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los an­ge­les» Ronda Rousey is re­turn­ing to mixed mar­tial arts Fri­day af­ter a 13-month ab­sence, tak­ing on Amanda Nunes for the ban­tamweight ti­tle at UFC 207.

Just don’t ex­pect to hear about it from Rousey.

The once-dom­i­nant cham­pion has largely de­clined to pro­mote her come­back bout, skip­ping nearly every tra­di­tional pre-fight me­dia re­spon­si­bil­ity. Rousey’s si­lence leaves Nunes and the other fight­ers on the card in the awk­ward po­si­tion of do­ing all the dirty work to sell the UFC’s end-of-the-year, pay-per-view event in Las Ve­gas.

Rousey is the most mar­ketable name in the game and per­haps the big­gest main­stream star in MMA his­tory, and her re­turn from last year’s shock­ing knock­out loss to Holly Holm should be one of the big­gest sports events of the hol­i­day pe­riod. Rousey (12-1) largely van­ished from pub­lic af­ter her de­feat, but agreed to re­turn for a ti­tle shot at Nunes (13-4), who won the belt in July.

In­fantino says sanc­tions to come

B dubai, united arab emi­rates » Rus­sia will face any “nec­es­sary ac­tions and sanc­tions” af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tors al­leged that soc­cer play­ers had sus­pi­cious drug-test sam­ples cov­ered up as part of a wider doping scan­dal in the 2018 World Cup host na­tion, FIFA Pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino said Wed­nes­day.

Five sus­pi­cious sam­ples in the Rus­sian men’s un­der-17 and un­der-21 na­tional teams in 2013 and 2014 were ex­posed in emails re­leased ear­lier this month by the World Anti-Doping Agency, ac­com­pa­ny­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tor Richard McLaren’s re­port into Rus­sian doping.

N.J. tries for sports gam­bling

B ne­wark, n.j.» New Jersey’s chances of get­ting the U.S. Supreme Court to con­sider its at­tempt to al­low le­gal sports gam­bling hinge on how a bedrock con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ple is ap­plied.

The state ar­gued that Congress is barred from forc­ing states to re­peal or re­in­state their own laws. That’s a ref­er­ence to an is­sue at the heart of a law­suit by the NCAA and the four ma­jor pro sports leagues, who ar­gue a 1992 fed­eral law bar­ring all but four states from au­tho­riz­ing sports gam­bling de­rails New Jersey’s ef­fort.

Af­ter an ini­tial 2012 law al­low­ing sports gam­bling in New Jersey was struck down in court, Repub­li­can Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law in 2014 that re­pealed pro­hi­bi­tions against sports gam­bling at casi­nos and race­tracks.

Virus found at fair grounds

B ba­ton rouge, la.» State agri­cul­ture of­fi­cials say they’ve con­firmed a case of Equine Her­pes Myeloen­cephalopa­thy, an of­ten deadly neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­ease spread by horse-to-horse con­tact, at the New Or­leans Fair Grounds Race­track.

The Louisiana De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture & Forestry, in a news re­lease, said a 2-year-old thor­ough­bred geld­ing re­port­edly de­vel­oped a fever and neu­ro­log­i­cal signs last week and was eu­th­a­nized Dec. 26. Nasal swab and blood tests were con­firmed pos­i­tive for Equine Her­pes Virus-1 neu­ro­genic strain. EHM is caused from a mu­tant strain of EHV-1, a com­mon res­pi­ra­tory virus.

Although not trans­mis­si­ble to hu­mans, EHM can be spread through the air, con­tam­i­nated equip­ment, cloth­ing and hands.

LDAF says EHM was last de­tected at the track in 2008.


Colorado Col­lege hockey beat Mer­ri­mack Col­lege 3-0 in the Florida Clas­sic Tour­na­ment. The tigers will take on North­ern Michi­gan on Thurs­day night. … For­mer Drake as­sis­tant Court­ney Graham has sued Bull­dogs coach Jen­nie Baranczyk and the univer­sity, claim­ing she was forced to re­sign af­ter her ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity be­came pub­lic . ... Ana Ivanovic is re­tir­ing from tennis at age 29, end­ing a ca­reer in which she was ranked No. 1 in 2008 but can no longer play at the high­est level be­cause of in­juries.

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