ABC - Sports News

fstop123/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News

(MADISON, Wisc.) -- A day after the Big Ten decided to resume the football season, local officials announced University of Wisconsin, Madison has had over 40 football players and staff test positive for COVID-19 so far.

On Wednesday, the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors announced that the conference's football season will resume next month, after previously voting to postpone it until the spring. That same day, officials in UW-Madison's county released a statement advising students and people living in Dane County, where the university sits, not to gather to watch Badger football games.

"Of course it's disappointing that something as well-loved as gathering to watch Badger football games can't happen this year," Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison & Dane County, said in the statement. "But the reality is that it's not possible to have a traditional football season without substantially increasing COVID-19 transmission. We value people's health and lives over sports, and we hope that UW does as well."

Since students began returning to campus in late August, the university has seen a "record" number of cases, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi noted in the statement. UW-Madison has paused in-person instruction for two weeks, through Sept. 25, to address a "rapid increase" in COVID-19 cases among students living both on and off campus. Parisi warned that festivities around football Saturdays "are going to serve as new spreading events within our community."

The city's mayor voiced similar concerns. "The increase in cases we are seeing is predominantly due to parties. Adding football parties into this mix is only going to make the situation worse," Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said in the statement.

On Thursday, UW-Madison reported 190 new positive COVID-19 tests among students and employees from on- and off-campus testing. As of Thursday morning, 400 students were in on-campus isolation, it said. There have been nearly 2,400 confirmed cases among UW-Madison students and employees since July 28, according to Public Health Madison & Dane County.

As of Wednesday, 42 players and staff on the football team had tested positive for COVID-19, noting the risks posed to student-athletes during the pandemic, according to the county health department. "Emerging evidence and research is showing that even though athletes recover from COVID-19, serious long term health issues can persist, including myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure," the statement said.

The university started testing student-athletes and staff in June.

New medical protocols announced by Big Ten officials this week include daily antigen testing for student-athletes, coaches, trainers and others on the field for practices and games. The 14 Big Ten institutions will also establish a cardiac registry to examine the effects on COVID-19-positive student-athletes, they said.

In its statement, the county health department said it does not have authority over the university's campus, including Camp Randall football stadium, but that it will continue to enforce its public health orders in partnership with the Madison Police Department when it can. Per an executive order, mass gatherings indoors are limited to 10 people, and those outside are limited to 25, not including employees.

UW spokesperson Greg Bump said in a statement to ABC News that the university would "further coordinate with local agencies and public health regarding game days."

"Saturdays at Camp Randall will look very different," the statement said, noting that Big Ten officials are not allowing any fans in the stands or public ticket sales. The university is currently working on plans to allow the families of student-athletes to attend the games, Bump said.

"Game day usually means getting together but now, in order to protect the season and our community, we all need to cheer the Badgers responsibly and in accordance with public health guidelines," the statement said.

The Big Ten has yet to release the schedule for the season, which is set to start the weekend of Oct. 23.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesBy TOM BERMAN and HALEY YAMADA, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Former NBA player Lorenzen Wright was murdered more than a decade ago in a plan involving his ex-wife, but Wright’s family and friends are still dealing with many unanswered questions, including "why?"

“When you’re the mother of six kids and you’re married to their father, and you would [want to] see him dead, that’s just evil. That’s wicked,” Montae Nevels, Wright's friend, told 20/20.

“I hope the truth comes out,” Phil Dotson, another of his friends, told 20/20.

Growing up in Oxford, Mississippi, Wright found a fierce passion for playing basketball. His success on the high school and collegiate levels in Memphis, Tennessee, eventually culminated into his being the seventh overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft when he headed to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Wright eventually moved to the Atlanta Hawks and then was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.

“To be able to play high school ball here, to play college ball and then to play in the NBA in front of your hometown, I don't know if it gets any better than that,” Dotson said.

Wright’s mother, Deborah Marion, was thrilled to have her son home again.

“It was great because my dad was still living and my mom... They were getting older. But then they could actually see their grandson do something,” Marion said.

Although he skyrocketed into the fast life of the NBA, Wright’s childhood friends said that he never lost touch with his roots.

