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Jessica Eye 'hopes' for crowd support at UFC 238 in Chicago

Jessica Eye 'hopes' for crowd support at UFC 238 in Chicago

If a fighter can get their first title fight in their backyard, that's a dream scenario. It's typically something reserved for champions, like when UFC heavyweight champ and Cleveland native Stipe Miocic defended the belt for the first time in his home town.

But if you can't fight in you're hometown, fighting in your region of the country is the next best option, and for Cleveland native Jessica Eye, that's this flyweight title bout against the champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, IL.

"The air feels like it, it has that stench of the Midwest," Eye said of Chicago.

Eye has been training outside of Cleveland for the first time in her career and in some ways it's a Midwest homecoming.

While most states or cities have a lot of pride, the Midwest has a grander sense of regional pride which could mean Eye has a hometown crowd behind her at the United Center.

"I hope so," Eye said of Chicago fans lending their vocal support to a fellow Midwesterner on Saturday night. "I mean maybe, maybe not. We'll have to wait till Saturday to see what happens."

But Cleveland is only a five hour car ride and a short flight away, allowing Team Eye to turn out in droves.

"They're all here, they're all flowing in. It's like when the fog came in the [other] night, that's when all my people showed up," Eye said. "That's Team Eye. The fog rolled in, the rest of the 'Evil' crew showed up.

"Everybody comes no matter what. We had a huge following in Toronto. My friends came with me to Singapore, my friends came to St. Louis.

"My people come with me, they're with me through and through. This is a true support system."

On Saturday night, Eye will look to win her first UFC title in the newly created women's flyweight division, her natural weight class.

UK outlines plan for English Premier League to resume play this summer

UK outlines plan for English Premier League to resume play this summer

The U.K. has put forth a plan for the Premier League to return this summer, but fans will have to stay home and watch on TV.

The British government detailed the steps in a report called “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government's COVID-19 Recovery Strategy.

Inside the 51-page document it says the U.K. can begin “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact,” in Step 2 of the plan, starting June 1.

Before moving on to Step 2, however, the report states the U.K. must pass five benchmarks, including: seeing a declining COVID-19 infection rate, a declining death rate (due to COVID-19), being confident that they will be able to provide intensive care across the U.K., and being confident that the healthcare system will still have plenty of access to PPE materials.

According to ESPN, the Premier League will also have to present a plan to the U.K.’s Department of Culture, Media & Sport before they’re cleared to play.

As for fans in seats, the report says “while reopening outdoor spaces and activities… comes earlier in the roadmap because the risk of transmission outdoors is significantly lower, it is likely that reopening… venues that attract large crowds (like sports stadia)... may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”

Soccer fans looking to watch games no matter who’s playing will have another option soon. Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league, will restart play on Saturday.

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President Donald Trump calls for sports to resume play at UFC 249

President Donald Trump calls for sports to resume play at UFC 249

Last night, live sports returned in the United States at UFC 249. Held in an empty arena without fans, with a load of coronavirus prevention guidelines and testing, some normalcy returned to the sports world.

President Donald Trump addressed UFC fans during the broadcast in a video from the White House.

"I'm standing in a very important spot, right outside the Oval Office, and you're looking at the White House behind me," Trump said. "It's an honor to be here and an honor to salute you. I want to congratulate Dana White and the UFC. They're going to have a big match.

"We love it. We think it's important. Get the sports league back. Let's play. Do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do, but we need sports. We want our sports back."

It's worth noting that UFC light heavyweight Jacare Souza tested positive for COVID-19 and his bout with Uriah Hall was pulled from the event, but the card continued otherwise. It's also worth noting that Trump and UFC president Dana White have a close personal relationship, with White speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2016.

Trump has reportedly held calls with the commissioners of the major sports leagues about how to get sports going again. As of now, the NBA, NHL and MLB seasons are suspended, and there isn't a clear return date or plan in mind. Reports of options have crept out, but nothing concrete is in place.

The NFL released its schedule in early May and is planning on starting in early September, as usual. However, there are contingency plans in place if the season needs to be delayed.