fighters on the planet.

But the title fight rematch between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili could be even more intriguing. Last time they fought Namajunas knocked Weili out with a spectacular head kick in the first round. I don’t see that happening this time. This will most likely be a striking clinic between two of the best strikers in the UFC. Absolutely cannot wait for this.

Perhaps the most exciting fight on the card is a contest between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler. Considering both are wild men typically involved in absolute slug fests, you can expect an instant classic.

Here’s everything you need to know about UFC 268.

Be careful with this one! The times are very different compared to most UFC PPV events.

The UFC 268 main card starts at 10.00 p.m. EDT (7.00 p.m. PDT) on Nov. 6. Here are all the details from multiple timezones.

The UFC now has a partnership with ESPN. That’s great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, but bad news for consumer choice. Especially if you’re one of the UFC fans who want to watch UFC in the US.

In the US, if you want to know how to watch UFC 268, you’ll only find the fight night on PPV through ESPN Plus. The cost structure is a bit confusing, but here are the options to watch UFC on ESPN, according to ESPN’s site:

You can do all of the above at the link below.

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 268 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 268 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation or using the UFC app on your Xbox.

Need more international viewing options? Try a VPN to change your IP address to access those US, UK or Australian options listed above. See the best VPNs currently recommended by CNET editors.

As always, UFC fight cards are subject to change.

See hospitalized kids ‘run the bases’ at Dodger Stadium, via robots

Take me out to the ball game, bots.

Richie visits the baseball field from the hospital.

“Turn it that way, there we go,” Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux coached a patient, who was maneuvering the robot around the field from afar, using buttons that direct the bot backward and forward. “Hey, you did a great job running the bases,” Lux said, getting up close to the display atop the robot’s base, which let him interact with the young baseball fan via video chat. Young fans get to run the bases after some Dodgers home games, and this gave the ill children a chance to participate.

The foldable Ohmni Telepresence Robots, from OhmniLabs, stand just under 5 (1.5 meters) feet tall and weigh 20 pounds (9 kilograms). For this occasion, they wore blue and white Dodgers jerseys. Some of the patients also donned Dodgers garb.

“Experiences like this are incredibly powerful for patients who cannot leave their hospital rooms or homes because of their health conditions,” Kelli Carroll, director of the Child Life Program at UCLA Health, said in a statement.

Telepresence robots aren’t new. Among their many uses, they’ve allowed sick kids to attend school and beamed students who had to be out of town at prom time to the big event. But the coronavirus pandemic has brought the robots’ many potential uses into sharper relief.

“Hopefully, you get better and you can come out here, and we can play some catch,” a player told a patient named Crew who plays right center field and catcher. Here’s wishing Crew, and all others, a lifetime of home runs.

Logan Paul vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. results: A grim, disappointing affair with no winners

The fight was bad. Very bad.

It was hardly the fight of the century, let’s put it that way.

Elsewhere on the card, Badou Jack defeated Devin Colina in a one-sided mismatch. Louis Arias shocked Jarrett Hurd in a split decision, and former NFL star Chad Johnson survived a four-round brawl with Brian Maxwell.

Here’s my round-by-round breakdown as it happened…

This is the world we occupy — a YouTuber facing off against maybe the best boxer of all time. What will happen? I’m fairly certain Logan Paul gets tired in three or four rounds and Mayweather does whatever he likes, but who the hell knows? I’m tuning in like the rest of the world because I love a freak show.

Just before the fight starts I want to say this is insane.

We’re truly living in a strange future.

Let’s go folks…

Huge size discrepancy here. Pretty crazy to even see two people like this fighting one another. Wild ending to the first round where Paul started wailing big loopy shots. Not a single one got through, but the crowd went wild. Floyd clearly waiting for Paul to gas himself out, but he does seem to be having issues getting in on someone so big.

Credit to Logan Paul, he looks a lot more polished than he did against KSI. Floyd appears to be cruising however, not throwing much but letting Paul punch himself out a little. I’d expect him to move forward more once the punches lose their sting.

Floyd is starting to open up a bit here and landed a really crisp left hook on Paul, but Paul is leaning on Floyd, putting all that weight on him. That said, Paul is looking tired. I expect things to get bad for him from here on out.

Mayweather is walking Paul down now, and Paul looks exhausted. Mayweather landed a number of big shots, but Paul landed a huge punch as well. I think Mayweather will look to finish in the next two or three rounds.

Floyd is using the high guard and just marching Paul down, landing big shots. Paul doesn’t really appear hurt, just extremely tired. The camera goes to Paul’s brother Jake, who claims he’s winning the fight. He’s clearly not.

He is doing pretty well though!

Paul’s defense is surprisingly sound. A very strange round here, where Logan just repeatedly threw lazy jabs out, and Mayweather looked for the kill shot. This is a little frustrating to watch.

The commentary is a little disrespectful at this point. Sort of annoying. This fight is not great either, Paul looking sloppy and Mayweather appears years from his prime. Not gonna lie, this is rough fight. No real great shots landed.

Boos coming down from the crowd now, as Mayweather and Paul clinch their way through another grim round of boxing.

That was somehow worse than I expected.