“He would give people jobs,” said Dotson. “He just wanted his buddies around to enjoy the fruits of his labor. … It was like Disneyland at his house!”

While playing summer basketball in his junior year of high school, Wright met his ex-wife Sherra Robinson, who became Sherra Wright Robinson. Her father happened to be his coach and friends said Wright fell for her.

“She was easy on the eyes,” Nevels said. “I don’t think he had never ever [come] in contact with anyone that looked like Sherra.”

The couple eventually started dating and had their first child together -- a son named Lorenzen Jr. But Wright's mother said she never fell for his ex-wife's charm.

After having Lorenzen Jr., the couple got married and had a daughter named Loren, twin boys named Lamar and Shamar, another daughter named Sofia, a son named Lawson and a girl named Sierra, who died of sudden infant death syndrome when she was a baby.

Fighting to stay in the league, Wright was at the tail end of his career when he went back to the Hawks for a time, and then played for the Sacramento Kings and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s estimated that Wright had earned around $55 million over the course of his NBA career. But, as Nevels put it, “just as fast as he was making money, money was being spent.”

There were also accusations of infidelity in the relationship on both sides. After 13 years together, the couple divorced in February 2010.

“Lorenzen told me the marriage ended because he didn’t trust Sherra anymore and she felt the same about him … but they were still going to … try to find a way to raise these kids,” said Mike Gipson, another one of Wright’s friends.

“I think what happened to the marriage was that … they grew apart,” Dotson said.

By summer 2010, Wright was living in Atlanta with Gipson, while his ex-wife remained in Memphis with the kids. Yet, Gipson said Wright still had an intimate relationship with his ex-wife. One weekend, Wright flew home to Memphis to attend his daughter's dance recital and his sister's baby shower. He called Dotson and the two arranged to hang out. It was July 19, 2010.

“Completely unexpected, out of the blue … he calls me … and says, ‘Hey bud, I’m in town, let’s hang out,” Dotson said. “So he comes over… We’re kicking back, we’re relaxing, smoking cigars on the patio.”

That evening, Dotson said Wright's ex-wife called him demanding that he bring their son back home "now."

"And he was like, 'OK, all right, fine. I don't want to argue with you,'" Dotson said. "So we drove to the house. ... And when we pull up at the house ... he said, 'I'm going to go in here and I'm going to calm her down, and I'll call you later and then we can go out."

Dotson said that was the last time he saw Wright.

Hours later, just after midnight, a Germantown, Tennessee, 911 operator responded to an incoming call. On the call, a voice could be heard yelling, “God ****" before it was followed by gunshots.

“Hello? Hello?” the dispatcher said over and over again, but the phone remained silent.

The Germantown Police Department, which declined to comment to ABC News for this report, did not follow up on the call. It wasn’t revisited until nine days later while the Memphis Police Department investigated Wright’s disappearance.

At the time, a review by the Germantown Police Department concluded that the dispatchers had properly followed procedures.

Marion, who had reported her son as a missing person, said she became suspicious of his ex-wife. In the days after Wright went missing, she said his ex-wife told her Wright was with “some women.”

“I kept calling him all day and he didn't answer the phone,” said Marion. “This is what I told her… ‘Sherra, where is he? You need to let us know.’ She’s constantly saying about [other] women … he [was] with some women.”

Wright Robinson, however, also claimed to investigators that there was a drug connection. She told investigators she had last seen Wright drive off with an unknown man carrying a box of drugs that she claimed he was trying to sell. She also claimed armed men wearing trench coats had recently come to the home looking for Wright.

Wright was never implicated in any criminal activity.

Nine days after the distressing 911 call, after Memphis police found out about the 911 call, they were able to pinpoint where it was made. This eventually led them to Wright’s remains in a wooded area on a desolate road that he used to take to get to his mother’s house. His body had gunshot wounds.

His mother and friends were in disbelief when they heard the news. It seemed to Gipson that this would be an easy case to solve.

“He’s a celebrity from Memphis, so I thought this would be an open and shut case,” he said. “Never in my life did I think it would take so long [to solve].”

