Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White didn’t back Aljamain Sterling following his split-decision win over Petr Yan at UFC 273 and the MMA community took immediate notice.
Sterling, who won the UFC bantamweight title following an illegal knee by Yan in their first matchup at UFC 259, caught a lot of flack over the past year for walking around like he was the undisputed champion. Fight fans were led to believe Sterling’s victory over Yan was in some way cheap, but “Funk Master” didn’t know Yan was going to launch an illegal knee that would render him unable to continue. It wasn’t fair.
One year later, Sterling finally had a chance to redeem himself against Yan in a rematch at UFC 273. Sterling was the betting underdog entering the fight and was booed by fight fans almost every time he was announced during fight week. It wasn’t looking good for the bantamweight veteran, but he ended up edging out Yan on the scorecards to earn the split-decision win and walk away with the undisputed UFC bantamweight championship.
It seemed like Sterling had finally done enough to gain the respect of fight fans and earn a hard-fought win over Yan to officially call himself champ. Unfortunately, “Funk Master” didn’t have the support of White after the fight was over as the UFC president told media members that he thought Yan won. White has made these types of remarks before, but this one may have set Sterling back to where he was one year ago.
Former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub talked about UFC 273’s aftermath and how it could affect Sterling’s stock moving forward.
“When you’re the president of the UFC, you have a responsibility,” said Schaub during a recent episode of the Schaub Show. “So when you say ‘the judges got it wrong on that one,’ well now you f—ked Aljamain Sterling over. Now you f—ked him.
“Because he beat the naysayers. He beat the haters. He shut everybody up. But now, it resurfaces, ‘cause the most powerful man in the UFC says he didn’t win that fight, which you don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re wrong, dude.”
In White’s defense, many people around the MMA community called the fight for Yan. But as the president of the company it may be wise for White to hold his comments back before watching the fight again. White already refuses to play matchmaker directly after an event concludes so maybe he should do the same when it comes to calling out a winner of a close decision, especially when it comes to a title fight.
“You watch it from cage-side on the little monitor,” Schaub added. “And you rush to judgment before watching it for a second or third time. Which it should be your f—ng responsibility. Your duty should be to make sure if you’re gonna say that stuff, that you’re going based off the criteria that the fighters have to go off of when it comes to judging.
“But you don’t. You came to a quick judgment and it f—ks your fighter. It f—ks your champion. Because now, that’s out there. And now the media and the sheep run with it, and the MMA ‘experts’ that work for the UFC and ESPN are gonna run with it. And now you f—k up the stock of Aljamain Sterling.”
Rising or falling stock aside, Sterling is now UFC’s undisputed bantamweight champion. Yan is unlikely to land a trilogy bout with “Funk Master” at this time so Sterling will have his chance to defend his title against a fresh face. That could come against Jose Aldo or T.J. Dillashaw, who are the current frontrunners.
What do you think, Maniacs? Did White screw Sterling over with his post-fight comments?
Let’s hear it in the comments below!