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Plum assignment: Aces guard moonlights as UFC matchmaker

Updated November 28, 2020 - 3:46 pm

She is coming off an Achilles injury that put her on the sidelines for the entire WNBA season, so it wasn’t as if Kelsey Plum was looking for another fight during her rehabilitation.

Instead, she settled for making a couple.

The Aces guard and former No. 1 overall draft pick is moonlighting as a UFC matchmaker. She helped put together a couple of tussles — a Jan. 16 Fight Night main event between featherweight contenders Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar and a UFC 258 offering featuring women’s flyweights Maycee Barber and Alexa Grasso on Feb. 13 — at the invitation of UFC president Dana White.

Plum, 26, said she wasn’t a huge fan of the mixed martial arts, per se, but began to develop an interest when she met fighters Kevin Lee and Michael Johnson during her rehab at the UFC Fight Institute.

“I didn’t really know a lot about the UFC, but I like to put my head in things, ask questions and joke around — talk trash,” said the La Jolla, California, native who set the NCAA women’s all-time scoring record during a prolific career at Washington.

She used the unsanitized phrase for talking trash after White saw her post on social media and granted her an audience in the UFC matchmaking room.

“So what made you want to be a matchmaker?” White asked on the video.

“To be completely honest, I was just talking (expletive),” Plum said.

White could relate.

“Just talking (expletive),” he said, laughing at the basketball star’s admission.

After White explained the finer points of how fights are made, Plum gave it a shot herself. Reading from a notebook, she proposed a list of potential fights.

She said matchmaking is a lot more complicated than it might appear.

“Oh, man, I learned a ton,” Plum said. “People don’t really take into account so many variables and factors when they put together fights. It was a lot of fun to be a fly on the wall and soak it all up.”

The only thing that could be more fun, she said, is being in the arena on fight night to see how her bouts turn out.

“I’m pretty sure, depending on the virus and stuff, that I’ll be able to go to those fights,” Plum said of her plum assignment. “It’s gonna be super exciting.”

Around the horn

— Former Liberty High and Brigham Young football star Kai Nacua has signed with the San Francisco 49ers. “I could not be more proud of my guy @KaiNacua for overcoming every obstacle in front of him and signing with the 49ers,” his Las Vegas-based agent, Steve Caric, wrote on Twitter.

The 49ers will be the fifth NFL team for which the undrafted 2017 free safety has performed, after stints with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts. Nacua played in 16 games for the Browns in 2017, starting three and making 14 tackles.

— According to Baseball America, only five major league clubs have officially announced their Triple-A affiliates for 2021 amid MLB’s plan to contract the minor leagues by 40 teams. The Astros (Sugar Land, Texas), Yankees (Scranton-Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.), Mets (Syracuse, New York), Mariners (Tacoma, Washington) and Nationals (Rochester, New York) are the only teams to have confirmed where their top farm clubs will play.

The Sugar Land Skeeters are jumping all the way from independent baseball (Atlantic League) to minor league’s top level, an indication that more radical changes are in store.

Such as there won’t be a Triple-A team in Fresno, California, MLB has issued an ultimatum that the Pacific Coast League’s Grizzlies accept a demotion to the Class A California League or be dropped from affiliated baseball altogether.

— Sign of the times: An online NASCAR truck series race staged at online Las Vegas Motor Speedway attracted 8,730 unique viewers — a lot more unique visitors than watched the real thing at LVMS even before the coronavirus hit.

0:01

How to sum up the UNLV men’s and women’s season-opening basketball losses to Montana State and Northern Arizona in eight words and parentheses:

The (Big) Sky is falling on the Rebels.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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