Police ruled the case a homicide and began investigating. Wright Robinson denied any involvement during questioning with police as well as in a local TV news interview. The criminal case turned cold for the next seven years.

Meanwhile, Wright Robinson seemed to move on with her life. But those in Wright’s corner said some of his ex-wife's behavior was unusual.

For one, she was accused of misspending some of the $1 million life insurance policy that was intended for their kids' benefit, which Wright had purchased as a condition of their divorce settlement.

In 2015, five years after the murder, Wright Robinson published “Mr. Tell Me Anything,” a novel that centered around the life of a woman who marries an abusive and unfaithful basketball star. She claimed in an interview that the supposedly fictitious story was based on her real life.

“I just believed it. I was like, ‘She’s baring all,’” said Kelvin Cowans, referring to the book.

Cowans, a journalist, started dating Wright Robinson that same year even though he admits their relationship crossed a professional line. He claims he fell in love with her during an interview about Wright Robinson's life, which included talking about her new book. The pair eventually moved to Houston together with Wright Robinson's kids. Cowans said he was never suspicious of her during their relationship.

“I’m like, 'If she’d done something, they’d have her by now.’ I mean I never would’ve moved away with her if I thought she was a killer,” said Cowans.

Cowans said the relationship eventually fell apart because he couldn’t get past what he described as her obsession with getting money from Wright’s estate.

“[I thought] I cannot believe that your apex of life is still, ‘How much money can I get?’” Cowans said.

After they broke up, Wright Robinson relocated to California with her kids.

Life seemed to continue on until November 2017, when police announced a huge break in the Wright murder investigation: They had found one of the murder weapons -- a gun -- in a lake in Walnut, Mississippi, about 45 minutes away from Wright’s former home.

In court, prosecutors said the break had come from Wright Robinson's cousin, Jimmie Martin. He had been convicted of second-degree murder in an unrelated case that had occurred three years prior to Wright’s death. While he was awaiting sentencing, Martin allegedly started talking to investigators. Prosecutors say he claimed he participated in the planning to kill Wright with Wright Robinson and another man named Billy Ray Turner but that the attempt was foiled.

“Turner was a landscaper, a yardman who happened to be a deacon in a small country church that Sherra attended,” said Memphis journalist Marc Perrusquia.

According to prosecutors, Martin claimed that a few days after Wright’s death, Wright Robinson and Turner confessed to him that they had murdered Wright, and that he then helped them clean up the crime scene.

Martin alleged that a metal detector was used to try to find a gun that had been dropped during the crime, and that he and Turner then drove to the lake in Mississippi where Turner disposed of a gun, according to prosecutors.

Martin has not been charged in connection with Lorenzen Wright’s death. He declined to comment to ABC News for this report.

After the gun announcement, investigators said they started monitoring Wright Robinson’s and Turner’s cell phones, and alleged that they learned incriminating information. Both were arrested and charged in December 2017.

Turner was indicted on first-degree murder charges and pleaded not guilty. When he first appeared in a Shelby County, Tennessee, courtroom on Dec. 5, 2017, Wright’s mother was finally able to see the person allegedly responsible for killing her son.

“When I saw him, I knew instantly [that Wright Robinson] used him because that's not what she want[ed]. You know, he had no money! She don't deal with no grass cutter!” said Marion.

“It was a standard arrest. There was no incidence to it. This person who, for the past 25 years, had not had any sort of troubles,” said John Keith Perry, Turner’s defense attorney. "I absolutely think that he did not do it."

Wright Robinson was charged with first-degree murder, criminal attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. She pleaded not guilty.

When he saw the announcement of her arrest on the news, Cowans was blown away.

“I’m like, I just spent almost … three years of my life with a killer,” he said.

The stage was set for Wright Robinson and Turner to be tried together, but that all changed when Turner was faced with another legal matter.

Turner, a previously convicted felon on unrelated charges that stemmed from a case in the early 1990s, was found in illegal possession of a gun when he was arrested for murder in the Wright case. He pleaded guilty to possessing the firearm.

