REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL INTERVIEWS CHECHEN LEADER AND MMA FIGURE RAMZAN KADYROV; EXPLORES THE DESTRUCTION OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF; AND GOES ONE-ON-ONE WITH BASEBALL HALL OF FAMER ROD CAREW WHEN A NEW EDITION DEBUTS TUESDAY, JULY 18, EXCLUSIVELY ON HBO

REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV’s most-honored sports journalism series, with a record 18 Sports Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Sports Journalism, returns for more enterprising features and reporting when the show’s 244th edition debuts TUESDAY, JULY 18 (10:00–11:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

The show is also available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and affiliate portals.

For up-to-the-minute updates about REAL SPORTS, follow on Twitter at @RealSportsHBO or join the conversation using #RealSports.

Segments include:

MMA’s Chechnya Connection.

Military dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia’s Chechen Republic, has discovered a unique way to use combat sport to bolster his regime, creating a world-class professional MMA fight club that is expanding both his security forces and sphere of influence. But Kadyrov’s human rights records raises questions about his motives and involvement in international sport. Chechnya is one of the 21 semi-autonomous republics in the Russian Federation and Moscow’s hedge against the restive, mostly Muslim North Caucasus region, making Kadyrov one of Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s most powerful allies.

REAL SPORTS correspondent David Scott traveled to Grozny, Chechnya’s capital city, for a rare interview with Kadyrov — his first with a western reporter in several years — discussing topics ranging from his entry into elite MMA to the widely reported alleged purge of gay men in his republic.

Producer: Jordan Kronick.

Additional trailers:
Ramzan Kadyrov discusses MMA Fight Club
Ramzan Kadyrov addresses the allegations of a gay purge
Photo: Ramzan Kadyrov at an MMA event (Credit: Courtesy of HBO). Please note this is a promotional photo for press only.

Fading.

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is one of Earth’s most beautiful natural wonders, but scientists tell REAL SPORTS host Bryant Gumbel that global warming is destroying the once-resplendent colors of the coral, turning the reef into a sea of brown and white. With 2016 the hottest year on record, the corresponding rise in ocean water temperatures has had a devastating effect on the world’s largest living organism, which can only live within a small temperature range. Scientists explain that over the last two years close to 50% of the Great Barrier Reef has died, and with Australia’s renewed commitment to the coal industry, the destruction is not slowing, even as it threatens the country’s billion-dollar sports tourism business.

Producer: Chapman Downes.

Photo: Host Bryant Gumbel visiting the Great Barrier Reef (Credit: Courtesy of HBO). Please note this is a promotional photo for press only.

The Heart of 29.

Rod Carew was one of the most accomplished hitters in baseball history, with 18 All-Star Game nods, seven American League batting titles and a Hall of Fame bust in Cooperstown. Two years ago, the 71-year-old Panamanian suffered a debilitating heart attack, leaving a transplant his only chance for survival. Coincidentally, Carew had been an advocate for organ donation since his daughter’s death while awaiting a bone marrow transplant in 1996. When his own health problems arose, he launched The Heart of 29 Campaign with the American Heart Association.

A year after his heart attack, Carew received news that a heart had arrived for him. In a surprising twist, he learned that the donor was 29-year-old former NFL player Konrad Reuland, whom he’d met 18 years earlier. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg sits down with Carew, who, with the help of the American Heart Association, shares the film of his first meeting with the Reuland family and reveals how they keep their lasting bond alive.

Producer: Maggie Burbank.

Photo: Correspondent Bernard Goldberg with Rod Carew at Angels Stadium (Credit: Courtesy of HBO). Please note this is a promotional photo for press only.

On May 9, REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL received two Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence in 2016. The series was honored for Outstanding Sports News Anthology for the third time in four years and for Outstanding Sports Journalism for the 18th time, more than any other sports journalism TV program in history. REAL SPORTS has now won 31 Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence during its 22 seasons on HBO.

The show received the Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism for its acclaimed exposé on the International Olympic Committee, which debuted in July 2016, days before the start of the Summer Games in Rio. The win marked REAL SPORTS’ third significant journalism honor this year for the comprehensive report.

Last month, REAL SPORTS won a 2016 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for its IOC coverage, and in March received the inaugural Peter Jennings Award from the Overseas Press Club, which honors the best TV, video or documentary on international affairs.

Follow REAL SPORTS updates on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports.

The executive producers of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL are Rick Bernstein and Joe Perskie.

Follow @HBOPR for more news and information.