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Midnight Mania! UFC champion Aljamain Sterling reveals shocking medical diagnosis, cannot fight in New York

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UFC 288 is scheduled to go down this weekend (Sat., May 6, 2023) from inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. “The Brick City” is just about 10 miles from New York City proper, which made it a popular destination for UFC events in the many years prior to the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) legalizing MMA in 2016.

LIVE! Watch UFC 288 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

BLOCKBUSTER BANTAMWEIGHT BATTLE! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Newark, N.J., for the first time in more than three years on Sat., May 6, 2023, with a blockbuster Bantamweight collision inside Prudential Center that will see Aljamain Sterling attempt another successful title defense against returning two-division titleholder and former gold medal-winning Olympic wrestler, Henry Cejudo. In UFC 288’s last-minute pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, former Welterweight title challenger, Gilbert Burns, locks horns with No. 4-seeded contender, Belal Muhammad, in a five-round, 170-pound No. 1 contender eliminator match.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

The main event is Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling vs. returning double champ Henry Cejudo. Sterling is a New York local and long time student of the premier New York City MMA squad, the Serra-Longo Fight Team. However, he’s never fought in New York state in all the years since it’s been legalized, and as it turns out, there’s a reason why.

“When I made my UFC debut, February 22, 2014, — I’m a vet man! — at UFC 170, the Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann card, I believe,” Sterling began to explain on The MMA Hour. “I had to get a CAT scan, first time ever getting a CAT scan. They found two spots on my brain, they were like a millimeter or something like that. But, it looked like there was trauma, and they weren’t sure what it was. I forget the exact term, aneurism or angioma or something like that.”

Sterling continued, “In order for me to be cleared, I would’ve had to like go take it out of my head. So, I wasn’t sure if I needed to get like drilled in my head to pull these things out. So they monitored it, they allowed me to fight in Nevada ... a couple years after they realized, nothing was happening. They were like, ‘Okay, you’re safe. You’re not bleeding out, you’re not going to die in the cage.’ Knock on wood!

So things were good, and I was allowed to compete in Nevada and all the other states except New York.”

This is not the first example of the NYSAC playing by its own rule book. They’ve cancelled fights for conditions ranging from chapped lips to fake boobs, making the promotion fairly notorious for inconsistency from a medical perspective. Speaking from my own experience of having brain surgery before fighting professionally again, I was able to fight in California and Florida without issue, but I was told outright that fighting in “The Empire State” would never, ever happen.


Joanderson Brito is seriously explosive, his fights feel like guaranteed fireworks already.

Another great fight booked, but would anyone else like to see Joel Alvarez at Welterweight?

Bella Mir is going to be one hell of a UFC fighter someday.

This is a fun ad featuring Kevin Holland and Stephen Thompson. I look forward to watching it ad nauseam on UFC broadcasts until I absolutely despite it.

I have nothing to add here, this is an awesome picture.

Fabricio Werdum appears to be on the Alistair Overeem workout program.

Song Yadong ripping the body with punches and snap kicks was great to see, as well as his heavy calf kicks.

Slips, rips, and KO clips

For anyone else confused, this is in fact the same 46-year-old Marlon Sandro of Bellator and Sengoku fame!

Another OG picking up a vicious knockout win:

This man surely has gnarly mat burn after getting his face dragged continuously in a circle, and he was choked unconscious. Rough!

Random Land

Confirmed: sprawling and front head lock works on animals.

Midnight Music: Nobody told me beloved author William S. Burroughs of Naked Lunch fame has an experimental album of spoken word stories overtop funky No Wave instrumentals. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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