After they learned about the plea, Wright Robinson’s lawyers worried that Turner would strike a plea deal with prosecutors in the Wright murder case and testify against Wright Robinson. Her lawyer, Juni Ganguli, said, “We told her, if Billy testifies against you, it’s going to be disastrous."

On July 25, 2019, Wright Robinson agreed to a plea deal, pleading guilty to the facilitation of first-degree murder. Prosecutors agreed to a lesser sentence of 30 years in prison and parole eligibility, for which she could be released as early as 2026. Had Wright Robinson gone to trial, she faced the prospect of spending the rest of her life in prison.

Prosecutors declined to comment to ABC News for this report.

When Wright Robinson’s plea bargain was announced in court, the judge allowed Marion the chance to speak to her son’s ex-wife.

After close to a decade of pain, Marion turned to face the woman who admitted she had been involved in her son’s murder. At that moment, instead of expressing outrage, Marion said she made the decision to focus on her six grandchildren.

“Ms. Sherra, I want to thank you for giving me my grandchildren, that’s what I want to thank you for,” she said in court. “I want you to unlock them so I can get to them so they can see their grandma, because Sofia keeps calling. She wants to come make chicken and dumplings. But I want you to call them, [and say], 'No it’s OK to talk to grandma, grandma still loves you.' That’s all I want is my grandkids.”

“I just hate what happened to my child,” Marion continued, speaking to Sherra. “But he left nice looking kids here for his grandma. They want to see me like I want to see them. I’m ready for them to come back to the home with their family. Because I miss them.”

Wright Robinson asked if she was allowed to reply, but her lawyers told her it was not a good idea.

“I advised her not to, because at that point, what difference does it make,” said Ganguli.

Although Wright Robinson is now behind bars, Marion still does not have full closure.

Turner was expected to go to trial this month, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed his proceedings. Marion is forced to wait longer for a resolution.

“With Lorenzen, I’d be talking to his picture and sometimes his picture could look at me a certain way like it’s really him… He was a momma’s boy. Simple as that," she said. "He would still be a momma’s boy if he was here now."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(WASHINGTON) -- As President Donald Trump pushed the Big Ten in recent weeks to restart college football amid the coronavirus pandemic, the White House offered to provide the college athletic conference with enough COVID-19 tests for play to begin, a university official briefed on the matter and a senior Trump administration official said.

The Big Ten ultimately sourced the tests from a private company instead, the officials said.

The conference announced Wednesday its football season -- on hold due to the outbreak -- would resume on Oct. 23. It said it would utilize "stringent medical protocols," including daily testing of its student-athletes and coaches.

Trump had since last month been publicly insisting the Big Ten kick off its football season, and he spoke with the conference's commissioner, Kevin Warren, on Sept. 1, about the matter.

"I called the commissioner a couple of weeks ago, and we started putting a lot of pressure on, frankly, because there was no reason for it not to come back," Trump told reporters Wednesday.

After that call, Trump directed White House staff to provide any federal resources the conference needed, according to the senior administration official.

The Big Ten's ability to secure coronavirus tests was "key," although ultimately the conference found another source for them, the official said.

"Probably for political reasons, it was easy for the Big Ten to convince their presidents to vote for it, if it wasn't going to be provided by this White House," the official said.

Trump has for months called for the return of professional and college sports, many of which had been put on hold. He has pushed for states and schools to lift coronavirus-related restrictions despite the continued high rate of virus transmission in certain parts of the country; his own presidential campaign has ignored local restrictions on crowd sizes, mask-wearing and social distancing.

Many leagues have recently resumed play with safety protocols restrictions and limits on spectators. They have had varying degrees of success in responding to athletes who have fallen ill with the virus.

The Big Ten said Wednesday that athletes, coaches, trainers and others who go on the field would get tested daily and that athletes who receive a positive result would receive a second test to confirm the result.

If both tests were positive, the athlete would have to undergo cardiac testing and receive clearance from a cardiologist before they could return to competition -- at the earliest 21 days after his initial diagnosis.

Trump's interest in the Big Ten was spurred by calls from players and their parents for the season to resume, the senior administration official said.

