MMA Today: Fury-Usyk Lives Up To Hype, UFC 303 Major Cancellation, ESPN+ Woes

Get the latest highlights in combat sports for May 20.

Welcome back to "MMA Today," where every Monday, MMA Knockout's Zain Bando breaks down the latest headlines in combat sports to start the week off right.

Enough of the formalities. Let's get to the news.

Oleksandr Usyk Stuns Tyson Fury

For the first time in a long time, boxing overtook the UFC as the leading combat sport on Saturday afternoon. In a slight upset, Oleksandr Usyk upset Tyson Fury on two of the three judges' scorecards to become the undisputed heavyweight champion—the first since 1999.

It was a back-and-forth slugfest that saw Usyk and Fury give each other their best punches and nearly saw Usyk give Fury his first KO loss with a Round 9 onslaught that turned into an 8-count to end the round.

Boxing News: Fans React to Oleksandr Usyk Beating Tyson Fury to Win Undisputed Gold

While Fury pushed the pace at times, Usyk dominated nearly every statistical category, including a 53.3 percent clip in Round 9, according to BoxingScene. As for Fury, despite the lower punch volume, he managed to showcase his best work in Round 6 at 41.7 percent of his punches landed. His spree included a devastating uppercut that had Usyk on his back foot, but he survived.

Ultimately, it was a fight that boxing needed, as did the heavyweight division, to maintain its relevance. Fury wants to use his rematch clause to exact revenge on Usyk, but mandatory challengers may get in the way, as Usyk will only remain undisputed champion for less than a month.

Regardless, heavyweight boxing is back, and it's great to see.

Prominent MMA Media Personality Lashes Out at ESPN+

Despite differences of opinion across many spectrums of the MMA community, a veteran MMA journalist made a series of videos documenting his experience using ESPN+, which authorizes the availability of UFC events in the U.S.

Thomas was incredibly transparent in both videos, expressing how well done ESPN's shoulder programming is. However, when it comes to watching the UFC, Thomas was heavily disappointed in the viewing experience for UFC 301, which took place on May 4 in Brazil. Thomas primarily works from his office, thus watching the events from his computer. After a call with customer support for over an hour, he could not access the pay-per-view properly.

Thomas' experience led him to question whether or not his UFC viewing experience would be impacted by the remainder of 2024, as the event schedule is reaching its halfway point.

For context, the UFC's ESPN+ contract expires in 2025, as impending television negotiations will be interesting to say the least.

UFC Fight Night Free Live Stream Results & Highlights: Barboza vs. Murphy

Jamahal Hill Needs a New Opponent

UFC 303 has taken a big hit with about a month to go, losing one-half of its co-main event. Khalil Rountree Jr. was set to face former UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill, who Alex Pereira viciously knocked out at UFC 300. Unfortunately, the fight will have to move forward without Rountree as an Instagram post from the 34-year-old revealed he had unknowingly taken a banned substance.

Rountree was transparent and remorseful, apologizing to Hill and the UFC.

"The is one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with in my life," Rountree wrote with a longer post attached.

At press time, Hill has not been booked a replacement.

What's Coming Up?

There's no UFC event to close out the month of May, but be sure to follow along with MMA Knockout for all of the latest news and exclusives from across the combat sports scene.

Stick with MMA Knockout for more daily coverage of the UFC, MMA, WWE, and AEW.

Follow MMA Knockout on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Zain Bando


Zain Bando is a writer for MMA Knockout, part of the Sports Illustrated/Minute Media umbrella. He has covered combat sports since 2019 for notable outlets and FanSided MMA. He also co-hosts a podcast called "The MMA Outsiders," part of the Empty The Bench Podcast Network, which airs Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT. A Chicago suburban native, Bando has been enthralled with MMA since 2006 and has been fortunate to attend some of the most high-profile events in the sport's history, both as a fan and media member, including UFC 264, Bellator 297 and Kayla Harrison's PFL MMA debut. He is excited to take the next step in his combat sports writing journey and looks forward to continuing his following of the fight game for years to come. Bando can be reached via email at or by social media @zainbando99