UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson of Federal Way meets Gilbert Melendez in a title showdown Saturday in San Jose, Calif.

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Henderson to risk title

UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson, a 2001 graduate of Decatur High School in Federal Way, risks his title Saturday against Gilbert Melendez at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Henderson (18-2 overall) is unbeaten in six UFC fights.

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“I don’t like losing, period,” the 29-year-old Henderson said. “A fight is a fight and a title is a title. If it’s behind a 7-Eleven, I don’t care, I’m going to beat him up.”

Network TV coverage of the UFC on Fox 7 card begins at 5 p.m. on Ch. 13.


Cliggett to race Sunday

Several days after seeing up close the carnage of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mark Cliggett of Seattle is gearing up — mentally and physically — for another long run Sunday in London.

Cliggett, a 51-year-old software engineer, and his wife, Janet Vogelzang, were about 200 yards from finishing Monday’s race when the bombs exploded, killing three people and injuring more than 180.

“Running is running,” said Cliggett, who raised money for cancer research in Boston and will be running in London to raise money for children in need of wheelchairs. “Yes, it has affected me overall. It has dominated my thoughts since then, and from reading runners’ forums it sounds like that’s happening to everyone who was there.

“But mostly, (I’m feeling) just incredible sadness for the people affected.”

Cliggett plans to wear a black armband Sunday to honor the Boston victims.

“I will say that I’m completely in awe of the people who rushed in immediately to help,” he said. “The word hero doesn’t do those people justice.”

College football

UCF wins NCAA appeal

The University of Central Florida won its appeal to the NCAA and will be eligible for a bowl game after the 2013 season, two UCF sources with direct knowledge of the decision told The Orlando Sentinel.

While UCF went through the appeal process, the Knights played in last year’s Conference USA title game and then beat Ball State 38-17 in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.

UCF was hit with sanctions after the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions determined the school committed major recruiting infractions and suffered from a “loss of institutional control.”


Nadal wins in Monaco

Rafael Nadal of Spain edged Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to win his 45th straight match at the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco and reach the semifinals.

Eight-time defending champion Nadal will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a Frenchman who beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In the other semifinal, top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia will face unseeded Fabio Fognini of Italy.


• The former president and secretary general of the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football enriched themselves through fraud during their terms with the soccer organization, said a report by CONCACAF’s ethics and integrity committee on the activities of former president Jack Warner and former secretary general Chuck Blazer.

Meanwhile, Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer Federation president, was elected to FIFA’s executive committee, defeating Mexican Football President Justino Campeon 18-17 in CONCACAF voting.

Gulati, 53, will join the 25-member ruling body at the FIFA Congress on May 30-31 in Mauritius. He will take Blazer’s seat.

• A federal ruling is clearing the way for sports legend Jim Thorpe‘s sons to have his remains removed from the Pennsylvania town that bears his name and reinterred on American Indian land in Oklahoma.

• Top-ranked Penn State will go for an NCAA men’s gymnastics team title Saturday at home. Other teams to advance were Oklahoma, Michigan, Stanford, Iowa and defending champion Illinois.

• In NCAA women’s gymnastics in Los Angeles, the team qualifiers are two-time defending champion Alabama, Florida, Louisiana State, Georgia, Oklahoma and UCLA.

• Rutgers suspended men’s lacrosse coach Brian Brecht after an investigation of what it said was “verbal abuse” — a move that came a day after it agreed to a $475,000 settlement with Mike Rice, the fired men’s basketball coach who verbally abused and roughed up players at practice.

Brecht was suspended with pay from his $125,000-per-year job.

• Hall of Fame horse trainer T.J. “Tommy” Kelly died Friday in Hialeah, Fla., after a brief illness. He was 93.

Seattle Times news services