The official said the White House had made hundreds of calls on the topic with Big Ten coaches, officials, athletic directors, parents and players.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:



Washington 4, Tampa Bay 2
Oakland 3, Colorado 1
Baltimore 5, Atlanta 1
Miami 8, Boston 4
Chi Cubs 3, Cleveland 2
Arizona 9, LA Angels 6
San Francisco 9, Seattle 3
San Francisco at Seattle (Postponed)

Kansas City 4, Detroit 0
N.Y Yankees 13, Toronto 2
Texas 1, Houston 0
Minnesota 5, Chi White Sox 1

St. Louis 4, Milwaukee 2
LA Dodgers 7, San Diego 5
Cincinnati 1, Pittsburgh 0
Milwaukee 6, St. Louis 0
NY Mets 5, Philadelphia 4

FC Dallas 4, Colorado 1
Vancouver 3, Montreal 1
Portland 1, San Jose 1 (Tie)
Miami at New York City FC (Canceled)
Colorado at Nashville (Canceled)
Los Angeles FC at Houston (Canceled)
San Jose at Seattle (Canceled)

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- The Big Ten will be playing college football this season after the Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to resume the season on the weekend of October 23 and 24. 

Each team will play an eight game schedule, but opponents have not been released. 

In the release announcing the decision, the conference said the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors adopted new health safety protocols, including daily testing for COVID-19, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data driven approach when making decisions on whether to practice or play. 

The conference orginally voted to postpone the season by a vote of 11-3 on August 11, according to ESPN. 

Every person around the team, including players, coaches and trainers will be tested daily. Players who test positive will be given a different second test to confirm they have the virus.

Players who test positive will be given thorough cardiac testing and will have to be cleared by a cardiologist designated by the university to return to play. The earliest a player could return would be 21 days following the positive test. 

Testing will begin by September 30. 

All universities will also have a Chief Infection officer, who will oversee testing and reporting of data to the conference. 

The Big Ten will use the data to determine whether a team needs to alter or stop practices and games.

Should a team have a postivity rate over 5% and a population positivity rate over 7.5%, based on a seven day rolling average, that team will be required to stop practice and competitions for at least 7 days.

All 14 schools in the Big Ten will also establish a cardiac registry to examine the effects of the coronavirus on student-athletes. 

The Big Ten's decison to resume the season leaves the Pac-12 as the only Power Five conference to not be playing this year. The Big 12 and ACC have already started playing games with the SEC set to resume games on the weekend of the September 26. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


John Atashian / ESPN ImagesBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Basketball star turned activist Maya Moore revealed that she and Jonathan Irons have married.

The pair joined ABC News' Good Morning America Wednesday to share exclusive details of their unique love story that blossomed out of friendship after she helped free him from prison following his wrongful conviction 23 years ago.

"We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we are doing together, but doing it as a married couple," Moore said. "We got married a couple months ago and we're excited to just continue this new chapter of life together."

While the couple's nuptials were celebrated during the ongoing pandemic, Moore said it did not take away from the momentous occasion.

She said that the guests were masked and socially distanced, but the main thing was they were able to get married with some of their closest friends and family.

Moore, 31, said that the romantic feelings progressed gradually over time, since they first met through a prison ministry program when she was 18 years old.

"Over the last 13 years we have just developed a friendship and just entered into this huge battle to get him home and just over time it was pretty clear what the Lord was doing in our hearts and now we're sitting here today, starting a whole new chapter together," she said.

She said what she loves most is her husband's ability to rise above the chaos of his surroundings, as well as his faith in God.

Even though Irons told her he wanted to be close and remain friends, he also revealed his love for her while still at Jefferson City Correctional Center and that he wanted her to marry him, but said, "don't answer right now."

"I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it's extremely difficult and painful. And I didn't want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard," he said.

He said the moment he finally popped the question was worth the wait.

"When I got out we were in the hotel room we had some friends in the room, it was winding down and we were extremely tired, but we were still gassed up on excitement," Irons recalled. "It was just me and her in the room and I got down on my knees and I looked up at her and she kind of knew what was going on and I said, 'will you marry me,' she said, 'yes.'"

The couple, who have most recently been working on the "Get Out the Vote" campaign, first formed a close friendship in 2007, before her freshman year at the University of Connecticut, when she met him through a prison ministry in which her extended family in Missouri participated.