In case you weren’t aware, they’re not scoring this one — so no winner has been announced. A real anti-climax for a number of reasons. A combination of Paul’s size and Floyd losing a step meant this one never felt like it was in any danger of being stopped. Props to Logan Paul, though, for making it to the end of the fight.

“I’m not 21 any more,” Floyd admitted in the post-match interview, but also mentioned being “surprised” by Paul.

Paul seemed hyped just to be, there to be honest, jumping around. He called for a rematch. Not sure if it was a joke.

Hopefully it was a joke.

The other fights on the card were all far more entertaining than the main event.

Here’s my round-by-round breakdown of each fight.

Chad Johnson was sharp in the opening rounds, but got knocked down in the fourth.

This is the other “celebrity” boxing match on the card.

Chad Johnson is a former NFL star, and Brian Maxwell is an ex-MMA fighter. Despite being a massive MMA fan, I’ve never heard of Maxwell, most likely because he had a 2-3 record and never came close to touching a major promotion.

This feels like a bit of a set-p fight for Johnson, but who can tell. These crazy fights could go either way.

Some wild exchanges in there.  Johnson had the best of it with some accurate, hard shots, but looked tired in spots.

Forgot to mention that MMA legend Jorge Masvidal is in Johnson’s corner! Awesome.

Johnson is accurate with these shots, man. Laser jabs, some great straight shots. Another round for Johnson for me.

Maxwell comes out strong in this round, initiating wild exchanges and loopy shots. Johnson absolutely looks like he’s starting to tire here. This could get messy.

Whoa. Maxwell laid Johnson out with an absolute ripper right hook. He gets back up and survives the remainder of the round. Lucky this is a four-round fight, or it could have gotten tough for Johnson there.

All up a truly interesting fight. Johnson started out slick with the jabs, but tired fairly quickly. Since it’s an exhibition there’ll be no winner announced. Truth is the fight was close.

Great one to start.

Jarrett Hurd in better times. He lost tonight in a split decision.

This is the first of two legitimate boxing matches on this card. Keen to see how this one goes.

Great start for Arias here, landing multiple heavy shots, particularly in the opening two minutes. Hurd did better when he took the initiative and moved forward, and landed some clean, tight uppercuts at close range. Fun first round.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

Weird start with rain getting on the canvas and Arias slipping? Wild. This could be a problem moving forward for all the fights. And then they had issues restarting the clock. Grim.

Fantastic round here, with both fighters throwing heavy leather. Arias was landing huge shots that Hurd seemed to just walk through.  Every time Hurd landed, however, he appeared to do damage.

That said, Arias landed a huge shot in the final 30 seconds that appeared to stagger Hurd. Incredible three minutes of fighting.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

Hurd is just taking heaps of punishment here with Arias getting in tight and just throwing nothing but power shots. Hurd appears to be wearing it well, however, and when they finally break, he appears to land a few from the outside.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

A better round for Hurd here, but Arias still takes it. His right hook from inside simply cannot miss.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

This is shaping up to be a war of attrition. Hard one to score, probably Hurd’s best round, so I’ll give it to him.

Our score: 10-9 Hurd

Arias landed big shots in this round but is really starting to look tired. At points Hurd was able to just walk him down. Hurd could potentially take over this fight in the remaining rounds.

Our score: 10-9 Hurd

A round marred by two low blows from Hurd, but a tough one to score. Again I’m giving this one to Hurd, who marched forward and appeared to land the biggest blows.

Our score: 10-9 Hurd

Big round for Arias, who landed crisp, fast combinations inside. Hurd appeared to fatigue in the last minute, which allowed Arias to really take the initiative. This fight has been fantastic so far.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

Round opens with a flash knockdown for Arias, who protests. I’d need to see the replay. He comes out furious at the call and starts wailing on Hurd, clearly winning the remainder of the round.

Our score: 9-9

What a round! Arias and Hurd are just smacking each other here, and Arias appears to get the best of it, legitimately hurting Hurd for maybe the first time in the fight. Hurd appears to knock Arias down just at the bell, but it’s not scored.

I’m scoring this one for Arias.

Our score: 10-9 Arias

Our final score: 96-93

Official scores: Split decision 95-94 Hurd, 97-93 Arias, 96-93 Arias.

Badou Jack is back.

Badou Jack is stuck here with a last-minute replacement after his previous opponent, Jean Pascal, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Jack is heavily favored against the replacement Colina, but who knows what happens?

Jack comes out strong with a lightning fast jab, but hits Colina with a low blow early. Not much activity from Colina here.

Clear round for Jack here.

Our score: 10-9 Jack

A point taken from Colina for holding, and Jack is just extremely aggressive. A late counter from Colina isn’t enough to take the round here.

Our score: 10-8 Jack

Another point for holding for Colina, who looks completely out of his depth here. Colina was hurt and grabbed Jack to recover. Again a late flurry from Colina isn’t enough. Jack is cruising.

Our score: 10-8 Jack

Colina hits the canvas twice in the opening minute, being completely overwhelmed by Jack. Then, in the final seconds of the round, gets knocked down for the third and final time. Pretty poor showing from Colina, even coming in as a last-minute replacement.

Jack Badou wins by TKO