When Irons was 16 years old, he was tried and convicted as an adult by an all-white jury for the burglary and shooting at the home of 38-year-old Stanley Stotler. Irons maintained his innocence while he was in prison, saying he was wrongly identified during the lineup.

After years of fighting, a Missouri judge overturned Irons' conviction in March, saying there were problems with the way the case had been investigated and tried -- including a fingerprint report that would've proved Irons' innocence, not being turned over to his defense team.

While Irons, now 40, has spent most of his life in prison for a crime he didn't commit, he said he doesn't feel resentment toward the man who wrongly identified him, and said that Stotler is a "victim" as well.

The couple said they are currently enjoying a playful, joyful life in the new normal together riding bikes, playing frisbee and other free activities that both haven't been able to do in a while.

Moore and Irons are also currently focused on spreading the word about local elections for voters to make a real impact in their communities through Win With Justice's "Get Out the Vote" campaign.

GMA anchor Robin Roberts announced in her interview with the newlyweds that her production company Rock'n Robin productions has teamed up with ESPN films to produce a documentary about Maya and Jonathan's story.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Tuesday's sports events:



Boston 2, Miami 0
Tampa Bay 6, Washington 1
Atlanta 5, Baltimore 1
Colorado 3, Oakland 1
Chi Cubs 6, Cleveland 5
Arizona 9, LA Angels 8
San Francisco at Seattle (Postponed)


NY Yankees 20, Toronto 6
Detroit 6, Kansas City 0
Houston 4, Texas 1
Chi White Sox 6, Minnesota 2

Cincinnati 4, Pittsburgh 1
Philadelphia 4, NY Mets 1
Milwaukee 18, St. Louis 3
LA Dodgers 3, San Diego 1

Miami 117, Boston 114 (OT) (Miami leads 1-0)
Denver 104, LA Clippers 89 (Denver wins series 4-3)

NY Islanders 2, Tampa Bay 1 (2OT) (Tampa Bay leads 3-2)


Connecticut 94, Chicago 81
Phoenix 85, Washington 84

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Donald Kravitz/Getty ImagesBy VICTOR ORDONEZ, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson teased fans for weeks -- posting workout videos and cryptic messages on social media -- before finally announcing his long-awaited return to the ring.

On November 28, Tyson, 54, will face off against "Captain Hook" -- also known as former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr., 51.

Unlike fights of their generation, Tyson's return to the ring won't be presented by HBO, ESPN, Showtime or any other legacy network. Instead, the fight will be presented by Triller, an up-and-coming music video app akin to TikTok.

"At the end of the day, someone like Tyson has the pick of the litter," Triller CEO Mike Lu told ABC News. "What our team was able to do for Tyson was really showcase the identity of Triller ... and we just vibed with him."

Founded as a music video app, the platform allows users to create professional-looking music videos in a matter of seconds using artificial intelligence -- making the app a clear competitor to TikTok. And like TikTok, Triller has become more of a creative platform for users to produce many genres of video-based content.

"We get compared to TikTok often enough, but the way we look at it: we are the voice of an American based Gen Z platform," Lu said, drawing a distinction from TikTok's Chinese roots. "Another difference: We have grown 100% organically. We've never spent any money on marketing, it's always been word of mouth interactions or people sharing creative content they made on Triller."

Relying on that organic growth, Triller has more than 140 million downloads, with celebrities like Alicia Keys, Cardi B, Marshmello, Roddy Ricch and Eminem regularly using the app to create their own music videos.

"We've got a saying here, which is: 'We want the next Chris Brown or Justin Bieber to be discovered on Triller,'" said Lu.

Along with the rights to the live event featuring Tyson, Triller -- an app with no current footing in the world of sports -- obtained streaming rights to a soon-to-be-released, 10-part docuseries featuring behind-the-scenes footage of the fight. One episode will be released each week leading up to the match.

"The way we look at our product: We define cultural moments," said Lu, acknowledging Triller's unprecedented introduction to the boxing scene. "Obviously we went against all the major [legacy companies], like ESPN. Everyone wanted this, but per our motto -- 'You do you' -- we allowed Tyson to express himself on our platform that's all about creating and defining that cultural moment … and that's why Tyson agreed to do it."

Amidst the pandemic's rocky economy and TikTok's uncertain future in the United States, CNBC reported that Triller paid a whopping $50 million for the exclusive rights to the event.

"I can't comment on rumors like that," Lu said regarding exclusive's reported price tag. "But look, at the end of the day we believe in Tyson, we believe in this cultural event … and I believe history will tell us this was the right move for us."

Techcrunch reported earlier this month that Triller was seeking $250 million in funding that would push its valuation to over $1 billion, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. This would be an Olympic-length leap from its $130 million valuation reported last October by the Wall Street Journal.

A three-hour live event, the Tyson vs. Jones bout will last eight rounds and be part of a multiple-fight card. The event will also include significant undercard matches as well as musical performances to be announced in the coming weeks.

The fight will also be available on traditional pay-per-view platforms and the cost of the event is reported to be $49.99.

The fight, dubbed "Frontline Battle," will be the first event in a series produced under Mike Tyson's Legends Only League, a venture owned by Tyson and CEO of Eros Innovation Sophie Watts. Per the deal, all rights for "Frontline Battle" are controlled by Triller. Lu has also teased further collaboration.

"We haven't announced anything … but our goal is to move forward [working with them]," Lu told ABC News.

Lu added that Triller would be presenting similar events in the world of sports, music and entertainment in the near future.

Tyson himself has taken to Triller in anticipation for the event -- sporting Triller attire with a promotional "Triller Presents" intro. His announcement video received over 4 million views on the platform.

Tyson is known as one of the most feared heavyweights in history, claiming the division for himself throughout the late '80s. He became the youngest heavyweight champion in history with a 37-0 record before the world witnessed one of the greatest upsets in sports history: Tyson was knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas in Tokyo in July 1990.

Jones went on to be named the best boxer of the 1990s by Ring Magazine. After nearly 50 victories in the ring, Jones finally met defeat in a controversial disqualification against Montell Griffin. Jones swiftly repaid the favor in the first round of a rematch shortly after.

Although Tyson's upcoming fight is slated to be an exhibition match, according to Andy Foster of the California State Athletic Commission, Triller plans to present a Vegas-scale event as the world-renowned champions return to the arena.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:



Baltimore 14, Atlanta 1

Seattle 6, Oakland 5
Oakland 9, Seattle 0
Chi White Sox 3, Minnesota 1

Cincinnati 3, Pittsburgh 1
Cincinatti 9, Pittsburgh 4
Milwaukee 2, St. Louis 1
St. Louis 3, Milwaukee 2
San Diego 7, LA Dodgers 2

Dallas 3, Vegas 2 (OT) (Dallas wins series 4-1)

Pittsburgh 26, NY Giants 16
Tennessee 16, Denver 14

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



(NEW YORK) -- When asked what word would best describe the 54-year-old former heavyweight boxing champion today, without hesitation, Mike Tyson responded "unconquerable."

On Nov. 28, Tyson will face off against "Captain Hook" -- former four-division world champion Roy Jones Jr., 51. Tyson's long-awaited return to the ring was teased on social media for weeks, but the fight also marks the beginning of his newest venture: Mike Tyson's Legend's Only League.

Bringing back legends

The idea was simple enough, to bring retired athletes back to the sport they love for one-off nostalgia-filled events.

"They are still healthy, they are still beautiful and they still look beautiful doing what they do," Tyson told ABC News.

Before founding the league, Tyson said he heard a sports analyst say on broadcast that NFL legend Jerry Rice was no longer formidable.

"They said he can't play football anymore, he can't be a wide receiver anymore. That is ridiculous!" said Tyson. "I bet you there are more people who want to see Jerry Rice play right now than they do the guy who is running his old position right now on the San Francisco 49ers."

The league plans to create similar events in a wide array of sports, including soccer, tennis, football and more. Tyson teased that Rice himself, along with Hockey Hall of Fame legend Wayne Gretzky, have called to inquire more about the league, possibly indicating similar returns in league-sponsored events.

"I had so many athletes that called me want to be involved with it. You got Jerry Rice, [Joe] Montana. Listen, there are so many people that want to do this stuff," said Tyson.

Per his own wishlist, Tyson added that he'd love to facilitate Brock Lesnar's return to mixed martial arts.

The league's mere existence has fueled questions as to whether Evander Holyfield would also consider a return to the ring. He and Tyson last faced off in 1997, in a fight that was later dubbed "the Bite Fight."

"That'd be awesome if he were to get in the league too," Tyson told ABC News, though he did not confirm whether or not talks are in place.

Presented by Triller

Shockingly, Tyson's return to the ring won't be presented by HBO, ESPN, Showtime or any other legacy network; instead, the fight will be presented by Triller, an up-and-coming music video app akin to TikTok.

Along with the rights to the live event featuring Tyson, Triller -- an app with no footing in the world of sports -- obtained streaming rights to a soon-to-be-released, 10-part docuseries featuring behind-the-scenes footage of the fight. Two episodes will be released each week leading up to the match.

Founded as a music video app, the platform allows users to create professional-looking music videos in a matter of seconds using artificial intelligence -- the CEO described the app as "the voice of an American-based Gen Z platform."

"For those younger audiences, Triller is a perfect platform for them to see a side of Mike that they haven't seen before," said CEO of Eros Innovations and part owner of the league, Sophie Watts. "They've seen him in 'The Hangover,' they know him as a cultural icon, but they probably only know through their parents or their family about his [boxing] legacy -- it's a chance for them to be introduced to that."

"They're going to see what they've been hearing about all their lives," added Tyson. "The entertainment is seeing these people come back and still entertain you like they did when you were young."

A three-hour live event, the Tyson vs. Jones bout, will last eight rounds and be part of a multiple-fight card. The event will have several undercard matches -- including controversial YouTube star Jake Paul against NBA free agent Nate Robinson -- as well as musical performances, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Although Triller will host the league's first official event, Watts said the league can and likely will expand to other platforms for future events.

"The Triller deal is a one-off deal for this fight," Watts told ABC News. "Do I think a three-on-three basketball game of legendary NBA players... do I think that would be a different demographic? Absolutely."

The league has yet to announce additional events, but Watts teased the return of more retired athletes in the near future.

Tyson talks return to the ring

Earlier this year, Tyson told Joe Rogan in a podcast interview that he had no plans to return to the gym -- let alone the boxing arena.

"They offered me money to come back, and I didn't understand. I thought it was a joke, and I thought it was stupid," Tyson said at the time.

Still, he reconsidered when he realized how many people he could help by donating part of his earnings to charity.

"This completes me: being considerate and generous to people less fortunate than myself. That that helps me," Tyson said.

But, Tyson admitted his return to training in the ring was rocky at first.

"I want you to know this… the first time I went back and boxed in 15 years, I got the sh-- kicked out of me," he said. "But, do you know what happened in that process? I said, 'I belong here. This is where I belong.'"

Tyson said one of the biggest issues returning athletes face when going back to their sport is relearning mental preparation.

"What fighters and what athletes in general have to overcome is more psychological and mental than it is physical," said Tyson. "You can do all the drills and all the preparation, but if you don't go into a fight mentally controlled... you're going to have a disastrous day."

As of today, Tyson said he feels "unconquerable," and is looking forward to showing younger generations that he's more than a comedian and actor.

"Look, at the end of the day, I am an entertainer," said Tyson. "But after they watch this fight, people are going to be very careful not to make jokes about me."

Overcoming the pandemic

While major professional athletic programs have struggled to overcome COVID-19-related challenges, Tyson's Legends Only League was conceived amid the pandemic. The event will be streamed without a live audience, per California state regulations.

"The reality is our model isn't built around live audiences, unlike a traditional athletic organization that has extraordinary debt or obligations to traditional broadcast partners, which require a live audience to monetize that system -- we don't," Watts said. "We're excited to take these fans who want to feel nostalgia and connection and really live inside the world of an athlete they've revered -- that opportunity exists at home just as it would exist in a stadium."

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